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Cornell is an excellent school with an excellent reputation. When I tell people I went there, the most common reaction is, "ooh -- Cornell." A close second is, "ooh -- look at you!" When I was there, no one gave a damn about any sport other than hockey, and those games are fun. Not that there aren't other sports that are good, it was just that nobody cared. Although we finally made the NCAA basketball tournament, and I went to the game in Anaheim -- go school! We lost that game, really, really badly. It was kind of hard to watch. Still, cool to be there.
Cornell is very big but very manageable because of the different colleges, which give students a chance to find their niche as well as their own area of the campus that they know extremely well. College town is great, so are the commons. Cornell is beautiful and natural, but doesn't feel isolated because there are plenty of places to go out to dinner. I didn't realize how big Greek life was here before I came. Joining a sorority turned out to be an amazing choice that I might not have made at a school where Greek life wasn't so popular- on the other hand, for people who thought 1/3 of the students being involved in Greek life wasn't a lot and do not want to join a sorority or frat, may be frustrated because the school does not give the first impression of being as Greek as it is. Best thing about Cornell is there is every type of person- preps, jocks, people who work insanely hard, alternative-type people, etc. Everyone can find someone like them.
The best thing about Cornell is the spring time - when the weather is absolutely (excuse the pun) Gorge-ous. At the beginning of the fall semester and at the end of the spring semester, you have the opportunity to go gorge jumping, lay out in the gorges (to sunbathe or explore the waterfalls). Also, the restaurants here at Cornell are great. This is the perfect environment to work and play. One thing that I'd change is the amount of work and the way that the Cornell grading system works. I've taken a lot of big lecture classes and they purposely make the tests difficult to pull the mean down. I took a class where they purposely made up questions so that the mean on the test wold be low. The work is also a lot, but if you time-manage, you will be able to do anything. The school population sounds like its huge (over 3,000 per class!) but as you start joining organizations (i.e. sorority or fraternity, sports teams etc) you begin to find out that Cornell isn't such a large school after all. People think its great that I'm at an Ivy League school (when I tell them I go to Cornell). I spend a lot of time at the Big Red Barn, Mann Library (best coffee and cafe ever!), the Arts Quad, the Slope, and the various gyms (Helen Newman, Teagle, Noyes). I also tend to visit Collegetown a lot because of the great restaurants and people living there. Collegetown is where most of the upper classmen (after freshman year) live - there are a TON of great restaurants of various cuisines and apartments and places to just chill (Starbucks, Collegetown Bagels). The Schwartz center is also in collegetown, where a lot of plays, dance performances, and various arts groups perform. If you are involved in an organization, you will definitely have a lot of school pride. I know that my sorority is involved in playing in intramurals and philanthropy and in attending various sporting events (i.e. Basketball was AMAZING this past season). Students complain a LOT about the weather here - the weather is generally unpredictable and you tend to get a lot of rain. And you have one of the longest winters ever (luckily, winter break is a month long so you avoid a lot of the winter).
I love Cornell to death. I'm back home and all I want to do is go back. The best thing about Cornell is the campus itself- it's BEAUTIFUL!! You will never in the world find a more pretty campus- especially when the spring comes and all of a sudden everything blooms together so the entire campus comes alive- and not just with the plants. Once spring hits, the campus goes from kind of a ghost town because it's too damn cold to be outside to a playground with kids playing frisbee, soccer, football, whatever, everywhere you turn. Cornell's campus is really big- you're going to walk A LOT. If you have to get from the Arts Quad to the Plant Science buildings in 15 minutes, RUN! Haha no you don't have to run, just walk fast. (But don't worry, unless you're taking really, really, really random classes, you won't have to do that often at all. Most of your classes are near each other based on your major and school.) Here at Cornell we always laugh that we live in the "Cornell bubble". Cornell is in Ithaca, NY- ya, I didn't know where that was either when I first applied. But Cornell has just about everything you need to keep you busy: we've got a pretty decent mall about 10 minutes north, Ithaca Commons at the bottom of the hill about 10 minutes away, and then we've got Collegetown right at the western edge of campus. Collegetown is really awesome if you want food that you've never had before. There is just about every type of ethnic restaurant you could think of: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, American (pizza, grilled food, etc), there's a Starbucks... you name it, we got it. The only problem with Collegetown is that apart from the Starbucks, there really isn't any big chain food places like Panera or Qudoba. BUT there is this really, really, really awesome bagel/coffee/ice cream place called Collegetown Bagels and they will make you any kind of bagel sandwich you could think of. They also have really, really good baked goods (cookies, pastries, etc) and it's not really overpriced. My biggest beef with Cornell is the administration, especially the Bursar Office, and Gannett Health Care services. Cornell is not known for very friendly help when it comes to helping people out, especially when it comes to the bill for Cornell. As you probably know, Cornell is freaking ridiculously expensive, and I swear to God they find every last way to squeeze money out of you. One of their biggest incomes I'm sure is from Gannett Health Services- and they SUCK! You go in there with a cold that may be a sinus infection and the minute you step in they make you wear this hideous mask to "protect others from your germs". Then you wait a freaking long-ass time and when you finally see someone, they ask you at least 3 or 4 times if you're pregnant, even after the nurse before the doctor wrote it down! NO I'M NOT PREGNANT, I JUST NEED SOME DAMN ANTIBIOTICS!!! Anyways, once you finally get out of there (with them performing a hundred extra tests "to help you"... that naturally cost extra) you go to get your prescription and you realize they don't take your health insurance. Now you can pay for the one Cornell provides and it's all easy, but if you have one that isn't one of the 10 or 15 that they work with, you get to pay for the whole damn thing and then take your receipt and send it in to get a rebate/cash back from your own insurance company. And 9 times out of 10, they gave you the wrong prescription or none at all and you're forced to suffer out your cold/infection.
Every year, the Cornell Daily Sun sends all incoming freshman, a pseudo-guide to Cornell. Included in this "guide" is Big Red Ambition: 161 things every Cornellian Should Do. These range from the normal to the supernatural to the kinky. (Each year, more and more things are added, this version is from my year i.e. 2005) Big Red Ambition: 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do (taken from The Cornell Daily Sun, Monday, February 28, 2005. Page 9.) 1. Make the library into your bedroom, find a buddy. 2. Finally meet the dazzling Denice Cassaro. 3. Camp out overnight (re: freeze to death) for hockey tickets. 4. Go to the Cornell-Harvard men's hockey game and throw fish on the ice. 5. Sing along to "We didn't go to Harvard" with Cayuga's Waiters. 6. Illegally slide down Libe Slope on a tray from Okenshield's. 7. Take H ADM 430: Introduction to Wines. 8. Streak across the Arts Quad. 9. Take Psych 101. 10. Test out Olin Library's musically calibrated steps by throwing stones on them. 11. Go sake bombing in Collegetown (for the over-21 crowd only!). 12. Order ice cream at the Dairy Bar. 13. Climb the rock wall in Bartels Hall. 14. Listen to a full chimes concert from the clock tower and guess the songs played. 15. Go on a blind Facebook date. 16. Wear flip-flops to class in January. 17. Go to the Fuertes Observatory on North Campus and gaze at meteor showers. 18. Have a snowball fight in May. 19. Milk a cow. 20. Play frisbee on the Arts Quad. 21. Pick apples at the Cornell Orchards. 22. Attend the Apple Festival on the Commons. 23. Wait in line for half an hour for a salad at the Terrace. 24. Flirt with your professor. 25. Bomb a prelim. 26. Live through an Ithaca blizzard and tell your friends how you survived frostbite. 27. Attend the hotelie prom. 28. Meet Happy Dave from Okenshield's. 29. Make your face turn blue by screaming at midnight before the first finals. 30. Get hearburn at the Chili Cook-off on the Commons. 31. Enjoy Ithaca's two months of warm weather by spending a summer here. 32. Go to a Shabbat dinner at 104 West! (CornellCard it). 33. Watch the AAP students parade down East Avenue on Dragon Day. 34. Enjoy corn nuggets at the Nines. 35. Build a snow penis, or count how many you see around campus. 36. Dress up and view the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Risley. 37. Take a class you think is impossible just for fun. 38. Go on a wine tour. 39. Kiss on the suspension bridge at midnight. 40. Sleep through your alarm for a 1:25 class. 41. Shop at the Friends of the Library book sale. 42. Get out of a C.U. parking ticket. 43. Buy an Ithaca is Gorges t-shirt, then get sick of wearing it and buy a variation (Ithaca is Gangsta, Vaginas are Gorges, Ithaca is Long Island...) 44. Learn the "Alma mater," "Evening Song," and "Give my regards to Davy." 45. Attend an opening at the Johnson Museum of Art. 46. Smuggle food from the dining hall and run for your life as they try to get back your stolen cookies. 47. Do the Walk of Shame. 48. Have dinner at a professor's house. 49. Get wasted at a professor's house. 50. Have lunch with President Skorton in the Ivy Room; ask if he's done with that Dijon Burger. 51. Play a game of tag in the Kroch Library stacks. 52. See a play in the Schwartz Center. 53. Rush the field at the last home football game of the season. 54. Attend a Cornell Night. 55. Gamble at Turning Stone (try not to lose money). 56. Watch dancers fly through the air at a Bhangra show. 57. Have a midnight picnic in the Cornell Plantations. 58. Play croquet on the Arts Quad (wear your collar up). 59. Ignore any and all "No Winter Maintenance" signs.. slip and fall down the icy stairs. 60. Sit in Libe Cafe when you have no work to do and watch the worried studiers down gallons of coffee. 61. Write an angry letter to the editor of The Sun. 62. Go to Wegmans on a Friday or Saturday night. 63. Pull an all-nighter in the ***tail Lounge of Uris Library and crash the next day. 64. Go to a fraternity party as a senior; convince yourself you were never one of them. 65. Pretend you're Harry Potter and study in the Law School library (looks like Hogwarts). 66. See the brain collection in Uris Hall. 67. Eat at Banfi's and charge it to CornellCard. 68. Buy beer at Jason's in Collegetown and charge it to City Bucks. 69. Take part in a psychology experiment. 70. Take over a building. 71. Drive your car up and down Libe Slope or Ho Plaza. 72. According to legend, watch a virgin cross the Arts Quad at midnight and watch A.D. White and Ezra Cornell shake hands. 73. Ace a prelim. 74. Throw a flaming pumpkin into the gorge. 75. Play co-ed intramural innertube water polo. 76. Eat in the Risley dining hall. 77. Play at least one game of Texas hold-'em. 78. Hook up with your T.A. 79. Order a PMP at the Hot Truck. 80. Go to karaoke night at Rulloff's on Mondays. 81. 80's Night on Tuesdays at Johnny O's. 82. Go to Group Therapy on Wednesdays at Dunbar's. 83. Take PA PL 201: Magical Muchrooms, Mischievous Molds. 84. Go bowling at Helen Newman Lanes. 85. Hand out quartercards on Ho Plaza. 86. Take an unplanned nap in the library. 87. Have a friend's parents take you out to eat at John Thomas Steakhouse or Boatyard Grill. 88. Eat a chicken parm sandwhich from Louie's Lunch. 89. Eat breakfast at 2 a.m. at the State Diner. 90. Boys: Get thrown out of Balch Hall. 91. Hook up with a freshman. 92. Go skinny dipping in a gorge. 93. Walk to the Commons and back. 94. Go to an a cappella concert. 95. Play trivia at Dino's on Sunday nights. 96. Eat pizza at the Nines. 97. Sell back your books; use money to buy a book of stamps. 98. Drink bubble tea. 99. Eat a Pinesburger. 100. Walk to a fraternity party with your entire freshman floor. 101. See the library's Rare Book Collection. 102. Get lost in Collegetown during Orientation Week. 103. As a freshman, get negged at a bar because the bouncer is actually friends with the person whose I.D. you are using. 104. See a foreign film at Cinemapolis. 105. Get drunk on Slope Day and run into Vice President Susan H. Murphy '73. 106. See a concert at Barton Hall. 107. Gain the freshman 15, pay $300 for a gym membership and don't go. 108. Eat brunch on North Campus. 109. Do your Freshman Reading Project before you graduate. 110. Fail your swim test, just for kicks. 111. Tailgate for Homecoming. 112. Go ice skating at Lynah Rink. 113. Host a prefrosh. 114. Request a song to be played on the clock tower. 115. Get guilt-tripped into giving blood. 116. Boys and girls: Get asked if you are pregnant at Gannett. 117. Drink with your R.A. 118. Make a chalking; weep when it rains that night. 119. Sing drunk on the Blue Light bus. 120. Meet Bill Nye '77, "The Science Guy," and give him a hug. 121. See how long you can go without doing laundry. 122. Go on a road trip to Canada, flirt with the border patrol, smuggle booze back. 123. Try to order pizza from a Blue Light phone. 124. Go to the adult shop on the Commons. 125. Cross-country ski to class. 126. Get tapped for a secret society. 127. Go to the Pyramid Mall, realize it is severel
Almost everyone here loves Cornell. But we all hate the horrible weather during the winter!Though Cornell might not be everyone's first choice to start out with (actually a lot of people didn't want to come to Cornell and they applied here as a back-up), they do identify with the university as they get more invovled on campus. There is a lot of school spirit at Cornell; the sweater with "Cornell" on it is probably the most popular item. There are lots of activities you can do on campus. Personally, I am involved in a handful of clubs to keep myself busy. I am in a co-ed fraternity and running for Student Assembly. If I want to really concentrate on my studies, I would go to the library. If I just want to goof around, I would probably stay in my dorm and hang out with others. Cornell is a comparatively big university. The student body is very diverse, constituting people from every walk of life and different cultural backgrounds. The campus itself is ridiculously large, stretching from the beautiful North Campus for freshman all the way to the Cornell Dairy on the edge of plantation. Everyone is proud of the school but don't believe it when they say MenÕs Ice Hockey dominates the world here. It does not! Only about 10% of people on campus actually care enough about the Ice Hockey team to pitch tents outside of the selling booth. (they have changed to an electronic lottery system now)One frequent student complaint is that Cornell forces the students on regular meal plan to buy $500 of food every semester from its dinning halls or grocery stores. The food there is way over-priced and it is a complete rip-off.
Alexandria FreshmanReviews provided by: Unigo