Category Archives: Student Life

Spotlight on: North Campus

This week, Ellie Schmucker ’19 describes her love for North Campus, which houses all Cornell freshman. North Campus provides a unique community where first-year students live and learn together. Ellie’s message to freshman and incoming Cornellians is clear: don’t take your experience on North Campus for granted!

By: Ellie Schmucker ’19

Looking back on freshman year, many of my favorite memories occurred right where it all began: North Campus. Every Cornell freshman lives on North, which creates the unique concentration of a couple thousand teens looking for new friends while kicking off their college career. Although many upperclassmen now prefer the allure of West Campus or Collegetown, I often think back on all the friends I made by living on North. Many people form a tight group of friends on their dorm floor; while I met many of my friends through different classes and activities, we were able to maintain these friendships because we all lived together on North.

Hanging out with friends

Here I am (bottom center) hanging out with friends in Clara Dickson Hall!

I lived in Mews Hall with my awesome freshman roomie – shout out to Shelly! Mews, along with Court-Kay-Bauer are the newest dorms on North; it boasts air conditioning and brightly painted hallway walls. Even though I lived in Mews, I had friends in the Low Rises which, although infamous for their 60s architecture, foster a tight-knit community. I had friends in massive Dickson, social Donlon, and surprisingly my favorite: Balch Hall, the all-women’s residence hall. Although many are initially wary of the all-female aspect of Balch, its gothic architecture and homey lounges won my heart.

Not only does North allow one to hang out in various dorms, it also affords three dining halls which are ideal for large group meals. From made-to-order omelets (and fried eggs which are basically a secret) every morning in Appel to the Mongo Grill in RPCC to the sandwich bar in Risley, North dining is something to be remembered. Of course, one cannot forget late night Bear Necessities (affectionately nicknamed “Nasties”) runs. My favorite indulgences are their mozzarella sticks and buffalo chicken wings – talk about comfort food! Although I enjoy living on West Campus this year as a sophomore, I’m definitely looking forward to moving into an apartment right off North next year.

Cornell Dining: 29 Eateries and Endless Options

This week, junior Dylan Van Duyne discusses part of the reason he loves Cornell so much: the food. For those of you who are visiting campus and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the variety of options for finding a meal or a snack on campus, here are 10 recommendations for the best items and the best places to eat!

By: Dylan Van Duyne ’18

Cornell University was recently ranked #3 in the country by the Princeton Review for college dining, and with 29 on-campus eateries, there is unbeatable quality and diversity of food on campus. Here are just some of my recommendations:

  1. Open Face Salmon Club and the Tofu Sandwich from Café JennieCafé Jennie, located at the top level of the Cornell Store, has some of the best ambiance on campus. It’s home to an affordable and delicious salmon sandwich (which is certainly hard to find anywhere else on campus!), and its new tofu sandwich addition is a solid vegetarian option as well.

    Café Jennie

    Café Jennie

  2. Salad and Pasta from Atrium Café: Prepare for leftovers! Atrium Café, located in Sage Hall, offers one of the best deals on campus. You’re sure to be very full after you’re done with either of these meals!
  3. Chicken Panini from Goldie’s Café: This sandwich has it all: pesto, grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, and roasted tomato on crispy warm Panini. Yum!
  4. Pollo Loco from Cornell Dairy BarIf you’re out by the Dairy Bar, consider picking up this sandwich along you’re your ice cream! It’s got chicken, cheese, chipotle garlic aioli, and cole slaw on ciabatta bread.
  5. Chicken Quesadilla from Trillium CaféIn what is undoubtedly the busiest café on campus, the quesadilla line is one of the shorter waits. Trillium is located in Kennedy Hall, just below one of the newly opened eHub collaborative spaces.
  6. Panera Mac & Cheese from Libe CaféFor all of the students spending late nights in Olin Library, especially during finals, the recent addition of the mac and cheese has been a real game changer.
  7. Egg Sandwich from Temple of ZeusTemple of Zeus offers the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had, hands down! This space, located in newly finished Klarman Hall, is a great spot to camp out and study while enjoying a meal with friends.

    Temple of Zeus

    Temple of Zeus

  8. Fresh Fruit Smoothie from Mac’s CaféMac’s Café in the Statler Hotel makes the best smoothies on campus by far!
  9. Sunday Brunch at Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC)Dim sum + pancake bar + breakfast sandwiches = everything a freshman (or a nostalgic upperclassman) could ever wish for from a brunch. If you’re on campus visiting and want to experience a dining hall over the weekend, I suggest you get there early to beat the rush for the dim sum line!
  10. Taco Tuesday at Flora Rose HouseIf you’re on West Campus exploring upperclassmen housing, try Rose House’s Taco Tuesday offerings – it’s the best dinner option for anyone on West Campus!

How I Came to Love Cornell

Here in Ithaca, we’ve just finished classes for the semester and are hard at work studying for final exams. For high school seniors interested in Cornell, however, December means something a bit different. While some are waiting to hear back about their early decision applications, many other seniors are polishing their own applications to submit for the January 2nd regular decision deadline. Here at the Ambassadors blog, we’re focusing on why we love being at Cornell so much. Enjoy sophomore Mitchell Lee’s piece this week – and good luck to those of you applying to Cornell this year!

By: Mitchell Lee ’19

My current roommate and I (right) celebrate the first snow of the season.

My current roommate (left) and I celebrate the first snow of the season.

When I was accepted to Cornell, my emotions were running wild. I felt a mixture of excitement, happiness, apprehension, and anxiety – basically any and all emotions. I felt this all the way up until I arrived on campus last year. All my rampant emotions have relaxed, except for one now ever-present feeling: love. From the rigorous yet rewarding classes to the amazing people, I have come to love everything about Cornell. There is so much that I can write about, but I really wish to emphasize a few aspects that I find truly amazing about Cornell.

Here's a picture of the lab I work in!

Here’s a picture of the lab I work in!

One of first things I fell in love with is Cornell’s prodigious academics. There are so many different classes that cover a wide variety of topics, and the classes that I have taken are very stimulating. For example, I took a small freshman writing seminar entitled Magic in Arthurian Legend, and although it was a class designed to improve my writing, the content was fascinating. I enjoyed learning about something completely new to me. Larger lectures can be awesome as well; l really enjoy GOVT 1818: Introduction to International Relations, a class I’m taking this semester, and I loved BIOEE 1610: Introduction to Ecology & the Environment, a class I took last year. No matter the type of class or the style, my classes have been impressive and rewarding.

Here I am (far left) with my co-workers this past summer!

Here I am (far left) with my co-workers this past summer!

Not only are my classes interesting but they’re applicable as well. As a biology and government double major, my academics have a lot of real-world applications.. GOVT 1818 and BIOEE1610 have both enabled me to think critically and assess problems inside and outside the classroom. From BIOEE 1610, for example, I gained basic knowledge and analytical skills that I applied to my job this past summer as a field technician at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. Currently on campus, I work with an ecology and evolutionary biology professor doing both lab work and field work.

Cornell’s academics are amazing in their own right, but another aspect I love about this university is the dedication to sustainability and environmentalism. Originally, when I arrived last year, I did not know what I wanted to study or what clubs I wanted to join. Cornell, however, exposed me to so many different clubs on campus, through which I fell in love with sustainability. While I cared about the subject in high school, I’ve now developed a complete passion for it. I am honored to work with so many like-minded individuals to advance our mission of sustainability on campus. I love how Cornell has allowed me to explore my passions and supported me as I found one that I want to make a career out of.

Posing with a couple of friends I made on the floor of my freshman dorm:)

Posing with just a couple of friends I made on the floor of my freshman dorm:)

The best parts of Cornell for me, however, are the people I meet and the community we create. The first semester of freshman year, I was nervous that I wouldn’t make friends in a place so far away from my hometown. That fear was totally unfounded! We are so diverse that there is a group for everyone, and I have definitely found my group. My friends have helped me grow personally, and they support me in all my endeavors. I know that if I’m having a hard time, I have them to fall back on. I know that I can banter with them and talk about anything. I know that I can ask for help when I need it. I know that in ten years, I can call them and it will be like nothing has changed. They are the reason why I love Cornell so much, why I have so much Big Red pride, and why I know I’m going to cry when we go separate ways after graduation. Together all Cornellians, students, faculty, and staff work to bring out the best in all of us. We grow together and support each other. I could not love this school more.

Spirit Off-Campus: Cornell in Ithaca

Happy almost Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the holiday, sophomore Julia Curley discusses why she is so grateful for the spirit of interconnectedness that links Cornell with the greater community in Ithaca, NY.

By: Julia Curley ’19

Cornell spirit extends beyond our campus. It reaches wider than the homecoming football game; it touches more than students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Our spirit branches out into Ithaca’s heart and is an integral part of the community. When I introduced myself to a class of second graders as their new volunteer student teacher and a Cornell student, their faces lit up. The teacher, anticipating their excitement, said, “If you also have a connection with Cornell, sign ‘same’.” The little group of seven- and eight-year-olds reached out to me, each with their own attachment to the University.

The Cornell Daily Sun office in the Ithaca Commons.

The Cornell Daily Sun office in the Ithaca Commons.

Through outreach—tutoring, participating in sorority philanthropy, and working at Mighty Yoga in the Ithaca Commons—I can see Cornell’s off-campus engagement each day. Ithaca itself is a uniquely friendly place, one unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. The community is incredibly welcoming; Ithaca Commons, in particular, provides an off-campus social heart for Cornell life. Much like how Cornell’s Ho Plaza blocks off cars for students walking to class, Ithaca Commons centers on a pedestrian-only avenue, flanked by shops and restaurants. I found Mighty Yoga in the Commons my freshman year at Cornell, and I started working there this fall. Rather than silently meditating on our matts, Mighty yogis tend to chat before class begins. During this time, I met two women with ties back to Cornell. We all got to know each other as regulars at the studio. One of the women, I learned, graduated from Cornell a few years ago. She met her fiancé at Cornell and after they graduated, they decided to stay in Ithaca. Her Cornell experience, like mine, centered not just in her studies and the campus, but in the wider Ithaca community. The other woman and I met in one of my English classes this semester, where she serves as the teacher’s assistant (TA). We recognized each other again when she rolled out her matt next to mine at a Monday morning class.

Cornell spirit weaves its way into all spaces of my Ithaca life. Over and over again, I realize the power of our Cornell ties to bring us together in unlikely spaces. As I walk through Ithaca Commons on my way to a yoga class, I pass a Cornell Apparel store and the Cornell Daily Sun office, where I write and edit pieces for our school newspaper. The Cornell experience stretches beyond the bounds of classrooms, campus, and college town. The spirit won’t leave us even long after we graduate.

The Spirit of Camaraderie

This week, junior Chelsea Sincox writes about the spirit of the Big Red and her experience as a member of the varsity women’s volleyball team. Let’s Go Red!

By: Chelsea Sincox ’18

The month of November is a month of transition. The beautiful leaves that have covered Ithaca for the past couple months are falling, littering the ground that might soon be covered in snow. With fall coming to a close, so too does the season of fall sports. Field hockey, soccer, football, and others are all closing their seasons out, and those players transition into their off time.

As a member of the women’s volleyball team, a fall sport, I too will transition to being out-of-season in a few short weeks. Sidelined for now, I and other fall athletes join the rest of the student body in cheering on the winter and spring sports: we become Big Red fans. We move from the court or field into the stands to cheer on the rest of the Big Red family, united under one name and one common goal.

Here I am with some of my teammates - I'm the one in the middle!

Here I am posing with some of my teammates – I’m the one in the middle!

Here at Cornell, the school demands that athletes truly embody fulfilling their title as STUDENT-athletes, and I think that’s what is most exciting about supporting Big Red Athletics. Going to a rambunctious hockey game, a thrilling swim meet, or a fast-paced basketball game, you might get to cheer on a fellow member of a group project, a lab partner, or a friend. For athletes, we share the gym and the weight room, in addition to the classroom.

Though my sport is only in season for a few short months in the year, the training never really stops. I love supporting other members of the Big Red family in the spirit of reciprocity, contribution, and community – but also because it’s just plain fun! #LGR

Embracing the Spirit of Cornell

Happy November! This month, we’re focusing on the “spirit of Cornell” and what that means to our Ambassadors. Sophomore Meredith Chagares starts us off with a post describing the supportive and diverse nature of Cornell and the greater Ithaca community! 

By: Meredith Chagares ’19

Here I am posing with my younger sister by the statue of Ezra Cornell on the edge of the Arts Quad!

Here I am posing with my younger sister by the statue of Ezra Cornell on the edge of the Arts Quad!

I hail from a fairly small town in northern New Jersey. Despite its proximity to New York City, my town is very homogenous. Though it was a safe and nurturing community in which to be raised, by my senior year of high school I was more than ready to move on to live in a different type of community.

Coming to Cornell as a freshman last fall, I knew that I was going to have a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The most surprising and exciting thing for me since arriving here has been the palpable spirit that engulfs both Cornell and Ithaca. Because the school and the city work so hard to create a unique, inviting community, there is a large emphasis on collaboration and support. This spirit has definitely had an effect on me!

As a member of the varsity fencing team, I cheer on my teammates and avidly attend other sports’ athletic events as well. On the strip when I am fencing, I can feel the support of my friends and the school behind me, which is exhilarating. One of my favorite examples of the spirit of the Big Red is when the hockey team plays Harvard and Cornell students (called the “Lynah Faithful”) bring fish to throw on the ice. It is this excitement and pride that helps to define Cornell for me.

One of my biggest sources of support on campus is my fencing team  - I'm on the left in the bottom row!

One of my biggest sources of support on campus is my fencing team  – I’m on the left in the bottom row!

There are other examples of this school spirit as well. For example, during finals, the libraries offer coloring books to students to help them de-stress. Various a cappella groups sing for the freshmen on North Campus as they arrive home from their prelims. Even when I simply walk across the Arts Quad, the spirit of Cornell as a supportive institution is unmistakable.

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A view of Olin Library, Uris Library, and McGraw Clocktower lit up at night.

The spirit of Cornell extends beyond the edge of campus. The local Ithacans display a similar spirit during their annual Apple Festival and Chili Fest, and through various other fun opportunities to experience the local food, arts and crafts, music, and parks, among others. Just as the students enjoy frequenting local Ithaca businesses and getting to know the area, Ithacans are often seen at our hockey games, community lectures, and events on campus as well.

But perhaps the people best define the spirit of Cornell. When I arrived as a freshman, I had the pleasure of meeting so many new people in my orientation group, my residence hall, and my sports team. That brings me to give a big shout-out to the Cornellians – like the orientation leaders and resident advisors on North Campus – who put together the events designed to allow newcomers to both meet each other and become integrated into the Cornell community. I have enjoyed meeting people different from me in just about every way – people with different talents and interests who come from different cities, states, countries, and continents. Learning from other people here has helped me broaden my horizons, see things from a different perspective, and appreciate my neighbors.

The spirit of Cornell is palpable. This spirit is something that connects everyone to the school, and what keeps the alumni coming back every year. The spirit of Cornell is something completely unique and something all Cornellians will experience, enjoy, and cherish.

A view of Goldwin Smith Hall from the other side of the Arts Quad

A view of Goldwin Smith Hall from the other side of the Arts Quad.

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!

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.

Approaching Alumna-Hood

We’ve made it to May! As seniors approach graduation and underclassmen look forward to summer break, we at the Ambassadors blog have decided to focus on “Looking Forward.” Senior Samantha Briggs starts off the month with a post about her experience deciding on her next step: Columbia Law School.

By: Samantha Briggs ’16

Me on my first day at Cornell!

Me on my first day at Cornell!

I think I speak for the majority (if not the entirety) of the Class of 2016 when I say: you will not believe how quickly four years fly by. On the one hand, it feels like many millennia ago that I was moving into Clara Dickson Hall on North Campus as an incoming freshman, and on the other hand, it feels like I hardly blinked and am suddenly preparing to graduate. Although I am sad to leave this wonderful and beautiful place, I am incredibly excited for all that is coming next. For me, that is being a part of Columbia Law School’s Class of 2019.

I snapped this shot of Manhattan from Columbia's campus, which will be my new home for the next three years.

I snapped this shot of Manhattan from Columbia’s campus, which will be my new home for the next three years.

The process of deciding to apply to law school, applying to law school, and enrolling in a law school can be challenging, and at times, downright confusing. I could not be more thankful for the endless help and support I received throughout the process from Cornell’s academic advisors and my professors. The College of Arts & Science has several academic advising deans for undergraduates, including those who specialize in pre-graduate program advising. For example, Dean Heather Struck specializes in pre-law advising. My first appointment with Dean Struck was in the spring semester of my junior year, when I had decided that I was going to apply to law school, but I wasn’t sure if I would take a gap year. Then, over the summer between my junior and senior year, when I was studying to take my LSAT (the law school admissions test) and beginning to prepare my application, I corresponded with Dean Struck over email. This year, I have been a frequent flyer in Dean Struck’s office. She has provided me with invaluable advice on a bevy of different topics, from writing my personal statement to making sense of my admissions offers, to applying for financial aid. There is no manual for applying to law school (no matter what might be on the shelves at Barnes and Noble), but I never found a question to which Dean Struck did not have an answer.

My dream workplace: the Supreme Court building.

My dream workplace: the Supreme Court building.

Throughout this entire process, I knew my professors were rooting for me. Whether it was writing a letter of recommendation for my application, allowing me to miss class or providing assignment extensions to accommodate interviews, or just providing reassurance, my professors have been a constant source of support.

Just thinking about my upcoming graduation fills me with nostalgia, but I know I’ll keep coming back up to Ithaca long after I leave. Law school is the next step toward achieving my dreams of working for the federal government and ultimately, hopefully, for the Supreme Court, and I have Cornell to thank for helping me start on that path.