A Cornellian’s Go-To Websites

March 28, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

"We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations."

“We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations.”

We live in an age of modernity and technological innovations.

With that being said, college students are on their laptops and smartphones nearly every waking minute—more specifically, during the times when they should be doing work. I, myself, am guilty of being a brainwashed child of the technological revolution. In fact, I will even go so far as to state that my laptop is probably one of my dearest possessions. As such, here is a comprehensive (most definitely not exhaustive) list of websites that I tend to use during my weekdays/schooldays at Cornell:

Cornellsun.com

The Cornell Daily Sun is an independent daily newspaper published in Ithaca by Cornellians. The Sun operates both from a physical newspaper format, as well as the more popular online publication format. The newspaper’s website features daily (Monday-Friday) coverage of the goings-on of the university, including opinion columns and blog pieces submitted by students from all walks of life. As someone who tries to stay “in the know,” the website is my go-to website for all of the 30-minutes breaks I may have in between classes or meetings. It’s usually how I know when there’s a protest going on against yet another terrible institution-wide decision (cough cough HEALTH FEE), or when a concert is coming our way (crossing my fingers for a spectacular Slope Day lineup this coming May).

Tumblr.com

Tumblr is a micro blogging platform and social networking website which allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Most bloggers re-blog or post pictures, photosets, or videos. I, on the other hand, follow a myriad of Feminist, Social Activism, and Political blogs. When I’m not reading a news article on the Cornell Daily Sun’s website—or simply when the Sun does not report on something important—I’m reading about the hard hitting issue(s) on Tumblr. The website gets a bad rep for being a picture version of Twitter and Facebook, combined, but the website is actually an amazing tool for college students to stay connected to the outside world. It’s also a wonderful community of advocates who post thought-provoking articles or think pieces on social issues that affect people from all over the world.

Hulu/Netflix:

Before leaving for college, my mother said, “Remember to focus on your studies. College is expensive and important, and it’s imperative that you stay focused.” Granted, college is about one’s education. However, Cornell—and all schools, really—can become quite toxic, especially if you only focus on your studies. Every now and then, you need a “breather.” Parties are fun and all, but sometimes you need some time off to be by yourself. I like to partake in binge watching entire series or genres of movies. The idea of putting on my PJs, hiding underneath my comfy comforter, and binge watching Modern Family or Dance Moms while eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is, literally, the ideal in life. Such websites are also incredibly for your in-between times (in-between classes and meetings, I mean), as well as during study breaks (just make sure to stop at one episode).

Alive Campus:

Kind of like the blog version of College Confidential, Alive Campus is a wonderful avenue in which real students write think pieces and articles about their college experiences. If you’re in need of information about a specific university, or simply want a story about any college in general, AC is a great website to peruse. You get the uncensored, unabridged, unabashed version that college tour guides are told never to tell you about specific colleges.

Culture at Assumption College

March 27, 2015 in Alive Campus, Colleges

When I saw that I had to write about this topic I was a little bit unprepared and thought to myself, “is Assumption culturally involved?” I personally don’t have much experience with this at my school, but after some research I found that Assumption tries to be involved in cultural events and works to celebrate all cultures/arts. Here are some of the aspects of the Assumption College cultural scene that I came across:

Assumption College

Assumption College

Cross Cultural Center: This part of the college was established in 2002 to serve students of color and international students. If you walk into the campus center or “Charlies” you will see it amongst the offices of student groups that exist at the school. This group puts together various events over the year to celebrate different cultures, which is pretty cool. When they are celebrating a specific culture for a week or so they will have special dinners in the dining hall and a lot of cool food from different parts of the world. Students get to try different food that they probably would not have been exposed to before, and it gives a nice change to the dining scene.

ALANA Network: ALANA stands for: African-, Latino/Hispanic-, Asian-, Native American, and this group promotes activities and events on campus that are of interest to the Assumption community. This group has done some pretty cool things like an annual fashion show, poetry slam and a walk for justice to name a few. Anyone can be a part of this community which is awesome. They are always doing fun and interesting events on campus that all students can enjoy.

Muse: This is a campus magazine that comes out two times a year that allows students the opportunity to get published. They take submissions of short stories, poems, and various art such as drawings. I have always thought that this was a great idea because not every student gets the chance or has the time to write for the school newspaper so this magazine gives them a chance two times a year to be published. It’s also pretty awesome to see your peers work and to have something interesting to read.

Student Plays/Musicals: Lots of students on campus have been involved in various musicals and plays, as Assumption actually has a theatre minor that includes acting classes. The Hanover theater in downtown Worcester allows students to put on these productions in a real setting with large audiences. Recently, Assumption has cut this program down so it isn’t as large, but as far as I know it still exists for students to take part in.

So, as you can probably tell, Assumption isn’t too involved in cultural arts and events, but they do try to expose their students to them and try give them the option to participate in them.

The Myths of Your Senior Year

March 27, 2015 in Alive Campus, Career

Senior yearSenior Year. It’s FINALLY here and some of you might be coming to the realization that you are about to enter the real world in just about two short months. I don’t know about you, but I am starting to panic. Everyone says that your senior year is supposed to be the best year of your life and enjoy it while you can! Well how can I when I have to find a job?! I keep trying to enjoy these last two months of my undergraduate education but all I keep thinking about is if I’m going to be homeless or not come May 16. It’s a scary feeling knowing that you may be living on the street in a few months after putting blood, sweat and tears into a $40,000 education. And I know I may be exaggerating a little bit because you always have your parents’ couch right? But at the same time I am completely serious.

These feelings of panic can be attributed to three statements or “myths” that every senior has probably heard more than a dozen times. First is “Oh you’re a senior? Do you have a job yet?” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this question from family, friends, and strangers alike and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. This question irks me so much because it only adds pressure onto the already panicked attitude I have knowing that graduation is fast approaching. If I had a job then I would immediately tell you straight up before anything else, but if I don’t say anything then please do not ask unless you are going to give me ideas of where to apply.

That question is usually followed by “Oh that’s okay you’ll get a job because everyone wants graduates from your college and it all works out in the end!” In here lies the myth that because I go to a one of the best military colleges in America that someone will automatically hand me a job come graduation. We’ve been breed since freshman year that jobs are handed to us like free money because everyone loves VMI graduates. Well considering I don’t have a job yet that couldn’t be more false. And the thing is, I knew this would happen and wasn’t expecting to be handed a job, but it’s the fact that they make us feel like we’re better than everyone and that you’ll be employed come graduation.

The third question that is sometimes asked is “What would you like to do and where are you looking?” Well honestly I just want a job so I’m looking anywhere. It is even proven that a majority of people don’t even work in the field that they received their degree in and this may be due to the fact that people settle because they need money and I myself would probably do the same. However, I do have a dream job and would like to get a job in that general field. Additionally, what senior actually has the time to look for jobs?! My schedule at VMI does not leave me very much time for myself much less time to look for a job. And frankly, I just want to focus on graduating because I do not want to stay here longer than I have to. Therefore, if I do have the time to apply for a job then I will but other than that I am focusing on getting my diploma, graduating with distinction, and getting out of Dodge.

So if you are a senior and have been hit with these three questions, just know that you are not alone. I am right there with you and as of right now come May 16 I will be looking for my next move. But it’s all going to work out in the end, right? (Or so we’ve been told).

Maintaining Healthy Habits in College

March 23, 2015 in Alive Campus, Health

Several college students undoubtedly have a love/hate relationship with the tedious task we simply call “exercise.” Every day is an ongoing process of questioning if we really want to workout out or catch up on the next episode of Friends on Netflix, despite the millions of times we’ve watched it. We know what we should do, but we also know what we want to do. We’re tired from our assignments and don’t have the motivation to spend our precious free time sweating it out at the gym, yet when we’re finished, our mood is instantly enhanced and we’re proud of the awesome workout we just forced ourselves to suffer through. It’s complicated.

The students at FSU are very much into fitness and working out, most likely because bathing suit season is year round in Tallahassee. The gym at FSU, also known as the Leach Center, is enormous, consisting of three floors, a swimming pool, a basketball court, volleyball court, indoor track, and every workout machine imaginable. Really, it’s no excuse to not take advantage of this on-campus amenity. It also offers a variety of free workout classes, ranging from Spin, Cardio Endurance, Zumba, Circuit Training, Yoga, Boxing, and so much more. While I have only participated twice in workout classes here, it definitely was well worth my time and blasted calories like no other. These classes are for the students who need that extra boost when exercising. A workout class will certainly push you to your limits and make the time go fast as the instructors force you to keep going. They don’t particularly care that you’re on the verge of collapsing, which will only benefit you in the end. In addition to fitness classes, each FSU student is entitled to 4 free personal training sessions at the Leach to gain some fitness tips and customize their workouts depending on their fitness goals. The trainers are very helpful and keep everything on file for future reference when you’re on your own. If you feel that the Leach Center is overly crowded or simply too overwhelming, the Health and Wellness Center recently built a small indoor gym as well.

Health and Wellness Center

Health and Wellness Center

Walking to class in itself may certainly burn calories, especially up the hills carrying heavy books in the blazing sun, but it’s also important to incorporate a set time for exercising and focusing on getting your heart rate up. A great way to stay in cardiovascular shape is to simply go for a 30-minute run on campus. The weather is usually always ideal for running, so you will often find students jogging along the campus any time of day. I actually prefer to run on campus because it’s hilly and more challenging than simply running on a treadmill in the gym. It’s also a great way to get your share of Vitamin D and enjoy the beautiful scenery around the campus. Yes, running can certainly be boring, but there’s always a sight to see when exercising outside as opposed to running in place. Take advantage of the beautiful Florida weather.

Another effective outdoor exercise is referred to as “stadiums.” This is basically just running up, down, and across the bleachers at Doak Campbell Stadium. It sounds easy, but it’s actually an unbelievably hard workout considering the stadium is enormous and the sun feels extra hot from the attraction of the metal bleachers. Bring a lot of water and mentally prepare yourself before doing them. Don’t forget to snap some photos of the empty stadium during your rest periods.

On days you simply don’t feel dealing with the crowded gym, there are always home workouts. I recommend Insanity as being one of the best home workouts that’s both time-efficient and provides an amazing, full-body workout. Each of the exercises pushes you to your max limits and essentially focuses on strengthening your core and providing an overall leaner appearance after the first few weeks. It involves HITT- High intensity interval training, which shoots your heart rate up in a matter of seconds with short rest periods in between, providing an even higher afterburn post-workout. Several of the workout videos are less than an hour, which include warm-up and cool-down stretch periods. So when you feel like exercising in the comfort of your own home and you lack both the time and energy to drive to and from the gym, give it a try. It’s extremely hard, but exceptionally rewarding!

FSU Leach Center

FSU Leach Center

It’s important to note that exercising a few times a week does not necessarily mean you’re staying in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It actually only consists of 20 percent of your diet, so eating healthy is even more of a necessity when trying to stay fit. If you can’t find the time to workout, at least make sure to eat clean. I personally thrive off Publix grilled chicken and fish with a side of veggies and tons of water during the week so I can treat myself on weekends without feeling guilty. Eating healthy foods full of protein and nutrients will automatically make you feel better mentally and energetically. Most importantly, you will naturally look better physically. Snack on healthy food such as apples and protein bars. Make smart choices when going grocery shopping and keep yourself on the outside aisles as opposed to the ones containing processed foods. Prep your meals ahead of time if you have a crazy week ahead and so you don’t feel tempted to grab Chipotle for dinner when you’re too tired to cook. These will all contribute to a habitually healthier lifestyle with time. The thought of treating yourself on Saturday night to some sangria and Mexican food can be your motivation as you munch on healthy food Monday-Friday. (It’s certainly mine!) Yes, if I could eat Moe’s and Chick-fil-a every week I would, but unfortunately, college is the time to say goodbye to the Ramen noodles and start adopting healthy habits!

Cornell’s Best Classes

March 20, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus

Any person...any study.

Any person…any study.

Cornell’s (condensed) main motto is “Any person…any study.” And it’s true. The school, literally, has a class on anything and everything. And if it doesn’t currently, it will. And if you’re impatient, you can design your own class…or your own major. With such a multitude of random courses, here’s my (condensed) list of must-take courses in the school of Arts and Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences—forgive me, but I’ve never taken a class outside of these two schools.

Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: As an FGSS major, I’m biased in my approach at writing this list—I acknowledge that, but I don’t care. Intro to FGSS is probably one of the best classes you can take in A&S. Why? Because you are immersed in debates, lectures, presentations, group activities, research papers, film, and literature related to the evolving world of feminism. The material that you learn can help you to reshape your current understanding of what constitutes oppression and privilege, inform you on the social issues of days past and present, and gives you the verbiage to tread the waters in a politically correct manner. Just be warned: Everyone is the class identifies as a feminist. Either you remain ignorant, or you inform yourself!

The Cornell Novel: Personally, I love knowing about the history of the things that I’m involved in. As a Cornellian who bleeds big red, and as an English major who one day dreams of publishing his own memoir on the trials and tribulations of a student with too many midterm papers, I absolutely adore this class! We read novels, poems, and everything in between written by Cornell alumni (faculty and students). Imagine taking a class where you can discuss Nabakov’s influence on Pynchon and how Morrison’s Beloved is somehow connected to Joanna Russ’s Sci-Fi, The Female Man. It may be a lot to read, but so worth it when you consider the fact that these same authors were sitting in the very same desks that you are about to fall asleep on.

Desire: Two things—Ellis Hanson and pornography.  Ellis Hanson is probably one of the most theatrical professors on campus. Like the performativity concepts that he teaches, his entire presence in the classroom is nothing more than a performance. From the wine and champagne that he brings to class, to the Princeton gown that he sometimes shows off, to the semi-rehearsed puns and asides that he remarks; he is a living, breathing, performance. The class traces the history of sexuality and human desire, and questions the notion of desire in its abstract form. A little bit of gay pornography and a group viewing of a woman deep throating also adds a bit of raunchy fun to the mix. Highly recommend.

Global Cinema II: Imagine a class where you get to watch two movies during each session! A film class that traces the early avant-garde cinema of the 1920s to the more recent Pixar animation of the 2010’s, Global Cinema II is an incredibly fast paced, thought-provoking, awe-inspiring course. During each class meeting, students get to sit in Schwartz’s Film Forum, where the lights get dimmed and two films of similar themes are played. Shortly before time runs out, students get time to discuss their thoughts on the material, which are later used for papers.

There are, of course, a number of other courses that I’ve taken and loved at Cornell, including Expository Writing: Violent Femmes, Writing and Sexual Politics: Chick Literature, Media Communication, Body As Text: Pleasure and Danger, and Feminist Theory.

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