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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Calabasas, CA
Nature and Culture
Summer College 2012
Hi! I'm Jake and in the Fall I will be a Senior at Calabasas High School. Calabasas is a Northwestern suburb of Los Angeles. I love sports, music, video games, comedy and food. I will be taking Nature and Culture: History, Philosophy, and the Environment. This course interests me because I'm passionate about preserving our environment. I'm president of my school's recycling club, involved with the basketball team, and a producer of a local ESPN radio show. I'm excited to spend three weeks in a college town, learn more about Cornell, and meet everyone.

After a tough year I'm very happy to finally be out of school. Here, in LA, we've been celebrating the Kings' first ever Stanley Cup victory! Before going to Cornell, I'll be spending a few days in New York City with my family. We plan to do a lot of eating at cool and famous restaurants and see "The Book of Mormon." I've spent the past seven summers at sleep away camp so it's a weird feeling not going this year, but as a result, I've had no trouble packing. I've been assigned to the Mary Donlon dorm. My cousin, who just graduated, told me it's considered the social dorm during the normal school year. We'll find out if that's true in the summer too.

My roommate and neighbors in the dorm are all cool. It's crazy living with guys from all over the country and around the world. I've met several guys who would fit in with the group of guys I hang out with at home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I like the food here. I eat lunch at Trillium every day and I especially like the wraps there.

This weekend I will continue exploring the campus and Ithaca. Unfortunately, I couldn't get on the group trip to Buttermilk Falls. I'm really bummed and disappointed that the program doesn't have room for everyone who wants to go. I'll probably see a movie or do something fun in Collegetown with my friends instead.

I am one third of the way through Summer College! I am already working on ideas for my term paper and have read a full book, many articles, and just started a second book. It has been a lot of reading in a short amount of time. Each day in class is the equivalent of one week in real college. Despite the heavy workload, I really like my professor, Dr. Tantillo, and TA, Amy Kohout. Nature and Culture is a really interesting class.

I've been at Cornell for the equivalent of roughly two months during the normal school year. I've read three full books, countless articles, and I've written two short writing assignments. I'm currently working on a 10-page research paper about the history of food trucks for my class, Nature and Culture. The past two weeks have flown by and I've done so many things. I've also realized how much better college professors are than high school teachers which makes the idea of college much more appealing.

There were fireworks this past Monday night for the 4th of July. On Tuesday there was a Zumba class. I was able to convince a lot of guys to go to Zumba and I even led one song! I saw the new Spiderman movie at the Ithaca Mall. I thought it was a surprisingly good reboot of the series. My friends and I have ordered late night pizza and wings a few times which is always fun and delicious.

Since writing my last blog I've decided I no longer like the wraps at Trillium. Now I really like the tuna melts. If it wasn't for the lack of air conditioning in the dorms, I think I would like to stay another three weeks.

I'm back at home, and I'm glad to sleep in my own bed, eat my mom's cooking, and see my friends. On Tuesday I went to a Dodgers game and two famous Dwights were there: Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office and Dwight Howard, who will hopefully have been traded to the Lakers by the time you read this.

I also miss Ithaca. I miss hanging out with my new Summer College friends, ordering pizza and wings at 1 a.m., and the reason I was there: Nature and Culture. My last week of class was intense: lectures, discussions, completing my term paper, and studying for and taking the final exam. Taking my first blue book exam was tough, but I'm confident I will be happy with my grade in the class.

I'm glad I didn't leave after the final on Friday and chose to stay until Saturday. I enjoyed a carefree night with my roommate and friends. Saturday morning I said my goodbyes and stopped at Dinosaur BBQ before getting on the plane in Syracuse.

The Summer College experience was a great introduction to college and dorm life. I'm very glad that I came to Ithaca and studied at Cornell. The class, professor, and TAs provided an interesting and challenging experience. I made friends from all over the country, and I look forward to staying in touch and getting together in person. I would definitely recommend Cornell Summer College!