Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our first day in Cornell!

Today, contrary to what everyone thinks, Andrew and I were among the first ones to wake up early and be downstairs. It was our last day at the wonderful Sheraton Hotel. We packed up the night before, but I still had a few things I needed to gather. We left the hotel at around 9:30 AM after eating our last breakfast, or for that matter, meal, together. Unfortunately, I actually slept in the car throughout our entire trip to Ithaca, and I did not get the opportunity to see any of the buildings nor the Statler Hotel, until we arrived, that is. I know I felt the same way about Rochester University, but Cornell University is simply incredible. The campus is humongous, tasteful, filled with amazing architecture, and has a sophisticated atmosphere about it.

Brunch was served from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. We had brunch at North Star, at the large building, Appel Commons. We made our first use of our Cornell ID card, which we waited in line to receive, along with our keys and helpful information packets. Speaking of keys, we finally got to see our dorms, where we would stay for 3 weeks. To my surprise, my dorm was way larger than I expected it to be. On the front door, I saw the names Christopher and Forrest written in Pac-man shaped paper-cut outs. Forrest was not in the room yet and I began to put down my belongings. I chose the right side of the room, and a few minutes later, Forrest entered with his parents. He informed me he was from Singapore. It was amazing that I had an international student in my dorm. He barely spoke, but I introduced myself to his parents and we talked for a while.

We then headed to the Program Welcome and Dean’s Convocation at Bailey Hall. It was a huge auditorium where over a thousand people were in attendance, some 600 from the 899 prospective students and most of their parents, except of course for us. Abby Eller told us there were 6 students from China, some from India, United Emirates, and South America; there were about 212 international students. She suggested many activities such as running, concerts, ice cream socials or walking around. She also advised us to study hard, not get behind in work and most importantly, according to her, to not take more food than you can eat. We had many people talk to us, one of the most important things discussed was activating our NetID, a very important tool that will allow us access to most things around campus, including academics and meals. Then Residential Program Director Brandy Nickison informed us of the RCA (Residential Community Advisor), undergraduate students who assisted us with daily matters. We were then involved in the Faculty Convocation, in which respective guides took students to their buildings, where they would study for the next 3 weeks. On the way, we saw spectacularly antique-looking buildings and enjoyed the scenery.

We then headed to our class, where professors Reneta and Mark McCarthy introduced themselves and handed us some information packets. The two seemed extremely funny and reliable. They explained the course in the few minutes we had. I, probably along with many others, felt very nervous and intimidated. But I decided I would make the best of it. Dinner took place from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

We went to Appel Commons again to eat, where there was a variety of cultural foods. We made many friends. It was truly fascinating looking at everyone – so many different cultures were represented, and I heard many different languages being spoken. We sat at a table were we met students from New Jersey, one of which is Jacky’s roommate. There were several other girls and one guy from NJ that we conversed with. I think everyone was a bit nervous and intimidated, so me, Beilul, Alex, Andrew G. and Andrew W spent our time together afterwards touring the wonderful campus.

We later had a Mandatory Residence hall Meeting at the Student’s Residence Hall, were there was a “discussion centered on residential policies and getting around campus.” It was a very long and tiring meeting. One of the things they told us is that we must check in on time every single day. Today was at 12:00 AM, and I, Alex and Andrew G. made sure we made it a bit earlier. We then went back downstairs to the lobby where we are writing our blogs. I am looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

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