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SMITH | The Price of Perfectionism

As Cornell students we have a distinct sense of being groomed for our Perfect Lives. Raised to get perfect scores on standardized tests. Told even our extracurriculars, activities  typically meant to allow us to unwind and explore interests that are not scaled or critiqued like assignments, will come under scrutiny for their ability to improve or say something about us to others. Society has been grooming us since birth to be part of the perfect future workforce and gave us the technology to be constantly working, be it building a personal brand or receiving an email at midnight about class the next day. This push for hyper-optimization makes even leisure time an opportunity for greater productivity.

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WAITE | The Cost of Peak Performance at Cornell

Yes, challenges are essential. The purpose of our time at Cornell is to prepare us for our futures — to prepare us for the goals we’ve set for ourselves. So I get why this University is challenging. It is supposed to be. It is meant to drive us and allow us to achieve more and more.

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GUEST ROOM | Cornell Health Improves Access to Mental Health Services

As the fall semester begins, we at Cornell Health are excited to introduce a new approach to our delivery of mental health services. Our goal is to support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in thriving at Cornell and achieving their academic and life goals. In order to provide increased access to mental health care for our students, we now offer free, 25-minute, in-person counseling appointments that often can be scheduled as soon as the same day. These appointments focus on meeting the student’s immediate needs, and making a plan for next steps, when needed. Students no longer schedule a brief assessment phone appointment as the first step to receiving care and instead can speak with a counselor in person as the need arises.

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GUEST ROOM | Upstream Approaches for Improving Mental Health on Campus

It goes without saying that mental health is a major conversation on campus. Currently, some of the mental health services offered at Cornell include Let’s Talk and CAPS, which are offered at Cornell Health, and EARS, a student-run organization. While all are extremely important services, all are arguably “downstream” mental health services. Since they are “downstream,” they can only be utilized by individuals who are currently having to address their mental health issues. There are very few specific services in place that attempt to dispel systems that can lead to mental health issues.

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GUEST ROOM | Cornell Needs to Be More Transparent About Mental Health Initiatives

Last month, the Cornell administration announced a review of our campus’s mental health system. Throughout the last year, Cornell Graduate Students United has campaigned for just such a review. Over 900 graduate students signed our petition asking for an external review of the system, in addition to other demands, and we are glad the administration has finally acknowledged the mental health crisis on campus. Whether or not the proposed mental health review succeeds, however, depends on its structure. As it stands, there is almost no public information on the administration’s proposed mental health review.

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LEE | Cornell Fitness Centers Should Be Free to Students

The cost to attend Cornell University has skyrocketed each year. The tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year is $56,550, a $6,000 increase from the $50,712 I paid for my freshman year in 2016-2017. This price tag is the tuition alone, which does not consider other costs to attend Cornell, such as the student activity fee, housing, dining and much more. The total cost to attend an endowed college at this institution will amount to around $75,000 for the upcoming academic year. At a place where costs stack up higher each year, fitness memberships should not be an added burden placed on students.

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GUEST ROOM | Pushing for Mental Health Reform at Cornell

Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about mental health and depression. Cornell’s response to six student suicides between 2009 and 2010 was the installation of nets over Ithaca’s gorges. These nets — monuments of the mental health crisis at Cornell — overshadow both Ithaca’s natural beauty and Cornell’s stellar research infrastructure. They remind us that something is wrong on Cornell’s campus. Six years after starting my astrophysics Ph.D., I still remember the first time I saw the nets.