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TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | Club Selectivity Isn’t the Problem. Recruitment Culture Is.

Albeit being just a four-day extended weekend, fall break comes as salvation for many students on the Hill. This is perhaps because of the unique stresses of fall at Cornell. On top of the usual academic responsibilities, students spend much of their time attending information sessions, filing applications and interviewing for positions. But not for jobs. For clubs.

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LIM | Why I’m Choosing Not to Seek Professional Mental Health Care

A well-meaning friend recently responded to my apology with an invitation to try going on antidepressants. After I politely declined, he insisted that it worked wonders for him and suggested I really think about it again. And so I have, and I stand by my initial position. I am accountable for my own mental wellness. Me not opting for professional help means I do not want to outsource the work I know I have cut out for me; it is not my refusal to admit a problem.

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JOHNS | To Codify Its Values, Cornell Needs an Honor Code

In her annual address to Cornell staff last Thursday, President Martha Pollack spoke about the many challenges confronting this institution, from the ongoing endeavor to expand University mental health services to the administration’s efforts to mitigate the inconvenience caused by the construction of the North Campus Residential Expansion. Although many undergraduates may have found the speech routine, Pollack highlighted an underreported development: this year’s ratification of a core values statement, a brief set of ideals intended to define the University’s 21st century mission. The statement correctly underlines the importance of “free and open inquiry and expression” as a means toward “purposeful discovery,” a laudable theme that this column repeatedly has argued is indispensable to the integrity of any university. In Thursday’s address, however, President Pollack noted that it is now time to go a step further — to use the statement to ensure that “as a community of faculty, of staff and of students, that we live the core values” the University has outlined. This is an important step, and she is right to call on Cornellians to realize and represent the institution’s stated values in the campus community.

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NGUYEN | Instagram Removing Likes Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

I initially downloaded Instagram on my hefty anchor of a first-generation iPad. I remember the beginnings of the social platform well: its tan camera logo adorned with a rainbow stripe, its unflattering in-app photo filter options, its young userbase experimenting with this novel concept of “social media” for the first time. But since its introduction to the world in Oct. 2010, Instagram has been through a lot of changes, from countless user interface upheavals to a notorious $1 billion acquisition by Facebook. Nevertheless, Instagram has thrived in its popularity among youths — and as a result, it’s strengthened its hold on youth culture.

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GUEST ROOM | Three Things You Can Do for Your Health This Fall

These days, with many unknowns in the world around us, I’m asked both inside and outside of the exam room, “How can I take care of myself? How do I focus my energy in the right place to prevent illness and stay healthy and well? How can I make a difference in the world around me?”
This fall, there are three things that immediately come to mind: Get your flu shot, register to vote and be kind to yourself. Number 1: Get Your Flu Shot
A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step to prevent the flu and its complications, like missed work or school, time out of your busy schedule for clinic visits or more serious consequences like hospitalizations. The fall — preferably before the end of October — is the best time to get a flu shot.

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LIM | Depoliticizing Apples and Mooncakes

The most alarming thing I’ve heard since coming to America is, “Since when were you so anti-China?” This came from my brother, who can tell me the angles six different international news agencies take on various issues, while I — reliant on my free student subscription of The New York Times — could reference only one. I decided that my brother’s balance on issues is something I need to learn from, as shown when he responded on what he thought a friend’s stance on Hong Kong was with: “Pro-stability.”

The tendency of American college activism to personify governments and populations into single entities with moral character is something I’ve since tried to distance myself from. In particular, the way this habit voids “the enemy’s” perspective. When I juxtapose this tendency with our campus climate’s simultaneous desire to give her diverse student body equal cultural voice, I am puzzled by the contradiction and cognizant of the way it politicizes aspects of culture that I grew up believing are better unpoliticized. Yet, reflecting on recent Rosh Hashanah and Mid-Autumn Festival festivities, I realize I too am homogenizing cultural expression when I carry this belief.

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WANG | Joker & Performing Mental Health

Last Friday, I finally sucked it up and watched Joker with another friend. Joker, styled in bold, strained yellow as the film’s title card, is exactly the kind of film it has been marketed as so far. Replete with jagged violence, moody lighting and an inimitable Joaquin Phoenix performance, the movie thrives on concocting shock and rage to drag out a visceral reaction from its audience. “Holy Shit,” someone muttered next to me, in what I turned out to only be the movie’s fourth or fifth most disturbing moment. It was just that kind of film.

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BETTEZ | Choosing Sides

“So, which side do you choose?” my high school biology teacher asked during a class on race.“Like, white or Asian? Most biracial people choose one,” he elaborated upon seeing my confusion. This was also the man who around the same time told the class that I’m an example of a “hybrid” —  in the context of cross-species hybrids — implying that my parents are different species, demonstrating a horribly awkward misunderstanding of mixed race people. As much as I hope everyone disagrees with him on the latter point, his attitude reflects a common one on mixed race people: that we should or will eventually choose one of our races to identify with — a side. We don’t fit into society’s separation of races, and there is intense pressure on us to conform to this worldview by pretending that massive parts of us don’t exist.

Sex on Thursday

SEX ON THURSDAY | Your Ex-Girlfriend Isn’t Crazy — You’re Just Insensitive

Taylor Swift thinks she’s so cool because she’s crazy, a hookup said to me after we watched the Blank Space video together. (Maybe the problem in this situation lies more in the fact that I was watching this specific video specifically with a hookup, but bear with me here.) And it certainly looks like it at first glance — I mean, how crazy do you have to be to destroy your boyfriend’s sports car, his expensive suits, stab a cake and a portrait of him, solely because he was texting during a picnic? Isn’t this whole video just her delighting in the beauty of her destructive, chaotic power? He missed the point of the song and the video — it’s not that Taylor Swift is the crazy ex-girlfriend, it’s that she’s playing the archetype of it to show how utterly ridiculous it is. It’s absurd and campy: cuz darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream, the Elie Saab dress standing over the horses, the damaged car …