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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Danville, CA
The Business World
Summer College 2012
Hi there! My name is Nikita, and I'm really looking forward to joining the Business World program this summer at Cornell. Though I originally hail from New Delhi, India, I have lived in Dubai and Singapore prior to my seven years in sunny Danville, California. I'm a rising senior at The College Preparatory School (CPS), a small highly academic high school—as the very studious name suggests—in Oakland.

As for my hobbies, I'm fond of writing stories, addicted to Bollywood movies, a most notorious chatterbox (so do come find me around campus!), a weekend debater, and secretly a die-hard fan of "The Vampire Diaries." I’m especially eager for the marketing section of the program, as I've always found the science behind advertising gimmicks to be fascinating. Can't wait to meet all of you! Bests, Nikita

It's ten days before the commencement of Summer College, and I stand on the edge of my self-named "College Trip Extravaganza," a trip to span Boston, NYC, and Washington DC in six days ending at Ithaca. Gosh I cannot believe that it's already almost the start of Cornell; it had seemed so far away, just something I told people about for the distant future. With the realization of the impending trip upon me, I'm realizing that there's much to pack and to figure out. My stay at Cornell will be both the farthest and the longest trip away from my family, and I greet this fact with a mixture of excitement and a touch of anxiousness.

I sincerely hope that I find good, entertaining people and quickly make friends. I've only ever been to the East Coast for a week, and that was back in ancient eighth grade, so I'm not too sure what to expect people to be like. I know that Cornell is attracting kids from all over the world, so maybe my concerns match those of others. In any case, I'm thoroughly looking forward to it, and flicked through the (large) Business textbook. Not much of it makes sense yet, but I was pleased to see some brand names and terms that were familiar, including Apple and Maybelline. Cornell is going to be an adventure, and I'm feeling geared up for it; wish me luck!

I'd like to start with the fact that I live in a castle! A beautiful red Hogwarts style castle named Risley Hall, reputed for its hidden corridors and trapdoors. The walls of the corridors are beautifully covered with all styles of bold paintings; from graffiti so intricate you feel the people are real, to haunting landscapes calling you into a world of Cleopatra and dragons to cute yellow smileys winking cheekily back. Really there's nothing like Risley Hall; I am 99% sure I've been sorted in the most idyllic house…the only downside: no AC, so the nobility within often travels to the libraries and other common rooms around the sprawling 700-acre campus that is now home.

Most importantly, I could not ask for better people around me. Truly, I feel as though I've known my friends for years, rather than the few days that we've been together! When Cornell's website promoted a diverse community, they weren't just saying that. The sea of different cultures swallows you wholly wherever you go. I've found myself conversing in Hindi, English, and thanking my high-school French lessons. My very own friends circle is a great example; Danielle is the sweetest, bubbliest girl, half-German and half-Turkish, Margaux (our entertainer!) is Belgian, Rachel is our New York correspondent with a (karaoke) voice fit for Broadway, Abril's accent during insights gives away her Dominican heritage, and Jana the Jovial is another Californian Indian like myself.

On a studious note, classes are much harder than I expected. Taking a 15-week college-level business course, with no prior business knowledge, at five times the pace is a daunting task, and we are all working extremely hard. However, our professor, Dr. David Taylor, makes an hour and a half go by rapidly with his enjoyable lectures. Every now and then, he'll go off on an interesting tangent, sometimes about his role as a hotel manager and oftentimes on his love for the Mets, his beloved baseball team. Following lectures, guest speakers frequently visit us, each one bringing in their tale of business success and life as entrepreneurs. My personal favorite thus far has been Mr. J Alexander; his words were captivating and I've even written down some quotable quotes from his inspiring lecture! One that comes to mind is "sometimes things fall through and sometimes things fall from heaven." Isn't that just great?

My first weekend has been jammed packed with fun; honestly not a dull moment in sight! Late at night, by the cover of rain, about 200 students created a festival-like atmosphere en route to an intense game of "Manhunt," leaping across bushes and hiding in majestic arches to get to the green glowing underbelly of the Architecture department; the safe-house for us fugitives running from the rival cops team. I'm proud to announce that my companions and I did outwit the others, making it to victory! Another grand event in the past days has been our mass migration to the local theatre to watch "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises." Almost as entertaining as the movie was our taxi ride back home. Eight teenagers packed into a tiny cab singing "We Are Young" at the top of our lungs. It was like a scene from a movie, but the driver's only comment was his gratefulness to rid of the "band of cats." Oh well! Yesterday, just us girls decided to do a little strolling and shopping about downtown, making it in time to go for the amazing dance party, organized by our RCAs, happening at the lounge, "Level B."

Needless to say I'm having a blast, but I better sign off now; there's so much work to do for Business Studies!

As anyone in the business program can attest to, this week has been hard. Between a flurry of lectures, Videocon guest speakers, and two big assignments we've all had our noses to the grindstone, namely the heavy textbook and Nike case studies. But, with the coming of the weekend and the Olympics there was an excitement to the air here at Cornell. Eager to celebrate the end of a difficult week, my friends and I boarded the TCAT bus for Collegetown and strolled down to the Plum Tree, a nearby Japanese restaurant. Though I had entered the restaurant hesitantly, I was quickly spoilt by the vast array of sushi, and the ten of us ordered round after round of platters while examining the curious contents of Paul's elaborate red bento boxes. Refueled, we washed down eel and avocado with green tea and headed for the nearby Collegetown Bagels where Margaux had heard an indie-rock band was playing that evening.

As 9 p.m. rolled around, we returned to campus in search of TV screens. With people from all around the world living together, spirits were high as people from all fields of the summer program crowded in lounges and rooms across campus to watch the opening ceremony and see the faces of our respective national teams. Cheers and commentary could be heard all across the hallways of RPCC, where I was watching the festivities, and we just about made it back to our dorms for the midnight check-in as the pink fireworks began on-screen signaling the end of the Olympic torch ceremony.

It would be wrong to begin project-work on a Saturday morning, and so with full consensus, we returned to our favorite café from the night before and watched the Olympian swimming event, as we cheerfully helped ourselves to brunch at Collegetown Bagels and made plans with strong vows to work on our various assignments later in the day. En route to home, Ben led us to a magical place on Cornell's campus, the rooftop of Olin Library, a wide pathway surrounded by pebbles and stones. At first we raised our eyebrows unsure why it was to be considered remarkable, but our jaws dropped as Sam and Ben skipped some pebbles across the ground: the stones sung! The entire pathway is essentially a giant xylophone, and we spent a long time there trying to coordinate a song with the musical rocks.

Now that we had thrown a splash of art into our day, we decided to balance it by renting badminton racquets and two courts at the sports complex. After what were the most intense sessions of badminton I have ever played, the sweaty lot agreed to go home, dress up, and hit The Ithaca Commons, a long line of restaurants a bus ride away.

Despite our jazzy clothes, a table for eight persons was naturally difficult to find on a busy Saturday night, and we loitered past five prospective destinations till we stumbled into a Middle Eastern restaurant, Sahara, with an alluring ambience. Tzatziki, tabouli, hummus, and shawarmas soon filled the air with delicious aromas, and to our surprise there was even a belly dancer! Returning to "the castle," Risley Hall, we found that the Yule Ball we had hoped to attend had been temporarily suspended, as some bats had taken a liking to the beautiful Harry Potter-themed decorations and food. Amused by the witchy turn of events, we finished the day watching "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along" movie at Balch Hall, feeling thoroughly delighted with the outcome of the day; it was truly a reward for the hard work we had all put in that week!

With the first two essays for the course now done, we're turning our full attentions on Sunday to prepare for our stock analysis presentations in time for the Monday deadline. I've now got much to learn about Apple vs. Google shares! Crossing my fingers hoping everything goes off well tomorrow!

8/11/12 Goodbyes are always difficult, and so I think I'm going to put them off till the very end. The third, and final week at Cornell was hectic. For the business students the start of the week involved final touchups to presentations, picking out business casual outfits, and then finally, giving our stock analyst presentations before our smaller discussion classes. My team chose to do a comparative analysis of Apple versus Google shares to which we would invest our fictitious $5,000. (In case I've peaked some curiosity, the real analysts are suggesting Apple shares at this time.) To celebrate the success of our presentations, we journeyed down to—you guessed it—Collegetown Bagels once more, for nicknacks. By this time, my friends and I had been to the cafe so many times, the waiter even knew our names!

Later that evening, as the storm clouds rolled in, we were joined by our friends in Engineering, and we decided to climb to the top of the Clocktower to enjoy the evening chimes concert. It was a long climb up the never-ending spiral staircase, and the chimes roared above us deafeningly, but the view from the top made everything worthwhile. Under the archways of the rooftop, we could see all of Cornell and the surrounding landscape of Ithaca stretching out beneath us. We cheered loudly, though probably still unheard within the din, as the chimesmaster decided to play the theme song to Harry Potter and then later, by Margaux's request, Hey Jude. Ben, Sam, and I all signed the guestbook at the top of the tower, proud to leave our mark at such a beautiful viewpoint.

Galvanized by our aerial photo shoot, we ran through the rain to the underbelly of the Architecture building, Milstein Hall. There, perched atop the glowing spheres we all posed, pulling sometimes ungraceful balancing acts for perfect photographs.

The next two mornings of lectures were slightly more relaxed, as we were all looking and feeling mentally-drained since we were each preparing for our final exam in various libraries and dorm rooms across campus. Professor Taylor decided to show us the book-based movie, Freakonomics, which turned out to be highly entertaining and broad ranging in topics. It was interesting to see how different fields could "lie" with statistics, or rather how you could prove something completely illogical with smartly woven data points. Later that Wednesday I was rather pleased, as I went down to the Appel Commons mailroom to find that my family had sent me a lovely red, tin bucket of M&M chocolate fudge. As you can imagine, study sessions suddenly became a lot more cheerful at my end!

Friday morning, at 8:30 a.m. we arrived and took our AEM-1200, Intro to Business Management exam in the familiar lecture hall where we had studied each day. The exam went off well, and we were all thrilled that our hard work had paid off. To congratulate ourselves, Rachel, Burak, and I decided to do something otherwise unimaginable: a snowball fight in August! A large group of students walked to the distant backdoor of Cornell's hockey stadium to find a giant heap of snow—leftovers from the ice rink Zambonis. A terrific snowball fight ensued, and we really did have a ton of fun that afternoon. With some ice still melting in our hair, we ran back to North Campus where the carnival was picking up some steam. At the carnival were two of the coolest "bouncy castles" I have ever seen; one was a wrestling ring, complete with oversized inflatable gloves and helmets, and the second was a sort of inflatable you would expect to see on the TV show, "Wipeout"! The goal was to stay standing on your individual platforms while trying to knock your opponents from theirs by pushing a giant inflatable wrecking ball in their direction. Personally, I could not even stay standing on my platform, so unsurprisingly, I was quickly out! Upon receiving a phone call from our impatient friends, Paul and Danielle, we darted back to our dorms to change into finer clothes and met at the Risley bus stop for a final dinner together.

A Taste of Thai is a wonderful fine dining restaurant on the Commons, and our table enjoyed bowls of Pad Thai, green curry, and satay each daring the others to order items higher on the spice hierarchy. It was a bittersweet evening, as we all knew it was our last time dining and merry-ing together, but we combated the bitter by drowning our sorrows in frozen yogurt at The Waffle Frolic and being entertained by various street musicians.

Returning to Cornell we gathered at the beautiful, and eerily lit Gothic style War Memorial for a traditional game of Truth or Dare. Though I could not say of course, what truths were said that night, I can say that many a song and declaration of undying love were sung to any unsuspecting passersby!

But all tales aside, I must now come to the part I have been putting off all article-long; that is most tragic and unwanted saying of farewells and "I'll see you on Facebook" to good friends. It is truly the people that make any place, and the reason that I have loved my time at Cornell and at the business program has been because of the wonderful, friendly, intelligent, and wacky people I have become so close to in such a short amount of time. Lectures were interesting because of Prof. Taylor's delightful flair. Risley Hall became home to me because I knew that Rachel would be singing upstairs, or that Margaux would be finding out about places to go, or that Danielle would be coming by to study in my room. It was the pizza slumber parties in my room, the movie nights at Balch, and dashing to the crazy long lines for 11p.m. check-in that made Cornell a home and such a wonderful experience that I shall cherish forever. Yes, we have come away with a certificate and college credits, but that is just paper work. The true experiences and achievements were the lifelong friendships and knowledge that we all could take away after three weeks together at Cornell.

My very best to everyone who was sweet enough to read through all this, and to everyone who encouraged me and cheered me on while I was writing these, sometimes on the stairwell blocking your path. I was truly honored to chronicle our great times together and I sincerely hope that we all stay in touch.

Lots of love! Signing off, Nikita