SMITH | On Friendships, Cornell and Covid

My mom’s favorite things to share about her college experience were all the memories she had of her friends. The late night study sessions, the dorm dynamics, the nights out, and sneaking extra coffee cake from the dining hall. So as I took my first steps on North Campus, I was filled with excitement and expectation thinking of the great friendships that awaited me. Similarly to high school, I was fed a narrative of college being the greatest time of my life, the place where I would make my forever friends and other rose-tinted statements that are simultaneously true and false. 

While I certainly talked to and gave a lot of people my phone number during O-Week, a lot of those numbers are sitting in my contacts like emails in my inbox from the club listservs I joined out of genuine interest but never ended up going to. Still, I’ve met many wonderful people that have been invaluable to me as pillars of support, cheerleaders, relationship coaches, comedians, study buddies and just proof that amazing human beings are out there.

YAO | Zoom and Gloom

Every time I leave a Zoom meeting, I’m left with an acute sense of emptiness. There’s no satisfaction or relief derived from getting through a lecture without falling asleep. No lingering sense of happiness that usually comes from catching up with a friend. With a single click, I’m thrust back into the stark silence of my room — a silence that only reminds me how much of an illusion these on-screen interactions really are. Think about it: At the most basic level, we’re conversing with an amalgam of pixels that either form people’s out-of-focus faces or black boxes with some white letters on them.

FOX | Hybrid Semester Threatens Cornell’s Claim to Nonprofit Status

I’m spending the month of October in Michigan, a key swing state among a small cohort sure to decide both the presidential election and control of the Senate. While this is the priority I chose to set for myself this semester, I remain enrolled as an online student taking a full credit load at Cornell. The readings are immersive and the lectures are informative. Given that most of my peers living in Ithaca have only one or two in-person courses, the class component of my education this semester is not too dissimilar to theirs. Still, without the ability to study in groups, engage in free-flowing conversation and take full advantage of university facilities, a pressing truth becomes clear: This is not worth the money.