Saturday, June 21, 2014

No Room for "Shy"

My first day at Cornell began officially at 8:02 this morning. After spending  solid two hours  unpacking the night before (until 2 AM), I still managed to wake up on time. I was literally the only student sleeping at Risley, my residence hall. All the students starting arriving only today morning at 9 AM. Because my meal card does not get activated until 10:30 AM, I decided to satisfy my hungry stomach with a pack of Pop Tarts and Ritz Cheese Crackers -- the only snacks I had brought on this trip. To my surprise, my RA (Residential Advisor) knocked on my door this morning, greeted me and handed an apple as I was the only student in the hall and wasn't able to receive a breakfast.
My residence hall. It resembles a castle.
 I soon gathered my materials -- camera, cell phone, wallet, and dorm keys -- and headed to lunch  located a solid 7 minutes away. It's just a great feeling to have all this responsibility. Yeah, it can be nerve-wrecking to see whether all my keys are with me or whether my wallet has been placed in my bag or not, but this makes me feel like an adult. It's not as if my parents are watching over me to see whether I have everything I need, whether I eat on time, or whether I get my work done. It's just me and I'm the one responsible for my actions. As intense as it sounds, it's really a great experience because in less than a year, this procedure will begin yet again. However next time, I'll be in a dorm for all of my college years rather than just for three weeks.
The view on our walk to the dining hall.
After picking a rather typical lunch -- just pizza -- I headed for my dorm room. Once I got settled, my roommate arrived! I had smiled at her previously in the hallway not knowing she was heading for my room! As much as I feared having a roommate who I couldn't converse freely with, Ying (my roommate) turned out to be the complete opposite. She is one of the most sweetest and friendliest people I have come across at Cornell. She and I both play school level badminton and are both from California. Isn't that interesting? Honestly, I'm very lucky to have a roommate like her and also have such a large room compared to the other Risleyites.
We've got water falls on campus!
Soon enough, it was convocation time. Convocation is where all the faculty got together and greeted all the students and parents at Cornell. Some of the speeches were very insightful and entertaining too. One of my favorites was by an experienced professor. He gave us some great tips about academics and here goes some of the ones that I remember most vividly:
 1. "Throw away those useless highlighters. They're not for painting your page yellow. Write down what you can as you retain information better when you write it down."
2. "Studying is meant for daytime. Not night time. This is how it works. You study in the daytime, and when your roommate procrastinates and studies at night, convince him/her to do other fun activities with you so that they won't study and that you can get a competitive edge over your roommate. America is capitalist after all."
This had the audience cheering, laughing and applauding. Especially tip #2. I am proud to say,  I happen to follow both of these. (Not the convincing your roommate part though...that's just cruel.)
This is where the presentation took place. 
The auditorium was packed with parents and students.
He will be my professor.
 Once this was over, we finally met our professor for the Freedom and Justice course, Isaac Kramnick.  More than the subject matter itself, he is the reason why I signed up for this class. Professor Kramnick is one of the most distinguished professors that Cornell exhibits and he has published so many books on history and philosophy that he has lost count. It's a true pleasure to be a part of this class and I'm looking forward to be taught my one of the greatest professors in this country.

After getting lunch, -- I went for the Italian cuisine -- we went to Cornell's popular Ice Cream Social event. All the students gathered together for ice cream and meeting new people. We would just go up to the most nearby group and introduce ourselves, ask what class we were taking, and where we're from. I was hesitant to go to this event, but I'm so glad that I did. I met so many different people of diverse origins. I met a girl who studies in a military base in Germany, others who were from Italy, China, Hong Kong, Korea,  and Japan. I even met a girl who I thought had the coolest background -- she was Indian, Portuguese, and Puerto Rican.  Getting together with all these new and interesting people helped me break the shell I was buried in. I rarely interacted with other people besides ones in my own grade, but today I was on a roll. I was going up to people introducing myself and just enjoying the atmosphere I was in. As Natalie (a student in my cohort) said to me, "So, it looks like your having a hard time being shy." I surely was. But the point to note is that I had a great time meeting new people.
It was such a lively location

Cornell Ice Cream topped with caramel, whipped cream, and sprinkles

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