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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Silver Spring, MD
Body, Mind, and Health
Summer College 2013
Hello! My name is Rachel, and I'm a recent graduate of Montgomery Blair High School's Class of 2013 in Silver Spring, Maryland. In school, I was an active member of the National Honors Society, Students for Global Responsibility, and Blair Crew. Outside of school, I spent the majority of my time working at Great Sage, a vegan restaurant, as well as volunteering with my summer camp and bowling in two Duckpin Youth Leagues.

In the spring of 2009, I was diagnosed with a disorder of the autonomic nervous system called Neuro-Cardiogenic Syncope Syndrome. Though there is not a "cure," my condition drastically improved simply from living a healthier lifestyle. As a result, I have developed a strong interest in medicine, public health, and nutrition. I'm so excited to delve into the social history of medicine in the Body, Mind, and Health course this summer at Cornell in gorges Ithaca!

Before I came to Cornell, I intermittently thought about what I would do with all of the free time I would obviously have throughout the week and in between lectures, discussions, and movies. However I can now say that free time is hard to come by in Summer College.

Even though I have only been at Cornell for a week, I feel as if I have learned a whole year's worth of information. During the first class, my professor jumped right into the course and we focused on redefining the history of medicine by looking at it from "the bottom up." Other topics included: the biopsychosocial model of various diseases, how doctors have gained such an immense amount of power, and how people can use disease as an identity. Since the Body, Mind, and Health course emphasizes reading, critical thinking, and constructing interpretations about various pieces of literature I have had the pleasure of getting to know Uris and Olin library quite well. Uris library is picture perfect, and has a very gothic yet quaint feel to it. Olin, on the other hand, has a coffee shop inside, which my friends and I are especially grateful for at around 4 p.m. Though this week has been stressful, with two books and numerous lengthy articles to read, in addition to a paper, I have found every moment to be rewarding and invigorating.

Aside from classes and homework, I've gotten to explore Ithaca a little bit! On Friday night I went to the Ithaca Commons with a few friends where we ate at the one and only Moosewood Restaurant. We also walked to the Ithaca Farmers Market on Saturday morning and tried wonderfully fresh and delicious bakes goods, fruit, and coffee. I can't wait to see what this next week has in store for me. Stay tuned!


These past three weeks at Cornell have literally flown by. I've learned about some of the most fascinating concepts in medicine, eaten some of the best food in Ithaca, and seen some of the most beautiful scenery.

During the second week, my class and I spent some time discussing anorexia nervosa, and even read Fasting Girls, which was written by our professor! The rest of the academic week was used for discussing some of the “bigger concepts” in the history of medicine and how they have shaped and impacted doctors, patients, and treatments today. I also began to do some research for my large research paper about obesity. Luckily I didn't have class on the Fourth of July so I spent most of the day catching up on some sleep and working on my paper.

After class on Friday, my friends and I walked to Collegetown Bagels for lunch to see what all the hype was about. Let me just say that since then we have gone back four times. Everything is so good, especially their smoothies and coffee. On Saturday we went back to the Ithaca Farmers Market and tried some peanut lime noodles at a booth called Macro Mamas, which specializes in macrobiotically prepared foods. I spent the rest of the day at Treman State Park swimming and basking in the sun.

Week three has been the most stressful so far; my eight-page paper took up the vast majority of my time, along with reading a book about AIDS, and preparing for my final. Speaking of which, I should really get back to studying. My final is tomorrow! Yikes!


Bonjour encore! I can't believe I'm in Annecy, France while writing my last Summer College post. I've certainly been blessed this summer with beautiful scenery in the French Alps and in Ithaca.

I know this is going to sound super cheesy, but I honestly feel like I was meant to be in Ithaca at Cornell this summer. I applied to Summer College at the very last minute, mostly on impulse. When I clicked the submit button I thought, "Even if I do get accepted there is no way my parents would ever let me go, and there is no way I'd be able to afford it"; I didn't even tell my parents that I applied at first. Yet the minute I found out I got in, I knew I had to do everything in my power to convince my parents that Summer College is a fantastic opportunity. After two weeks of listening to me say, "I'll die if I don't go," "What are you going to do when I'm in college? I'll be away for months, not weeks!" and "I'll pay for half of it" they finally gave in and, upon reflection, I am so thrilled they did.

This was the first time I had been away from my parents for more than a few days, and I'm not going to lie, it was extremely nerve-racking (and sad) at first. Once they left, there was a moment where I just plopped down at my desk and thought "Well…what now?" But within the first few hours I met many of my hallmates by just leaving my door open; I ended up meeting two girls in my program and we spent about sixteen hours a day together (I can't believe we didn't kill each other!) in class, going to dinner, room hopping, and studying.

Cornell taught me so many valuable lessons (which I will take with me to NYU this fall!); I learned how to participate in big lectures by asking and answering questions, how to do laundry and how to really manage my time. Even though I had to learn a semester's worth of material in three weeks, which was definitely not a cakewalk, I have grown exponentially as a person, as a student, and as a friend.