EPSTEIN | Your Brain on Meditation: Take a Break to Reset

There is more than one way to find calmness and relaxations on this semester’s first Wellness Days. If you’re swamped with work and studying, especially in preparation of this upcoming round of prelims, consider trying meditation. Not only does Cornell offer a ton of online resources to help you learn on your own, there are also guided meditation sessions over Zoom.

BERNSTEIN | For These Upcoming Wellness Days, Try Something New

It’s a simple message, but an old and important one. And as we begin our middle-of-the-week weekend — a phenomenon really only relevant to our current moment in time — we celebrate the theme of “wellness.” What better way is there to work on our own wellness but by trying something new? At Cornell, we often find ourselves stuck in the same ruts: promising to catch up on work, having the same worries, falling into the same habits and finishing the weekend in the same place we started. With the pressures of classes, jobs and extracurriculars, it can be difficult to try new things.This is especially true now. Because of the pandemic, it feels harder than ever to meet new people, make new connections, or do things outside your comfort zone — or, at the very least, outside of what we’re used to.

BETTEZ | The Death of the Acquaintance

An acquaintance was once someone who you could run into as you rush through Ho Plaza on your way to class and chat, or attempt to catch up with over the roar of a frat party’s Spotify playlist. Maybe they were even a friend of a friend, or an ally when you frantically needed help on your problem set the night it’s due. Without these relatively inconsequential interactions, Cornell’s campus is no longer a community of interconnections, but a set of isolated bubbles. An unfortunate, but not unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic lasting as long as it has is the death of an entire class of friends. The loss of the acquaintance is just another symptom of the loss of the campus space and sense of community we’ve experienced over the last year.

GUEST ROOM | Enduring Acknowledgement, Respect and Support for EARS

As a Cornell alumnus, it grieves me to hear that Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service will no longer offer peer counseling, given Cornell’s general liability insurance does not cover peer counseling. Although I graduated five years ago, I cannot imagine that the importance of empathetic listening and training has diminished, especially given the COVID pandemic. 

I first came to Cornell for the 2012 Revisit Weekend, in the shadow of a series of student deaths. The campus was subdued, with upperclassmen whispering furtively behind the excited faces of the admitted students. Black metal fences lined the bridges between North and Central campuses –– a brutal daily reminder of fragility of life and importance of mental health. I joined EARS as a freshman and ultimately became an EARS counselor and trainer.

GUEST ROOM | Give Thanks to Your Resident Hall Staffer

It is safe to say Cornellians limped to the finish line last semester. With fewer breaks, unusually substandard dining hall sustenance and a monumental Student Assembly calamity, things certainly went smoother than expected. 

Cornell’s expansive testing capabilities and containment of the virus even garnered national media attention. The COVID-19 response was managed so effectively, in fact, it received the highest honor given to an institution: a Good Morning America segment anchored by Robin Roberts, featuring reporter sidekick Tom Llamas. Folks, we’ve made it. Undoubtedly, the University deserves praise.

GHAZI | Silence Is Participation Too

Whoever first said to think before you speak evidently never took a course that graded their participation. Before I came to Cornell, I dreamed of college classrooms with endless conversation. Now, in my final semester, my learning usually happens when I’m silent — truncated by empty comments born from the hollow frames of other empty comments. 

A word salad of unprofound buzzwords emerges when an unprovocative reading meets a room of seasoned skimmers who yearn for an A. Participation may count for 25 percent or more of a final grade, leading to a performance to cushion it. Participation for the sake of participation wastes tuition dollars, time and a professor’s expertise. We must swap our limited definition of participation for one that rewards silence, encourages listening and steers us to material that cues discussion on subjects worthy of contention.

GUEST ROOM | E is for Empathy: A Reintroduction to EARS

Last week, the University announced that Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service would no longer offer peer counseling, as this kind of service is not insured by the University. EARS, however, will still continue as an organization, though now without the peer counseling service that we are best known for. Confusion, outrage, disappointment and dozens of questions like “Why?” and “How?” and “How do we fix it?” spread over Zoom calls, Facebook posts and even Reddit threads after the news broke. These responses are understandable. After all, how do you reconcile a peer counseling organization with no peer counseling?

ONONYE | Happy Early International Women’s Day. Here’s How to be a Better Cornell Feminist

I know this is a week early, but considering that my column is titled Womansplaining, there is no way that I’d pass up on a chance to write a column about International Women’s Day ––and more broadly, Women’s History Month. This year’s United Nations’ theme for International Women’s Day is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” That is a long (and very important!) title, emphasizing the importance of elevating women into leadership positions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. There is obviously no perfect feminist (contrary to my Instagram bio where I self proclaim myself the “professional feminist”) and no right way to advocate for women or gender justice. However, if you’re thinking about ways to be a gender advocate on campus this month, here are eight ways to be a “better” Cornell feminist. 

Take a class in feminist, gender and sexuality studies. 

If you’ve met me at any point in the last three years, you probably know my mantra: “Every person should have to take a feminist, gender and sexuality studies course on campus before they graduate.” Throughout my FGSS career, I have studied Beyonce’s impact on feminism, marital rape laws, the Disney princesses, Nigerian feminist poets, Greek life on college campuses and influencer culture. Every aspect of your life, past or present, has to do with gender.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: “School Spirit Must Be Sacrificed for Public Safety”

To the Editor:

The title of the article, “School Spirit Must Be Sacrificed for Public Safety” makes one major assumption about athletics at Cornell. Athletics do not equate to school spirit, in fact they represent much more than what spectators, fans and otherwise non-participatory parties see on the outside. 

Speaking on behalf of fellow athletes, most of us have worked hard our entire lives for an opportunity to put our abilities to the test at the highest levels of performance. Our personal journeys in athletics should not be reduced to something that is enjoyed primarily as entertainment. With the cancellation of spring competition, the Ivy League has played with the heartstrings of

athletes across the country. We do not need to hear from people, mainly non-athletes and professors, constantly chiming in on the conversation about what athletes should think about having our seasons canceled.

LORENZEN | Political Debate Fatigue

There was a time when I loved to debate about politics. Whether it was making idealistic points like a low-budget Aaron Sorkin wannabe while dressed to the nines as a high school debater, casually arguing with friends while eating Louie’s well past midnight or participating in the web of countless cordial and sometimes less than cordial debates which make up Cornell’s political discourse — I loved it all. But these days, I’m not sure that I still do. And I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. I am still fervently dedicated to politics.