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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Santa Barbara, CA
Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management
Summer College 2011
My name is Patrick. I'm a student at Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, California, and I've just finished junior year. I have lived in Santa Barbara all my life, and if I’m not studying, at school, or asleep, I tend to be running, practicing Karate, or on a Boy Scout hike, which is lucky, because I've heard that the running and hiking trails around Cornell are great, and I look forward to training for the upcoming Cross Country season while I’m there. To be honest, I've never been to Cornell, but I look forward to going this summer. I have a lot of colleges high up on my list, but, from what it sounds like, Cornell might top them all. The very fact that the school offers a summer course by the name of Sustainable Animal Husbandry: Captive Raptor Management says something about the diversity of opportunities available at Cornell. I can hardly wait to start what promises to be the most fun and interesting summer program, and I look forward to meeting everyone.

Summer's been a blast! Swimming, running, and just hanging out have left me rested and ready for Cornell, and I can hardly wait to finally see the campus. I am just finishing the suggested reading and I look forward to what sounds like a great experience. If the Captive Raptor Management program is half as great as it sounds, the next several weeks will be a time to remember. The only thing I'm a little nervous about is the quality of the food, but I have been told it's amazing. I'm counting down the days until the program starts, and I'll see you all there.

Man, how do I even begin to describe this last week? The course work is challenging but interesting, and I have developed a deep respect for Dr. Parks. His proficiency at understanding, identifying, and caring for birds of prey is truly incredible, as he has repeatedly identified perched raptors that I could barely locate even with binoculars and has critiqued the Harry Potter movie for its improper depiction of an owl’s flight method.

While papers and group projects seem to preoccupy everyone in my class, there still has been abundant time to hang out at the lounge, go for runs on the enormous campus that I don’t think I will ever be able to fully explore, and head to Ithaca for truly entertaining and amazing experiences that I will not soon forget. In fact, the only two downsides to Cornell that I can think of are the boiling heat and that this summer program is only three weeks long.

This program has been going too fast. There's not enough time in three weeks to do all of the incredible things that Cornell has to offer, and even though I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm running low on cash, I can hardly blame myself with all of the amazing restaurants and interesting places in and around Ithaca. Although the class has admittedly been getting more difficult as the final exam approaches, my classmates and I somehow still find time to hang out, go for runs, watch movies at Regal Cinema, explore the city, and just joke around.

The first two weeks of this program have been completely awesome, and while I'm looking forward to finishing all of the next week's work, I can't say that I am eager to leave. Truthfully, this has probably been the most entertaining, challenging, and memorable summer that I have had in high school, and I will remember the friends I met here for the rest of my life.

It has been almost a week since I left Cornell, and I can't help missing my classmates and all of the entertaining things that happened during Summer College. I still sometimes wear my Cornell lanyard out of habit, even though I no longer need to worry about getting locked out of my room, and I still find myself wondering if there is any last minute work I need to do before class.

The three weeks that I was at Cornell went by quickly, and the only advice that I can give to any future Cornell summer students is to enjoy it while you can. To any of the Captive Raptor Management students who happen to be reading this: I miss you guys and with any luck I'll see you again soon.

If anyone reading this is unsure about whether or not they should apply to the Cornell summer program, I say go for it... and say hello to Dr. Parks for me.