The Individual in the Social World
Summer College 2014
Hey readers! I'm Amani from the Princeton area and I'm looking forward to studying Psychology at CUSC this summer! Like many of my peers, I enjoy sleeping, eating, and generally lounging about. However, I rarely have time for the latter. When I'm not at school or doing work, I'm usually found reading or engaging in a community service project. I've been known to read at the dinner table or while walking in crowded areas. My mom finds it problematic. My other love is service. There's something inexplicably fulfilling about receiving a smile from a single patron in a soup kitchen or a hug from a child living in a Family Center. I want to spend my life like this—serving others. Now that you know a little about me, I’m excited to spend my summer with you all! Until next time, Ciao!
Oh my goodness, this past week at Cornell Summer College has been such a whirlwind! I've met so many new faces and my experience here so far has been so interesting! At first, it's disorienting getting accustomed to the beautiful, but expansive campus, the top-notch, real, university classes, and college scheduling, but it's been a really enlightening adventure.
My dorm here is in Risley Hall, which is a cool, artsy, and castle-like building that takes some getting-used-to. I've loved losing myself in the hallways and artwork found all over the Hall. Perhaps the newest experience for me is the communal bathroom, but I only share it with a few girls, who are all really nice, so it's been good.
I've made tons of friends in class and in my dorm, and it's been great getting to know these awesome people and hanging out with this squad. Throughout the week, when I'm not in lectures or discussions, or swimming in my readings for class, I'm usually with some friends eating, exploring campus, or at the events our super awesome RCA's plan for us. Our RCA's are actually some of the coolest people, and we're all pretty grateful for them.
Moving onto class, I've digested an unbelievable amount of information in just this past week, but it's all been really fascinating. The test this past Friday was quite stress-inducing, but I've got another one to look forward to this Thursday. I've found that procrastination is most definitely not your friend while you're here, but once you get your work done, you'll be glad you did and I'm sure you'll find what you're passionate about while you're delving into everything you're learning. Plus, once you're finished with work, you'll have plenty of time to spend time with friends and venture out into the greater Ithaca area.
This weekend, my friends and I went to Collegetown and to the mall a few times and fell in love with all the animals in the pet store and the SPCA. All in all, though busy, this first week has been loads of fun and I'm eager for the rest of my time here to come! We're having a great time!
Our time here is reaching its end and it's so hard to believe! After these three weeks of living and breathing Social Psychology, it's crazy to think that this class will be over. Tomorrow, I take my final, and I'm freaked out beyond words, so I'm studying intensely and hopefully all the hard work will pay off. I think each one of us is proud of what we've accomplished in these three weeks, including two other tests and a paper, and ultimately, I'm glad I took this course.
Aside from the rigorous academics, I've made some really great friends, and not just in Risley Hall and class. Summer College has helped me to form what I believe will be long-lasting friendships.
Now that we're so close to the end, I'm mentally capturing all the things I'm going to miss once I'm gone. It's going to be difficult to leave all the amazing people in this program. I'm going to miss chilling downstairs in Risley, studying all night while chatting with all our RCA's, PA's, and HR. We're really lucky to have these amazing people to talk to and look up to as role models.
I'm going to miss the fact that being here, you encounter all kinds of people in countless different ways, and get to learn so much more about people and maybe gain a new experience. For example, last week, some guys were slacklining outside Balch and let us attempt. Although I'm nowhere near as good as these guys (who, like, climb real mountains and stuff, so whoa), it was a really cool experience.
I'm going to miss our late night food orders, devouring a fourth meal to get through the day, whether it be a ton of cookies, chicken wings, or Chinese take-out. Speaking of food, the ice cream at the Dairy Barn is really good and everyone on campus should have it at least once.
I'm going to miss Catalina and my Psych section because although we worked really hard, we had a lot of fun and really got to know each other. I think our class would be super interesting and awesome anyway, but Social Psychology was a way better experience with Catalina as our TA and with the group of kids we had in our section, because somehow we got lucky and all meshed really well together and had a great class dynamic.
I'm also going to miss the programs, activities, and movie nights, because they were welcome, entertaining breaks from work. For example, today, some friends and I went to see a fistulated cow, which was definitely an item for the bucket list! I stuck my hand inside a cow's stomach. I'm not sure how much more awesome Cornell Summer College could get. Plus, the cow basically leaked its grassy stomach contents onto our Head Resident and although I empathize, it was super funny. Some of the best nights have been our movie nights, specifically when we watched Frozen, and everyone sang along (residents and staff alike; I really do love them, you guys), recited lines from the movie along with the characters (again, when watching Frozen, everyone is the same, regardless of age), and laughed together.
Cornell University Summer College ends in two days and I don't even like saying it because it hurts a little. We're having a great time! And we definitely don't want it to end. I'm glad for these memories and experiences, though, because as cliche as it sounds, we'll always have this. We'll always have CUSC and we're all the better for it. We've grown and changed and learned so much about people and life in general. These memories and experiences stay with us forever. Just like Prudence Risley. She's among us, you guys. She's among us.
I miss it, you guys. I really do. I miss the Risley family and the Catalina crew. I miss Cornell Summer College. It was one of the best ways I could have spent my summer. The final days of CUSC were sad and nostalgic, which is crazy, because I was only there for three weeks. While it felt like days whizzed past us before we could remember the date, the three weeks felt like so much longer, and like we'd known each other for months. That last Friday, I had a final exam, so everybody was freaking out, but the hard work paid off. I feel so lucky and blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience this course with such a great professor, Professor Tom Gilovich, and amazing Teacher Assistant, Catalina Iricinschi. I learned and inhaled so much psychological knowledge, a lot of which I've internally retained, because I'd found everything so fascinating. This class definitely solidified my hopes to stay on this academic path.
That last Friday night was the talent show and we got to experience a range of genuinely good acts. It was a nice way to end, I think, especially when Michelle (our Head Resident) amongst other staff decided to grace the stage with a lovely interpretation of Beyonce's dance to "Single Ladies." Speaking of Michelle, she, the Risley RCA's (Lucy, Jessie, Megan, Janette and Kelsey), and PA Iqra, deserve a shout-out, partly because one requested a shout out and partly because they're pretty awesome and imparted upon us a kind of wisdom that only people old enough to be in charge of us but young enough to be peers are able to impart. They offered advice and life experience so that we might be able to understand some more about the world.
What else did I learn from Cornell? I learned that the campus is a hike no matter where you go. I learned that you do not swim in gorges, because that video the first day was terrifying. I learned how to effectively study and how to actively read. It's not that I didn't know how to study or read before, but this jam-packed, university-level class required a different kind of effort. The Psychology course forced me to utilize efficient time management skills and to be able to carve time every day dedicated to diligent studying, even if my friends are doing something fun because they don't have a chapter a night to read. I learned that it's important to keep track of a schedule and that some planning is necessary. But, I also found that it's important to take breaks because otherwise your work and your brain suffers. Sometimes you need to have fun and do something exciting, like playing a sport, or sticking your arm inside a cow. I learned that college is going to be a big jump from high school, but CUSC was a perfect transitional experience. I learned that it's going to be a time to thrive academically and socially, as long as I keep my head screwed on straight, and remember who I am and who I want to be. It's okay to make mistakes, and I'm going to make plenty of them, but I think I learned how to make smarter mistakes. I learned to always grab the silver lining.
Goodbyes are not easy. Not only was the last day difficult because of the farewells said to all my new friends, but also to the place and the experience I'd just had. I'm so glad to have been able to experience CUSC, but a part of me worries that maybe it gave unrealistic expectations for what university will be like. What if it doesn't get better than this? What if I don't meet people as amazing and interesting as the people I've met at CUSC? What if all my classes are hopelessly boring compared to this one? Rationally, I know that university will have so many people that I'm bound to meet some that are just as cool and fascinating, and that if I study what I love, classes will still be interesting, but still, CUSC was a great time. I guess I can only see what the future holds, but CUSC will always be close to my heart. Goodbyes are not easy, and they don't get easier with time. So, hopefully, this is only a "see you later."