Now that campus has returned to alert level green, it might be tempting to forget what moved Cornell to yellow in the first place. In a Feb. 5 email, President Martha Pollack attributed the pre-semester spike to a Collegetown party where several members of Greek life organizations were reportedly present and not following COVID-19 protocols. The actions of these students not only violated the behavioral compact, but were also incredibly selfish. However, Greek life represents a microcosm, albeit a rather extreme one, of how the entire student body feels.
The first column of the semester is always the one that weighs the heaviest. It’s the one my idle mind wanders to those times in the summer when I feel like I haven’t done much of anything or those other times I feel like my internship has turned me into a middle-aged man that goes to bed at 10 p.m. and doesn’t particularly like his life too much. I had a column outlined coming into the school year — something well-researched, with sources hyperlinked in and a powerful ending that forced you to reconsider your plan for the entire upcoming year (note: tune in next week, it’s probably better to plan out your year after you’ve fully recovered from O-Week). I changed my mind about what it is that I wanted to share with you all when I got to campus. Coming back to campus is always a cathartic experience.
While reading through my group chat notifications the other day, I noticed a little scuffle building in one of the groups chats that I was in: What had begun with a playful changing around of group nicknames soon escalated to personal jabs at different group members and real life drama. And at this I scoffed. For someone to be actually hurt by something said in a less-than-half-serious online space where memes, stickers and other online shenanigans run rampant is absolutely childish, no? Possibly, but reflecting upon my own experiences, this isn’t the first time, nor the first group chat that I’ve been in that’s had its online problems leak into the real world. Experiences like these that have led me to question: Is there something more to group chats?