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.

Stress at School

September 26, 2014 in Campus Life, Health

You expect college to be hard, but not this hard. All you’re doing is work. You can projects to work on and tests to study for. Club meetings and activities that you want to go to. Of course you still want to hang out with your friends. Then there’s that homework due for tomorrow and the reading you need to catch up on. When are you supposed to have a moment to yourself to breathe?

Getting stressed during college happens to everyone. Unfortunately, while everyone talks about having the time of your life during school, you’re still paying a lot of money to learn something. Getting an education can mean missing out on that party your friends will talk endlessly about for the rest of the semester. After late nights spent cramming information, it might feel like you’re never going to get on top of the work you’re going to have to do. What can help you? Time management.

Seriously. A year ago, I usually preferred to do homework at the end of the day after all of my classes and obligations were finished. Now I’m realizing that forcing yourself to do all of the work when you’re already exhausted means you’ll be even more miserable and your work will probably suffer. Instead, I’m waking up a little earlier and putting aside a certain amount of time for certain tasks that might be due the next day or a few days before. We all wait until the last minute with assignments . . . But what if for once you were the person finished with your paper when everyone else was still scrambling for a thesis? I’m still waiting to have that feeling but I’m working my way there. It’s great to have free time at the end of the day instead of using it all up in the morning. Plus, it wakes up my mind a little faster so I feel less exhausted and inclined to immediately fall back to sleep.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. They’re probably just as stressed as you are and simply venting to them a little will make you feel better! If you both have tests coming up, you can quiz each other on what you want to know. Not only will you know for certain whether or not you have that vocab memorized, you’ll get to spend more time with your friend! If you have a presentation coming up, ask someone to listen to you go through it a few times. After you know that you have that speech down pat, treat yourselves with some dessert or watch a movie together to relax. Rewarding yourself after a job well-done is also key. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself and if you notice a friend is slowly starting to fold under the pressure, invite them into your rewarding moments.

Remember that you’re here to make memories, not just grades. While it’s important to prioritize schoolwork, that doesn’t need to be your entire life. You can still be able to socialize and have tons of fun in your college years!

Reward yourself to de-stress!

Reward yourself to de-stress!

A Week in the Life: College Student Edition

August 27, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life


Every college student’s schedule is going to be completely different from another’s–we all have weird, hectic rosters with strange class times and part-time jobs. College is different from high school in that classes will almost never be all back-to-back. Classes tend to be longer, and you will likely have a break between some of your classes. Plus, you’ll almost never encounter a class that you go to every day of the week– you might attend any given class anywhere from 1-4 days per week.

This upcoming Fall semester, my schedule is definitely a bit weird. I opted to load my Tuesdays and Thursdays with most of my classes (3 classes/day) and have one long 3-hour class on Mondays. With this schedule, I have Wednesday and Friday completely open, as well as Monday mornings. I created my schedule like this so that I would have time for a second job. Check out what my weeks will be like this semester to get a taste of what college life can be like!


10:00-2:00: Schoolwork and free time

Unless I am asked to work at my second job, I will probably let myself sleep in and then either get work done, head to the gym, or work on my hobbies (sewing and knitting projects)

2:00-5:00: Class – “Fundamentals of Journalism”

This 3-hour long (ugh!) class is a required writing class for all journalism majors and minors. Since I have declared journalism as my minor, I have to take this class before I graduate. Here’s to hoping that my professor lets us out early some days!

5:00-8:30: Work

Both last year and this year, I received Work-study funding in my financial aid package. Work-study is a fantastic opportunity, as it is guaranteed part-time work where all the bosses understand and sympathize with your busy schedule. Work-study jobs tend to be between 5-20 hours per week, with most clocking in at 10 or 12. My job is a position as a tutor at the Intergenerational Literacy Program, a program at a school in Chelsea, MA that provides ESOL classes to adults and children.

8:30-midnight: Dinner and homework

After I get home from work, I will definitely be making myself dinner in my new apartment and getting to work on papers and readings that are due that week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

9:30-11:00: Class – “Topics in Film and Literature”

My first class of the day is an hour and twenty minutes long (professors at Boston University let students out 10 minutes before class is scheduled to end, to give students time to get to their next class if they have back-to-back classes. This class is an English elective that counts towards my English major. We’ll be assigned various novels to read and movies to watch, which we will then discuss in class.

11:00-12:30: Class – “History and Principles of Journalism”

Immediately after my English class, I will head to my second journalism class. This one is a large lecture-style class that is another requirement for my journalism minor. I have been told that is a basic history class that mostly requires memorization of facts, dates, and names.

12:30-2:00: Lunch

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busy days, so after two classes, I’ll want to take a break to eat a good meal and relax for a bit before my third and final class of the day.

2:00-3:30: Class – “British Literature I”

Brit. Lit. is a mandatory course for English majors that is broken into two parts–in the Fall, you take Part 1 and in the Spring you take Part 2. Part 1 is Medieval and 16th-17th century texts–not the most exciting topic, but I’ll manage!

5:00-8:30: Work or Rehearsal

On Tuesdays, I will go to my work-study job again, but on Thursdays, I don’t work–instead, I will use the time to do homework, eat a good dinner, or attend a play rehearsal/work on costumes for my theatre group.


No classes on Wednesdays! I plan to use this day to work at my second job at a retail clothing store.

7:15-8:30: Work seminar

On Wednesday nights, I will attend a mandatory meeting for my work-study job. This meeting is for all the tutors to catch up and get mini lessons in how to best tutor our students.


Thursday is almost exactly the same as Tuesday — see above!


Another day without classes! Fridays will also be devoted to my second job. Friday nights will be filled with attending club meetings or seeing friends.


After such a crazy week, I’m going to want some time off! I’ll likely use Saturday afternoons to do some homework, but then use the rest of the evening and night to go out and see friends.


Sunday tends to be homework/catch-up day for most college students. After Friday and Saturday nights out, we all need a day to relax at home and get work done.

Public vs Private Schools: Does it Matter?

July 25, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges

public vs private schools

When looking into schools, you may want to consider if you prefer a public state school, or a private school—or if you have no preference! Though every college or university is going to be similar in the fact that you will be attending classes on a new campus, the differences between public and private schools can be subtle but impactful.

First off: what is a public school, and what is a private school? A public university is funded by its respective state government, while a private university operates completely independently of the government, and is funded instead by endowments from alumni and other donors. This technically is the only dictionary-definition difference between the two.

But generally (and remember, this is all general—there are always exceptions!), private and public universities operate differently and provide a different sort of campus and lifestyle from the other.

Public universities are generally much cheaper. Tuition costs are often several times less at public schools than at private schools. Plus, if you attend a school in the state in which you live, your tuition is even less—in-state students get a cheaper tuition price tag than out-of-state students. On the other hand, private universities tend to offer more financial aid to students. Well-endowed private schools often have more money to throw out in the form of grants and scholarships than public schools.

Another factor to consider is that when applying for a school in your home state, your chances of being admitted increase. In-state students and their parents’ taxes go to public colleges, so these students get first priority in terms of admission. Of course, if you a student applying to an out-of-state public university, this doesn’t apply to you.

Private universities also often staff more esteemed professors, often have smaller class sizes, and offer more extra-curricular activities than public universities—though again, these are all generalizations!

Remember that there are a lot of common misconceptions regarding the differences between public and private institutions. Often, people assume that private universities are more prestigious, or look better on a resume—this is definitely not always the case. People also tend to think that private schools’ curriculums are more rigorous or intense than those at public schools—but again, public university students can attest that any acclaimed, professional college is going to be challenging, no matter where you go!

Ultimately, it is impossible to recommend one over the other. And realistically, there are too many nuances between schools to generate accurate, concrete statistics that measure the differences between public and private. When applying to colleges, I don’t advise any student to rule out one or the other. Instead, read up on schools you think you might be interested in, visit every school you can get to, and study up on what each individual school’s tuition is (as well as what their financial aid packages tend to look like.) In the end, these are the real factors in deciding on a school: whether it is financially realistic, whether the campus feels like home, and whether you feel a connection to the school.

A Regular Week as a College Student

July 11, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

Most college students’ days and week during a semester is the following with some minor differences: go to class and then go back to the dorms or being commuters to go back home. The activities a student does after taking classes is what will make college life a great one or a boring one. A small change to a schedule such as a class is canceled or getting out of class early can determine creating great memories that are irreplaceable.

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

A typical week as a Wheelock student looks like in the following way:

I would usually go to class Monday through Thursday. My schedule may vary between those days. In some days, I would stay on campus taking class until late at night like 8pm and other days I get out early like 5pm.

Since last semester, I have been taking 5 classes in total and it has been tough balancing those classes out. My senior year, which starts this fall and spring semester, I have to take 5 classes in ordered to graduate on time.

Now let’s take a look at how each day of the week would look like for me. I am going to based it on my fall semester of my senior year.

Monday: I start by commuting to school by taking a bus, a train, and then another train. I have an early class so my day starts at 9am and my last class ends at 8:30pm. Yes! This is a long day for me. I barely have time to eat, hang out with my friends, or attend any event on campus.

Tuesday: After having a long day on Monday, Tuesdays is a recovery day. My day starts at 3pm and it ends at 8:30pm. A relaxing day to sleep off the tiredness from Monday, work on a essay or read.

Wednesday: It is an early day for me, I have a morning class, but my day ends at 12pm. Since I have the rest of the afternoon free, I go back home and relax. Sometimes before I go home, I meet up with some friends and hang out, if they are available. I even use that time to do errands or go buy necessary item’s for my house. When I get home, I do homework and relax.

Thursday: Another day where I get home early since I have only one class and it is in the morning. I also repeat the same routine as Wednesday, hang out with friends, go home, do homework and relax.

Friday: I haven’t had a Friday class since freshman year. Luckily, it is only one class and it is in the afternoon. After I am finish with the class I go home or hangout with friends and enjoy my weekend.

I believe that my weekly routine would be different if I lived on campus, since I am a commuter. A lot of commuters just want to go back home after a long day of taking classes. I know some commuters who have to go to work after class which is tough to balance with classes.