Category Archives: Work and Community Service

My Zumba Instructor Journey: Dancing my way from California to Cornell!

In our last post of the month, senior Hadassa writes about her journey of becoming a veteran Zumba instructor at Cornell. 

By Hadassa Jakher ’18, Government and Spanish double major, International Relations and Law & Society double minor

Smiling after an intense (and sweaty!) class with my Zumba mentors at my hometown studio.

One of my all-time favorite things to do is dance! Growing up Latina, I would always be jamming out to salsa and merengue tunes with my family. So when I found out that there was a Zumba studio in my hometown in California, I was ecstatic. I fell in love with the “fitness party” atmosphere of the classes and decided to become a certified Zumba instructor. When I got to Cornell, I was excited to see that Cornell Fitness Centers hired students as group fitness instructors. I took extra PE classes at Cornell in Latin Dance and Salsa to ensure that my skills were up to par for my upcoming audition with CFC. Thanks to all of the preparation by taking classes in my hometown and refining my techniques, I aced my audition and I was hired! I began teaching my own Zumba classes the spring semester of my freshman year.

 

Participants rocking out at one of our Zumba classes in Noyes gym hosted by Cornell Fitness Centers.

I love my job as a Zumba instructor. Since my freshman year until now (my final year!), I have taught a diverse range of classes. The participants in my classes included both students and faculty, and I taught across different gyms – from Helen Newman to Bartels Hall to Noyes. I started teaching with some of my favorite songs that I had learned from the awesome instructors from my hometown studio. As I became more experienced, I even began to choreograph my own moves to new songs. Participating in Zumba in my hometown in California and being able to teach here at Cornell has been such a wonderful experience. In both places, there has been a great sense of community that allowed me to grow as an instructor and as a dancer. I am so grateful that I have a job where my participants come to have fun and work out, all while doing what I love – dancing!

Work, Work, Work (By Zoee D’Costa, Not Rihanna)

This week, junior Zoee shares with us what she loves about being a student tutor and a resident advisor on campus.

By Zoee D’Costa ’19, Biology & Society Major, Psychology Minor

When I came to Cornell I knew I was going to be working hard. But I didn’t know I was going to be working hard at something other than school. During my first two years at Cornell, I was a varsity athlete and was able to receive free tutoring through the athletic department in all my classes. I learned so much from these passionate student-tutors, and in my second semester, I became one. The following semester I also got hired as a Resident Advisor (RA). So my Cornell work became work, work, work.

A large poster depicting all of my 42 residents from last year was made to welcome all the students to the floor and hung in our floor lounge throughout the year. It says “High Rise 5 Floor 3’s Big Happy Family!”

Me with a sunflower I picked during our RA team-building retreat at Indian Creek Farm in August.

I love working both of my jobs on campus because much like being an Ambassador, they allow me to work directly with younger students and help them navigate all the opportunities and challenges the Cornell campus has to offer. As a tutor, I am able to help student-athletes with difficult courses of study and help them along the same path I took (as a pre-med student-athlete). This job also has allowed me to stay fresh on the subjects that I have taken at Cornell, which is very helpful for MCAT studying.

Me and some of my RA coworkers at CU Downtown, a large-scale program to introduce Ithaca to incoming freshmen during their first few weeks at Cornell.

This year, I am working as a Senior Resident Advisor (SRA) in the Mary Donlon community and through my job, I am able to work with other RAs and students, as well as serve as a supervisor in our community library. While it is a lot to juggle, I have found so many opportunities to grow from working on campus. Being an RA and having the opportunity to impact people every day has been a wonderful leadership experience for me, and allowed me to understand what it means to be responsible for people other than myself. I have gained confidence in my public speaking abilities as well as my ability to go up to new people and start a conversation (it is a lot harder than it looks, and it is something that you have to do A LOT at Cornell). The job has educated me in practical areas as well, teaching me how to remain calm in a stressful situation, how to handle medical emergencies, and how to be a good listener and friend. Being an RA has also helped me find some of my strongest interests and passions: discussing sexual misconduct and inequality in RA training propelled me to seek out organizations where I could help educate others, including Consent Ed, an organization in which I serve on the Executive Board. More than anything, it has given me the invaluable opportunity to grow into a better version of myself, learning to face challenges and be persistent.

All of the door decorations I made for the Donlon RAs this year to welcome them back to the building.

Canoeing on Beebe Lake with my residents!

I am grateful to have been given the opportunities I have during my time at Cornell, and I know that through them I’ve been able to develop into a stronger person. While balancing all of this has been somewhat stressful, I know that I am prepared to handle any of the work that the real world throws at me after college. No wonder Rihanna was complaining about all of her work, work, work – she never went to Cornell!

Hospital Shadowing in Kerala, India

Welcome back! This month, we have two themes – “Work and Community Service” and “Winter Adventures.” Ambassadors will be sharing with us what they did over the winter break and also about jobs or volunteer positions on campus that they love. Junior Nitya starts the month off by telling us about her warm winter break shadowing in Kerala, India.

By Nitya Deshmukh ’19, Biology and Society major

When the fall 2017 semester finished, I was ready to escape the cold of Ithaca and travel somewhere warmer. Two weeks after my last final, I got on a plane to India.

The drive to the hospital.

Around 16 hours later, I was in Kerala, a state in South India. I showered, ate dinner, and went to sleep, full of excitement for the next two weeks I would spend shadowing at a local rural hospital.The Government Tribal Specialty Hospital in Kottathara, Kerala, had four floors, was open air, and packed everyday with patients coming in with issues ranging from diabetes or blood pressure, to snake bites and scabies. I was lucky enough to be allowed to watch so many physician-patient interactions, and even was able to sit in on several surgeries, something I had never done. The first surgery I observed was a cesarean (or C-section). The doctors were kind enough to explain some of the things they were doing, such as using spinal anesthesia instead of local, and how horizontal cuts were preferred over the old-school lateral cuts.

Taking the train!

As they began to cut, I got nervous. What if I can’t handle the blood? What if I faint, or vomit? What if I really dont have what it takes to become a doctor after all?

Luckily, none of this happened. I watched that C-section, and was rewarded by seeing a baby born. When the baby didn’t cry at first, I and the other nurses became nervous, but soon, the baby did and the whole operating room sighed collectively.

I sat in the OP ward, or the walk-in primary care, for around 4 days, and within that time, I saw what I believe to be around 400 patients. This is not an exaggeration – the doctors were so efficient and cut right to it, and I couldn’t get my head around how they didn’t get tired or worn out. In fact, I was always struck with how all of the employees were so calm all the time. When a code blue (signaling a heart attack) would sound, they wouldn’t rush. The patient would be saved, obviously, but the important goal was to make sure that everyone kept their head.

A part of the hospital’s complex outside.

I was also interested by how the hospital was run, as a rural government hospital. I took a population health class last semester at Cornell in which we spent a lot of time discussing rural healthcare, and it was intriguing to see how many of the same issues and actions were present in an American rural hospital and an Indian one.

Eventually, I left Kerala, spent a few days in Mumbai, flew home, and drove back to Ithaca. I couldn’t bring the weather, but I definitely brought the experience with me.

A Very Spanish Summer: Interning at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona

This week, senior Hadassa shares with us how she spent her summer interning at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, an experience that complemented her studies in Government and International Relations.

By Hadassa Jakher ’18, Government and Spanish double major, International Relations and Law & Society double minor

My first day at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona.

I had the incredible experience of spending my past summer interning with the U.S. State Department at the Consulate General in Barcelona. I worked in the Political/Economic Section of the Consulate. I prepared analyses and reports concerning the political and economic developments of the autonomous regions of Catalonia and Aragon, as well as the Principality of Andorra.

This was an exciting time to follow the political situation of Spain, and in particular, Catalonia. That summer, the autonomous community was in the midst of planning to hold a unilateral referendum on independence from Spain, despite the central government in Madrid declaring such a referendum unconstitutional. (On October 1, Catalonia attempted to carry out their referendum, which was met by opposition from the Spanish state). Working with the Political/Economic Section allowed me to see American foreign policies applied firsthand, a wonderful complement to my studies as a Government major and International Relations minor.

Decorations for the annual 4th of July Celebration and 25th anniversary of Barcelona hosting the Olympics.

I also had the opportunity to participate in the Consulate General’s annual 4th of July celebration. This event coincided with the 25th anniversary of Barcelona hosting the 1992 Olympics, with various Andorran and Catalan government officials and Olympian athletes in attendance. Because of my high proficiency in both Spanish and Catalan, I was entrusted with escorting the VIPs and presenting them to the Consul General. It was a great experience to have been able to speak to the attendees, especially to members of the Catalan Parliament, the Catalan Regional President, and the Syndicate General of the Andorran Parliament.

Me (left) presenting the Syndicate General of the Andorran Parliament, Vincenç Mateu Zamora (middle), to U.S. Consul General Marcos Mandojana and his wife (right) during the 4th of July Celebration.

Interning at the Consulate General in Barcelona was a fantastic way to spend my summer as I learned a lot about Spain and the U.S. Not only was I able to cement my interest in the U.S. Foreign Service, but I also had the opportunity to do so in the beautiful Catalan capital of Barcelona.

Summer in Tanzania

Continuing on with the theme of “Summer Adventures,” senior Shanna tells us about how she spent this past summer in Singida, Tanzania conducting global health research.

By Shanna Smith ’18, Biological Sciences and French double major

One of the most interesting experiences of my life was participating in global health research in Singida, Tanzania this past summer. I have been working on the Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project (SNAP) since Spring 2016. SNAP is an agroecological intervention-based project that also focuses on nutrition and gender equality education to address household food insecurity and the high stunting rate among children in rural villages of Singida. This past summer, I got to see my research come to life as I visited our ten intervention villages to lead semi-structured interviews and partake in participatory validation of graph data. I also played a role in mother and child anthropometric measurements and data entry quality control.

Women in Singida, Tanzania walk to the village SNAP meeting.

One of my favorite aspects of field research was getting to meet our participants. I got to not only hear about their lives but also see their lifestyle. Before this summer, I had never had the opportunity to witness or be immersed in a non-Western culture. I came out of the summer gaining an appreciation and much greater understanding of customs and cultures that are different from those of America. Many of our participant interviews took place in subjects’ homes and occasionally while the participant was doing housework. Also, at the end of my first village visit involving a village-wide meeting of SNAP participants, everyone broke into song and dance. Dancing along with them was an experience I will never forget. I really admired the idea of community in Singida. We had a team of Tanzanians helping us with transcription and translation that I got to know at a personal level at the office every day. If one of our staff members was home sick, we would visit him or her and bring a small gift.

I have always praised Cornell for the extensive research opportunities given to students. For instance, there is a research database on the Office of Undergraduate Biology website that lists professors and details their research, making it relatively easy to learn about and get involved in academic research taking place on campus. Cornell also provides research opportunities that do not involve joining a research group. While I decided to continue the research I had been working on for a couple years, there are many global health abroad programs – both summer- and semester-long – that students can participate in through Cornell to gain valuable fieldwork experience.

Overall, I am really grateful for this amazing opportunity and will remember the fieldwork I conducted, the Tanzanian staff I worked with, and the memories I created during my stay for the rest of my life.

Interning in London

Happy October! This month, we will be focusing on two themes, “Easing Back into Classes” and “Summer Adventures.” In the first post of the semester, senior Solveig shares with us her experience interning in London this past summer. 

By: Solveig van der Vegt ’18, Biological Sciences

I went on a day trip to Oxford with my cousin and visited the botanic gardens there.

About halfway through the Spring 2017 semester, I was starting to panic a little because I had not yet found an internship for the summer. Most deadlines for applications had passed by that time and it was hard to find anything in the U.S., especially as an international student. While googling opportunities, I came across the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, which is affiliated with Imperial College London. This ended up being the luckiest thing that happened to me all semester!

My family came to visit me and we walked across the roof of the O2 arena, which gave amazing views!

The past summer in London has been one of the most exciting internships I have done so far. The research group that I was in, Behavioural Genomics, was very welcoming and I learned a lot throughout my time there. I got experience working with worms, which I had never done before, and I got to try my hand at computational biology, which was very exciting because that is what I want to study in graduate school. Moreover, I had the chance to talk to many PhD students and postdocs, which was incredibly helpful as I am applying to graduate school this semester.

I stayed in Camden, which has the most amazing market over the weekend with all the best food you can dream of.

Besides an amazing research experience, I was lucky enough to have the time to explore London! I had been to the city a few times before because I have family there, so I could avoid all the more touristy bits and just explore all the different markets and lesser known museums around town. I also got to meet some incredible people in my lab who took me out to bars and restaurants. I am still in touch with some of the people from my lab and I hope to return to London some time soon to see them again. All in all, not a bad summer!

 

 

 

When the Summer Ending is Just the Beginning: "Coming Home" to Cornell

The last member of our Arts & Sciences Ambassadors E-board is Kasey Han ’18. After spending most of her summer conducting molecular and cellular neuroscience research at Stanford University, Kasey returned to campus early for training to be a Student Assistant on West Campus. It’s fitting that Kasey’s post closes out our September collection just after Homecoming Weekend here in Ithaca – her post strongly emphasizes how it feels to leave summer behind and “return home” to Cornell!

By: Kasey Han ’18, Recruitment Co-Coordinator

Niagara Falls

Here I am (second from left) with three other members of the Cook House staff on our annual trip to Niagara Falls!

Returning to campus this year, I felt like a kindergartener excited for their first day of school all over again. This August, I started a new position as a Student Assistant in West Campus’s Alice H. Cook House. Amid all of the prelims and problem sets looming just weeks away, I was thrilled to step foot back onto transiently sunny Ithacan soil.

Three weeks before classes began, I moved into my new dorm room. I strung up my twinkly lights and laid down my fuzzy rug. I plastered feel-good posters and important event flyers around the building. As an SA (another name for Resident Advisor) my goal this year is to make my residents feel as welcome and at home as possible.

Cook Community Engagement Course

House Professor Shorna Allred leads a discussion with Cook residents as a part of the Cook Community Engagement Course.

West Campus is a truly unique place to live, in that each of the five residence halls is a hub for both living and learning. Like the four Harry Potter houses, each student has a home base that emphasizes both intellectual and social engagement. Through a variety of programs, we connect our residents with professors and community leaders that work in fields of their interest, as well as with their neighbors to build community and a sense of “home.”

After an early August move-in, our training schedule was a whirlwind of fun. The first half consisted of staff bonding and Cook House missions. We rented out a massive house off campus and spent time discussing our vision for Cook House, strategizing how to engage residents in a living-learning community, and all around becoming better leaders. Once the sun set, we broke out the card games, challenging each other in Mafia and Taboo. By the end of our retreat, it was clear that we Cook House staff had formed our own family and that the rest of the year would only get better.

welcome back cake

When the West Campus Dining Halls opened back up, we got to enjoy this delicious “Welcome Back” cake!

The second half of training explored handling common and uncommon situations that may arise when you work in the same place that you live. We discussed everything from roommate conflicts and academic stress to bias, sexual assault, and mental health. While each day was necessarily emotionally and mentally heavy, I felt much better equipped by the end to look after my residents and assume a leadership position.

Regardless of what we study and how we spend our free time, every Cornellian is excited for the start of a new year. We may have reservations about leaving behind our easy summer routines, but the underlying emotion is always eager anticipation for what the next year at Cornell holds in store. I think this universality is because, no matter where we come from, coming back to Cornell means returning home.

West Campus

A view of West Campus from Libe Slope.

From One Hill to Another: How I Spent my Summer in Washington, D.C.

This week, junior Sam Cohen ’18 discusses how her sociology major at Cornell (on East Hill) inspired her to apply for a summer internship in Washington, D.C., (on Capitol Hill), and how that experience helped her discover a new appreciation for politics and government.

By Samantha Cohen ’18, Social Chair

Behind me, you can see the White House!

Behind me, you can see the White House!

Before this past summer, if you had asked my opinion on the latest Democratic vs. Republican squabble, I would try to change the subject of conversation as quickly as possible… or fake an excuse and run away. I had never paid much attention to politics – yes, I had registered to vote the week I turned 18, but that was about the extent of my relationship with the workings of our federal government.

Here I am (in the middle) with my George Washington University roommates in front of the Capitol Building!

Here I am (in the middle) with my George Washington University roommates in front of the Capitol Building!

This is why it initially seems a bit strange that I spent eight weeks this summer in Washington D.C. Whereas many of the other college students I met there were all government, political science, or international relations majors, there I was, a sociology major, the odd one out. It was actually my major, however, that drove me to the nation’s capital in the first place. Throughout my sociology classes, one underlying theme has arisen again and again: inequality. Hoping to explore issues of inequality outside of the classroom, I applied and was accepted to a six-week social justice program that places college students in non-profits throughout the D.C.-Metro area. On the first Monday of June, I woke up in a GW dorm and walked to the office of the National Council on Independent Living, a cross-disability advocacy organization, to start my first day as the policy intern.

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in National Council on Independent Living's annual March & Rally!

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in National Council on Independent Living’s annual March & Rally!

By the end of my first week, I had been to two coalition meetings, three meetings on the Hill, and had called the offices of all 435 representatives (who knew there were so many!?). What struck me most was how well I was beginning to understand what all this policy “stuff” was about. Sure, some of the legal jargon went right over my head, but every bill discussed in these hearings emerges from real people with real every-day problems. Nearly 20% of the American population has a disability of some kind, so most of us probably have a cousin, friend, aunt, or grandfather with some kind of disability; disability rights affect everyone. Politics was no longer this untouchable, scary concept I wasn’t experienced enough to understand or engage with. It was now about listening to the concerns of different groups of people and working to find a direct, comprehensive, and attainable response.

A view of the beautiful sunrise behind the Supreme Court Building.

A view of the beautiful sunrise behind the Supreme Court Building.

Fortunately, I was also able to spend lots of time outside of the office and explore many other cool parts of the city. DC’s streets are lined with endless treasures: the Smithsonian Museum, national monuments, food trucks, art galleries, Georgetown Cupcakes, etc. Almost all of the museums and national buildings offer free admission (music to any college student’s ears)! One of the coolest things I did was pull an all-nighter on the sidewalk outside of the Supreme Court to go inside at 7am and hear the Justices announce their final decisions on the last day of the session. I always knew I’d put my Cornell late-night studying skills to use!

6 weeks flew by and my program had come to an end. It was then that I decided I was not yet ready to leave this amazing city and decided to extend my internship for an extra two weeks. I felt that I still had so much more to learn, and I woke up every morning eager to see what was next. All in all, after 8 weeks, I was definitely excited to return to Cornell with a new awareness and appreciation for how our political organizations discuss local or national issues that affect so many of us. It’s safe to say I will no longer be running away the next time someone initiates a conversation topic I know little to nothing about; maybe this time, I will be the one asking the questions!

Interning in NYC: How I Spent my Summer Working for Carat

This week, our secretary, Information Science major Meg Shigeta ’17 , gives us a window into her summer experience as an intern in New York City. Enjoy!

By: Meg Shigeta ’17, Events Coordinator/Records Keeper

I met a lot of great people this summer, including my fellow intern Kelly (right).

I met a lot of great people this summer, including my fellow intern Kelly (right).

This summer I had the opportunity to work in the media industry as an intern for the Dentsu Aegis Network, specifically for the Carat New York office. One of my favorite aspects of the job was working with the other interns at the office to create a media plan that analyzed specific consumer groups. In order to do this, we researched the various daily schedules, habits, cultural beliefs and values held by certain demographics to get a better sense of who they truly were, especially in comparison to the general population. After doing this, we were then able to create strategic suggestions on ways to better target these groups. One of my favorite aspects of the job was learning how to use the company’s various research tools in order to complete this project. While these tools provided us with rich data, it was up to us to determine how to view and organize this data so that our presentation told a cohesive story. As a result of this, I learned about the importance of perspective. Depending on how you view a statistic — whether it be the scale you use or the amount of surrounding context you allow — quite different interpretations can arise as a result. Consequently, it is crucial to continually keep in mind your purpose, and to always consider the fact that different people often lend different sets of eyes to a singular set of data. This project was especially fun because I got to experience daily life in the industry, and also because it was for a real-time client. I really felt like I was a valuable member of the company!

Here I am with the other interns (L to R): Carolyn, me, Jillian, Lauren, Rachel, Brett, and Rachel.

Here I am with the other interns (L to R): Carolyn, me, Jillian, Lauren, Rachel, Brett, and Rachel.

Not only did I get to work with data this summer, but I also got to work alongside two dedicated mentors. Both taught me many valuable lessons that I aim to uphold during my last year as an undergraduate here at Cornell, the most powerful being the importance of clear communication. Although it sounds cliché, my mentors constantly stressed the importance of communication in working and collaborating with others, and this is indeed critical to making sure tasks get completed and operations are optimized. This combination of takeaways not only helped me to become a more efficient worker, but also a more nuanced thinker, and as a result I can certainly characterize this summer as being a success!carat

Checking Off #31 on the List of 161 Things to Do at Cornell: How I Spent my Summer in Ithaca

Welcome back! Here at the Arts & Sciences Ambassadors, we’re easing back into the swing of the fall semester. What with the warm weather and the long weekend, though, we can’t quite shake off the feel of the summer, and so we’ve chosen to devote our first blog posts to that very topic: what did we do this summer? Throughout September, we will be posting blogs written by the four members of our executive board. I start us off this month with a nostalgic look back at my summer spent here in Ithaca.

By: Emma Korolik ’17, Recruitment Co-Coordinator and Media Manager

When my friend Bridget (on the right) visited from home, I knew I had to take her birdwatching at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology.

When my friend Bridget (on the right) visited from home, I knew I had to take her birdwatching at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology.

This past summer, I went hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and running, explored an herb garden and went bird watching, attended free outdoor concerts, watched a meteor shower in the middle of the night, sang karaoke for the first time, finally figured out how to throw a Frisbee, took a summer class, started my honors thesis, and made new friends from across the country and around the world – all while (and mainly because of my position) serving as a resident advisor (RA) for college students staying at Cornell for the summer months like me. Anyone who has stayed a summer at Cornell is quick to tell their friends to do the same (it’s even on the official list of 161 Things to Do at Cornell), and now I’m doing my part by telling all of you!

Sarah Gaylord '18 and I pose in our kayak before paddling out to Cayuga Lake.

Sarah Gaylord (right, CALS ’18) and I pose in our kayak before paddling out to Cayuga Lake. Photo credits: Kim Anderson.

Ithaca is on full display in the summer –flowers are blooming, the local wildlife bravely explore campus, and this summer, a whole new species of college student – the Pokemon trainer – has stayed out all day (and sometimes all night!). For those of us less interested in catching a Pikachu on the Arts Quad, there are over 150 waterfalls within 10 square miles around Ithaca, and countless state parks that are open to the public for hiking and swimming during the warm summer months. For our retreat at the end of RA training in May, for example, the other RAs and I took advantage of the multitude of outdoor activities on offer around Ithaca and went kayaking on Cayuga Lake.

Serving as a resident advisor was both challenging and rewarding – and not just because I got to go kayaking for free! As Summer Sessions RAs, my coworkers and I served as peer advisors, mediators, rules enforcers, friends, and community builders in Flora Rose House and Hans Bethe House on West Campus from June through mid-August. While for most students, the residence halls served as a place to relax, Rose and Bethe Houses were our places of work; our bedrooms could double as an office at any time of day or night. Yet, being an RA was also a blast – I was able to meet so many new people, especially through our scheduled series of programs, which were specifically designed to foster that sense of community.

(L to R) Sarah Gaylord '18, Alyssa Elezye '17, and I pose with homemade props during our "Harry Potter" party on July 31st.

(L to R) Sarah Gaylord (CALS ’18), Alyssa Elezye (CALS ’17), and I pose with homemade props during our “Harry Potter” party on July 31st. Photo credits: Catherine Wei (CALS ’18).

Some of the programs we created this summer were more passive, like watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony and celebrating J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday with a Harry Potter party and movie screening, but some were more active – like running a 5K through the Cornell Plantations, hiking and swimming in Buttermilk Falls State Park, and whitewater rafting in Watertown, NY, on the Black River.

Arguably the best boat to float down the Black River - I'm at the top, second from the left!

Arguably the best boat to float down the Black River – I’m at the top, second from the left!

Not only did these programs foster community just among the residents, however; by supporting the other RAs and attending their programs, I gained a new set of friends myself. Because RAs are asked to do and be so much for their residents, it makes sense that the people I worked with were all incredibly caring, intelligent, and interesting individuals. Yet, I didn’t expect to find a group so willing to binge watch Netflix’s Stranger Things during a thunderstorm, try power lifting at the gym, introduce me to salsa dancing at Agava, sing “Alexander Hamilton” at karaoke, play ridiculous games of Quelf (look it up!), or eat endless amounts of Indian food at Mehak. I’m lucky to have had the time to explore Ithaca this summer, but I feel even luckier to have found such a phenomenal group of people with which to share those experiences. It may sound cheesy, but even though my job as an RA is now over, I know the friendships I’ve made will remain strong long after the weather inevitably turns cold.

The whole Summer Sessions team after an intense night of karaoke!

The whole Summer Sessions team after an intense night of karaoke! Photo credits: Emily Schnier.