Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day One as a Cornie

I pranced around my room nervously, fumbling with my laundry as I walked from one end of my room to the other putting the items in place. I knew her name was Madeline from the note on the door, but that was about it. My mind glossed through every adjective in the dictionary as I contemplated about the qualities of my roommate.

In the midst of changing into my clothes, there was a knock on the door. So much for a first impression. I panicked, throwing on my pants and shirt quickly before unlocking the door. I released a sigh when I saw Helen standing outside. I gathered the last of my items into the drawers and Shanti, Helen and I made our way to the check-in downstairs.

Thankfully there was no line for the morning, but that didn’t mean the process went by quickly. When they called my name, a volunteer searched the packets of keys for my name. His eyebrows
Snapping a picture on the jog.
furrowed and he checked them again without much luck. They eventually located my key in another building, but they noticed my name was highlighted on the check-in list. The gentleman instructed me to locate the Ganet health services and I set out to venture the campus, without much knowledge of the area. I ended up wandering around the same plaza for twenty minutes, met four other lost students and finding the building with the disappointment that the office was closed. I returned to the desk, frustrated and upset about the unnecessary jog. The woman at the end of the desk apologized for the long walk and informed me that there was another location for the Ganet Service. With a heavy sigh, I took another jog around campus.

After receiving my keys, I returned to my room for a test trial. I pushed the key into the slot and turned, with the heavenly thought of collapsing on my bed until the next event. Suddenly, there was a tug around my neck as the lanyard holding the key in the slot was pulled forward. I peered into the ajar door, my pulse quickened as the long anticipated moment finally arrived. The Madeline posted at the door actually went by Maddie. I shook her hand nervously. This would be the person I spend the next three weeks with. As I put away my items and Maddie unpacked, the two of us chatted freely. The anxiety in me drained away with each sentence. She was a suitable roommate. Just as we began to dig into the surface, my phone vibrated. I answered the call from Shanti. Her voice was full of unrestrained fury and worry as she questioned my whereabouts. I bowed my head, apologizing for the scare and wished my Maddie the best of luck for the rest of her packing.

I met Shanti and the crew in front of the Robert Purcell Community Center, the same place I had to visit this morning. We waited for Chan-Law to pick come by for a downtown trip to Target. Our

Dining area.
group stocked up on forgotten essentials and heavy items we left back at home. By the time we came back, it was past noon. Everyone’s expression changed as we realized we knocked breakfast off our list. We grouped together with Thao’s sink-mate Kate and ventured toward the dining commons in the third floor of the RPCC building. Our group groaned in unison as we encountered the snaking line, but the wait was worth it. The woman at the front desk swiped our ID’s on a computer and as we peered curiously over her shoulders into the grand lunch buffet. The rumors are true, Cornell has an amazing food selection. The side of the room was occupied with chairs and seats of all shapes and sizes. There was a dish for everyone. Breakfast lovers had the option of milk, cereal and yogurt on the lunch menu. Exotic experimenters had a selection of Italian and Mongolian dishes. There were even dishes for vegetarians and vegans. I’d give the food a five out of five.

After our meal, Stephen, Shanti and I made our way to the Cornell store to pick up our books. A smile spread across my lips as I retraced my frustrating jog from the morning. I lifted my chin as I pointed out the roads and streets to cross to the book store. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face when we entered the store. What I thought to be another disaster turned out for the better.

We faced an issue purchasing the books. Shanti contacted Chan-Law and he reassured us that he would retrieve the books. With that, we set out for the orientation. Shanti and I flipped the map back and forth in our hands, pointing and tracing all the roads and getting completely lost all the while. We bumped into a handful of other lost stragglers, one being Helen’s roommate Ratara, and the bulk of us traveled to Bailey Hall together. Shanti and I collapsed in the seats on the far left of the second floor. As we waited for the seminar to begin, two gentlemen next to Shanti introduced themselves. Surprisingly, these two were acquainted with Justice and Stephen. I was amused that we encountered three people acquainted with our cohort. Maybe the summer college of one thousand wasn’t so big after all.

The seminar started with a video outlining the main focus of Cornell in Ithaca. Afterwards, the speakers explained the general rules and regulations on campus as well as means of keeping safe while parents were away. They stressed the need for parent detachment during the student’s stay, an issue our cohort didn’t have to stress about.
She as great

After the meeting, the mass of students dispersed into groups according to their program. Shanti, Stephen and I followed our instructors Reneta and Mark McCarthy, to the Statler Hall Auditorium. After the agenda and syllabus were passed out, Reneta and Mark began their discussion on the course. From the way they stood and talked, I knew this would be an amazing course. Reneta spoke in a softly yet audibly and powerfully. She was concentrated and refined in her presentation, but she exerted an aura of understanding. Mark was robust and outgoing, poking into the crowd to pluck out students with their heads hidden behind the chair. He stressed the need for our full participation in the course. I was still nervous about the intensity of the course, but I knew that it wasn’t impossible, and that I wouldn’t be alone in the marathon toward completing the class. Everyone’s in on the plan-- students and teachers.

After the meeting, we stopped by the Cornell store to pick up some missing items and met Chan-Law in the Statler Hotel for our books. We rested in our dorms for half an hour before the next event began. Shanti, Helen and I met with our dorm RCA Deirdre for dinner. Along the way we picked up Lana the RCA and a few more students and made our way to the dining hall. Meeting with the RCA established an aura of openness and support. Each RCA was attentive to their students, taking the time to listen to everyone’s stories and established a personal relationship. Upon meeting a male RCA, Deirdre joked that the students she looked after were all her children. Knowing that the RCA’s respect our presence and are interested in meeting us creates a welcoming atmosphere which makes me feel comfortable about my stay.

I strolled around campus with Olivia, a student who also came from the bay area to study Hotel and Management, after our dinner with the RCAs. We briefly returned to our dorms and met up at the Ice Cream social.

There was a lot of Ice cream at the site but there was even more social happening. Everyone was
Lots of people at the Ice Cream social
engaged in a conversation, asking about their travels, programs and everything in between. When the conversation was exhausted, or even when it wasn’t, people would jump into another group to introduce themselves and mingle. After one bowl of ice cream and a shipment full of conversations, I decided to head back to the dorms. On my way, I noticed a group of people gathered in the grassy area. My curiosity took over and I neared the circle. Suddenly, someone shouted my name. I looked around the sea of strangers before noticing my roommate amongst the members in the circle. I sat in the grass, partaking in the game they had established previously. A ball was passed around, and the person with the sphere would share information about themselves including name, grade and life-changing experiences. When the sun was barely visible behind the mountains, I made my way back to the dorms.

Shortly after my shower, the clock struck 9:30 and all the girls in unit three gathered in the hall. Our RCA Deirdra went over a packet full of rules and regulations. After half an hour of lecturing, she admitted that she wants us to have the best summer experience. I couldn’t help but grin. First day here and everyone is already advocating for a great summer. 

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