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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


San Ramon, CA
Democracy and Its Discontents
Summer College 2013
Hey, I'm Ravi and this fall I will be a junior at The Quarry Lane School. I was born in India, but moved to California as a baby, and have lived in the Bay Area for the past 15 years. This summer I will be attending Democracy and Its Discontents at Cornell Summer College, and am truly looking forward to this experience, as I am a history nut. I've loved history since I was kid, especially interested in ancient Rome and Greece. Since then, my interest in history has broadened from the confinement of the Mediterranean Sea.

Aside from history, my interests include political matters, writing, computer science, and reading (right now I'm in the middle of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, which I highly recommend). Another activity which is important to me is volleyball. I started two years ago, and have loved every second of it since.


A week ago I came to Ithaca for the first time, and the time has flown by. After spending a night in Ithaca, I came to Cornell not knowing what to expect. What awaited me was 700 acres of architectural and natural beauty. The gorges are breathtaking, even if you see them twice a day walking to and from class. Even someone with little interest in architecture must appreciate the design of the older buildings. Despite their age gaps, buildings old and new, as polar as Ithaca's weather, seem to mesh perfectly.

Despite the welcoming beauty, there were a couple of things for me–a kid from the SF Bay Area–to get accustomed to. First and foremost, the humidity. Coming from California, where the weather is very dry, I'm still getting used to this kind of weather. Most of this past week was characterized by incredible heat, then a thunderstorms (through which it was still too hot), back to plain heat. It seems to be cooling down now, and hopefully it will stay that way.

This week I feel as if I've also grown more responsible. I can't sleep for "5 more minutes" knowing that my parents will wake me up if I oversleep, and have to make sure I wake up the first time. I have to clean up my stuff without having to be told to do so first. I have to get my own food, go to class myself, etc. It has been fun though, having a preview of what college life will be like.

Classes have also been very interesting. For someone like me, who likes both history and politics, the Democracy and its Discontents course has been great. During the first part of class, we (the students) listen to Professor Salvatore lecture on different topics, then we have section. During section, the TA leads a discussion during which we are encouraged to discuss our take on the readings assigned the night before. Tomorrow I have my first paper due, in which I am assigned to answer a prompt by using the readings and notes from class. It's only been a week, and I'm sure it will get more intense next week and the week after.

Within a couple of days, I've already developed a schedule. After class, members of my class and I go to Trillium and eat food, following which I head over to the A.D White Library in Uris. The library is one of my favorite places on campus. Anybody you meet who has ever been there will tell you that it looks as if the architect went to the future, read Harry Potter, and based that one room off of the book. From the windows, there is a view of the valley, which is always nice to look at when one is tired of reading. After I finish my work, I head back to my dorm and relax with the people from my floor. We then go to dinner, and later go on our "nightly" jog.

It's been one week and I have already done too many things to even mention here, I can't wait for two more.

Despite the fact that it is an overused cliché, there is no other way for me to truly express how I feel right now. I can't believe that's it's almost been three weeks. The first week seemed to last quite a while, and ever since then, time hit turbo.

Since my last post I've done some really cool stuff. I went to the Kroch Library's rare documents exhibit and got to see one of the original copies of the 13th amendment (ended slavery), The Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, a bust made from a mold of Lincoln's head (before he became President), and some letters from/to Lincoln. That visit was definitely one of the highlights of Summer College. It's one thing to talk about these historic documents, and a completely different experience being able to be in front of the actual things. When you stop and think, "Lincoln, the actual person, signed this paper over 100 years ago," and you're able to see the President's signature in his own handwriting, you can't help but lose your breath. I also got to go to the Johnson Art Museum and look at a couple of interesting pieces of art close up.

As I said before, classes are almost over, and I just finished my last homework assignment. All that's left is one class, and the final. I've only been at Cornell for 3 weeks, but I now know North and Central campus like the back of my hand. I've also become very comfortable in my dorm. I'm not going to lie, I miss my home, but the grass is always greener over the hill; I'm sure I'll feel nostalgic about this place once I get back home.

It's been a fun and eye-opening experience here at Cornell, one which I will remember for the rest of my life. Good Bye


It's been one week since classes ended and I left Ithaca. I am writing this post in the comfort of my own room. Despite the benefits of having my own bedroom and bathroom again, I miss my room in High Rise #5.

Within a week I've realized that there's a lot about Cornell which I miss. I miss waking up early to meet my classmates at RPPC for breakfast. I miss the beautiful walk through campus from my dorm at High Rise to class at Ives. I miss learning about intriguing things in lecture. I miss discussing them in section. I miss lunch at Trillium. I miss doing homework at the A.D White Library. I miss the occasional bus ride on the 82 back to High Rise. I miss dinner with people from my dorm in RPCC. I miss ping pong in High Rise's sky lounge before the nightly check in. I miss waiting for my burger at Bear Necessities. I miss Insomnia Cookies. Etc. etc. etc. And yes, I miss the same weather I criticized in my first post.

Within a week, I've noticed the effects of my three weeks at Cornell on my daily life. I walk faster, I'm much more efficient with my time, especially in the morning, and I've lost my habit of procrastination. The intellectual skills I gained will also be extremely helpful for my junior year of high school.

It's truly been an honor to contribute my personal experiences at Cornell Summer College for the benefit of current or prospective students through my blogs. Being able to write these posts has also benefited me by giving me a way to reflect back at my time at Cornell. I'm happy to say that I am a graduate of Cornell Summer College. I will miss these weekly updates. And I will miss Cornell.