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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

The information on this site pertains to the Summer College 2018 program. If you would like to be notified when 2019 information and applications are available, please join the Summer College announcement list. We also invite you to become a fan of our Summer College Facebook Page.

Student blogs


Colorado Springs, CO
Cornell Engineering Experience
Summer College 2011
Hi everyone! My name is Joseph and I'll be taking the Cornell Engineering Experience this summer. I've just finished my junior year at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, but I did my first two years of high school in Melbourne, Australia. I am from a Foreign Service family, so I've grown up on four different continents. One of my main hobbies is jumping. Colorado Springs has a world-class trampoline facility where some Olympic athletes train, and I love to go there. While jumping is a great sport, it's not great to do too much of that in your major or career, which is why I'm super-excited to be doing the Engineering program in Cornell's Summer College. I'm hoping it will help me narrow my interests since right now so many fields in engineering sound interesting. Stay tuned – I'll let you know how it goes!

Wow… I've been super-busy wrapping things up in preparation for my six weeks away! So far, I have self-taught an entire math program to stay on track for school next year and have been volunteering triple-time at the State park to make up for my absence next month. I am not entirely sure what to expect at Cornell, but I'm psyched to experience campus life.

I will admit that I am a little concerned that Summer College has listed a "loud" alarm clock on the packing list (does that forebode a lack of sleep?) And I can't wait to see what kind of room I'm going to get. I'm also nervous about how well I will handle the workload. Hopefully the "Crash Study Skills Course" will get me off to a good start! I haven't really started packing yet, but I'm flying in so I'll be traveling light.

I've really enjoyed getting in contact with my fellow Engineering students on the Piazzza site. I can tell that's going to be a useful resource already. Based on the Summer College Facebook site I'm really impressed with the diversity of the students that will be attending Cornell's Summer College. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone on campus (students and staff) as well as participating in everything that I can. The opening weekend activities look great! This is going to be a blast &mdash I can't wait! See you all there!!!

So far only a week has passed, but so much has happened already. I have met a lot of the students who are attending Summer College and they have all turned out to be pretty cool people that I really like to hang out with. This discovery was just one of many I have made while being here. Another is that it is not possible to pass the lounges without stopping to listen to a song being played on the piano (which of course can be an inconvenience if you're late for a class, as there is almost always someone playing the piano). I have also found that it is hard to be at a loss for something to do here, because there is always an activity being offered - like making sock puppets, or a game of Ultimate Frisbee or some other fun thing going on that will fill the space when you're taking a break from your homework.

The classes themselves are have been very interesting as well. I am currently taking the "Explorations in Engineering" program and Special Relativity in "Relativity, Cosmology and Black Holes," so I always have something to ponder or some question swirling around in my head, until my head is spinning like the cosmos and I have to take a break and do one of the many activities Cornell Summer College organizes. I have also been seriously impressed with how good the food on campus is and I find myself looking forward to the buffets in the "Marketplace" every day. Overall, I am really enjoying myself and cannot wait to see what happens each and every day.

It's already the end of week two. A third of my time here is already gone… how did that happen? Well, one way or another I've had a blast and will continue to enjoy this experience right until the end. So far the classes have continued to be intriguing and a little mind numbing, but I can handle them. The activities are amazing! I have gone to as many as I could (while finishing the homework as quickly as possible). This week I've done everything from making wallets out of duct tape to bowling (and won a game). Overall, it's been nice, and because I have started to get a little bit of a routine, I know when I can make time for something like a walk around the campus.

Then there was the laundry. Wow, can that place get busy! They have enough washing machines and driers, but if you come at the wrong time you may find yourself watching Avatar the Last Air Bender on someone's computer for a couple hours (it's a pretty good show by the way). The weather has been pretty good for the last two weeks, however I'm sharing a room on the fifth of six floors and it can get pretty hot, so I may get another fan. I have the greatest sympathy for those poor people on the sixth floor (the top floor) where all the heat rises. I'm still psyched for the rest of the program, and like everyone else am getting excited for the talent show next week. I'll let you know how it all goes.

They're gone! All the people in the three-week programs are going back home. It is really quite amazing how attached to people you can become in just three weeks. Well, they did end on a bang. The talent show was amazing and I am a little disappointed in myself for not being part of it. Everything from poi with glow sticks to comedy to a violin concerto happened Friday night; and it was fantastic! The Summer College programs are still running strong and continue to be very interesting. I am still amazed at the number of new activities that are still being offered. The highlight of my week would have to be the tour of the Cornell Synchrotron. It was completely awesome! A synchrotron is a particle accelerator, and Cornell has one underneath the football field. That means that a small group of students and I got to walk next to a machine that can send electrons spinning around a loop several hundred times per second. The electrons would then hit something in a chamber exposing parts of matter smaller than protons and neutrons… all underneath a football game! That would be cool to anyone!!! Overall, I am still psyched for the rest of the program and can’t wait to participate in everything I can.

Well, let’s put it simply... it’s hot. So very, very hot! I’m on the fifth of six floors, and this week was so intense that I went to the community center (which is air conditioned) to do my homework. The heat was the theme of the week, but there were some solutions to this issue. For instance, the regular cold shower was good, and not leaving the air-conditioned lecture halls was another. However, my favorite would have to be the snowball fight in July. The ice rink is cleaned up every day and has its shavings put outside, so on the way back from the synchrotron tour (which was by far one of the coolest things I have ever done) a small group of students and I took advantage of this. Now I can say that I have honestly had a snowball fight in July. This time at the synchrotron we got to do a little research of our own – I learned the exact components of the metal in my class ring. No more wondering about what’s in the mysterious “Valadium” that my ring is supposedly made from!

The activities continue to be amazing (and now list whether they are in air conditioned rooms or not), the classes are still very interesting, and now the engineering final project has been assigned: designing a self-sufficient greenhouse and programming a model. Cool! I’m still going to try to do everything I can (indoors with air conditioning preferably) so I’ll keep you posted on the events.

Only one week to go... I'm still amazed at how fast time can fly here. I remember Monday and Friday, but the rest of the week was such a blur! The planned activities we get to choose from every night are still cool; this week's range from college talks, to college fairs, to how to make balloon animals and even karaoke. Then there was the big trip this week... Niagara Falls! The bus ride was long, but in a nice bus so nobody really minded how long it was (four hours) and the waterfalls were awesome! The final project for engineering is to design and build a miniature model of a greenhouse - all the groups are doing that. Oh, and there are still exams to study for... Still, it feels like this amazing experience is just about to end, being cut far too short. Over the time that I have been in this program I have learned how much fun college has the potential to be if you take advantage of the opportunities you're presented with and that sleep is one of the most important things that you can have. Never stay up too late before any test; no matter what time you are going to be taking it! I still have one more week to experience it all though. I'll tell you how it goes.

It's the end... all that is left to do is to pack up our stuff and take the exams. The three-weekers are all done and have begun to leave, and the people without final exams are going early as well. I have made the best of what I was given and had a great time doing it. I have learned the subject matter, made friends, experienced Cornell and had fun doing it. If I could give advice to the next group of Summer College students, it would be 'get your work done early, so that you can take advantage of all the great opportunities in your free time.' The farewell party was a Hawaiian-themed dance party. There are movies being played and the RCA's are still holding awesome events. So even now, as all the people who are staying are cramming for their tests and getting final reports ready, there are still ways to blow off steam. This has been the experience of a lifetime and I am so glad that I have had the chance to enjoy it. Whatever you wind up doing, just remember to have fun.

Summer College is over and school is starting. Don’t get me wrong I'm excited for school, but college was so much fun in comparison. Now I only get to reminisce about my college experience. Senior year will still be fun, especially because now I really feel like I have a leg up on all the college applications I have to write this fall. The workshops I attended over the summer gave me some good insight in the application process…so bring it on! I'm ready to run the college application gauntlet. And after all the workshops and labs I attended at Cornell, I'm actually looking forward to my senior year course load. I've learned that it is possible to balance your workload (i.e. work and play) and be successful at both! This is going to be the best year ever! The Summer College program was a massive learning experience for me. Naturally it was college so there were actual classes, but the bigger thing for me was the actual college experience. It was an eye opener to really take control of my own life. Even though you have class you can still have fun, make friends and do the activities they offer while getting a good grade. So it is really the whole college experience that makes this program amazing. Other than that when I look back at the end of the program the last few days of college life were hectic and very sad. As everyone started leaving I found that I would be one of the last people in the dorms and would have to watch everyone leave one by one. I did discover, however, in the duration of my goodbyes that it is more appropriate to say “see you later”. You never know whom you will meet and when you'll see them again, so it is more appropriate (and less heart breaking) to say “see you later” instead of “goodbye.” So…see you all later!