A Cornellian can map the stage of their college education by the walk they take. Is it the freshman scramble across the Thurston Avenue bridge to make it from North Campus to Central Campus before attending a massive lecture? Is it the harried sophomore climb from West? Is it the pajama-wearing senior who slothfully meanders from Collegetown northwards, still struggling with last night’s hangover. Or is it the other kind of senior who’s always running late and already two coffees in before the sun is even overhead?
Not to flex on any ILR and AEM majors out there in the wild, but I have cycled through pretty much all forty majors offered in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. Just recently, I started fantasizing about pre-med despite my poor biology lab partner having to carry the both of us through the dissection unit (look, I’m squeamish, okay?). If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the words, “Wait…I’m looking at your schedule…but I can’t tell what your major is” I wouldn’t be running out of BRBs the way I am now.
The College of Arts and Sciences is unique among Cornell’s schools in that all students come in as undecided, for better and for worse. Experimentation is not only possible but encouraged through distribution requirements and major prerequisites. I have cycled through classes ranging from law to visual studies to economics to computer science.
The outside world is dangerous. Taxes stalk us down, a more successful hunter than jaguars; landlords breathe down our necks when the rent is due but are nowhere to be found when toilets won’t flush; mom is no longer there to hold our hands for shots in doctor’s appointments.
Frankly, it makes sense that students — particularly marginalized students who have had real, traumatizing voting experiences outside of Cornell — have lost faith in our University’s ability to manage and regulate our elections. And the statistics reflect this. Last fall only, 16.85 percent of eligible students voted in the S.A. election.
As of April 6, Cornellians have endured a full year of online classes, a substantially increased workload and a debilitating feeling of powerlessness throughout this ongoing pandemic. From April 27-30, an opportunity to take back some of that power and make your voice heard will present itself and I highly recommend every Cornellian does so. Elections for the Board of Trustees, University Assembly and Student Assembly will be held from noon on April 28 to 5pm on April 30. This is your opportunity to reclaim some of the power taken by the pandemic. Cornell separates itself from thousands of other US universities by providing students with a system of shared governance where their voices are heard and millions of dollars are dedicated to make sure that change occurs as a result of those voices. I ask you all to think about what frustrates you most at the moment. A lack of time and chance to take a break? The University Assembly combines the voices of students, employees and faculty to elevate these concerns to the Faculty Senate and decide how many days off we receive. Not enough money being put into mental and physical health services? The Board of Trustees directly decides how all of our money is spent and could shift finances in one vote. Wish minor finances such as printing and laundry were free? The Student Assembly has already made printing free for the coming semester and laundry services are in talks with housing. I understand the feelings of detachment from our shared governance bodies that many of you believe are not representative of Cornellians. This is your opportunity to make them represent you. For the first time in years, all undergraduate seats in Cornell’s shared governance system will be filled after this election; not a single seat will be left open for a special election next semester. Twice as many seats and twice as many races are contested. You have the opportunity to make your voice heard throughout Cornell and show the administration, the city of Ithaca and the country what Cornellians stand for by voting. This time you have choices, take advantage of that.
The Elections Committee has made it easier to vote this time around. You will receive an email on Tuesday, April 28. Click it to vote.
You will see QR codes in the dining halls, dorms and surveillance testing sites. Scan them to vote.
You will see all over social media links to vote. Press them and vote.
Voting will take you five minutes and there is no need to register, request an absentee ballot or wait in line. Compared to other universities, Cornell has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in both Student Assembly and national polls.
Last week I hosted a dorm event in Flora Rose House about romantic comedies titled “Can ‘Chick Flicks’ be Feminist?” As an Undergraduate Resident Fellow, I usually tailor my semester events to conversations about gender justice and equity. Romantic comedies are my favorite movie genre and I was interested to see what other residents thought about the idea. We had a great discussion ranging from whether the term “chick flick” is misogynist to tropes in the genre that promote fatphobia, racism and homophobia.
Romantic comedies are (more often than not) a place to get strong and independent female fictional protagonists. Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) is a strong advocate for her friends, a harassment survivor and a powerful attorney. Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada) abandons a life of fashion glamour to pursue a career in journalism.
You’ve got three assignments due tomorrow, a full slate of Zoom meetings for the rest of the day, half a dozen internship applications still yet to be sent into the career portal void, a small mountain of laundry assembling around the foot of your bed and social plans tonight which you don’t really have time for—it’s that point of the semester. Luckily, you’ve had your two meager wellness days which have certainly recharged your batteries in much the same way that scooping a cup of water out of the ocean will stop rising sea levels. Buckle up, it’s the last month of the semester. As we enter these next few chaotic weeks, it’s important to pause and take a step back before diving into the academic fray. Beyond taking the time for the usual self-care of buying a new succulent and an embarrassing amount of frozen food at Trader Joe’s, we need to take a moment to recognize the mental consequences of the stress to come.
As a graduating senior actively on the job search, what the future conditions of my career will be have been at the forefront of my mind. Besides the overachieving amount of academic and extracurricular work I have engaged in throughout high school and college, I have also worked paying jobs since I was 15. This has included positions in restaurants, retail stores, events, administrative offices, computer databases and NGO’s. I worked not only as a means of professional and skill development, but also for my livelihood. Being financially independent means that the only way to receive the things I need is to work for it.
Phrases like “you’re not Latino” and “you look so white” have plagued my form of self, stemming back to my youth. I never truly understood the gravity of these misconceptions, so I tended to shrug them off without much thought. As the years went on, it became increasingly transparent that my white-passing token wasn’t as effective as it was made out to be.
On the eve of the second batch of Wellness Days, Cornell students are begging for more. With just two days off to make a four-day weekend, this break comes as a slap in the face. We are 13 months into a pandemic — sitting behind a screen and calling it school, convincing ourselves that we’re fine. But as a community, we have carved out no substantial space for the tremendous amount of pain students, faculty and staff are feeling. In a normal semester, Cornell would carve out seven full days off.