Skip to content
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


Cromwell, CT
Cornell Engineering Experience
Summer College 2012
Hello, I'm Erin, and I am taking the Exploration in Engineering course this summer. I could not be more excited, because I am a mega math nerd. I will be finishing my junior year at Cromwell High School in Connecticut, and then one week later heading off to Cornell! Gah! I am also an enthusiastic painter, so I'm also taking the Introduction to Painting course at Cornell! I love watercolors, acrylics, drawing, but most definitely NOT oil painting, but only because I don't have the patience for it.

Furthermore, I play the clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, piano, and am in the midst of learning the bassoon. (If you couldn't tell, I love learning new things.) Pretty much the only other thing anyone ever needs to know about me is that I am a die-hard Hufflepuff, despite having been sorted into Slytherin three times on Pottermore. I am super excited for the classes I will be taking at Cornell, and am anxiously waiting for school to end and summer to begin!

Gah! So much packing to do! My friends are texting me wondering what's taking me so long to pack, and I have no idea! Every time I think I'm done packing, something new comes up and I have to go on a scavenger hunt to find it.

I am getting extremely anxious to leave. My parents will drive me to Cornell on Saturday morning at 5:00 am, so I guess I should get plenty of sleep Friday night. I'm cramming in as much time with my friends as I can because I'm going to miss them so much. However, as much as I am going to miss my friends, I am eagerly waiting to get to Cornell and make some new ones!

Moving into my dorm was nothing if not jarring. Hanging up my towel on a rack and plugging in my phone charger into the outlet seemed to cement the idea in my mind that I would be spending the next six weeks here. I committed myself to memorizing the Cornell campus map, yet I am still getting lost in the hallways of my dorm! I suppose it will take slightly longer than a week to adjust to Cornell.

My classes are looking pretty good so far. I love my painting class, and it's a good thing, too, because I have it every day. Despite the fact that I now have to wake up at a semi-reasonable time, I am enjoying spending that time in the studio. The engineering class is interesting, and there are so many people in it! Unfortunately for me, I have not taken Physics in high school yet, so some of the things the professor is talking about are going straight over my head. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up!

Week Two is now completed. A lot of homework has been completed, math calculations written out, paintings finished. Furthermore, friends have been made and clubs joined. I'm becoming more and more familiar with the campus, and find myself getting lost less often than my first couple of days. My routine seems to have been set, and now that I have established a rhythm, it feels like I’ve been here for months. Has it only been fourteen days since I've been home? Because by the looks of my dorm room, I've clearly made myself comfortable here.

I have fallen madly in love with my art class. There are only eight of us in the group, a sharp contrast to the one hundred and twenty people in my engineering class. Each one of us gets a stool, easel, and cupboard to store our things. Funk music plays in the background as we complete our assignments, and I can officially declare that every single article of clothing that I brought now has paint somewhere stained on it. The teacher is interesting and dynamic, and I eagerly wake up every morning to rush off to class.

Hopefully the engineering class will become as engaging as the painting class. However, it currently is losing a war in keeping my eyes open for the three hour lecture. While the topic is interesting, my brain seems to constantly wander in some other direction. Perhaps it's the large room we are in that makes my thoughts drift, so as of now I am battling my conscience to stay focused during the class. I am waiting anxiously for brain will adjust soon!

Two weeks down, four to go.

Summer College is halfway finished. Three weeks have passed, and three more weeks approach. The first session three-week students have left and new ones have arrived, and I am enjoying meeting a variety of new people. My prelim is coming up for my engineering class, and I'm getting nervous! We're continuously learning a variety of new things, and the vast amount of material we are covering is giving me a good overview of the range that engineering topics envelop.

The temperature controls here in Ithaca seem to be a little temperamental. My art class can be stifling and humid, whereas the engineering class' air conditioning seems to constantly be set to fifty degrees Fahrenheit. I am quickly learning to dress in layers.

I can't believe week 4 is already wrapping up! Only two more weeks! (plus a couple more days to take my final). Time is going so quickly here at Cornell, and yet it also feels like I've been here for ages. I'm more than halfway through the course! My studying habits seem to be getting fine-tuned as I'm realizing I can't procrastinate quite as drastically as I've become accustomed to in high school. There's a lot of work to do at Cornell, but the experience is extremely rewarding.

I took my engineering prelim this Wednesday, and am feeling slightly nervous about receiving my grade. In art class we just finished our fourth painting—a painting of Cheetos, which is a lot more difficult than I would have imagined.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that there are only two weeks left!

So much work to do, so little time. My time at Summer College is coming to a close with only one week left. There are a lot of final projects I need to wrap up in both Engineering and Painting, and the countdown has begun.

Good news—I didn't fail my Engineering prelim! And now, after basking in that glory, I am sorry to report that it is time to begin my studying for the final. It continues to stun me just how fast my time at Cornell is passing.

As for my painting class, we have begun yet another painting. I finished the painting of Cheetos (it came out looking like a bunch of hotdogs) and also finished another painting of some melon. We had used real fruit to observe while painting, so after a couple of days a significant amount of mold had grown on them. I kept having to add new bruises and bumps to the now rotting fruit in my painting. Now that that painting is finished, we have begun a painting of flowers. We got to pick out our own arrangement and vase, and I'm extremely excited to see how the painting comes out.

I have been at Cornell University for five weeks, and I have not even skimmed the outermost layer of what this campus and faculty have to offer. I'm thinking I have a lot of experiences to cram into this last week!

I woke up in my own bed this morning. Wait, what?

I'm back in Connecticut! Cornell's Summer College is over, and I'm wondering where the past six weeks of my life have gone. I'm also wondering what I'm supposed to be doing now that I don't have classes to go to. No studying, no homework (oh wait, I still have that darn AP homework to do), no classes. What do I do with my life?

Oh yeah, I remember! I'm cramming six weeks of summer into two weeks before I go back to school! Beach trips, sleepovers, hanging out, sleeping until noon! So many lazy activities to do, so little time!

That's not to say that I don't cherish the last six weeks at Cornell. I learned many amazing things, met incredible people, and have fantastic memories to hold on to! It's bittersweet that the experience is over, because on one hand I will miss the college life (because I'm finding it hard to adjust to emptying a dish washer again), but on the other hand I miss my friends, my family, and my home. Hopefully my experience at Cornell will stay with me for the rest of my life.