Mirror Mirror on the “Historical” Wall

The autumn air, alluringly crisp, surrounded me as I opened the passenger seat door to my grandfather’s car, ready to make the five hour trip back to Long Island. We stopped at Dunkin’ to pick up coffees to sip along the way and drove through color changing mountains, whose seemingly unreachable summits countered the mountain of laundry I left sitting on my dorm room floor. 

Whenever I drive back to Long Island I think of the ending monologue from the movie Lady Bird, where the main character who goes to college in New York talks about driving around her hometown of Sacramento, California. She describes the roads as “all those bends I’ve known my whole life,” conveying the exhilarating familiarity of home and the silly longings we have for the bends on which we grew up around. 

 Similarly, in her essay “Going Home,” author Joan Didion explains how returning home leaves her “paralyzed by the neurotic lassitude engendered by meeting one’s past at every turn, around every corner [and] inside every cupboard.” When I arrived back home, I went up to my bedroom and looked into the mirror that has reflected me my entire life, to see that I looked a little different. It holds my history in its shimmering rectangular body. I’m confronted with all of the beliefs I held that I no longer hold to be true — that enzymes cannot regain their shape after they react or that the American dream is still achievable for everyone.

SEX ON THURSDAY | Trader Joe’s and Transactional Sex

As a rule, upon interacting with him for the very first time, I filter a potential fuckbuddy through a single qualifying question: “Do you have access to a car?” It might seem shallow of me, but if he gives an affirmative response — and if the vibes are right and he seems like a non-murderer and whatnot — then, as far as I’m concerned, he’s made the cut. Because sex is nice and all but, for a car-less college student like me, sex plus a cheaffeured drive to Trader Joe’s and back is much nicer. 

The hope is that we eventually settle into a sort of mutually understood trade relationship, where he receives pussy if I receive a ride to pick up my prescription first, or he gets head as long as I can hitch a ride to Wegman’s afterwards, or I provide no oral services until I’ve gotten my weekly bag of TJ’s frozen orange chicken. Once I’ve established this dynamic with at least a couple guys — and so getting groceries, getting some sexual satisfaction and getting anywhere I ever need to go have all fused into one simple task — my life is made much easier. In my case, there is a very blurry line between transactionality and transparency when it comes to longer-term sexual relationships with men. Rather than pretend I came, or pretend that I’m totally happy making him cum without reciprocation, I make sure he’s aware that he in fact did not make me come.

KEMPFF | End the COVID-19 Lockouts

The internet lockout. It sends shivers down the spines of students who have faced it. It works like this: when a student misses their testing days, the University locks all on-campus internet and account access — including Canvas — until the test is completed. This was a key component of the behavioral impact, created at a time when relatively little was known about COVID-19. However, times have since changed.

LORENZEN & VALDETARO | Two Opinion Columnists Debate Curriculum Reform (1/4)

Several weeks ago, two opinion columnists got into an argument about curriculum reform at Cornell. They decided to record their disagreement and transcribe it as a discussion column inspired by “The Conversation,” a weekly column between New York Times opinion columnists, Gail Collins and Bret Stephens. Below, Cornell Daily Sun opinion columnists Andrew V. Lorenzen and Giancarlo Valdetaro discuss changes to Cornell’s academic policies. This conversation is divided into four parts to be released each Wednesday for the next three weeks. This is the first installment of A Cornell Conversation.

ONONYE | Seniors, It’s Our Turn to be Mentors

During my freshman year, I joined Building Ourselves through Sisterhood and Service, a peer mentoring program for womxn of color on campus. Every year B.O.S.S. assigns upper-level mentors to  first-year and sophomore womxn on campus. It is very much a get-as-much-as-you-put-in sort of organization. They provide brunches, movie nights and service opportunities for mentor-mentee pairs to bond, but still encourage them to get to know each other beyond scheduled events. 

BRENNER | Take a Break

The relentless pursuit of academic perfection has been weighing heavily on my mind since we returned from fall break. My Fall Break was  spent in the Adirondacks without touching or even thinking about the piles of schoolwork I could’ve been doing. After all, it was Fall Break, so I took a break. 

BARAN | Memories of Growing Up Together

When we live with people, it’s easy to take their presence for granted. Bonding and communication are effortless. We update each other on our lives while toasting bagels for breakfast and recap the day during evening dish duty. The people we live with know about the good book we’re reading and the tooth that’s been bothering us for the past couple days. They tag along to the movie we’re seeing and show up to our hockey game because we mentioned it last week. Housemates are intimately involved in each other’s lives by association, with minimal effort from either side. 

SPARACIO | A Common Room Education

I loved the natural light of the Low Rise 8 common room — the way it streamed through the windows and danced on the walls. I photosynthesized beneath the light on a couch, where I reached for en“light”enment. I sat in a room with people who have “reached for the stars” ever since they first raised their hands in class, but in the common room everything becomes more ambiguous. I listened to conversations that swirled like stars against a blue night, turbulent and luminous, painting my canvas in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. Things aren’t black and white anymore but Ithaca grey, less definite and more discussion based such that when we do “reach for the stars” we can make our own connections, our own constellations.

SMITH | Am I an Ithacan?

I work at a restaurant off-campus, and the other day a customer asked one of my coworkers, “Do you go to Cornell?” My coworker said “No,” and the customer explained that since “You took a bunch of tables’ orders without writing anything down we just assumed that you must be smart and in the Ivy League.” Aside from this statement being wrong on just so many levels, it got me thinking about my place in Ithaca and Cornell. I’ve reflected previously in other articles about my connection to Ithaca as a town, but I’m still grappling with whether or not a Cornell student can truly become an Ithacan. I work for a small business, volunteer for a local organization and have an Ithaca zip code. But I am also a contributing factor to Ithaca being one of the least affordable housing markets in the U.S., a source of arguable instability in the Ithaca economy and the subject of a questionable  “reopening experiment.”

Most Cornell students experience Ithaca from a place of privilege. It is a source of recreation in the form of restaurants, the farmer’s market, wineries and hiking trails, to be tapped into when time allows.

NGUYEN | When Creativity Fades

Creativity tumbled down my priority list. Was it worth it to make art when it wasn’t attached to a grade? Was it worth it to create when I knew I wasn’t destined to become a prodigy? I no longer spent my days writing or sketching or building. Slowly but surely, that glowing orb of creativity dulled.