The vast majority of Cornell students who have chosen to return to campus this fall arrived with sky-high anxiety. The challenges of hybrid online and in-person courses, new social-distancing rules which are prevalent in nearly every facet of the college experience, family financial hardships and, of course, the concern for health and the health of our loved ones is on everybody’s mind. For incoming freshmen, it’s all of the above with the added test of the fall being their first time living independently, without an established support system. Students, professors and faculty, we’ll all be rapidly adjusting to new routines on top of the regular rigor of higher education. Let’s agree that it’s going to be extremely stressful, and that maintaining mental health is vital to making the most out of learning in person.
My first time having good sex was in the desert. My then-boyfriend, Desert Not-So Solitaire, and I waited until it was dark, then snuck partway down a trail at Capitol Reef and stretched out a blanket over the burnt orange sand. The stars were so bright above us. The sky seemed to stretch all the way down to our feet. We’d had sex a few times before, but the act was still new and fumbling for me, often accompanied by discomfort or pain.
I’ve showered once in the last 10 days. A camp stove explosion burned off the bottom half inch of hair on the left side of my head. My leg got stuck in quicksand while hiking through neck-deep water in a river. After walking over 10 miles a day through three national parks in the southwest, the toes on my left foot have definitely seen better days. My dream hike across Zion National Park in Utah was cut short when my three friends and I were forced to evacuate after it snowed a foot during our second night of backcountry camping.
Nature. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. My friend and fellow columnist, senior editor Katie Engelhart ’09, asked me if I thought it would be fun to go camping sometime soon. Yes! It would! But I think you should know a little something about me first, young Katie. Longwinded as I am, I am going tell you publicly and ramble on about my retardation (and how it relates to my parents messing me up) for as long as my editor will allow.