College dining with Erika Rumbold at Ithaca College
The past three years at Ithaca have given me plenty of free room for electives. I was really grateful once I started freshman year that my major allowed so much time to take elective classes. Some majors like Music Ed and PT just didn’t have the room in their schedules.
At first I took only electives that sounded cool and completed gen-ed requirements, but in Sophomore and Junior year I branched out a lot. It really didn’t matter that I’d already gotten my math and history credits in other classes because the electives I took were just as amazing as the classes for my major.
My favorite elective was the one class I was absolutely sure I was going to hate. “Oil, Energy, and the Future of Society” it was in the Math department, and it was the only honors elective that fit my schedule. I thought it was going to be boring and awful.
But from day one it was engaging and exciting. There were less statistics and charts and more discussion. Our textbook was Collapse by Jared Diamond which details possible situations for the demise of our fossil fuel addicted society and comparisons to other extinct civilizations that overused their resources. It was incredibly exciting and made me much more conscious of the energy decisions I make everyday.
Another elective I enjoyed almost as much was “Intro to Drawing.” I had not drawn since my second year of high school and this was an amazing (albeit expensive) refresher course. Not only did I get to experiment with perspective and shading, I got to try out figure drawing for the first time. I loved the stress relief of a three hour drawing class after a week full of lectures as well.
Some electives are stress relievers like Drawing, some like my Energy class are surprising and exciting, and some are difficult and you take them simply because you enjoy the subject matter.
I took a lot of politics and history electives that fit into that category. “Revolutions of the 20th and 21st Centuries,” “Rise and Fall of the British Empire,” and “Contemporary British Politics” are just a few of them. They were a lot of reading and a lot of research papers that I burned after the semester was over. However, they were incredibly informative. The advantage of a liberal arts education is getting to absorb an absurd amount of trivia that is intended to make you a better critical thinker and a more well rounded global citizen. There are no better classes for that than history and politics courses. I learned about the Parliamentary political system, the Iranian revolution, and got to see the side of the American Revolutionary War that they don’t teach in U.S. public schools. (Spoiler Alert: there was a huge argument to abandon the american colonies long before the war ended.) It’s made me a lot more informed about the world and better able to engage with the events going on in the present.
Which is, I think, the point of electives. They’re not filler classes and should not be treated as such. And really anyone who doesn’t take full advantage of the ones they have is losing a really great opportunity to explore subjects they might not have the time for after college ends.
It’s not very often I think of the Alumni that went to my school. Ithaca has been a relatively small liberal arts college since it’s inception as a Music Consortium. It’s not the kind of school that has ranks of famous Alumni that make the news or magazines. However, you’d be surprised who you can find on a quick google search. A lot of alumni get buried under the loads of other interesting things they’ve done since they graduated. It gives me hope that I will some day accomplish as much as our IC Alumni have. Here’s three of my favorites. I think some of the names will be familiar enough to you. (One of them is an actor from two famous Joss Whedon shows) and coincidentally, all three of them are New Yorkers.
Born in 1969 and graduated in 1991 with a degree in Cinema and Photography from the Roy. H. Park School of Communications. Boreanaz is best known for his roll of Angel on Joss Whedon’s tv shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer and it’s spin off Angel. He’s currently a leading actor on the hit Fox show Bones where he plays FBI Agent Seeley Booth. He was the commencement speaker at the Ithaca’s Graduation ceremonies last year.
A graduate from this century, Musnicki was born in 1983 and earned a degree in Psychology from Ithaca’s Humanities and Sciences School in 2005. She is famous for participating in the London 2012 Olympic games for the United States Rowing Team, and being one of team of eight rowers to earn the gold medal.
He was born in 1951 and graduated from Ithaca in 1973 with a degree in Television and Radio from the Roy H. Park School of Communications. He earned the distinction of Magna Cum Laude. Iger is the current Chairman and CEO of Disney and a Board member for Apple Inc.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about doing anything noteworthy or successful after graduating. Between student loans and the daunting prospect of ever finding a job, thoughts of not just making it work after college but being successful are hard to hold on to. It’s important to look up your school alumni for that reason. They went to the same school, were in or founded the same clubs, and partied (or didn’t party) in the same ways that we do. They probable went to the City of Ithaca’s Apple and Chili festivals and loved them just as much as current students. Yes, all of them were hear before the creation of the new athletics center, and some of them from before the sustainable conscious buildings were constructed on campus, but all of them have the same memories of this college that I do: as a place where they could embrace their passions and branch out into the adult world. It’s these sort of Alumni who give me hope that I’ll do amazing things after I graduate.
It’s not really a secret that I love Ithaca College. It has it’s pro’s and con’s like most colleges, but over all it’s pretty awesome – especially in the club department. I don’t want to offend anyone by suggesting clubs to avoid. I feel like I’ve been involved in to few clubs to pass that kind of judgement. (And really, everyone has their own interests which might be totally different than mine.) I am however, going to give you five helpful suggestions to point you in some good directions. These suggestions are aimed at clubs that can help you meet new people, make good friends, and have a lot of fun.
In the Sport Sphere:
I would be a traitor to all the team leadership that came before me (and after me) if I didn’t recommend the Ithaca COMMUNITY Quidditch team first. It is not an official club. Ithaca feels like it wants to wait a few years and see how the sport develops before they okay it. Something about bureaucracy and insurance for sports injuries. Nothing that should concern anyone interested in playing.
It’s an intense game with a lot of dedicated leadership and players. Students in this club come from all five schools and all different years. They’re friendly, they’re nerdy, they’re athletic, and they competed in the Northeast Regional Quidditch Tournament for the first time this year. Check them out.
Alright there’s my pitch, I’d like to recommend rugby if you’re interested in a more established sport. Ithaca isn’t really a sports school. I’ve had a few friends on the men’s and women’s rugby teams over the years. They all have wonderful things to say about it. I bet it’s also not a sport most people see in high school. So if you’re okay with getting a bit muddy and a bit tackled, and up for something new, give it a go.
What About Something Artsy?
Do you like poetry? Do you like performance? Can I direct your attention to Spit That! It’s IC’s spoken word (slam) poetry club. They hold performances in The Pub in campus center, and they meet every week to do poetry writing exercises, share work, and help each other explore this beautiful spoken art form. (Can you tell I’m a fan? I’m definitely a fan.)
Artsy and Sporty aren’t really your style? Maybe you’re a Nerd!
I definitely don’t mean that in a bad way. I love nerds. I am a nerd. I know of quite a few clubs at IC directed specifically at nerds. I could list them all but I said I’d pick one. So I’m going to recommend the HPA. It’s a huge club, it’s well established, and it’s full of people who love helping others, and Harry Potter lovers. They hold a Yule Ball every year; it’s an even bigger event than the final Senior Dance. Everyone loves it and the club goes all out for it. They do charity work as well (the organization’s main function) and it’s full of fun people with great fandom recommendations.
Like helping others but not quite into the nerd culture aspects? Try this community service club.
Service Saturdays: it’s a group that connects IC students to the Ithaca city organizations to get them community service opportunities. It’s a monthly thing (you’re not spending every saturday on this) and students get to meet members of the community and like minded members of the college while volunteering at the Apple Harvest Festival, trail building, and fundraising events among other activities. It’s a great way to get started with community service and a great way to get to know the community around the campus.
And how about LGBT groups on campus?
Personally, I’m not involved in any LGBT organization so my recommendations are all second hand. Prism is the main one (there are lot’s of them.) And if you want to meet other LGBT spectrum people and allies, I would definitely head for the biggest one. (I sincerely regret that I never got involved freshman year) It is a group of people dedicated to LGBT support and advocacy on a campus full of LGBT friendly peers, faculty, and staff. Best of both worlds there.
You can see a full list of IC’s clubs on IC Link including further descriptions of the clubs mentioned above.
And if you’re interested in the Community Quidditch Team: like their facebook page or email them with your questions at email@example.com.
You’ve been accepted to college: great! And you’re going to Orientation: excellent! And you’re going to have classes in a few months: wait what? Does that work like high school? Will you have homework? what about jobs? Friends? Sleep? Everyone will probably give you a slightly different answer. As a current Junior in college, here’s what an average Weekday has looked like over the past few years.
6:00 – 9:00. Work Study at the School Bakery: I spent the first two years in college with a job in the school dining halls. at least twice a week I’d wake up early in the morning to set up the pastries for the breakfast rush. It was sort of awful getting up at 5:30 in the morning but it was something I got used to. It wasn’t every day, and probably won’t be if you end up with an on-campus job. There were perks to starting early too. I saw the herds of deer walking freely on campus before the students woke up, and I was always awake for the sunrise!
9:30. Breakfast on the run: On days that I work it’s hard to squeeze in breakfast time. I’ll either stuff a granola bar or an apple into my purse on the way out in the morning, or I will swing by the dining hall for a bagel to-go. I’ll also make time for a trip to the cafe before class. If you weren’t a caffeine addict before college, it’s very likely you’ll become one. I can manage to fill up a Cafe rewards card in a few days. Nine coffee’s of any size get’s you a medium one free!
10:00. Class A: I try to schedule my classes for earlier in the day, so that I’m done by afternoon. The earliest classes at Ithaca College start at 8:00 AM…but I avoid those whenever possible.
11:00. Class B.
12:00 – 13:30. Lunch Break: Usually I’ll head to one of Campus’ three main dining halls and meet up with a few friends or familiar classmates who also have the hour free. If i’m in the mood for a treat i’ll head to the Towers Lounge or the Pub for a panini sandwich and a chai latte.
14:00. Class C: I typically end up with two or three classes a day, and at least one afternoon class (sometimes it was an evening class starting after 17:00).
15:00. After Class Reward Smoothie: Monday’s are awful whether you’re in high school or college. That’s why I’ll often splurge on a smoothie from the Campus Center Grand Central Cafe after my final class. By midterms this Monday afternoon reward smoothie is also a Tuesday-Friday reward smoothie. It’s a great reward system but it does drain my paychecks…
16:00. Quidditch Practice. Normally I have this one or two weekdays and at least one day on the weekend. It’s great exercise and excellent stress relief. Invest in a sport or exercise if you can. It’s a great way to rejuvenate yourself after a day of lectures.
18:00. Dinner. Dinner is typically a bigger group than lunch. As a freshman i often went with my roommate or the quidditch team and as a sophomore I divided my time between team dinner and large group dinners with friends from my writing classes. We’d often stay in the dining hall until they kicked us out.
19:00. Knitting Club: Usually one night a week. Lots of clubs meet in the evenings to avoid conflicting with class and sports. I liked having my sport in the afternoons and a quieter club in the evenings. I wasn’t very good at knitting but the change of pace once a week was wonderful.
20:00 – 22:00. Studying: Late night studying is typically the only time I could squeeze in serious studying. I would either go to the library or if my roommate wasn’t sleeping I would study in my room.
22:30 – Midnight. Chilling out at Towers Lounge: I adore the late night dining option that first opened as a restaurant in 1965 and is now a chill and delicious coffee and dessert bar for students. I often go up there to study or edit papers with classmates or just to chat with them over a Latte or Tiger Brownie snack. The late night hang out often has live music and open mic nights and it’s location on the 14th floor of one of the Towers dorms is a beautiful view of the downtown. It is a great place to wind down or brain storm ideas for assignments. I don’t know what i’d do without the place!
Midnight: Sleep or Study? It’s a toss up. The library used to only be open until 2:00 but Ithaca’s recently opened it 24 hours. I sometimes study there until 2:00 if I don’t have early class or I’ll head back to the dorms for bed. On a weekday I aim for six hours of sleep a night. It’s pretty reasonable for a packed college schedule. But on weekends I definitely take advantage and sleep in as much as possible.
College Schedules are busy and exciting. More than that, they’re flexible. You can make them whatever you want. Go for packed and busy if you can though. I love always having something to do. It can be tiring, but i’m never bored!