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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Orlando, FL
Design Immersion
Summer College 2012
Hi! My name is Dana and I live in Orlando, Florida. I am a rising senior at Dr. Phillips High School, which is literally right across the street from Universal Theme Park! I am in the fine art strand of the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet program at my school. Besides being a hardworking student, I am a cross country runner, a piano player, and an artist. This summer, I am excited to combine my love for art and design with my enthusiasm for the environment in the Design Immersion program. I can’t wait to spend three weeks studying what I am passionate about, all while making new friends and exploring beautiful Ithaca.

There is only 1 week left until I finally, after months of anticipation, get to step foot on the Cornell University campus! In preparation for my approaching three week stay, I have (of course) done some major shopping—I thought this occasion called for new clothes in addition to the essentials like a laundry hamper and sheets. I have also been trying to see my friends at home one last time before I leave. Although I’ll miss my friends and family, I am even more excited (don’t tell them!) to meet my summer classmates and hopefully future life-long friends. Perhaps most importantly, I am looking forward to learning all I can about design from the professors. I am a little worried about getting lost as I try to find my classes, but, at the same time, I kind of want to “get lost” and explore Ithaca. I can’t wait!

One week down! In just these past seven days, so many exciting things have happened. If I told you everything, this post would be at least five pages long, so I'll give you a short glimpse into my life at Cornell.

Monday through Friday I have my Design and Environmental Analysis class from nine to five, with breaks for lunch and our daily afternoon tea. Class may be long, but it goes by quickly because the professors are really passionate about design and the environment, so in turn, they make me excited to learn the new material. Class time is filled with lectures on everything from urban planning to industrial design to web design, as well as hands-on time in the studio. Our first big project—designing and constructing a light fixture for a specific space—is due Monday (tomorrow)… I need to work on that today! I'm also very happy to say that in just this first week, our class has taken three short field trips around campus and the beautiful Cornell Plantations.

I've made many friends so far—everyone in Ithaca is so nice. One of my biggest fears prior to coming here was my roommate. But, to my pleasant surprise, she is very sweet and comes all the way from Qatar! I have also become really close with girls on my hall floor. This weekend we made the most of our time out of class by going into town, seeing a movie, and hiking and swimming at Buttermilk Falls.

Phew! I just got back to my dorm from an early Saturday morning run, which was wonderful like always. Because I am running all around the picturesque campus and gorges, I sometimes forget that I am even working out at all.

Two successful weeks have flown by very quickly and there is only one to go! In my Design class, we switched our focus this past week to graphic design and creating logos for our made-up company. On Friday, we took an all-day field trip to Corning Museum of Glass, which is about an hour away from Cornell. I had no idea that there are so many cool things to know about glass; its history, the light qualities it creates, all the ways it is used. I even got the opportunity to blow glass myself!

My friends and I have been exploring Downtown, as well as Collegetown, which is within walking distance of Cornell Campus as long as you don't mind breaking a little sweat (it has been really hot here in Ithaca lately!). There are a lot of little local restaurants that we have been trying out, because even though our regular dining hall, RPCC, serves good food, it's easy to get tired of eating the same three things for two weeks straight.

As I continue to get closer to my friends and teachers, it makes me incredibly sad to think that soon I will have to return home to Florida and say goodbye to Cornell. So, I plan to make this coming week at Cornell the best one yet!

I can't believe Cornell Summer College is over! It flew by really fast—especially the final days, which were filled with finishing up projects and class work. Everyone in my design class was extremely busy the last two days, rapidly putting together a final exhibit of our work completed throughout the three weeks. Our efforts successfully came together on Friday, when our exhibit called "Design Talks" was open for viewing. My fellow design students and I were surprised that so many people—friends, professors, students—came to our show.

It has been less than a week since I packed up my dorm (which I caught myself calling "my home") into two huge duffle bags and boarded a plane back to Orlando, but I already very much miss my Cornell friends. Although I have only known them for three weeks, we have become so close that it feels like we have been friends forever. The many goodbyes were hard, but we all promised to stay in touch!

Overall, first off I must say that I loved every second of those three weeks at Cornell! I learned about many aspects of design and the importance of the environment, but I also learned a lot about myself. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it is true. By throwing myself in a new situation surrounded by new kids, I really noticed the type of person I am and can be. I also have a clearer view of what I am looking for in a university. Being at Cornell has shown me what is important when choosing a school.

I cannot convey in words how much I enjoyed Cornell and how thankful I am to have had such a memorable summer experience. And although I miss it dearly, who knows—maybe I'll be back in the fall of 2013!