My friend was ecstatic when he thought he found his professor’s profile on Snapchat. We’d soon learn that the discovery was too good to be true; the account was not the professor’s, who quickly disappointed inquisitive students in a Piazza post. The greater irony is that as students, our communication with professors outside the classroom is indeed limited to Piazza, aside from email and now Zoom. However, as younger generations increasingly link themselves to the social media phenomenon, it begs the question how much longer this “distance” between professors and students will remain.
It was easy to think, at least when looking past the masks, that our campus wasn’t in a pandemic this past week. From the groups of students lounging on the Arts Quad to the bustling Collegetown streets, it feels as if this is the closest it’s been to “normal” since the start of COVID. And through the lively campus ambience, one seemingly minor observation stuck with me. As I took a seat on a bench before the Arts Quad, I couldn’t help but notice someone running past me listening to music without earbuds. AC/DC, a friend beside me pointed out.
Just as Ithacalves have become a ubiquitous symbol of the Cornellian campus experience on the Hill, so are our quads. I have compiled a list, ordered worst to best, of the glorified courtyards that define the outdoor gathering experience for Cornellians
Two Google tabs remained open as I decided classes for pre-enroll last semester: the class roster and ratemyprofessors.com. At times, a class’s number of credits or time slot can take the backseat to a detailed professor review. For those unfamiliar with the site, the typical instructor profile almost always features several near-perfect reviews towards the top. Naturally, you’ll ask yourself how these professors are receiving overall ratings of 3.5/5. The answer lies a few scrolls below, buried in the pop-up ads.
Between the emergence of the first snowmen in early December to the cherry blossoms of the Ithacan spring months, our campus loses much of its thrill as an outdoor wonder. Once sledding down Libe Slope grows old after the first few weeks of the spring semester, Cornellians are more than capable of spending entire winter days indoors.
The same campus that sees its students lounging under trees and across the slope during the warmer months suddenly shrivels into a dreary, barren landscape during the depths of winter. Such a paradigm shift is in no way helped by the fact that Cornell’s athletic facilities provide little refuge from snow for students during the day. If there were to be regular weekend hours when Dodson field is plowed, or when Lynah Rink offers ice skating, perhaps students would no longer have to experience winter from their bedrooms.
Over the last several weeks, I could only find one patch of salvageable green conducive to a game of catch: the thawed area between the northern 40-yard line and opposite 20-yard line on Schoellkopf Field. My attempts to venture onto other fields like Dodson behind Bartels Hall have been met with a locked fence.
It feels like just yesterday when I was in your shoes, dead-set on fall 2019’s much-anticipated move-in, orientation week and first day of classes. As of now you tell those who ask that you’re excited, but we both know that’s a grand oversimplification. Behind that excitement, you’re afraid of the uncertain, terrified you won’t fit in and anxious to see how high school had prepared you for this next big step. As I recall, you’re also getting bombarded with congratulations and advice ranging from alumni graduating decades ago to current college students — whether here at Cornell or those you met back in high school. Allow me to join the chorus and offer my two cents on what to expect, from someone who came out on the other side.