- Class: Freshman
- Major: Anthropology
- Gender: F
- High School: Homestead High School
- Transfer Student: N
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.
Classes at Cornell range from very easy to very hard... but heavier on the very hard. There are a few classes that people will tell you to take for an easy A, but they're kinda rare. Most science classes (chem, biology, physics, etc) are really, really, really hard, as are most math classes. But if you would rather do problem sets and labs than write papers, you'd probably find them easier than most social science classes. As an anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, I take mostly liberal arts classes because that's what I enjoy. So I end up writing A LOT of papers (at least 1 a week,some weeks more). I also do a *** load of reading- page after page after page of readings. I waste so much printing paper and ink printing out articles assigned from the internet because I can't read PDF files online. One of the first things you'll learn about at Cornell is prelims. Prelims are basically like big tests (like midterms) but because they happen between 2 and 4 times throughout a semester, they're called prelims. Some professors make them easier, some make them hard as hell. In science classes the average could be as low as a 60 or 65 percent, but then they professors will curve them. In the classes I've taken with prelims, however, the average was around 85 so the professor didn't curve them. Oh, and by the way, most of you that get into Cornell will be used to getting all As in school- at Cornell, that most likely won't happen. You're going to get a B... get over it. The professors at Cornell are kinda all over the board. I've had really, really awesome professors and really, really bad professors. Most though are very nice and will work with you if you wish. The bigger classes (over 50 or 60 people) will have TAs (teaching assistants) and they will work with the class in smaller groups called sections in order to understand the material better. These students are either upper-classmen who have shown a great aptitude for the subject or graduate students who are working on their masters, doctorates, whatever in that subject area. I have had really good experiences with my TAs and have gotten to know them very well and were able to ask questions and get answers. However, I do know people who think their TAs are idiots and don't get any help from them at all.
One of the best things about Cornell is the students that go here and the diversity that they all bring with them. We have every race, ethnicity, whatever that you can think of. However, Cornell is pretty self-segregated: the black kids tend to stick together, the Asians tend to stick together (although not as much as the black kids do), the Latino kids tend to stick together, and the white kids tend to stick together. African Americans are the minority in the minority at Cornell- there are WAY more Asians at Cornell than there are black kids. This segregation is not imposed at all by the University, but it is self-imposed by the students themselves. I'm not really sure why this is, but I guess it's because kids want to find those most similar to themselves. The only type of student that would really feel out of place at Cornell would be emo/punk kids. Cornell has a lot of preps, a lot of hippies, a lot of jocks, and a lot of artsy kids, but there really aren't many punk-type students. The town of Ithaca itself does, but Cornell does not. Cornell on a whole is not overly political; however the political groups here that do exist are VERY political. Although most students would probably identify themselves as much more liberal than conservative, there is a substantial group of conservatives and Republicans, and they make their voices heard as often as possible. The same goes for the leftists and Democrats: they like to get their opinions known. There is often a rally or demonstration of some sort going on in Ho Plaza (right by the main student union, Willard Straight Hall).
The Best Things
The people- you will always find at least one person to connect with. A best friend is waiting for you somewhere.
The Worst Things
The tuition and all the extra charges they make you pay for