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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Honolulu, HI
Genius and Madness in Literature
Summer College 2014
Hello my name is Yeseul, but you can call me Ashley. I am a rising senior at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, but I've lived in six different states and two other countries. I spent my junior year leading my school's Korean Club, being an editor for my school's literary magazine, and teaching elementary students. In my free time, I enjoy checking out cafes, going to concerts, and "Instagramming" everything from selfies to food.

I am super stoked to have the opportunity to spend my summer at Cornell! As an avid reader and literature enthusiast, I will be taking the Genius and Madness in Literature course. Although I don't know anyone from my school—or even Hawaii—who will be taking the Cornell Summer College program, I am thoroughly excited for the upcoming summer and looking forward to meeting all of you soon!


After having a fantastic first week, I'm looking forward to the next two weeks. Although I've had previous summer college experiences, Cornell is definitely a unique one. Never have I been surrounded by so many people of different cultures and interests. Every day I continuously meet new people. The diversity of my classmates at Cornell makes Hawaii's "cultural melting pot" seem unimpressive. I have met people from all around the States and also other countries, including Canada, China, Turkey, and Germany.

Never have I been so excited to go to school, and I always look forward to classes with Professor Schwarz. She truly cares about the students. She even checked up on us in class to make sure no one was homesick. In the mornings, we have large class discussions to explore the reading homework from the night before. Everyone is brilliant, and I truly love learning in my literature class. At my high school, it is very difficult for me to find other classmates who share my passions in reading and analyzing texts. It is the complete opposite in my literature classes here at Cornell. I am surrounded by other literature fans. Our discussions are compelling and they leave me wanting more. In the afternoons, our class splits into two smaller groups and works with our excellent TAs. Our TAs are knowledgeable and make class thoroughly enjoyable. It's amazing how close we have grown together as a class.

The workload is not as demanding as I had expected, so I still find plenty of time to visit Collegetown, meet new people, and explore Cornell's beautiful campus. On the weekend, the RCAs planned a trip to Ithaca Falls. After grabbing a delicious bagel from Collegetown Bagels, I got to see a waterfall that left me speechless. Eager for more, my friends and I wandered around campus to find a running trail by Beebe lake. There, we caught sight of an otter, geese, rabbit, and a frog. It was a relaxing break from lectures.

I am looking forward spending two more weeks at Summer College!


I hate sounding cliché, but time surely does fly by when you're having fun. Although I have only been at Cornell for two weeks, it already feels like home. My legs are no longer sore from walking to class every day, and the 25-minute stroll to Collegetown feels like nothing. I'm not ready to return to Hawaii. Although it is summer, the weather in Ithaca is much cooler than the weather in Hawaii. I am in love with the "sweater weather" in the mornings and evenings. My dad is a Cornell alumnus, and the stories he told me about Cornell were understatements, because Cornell is amazing. I could really spend four years on this campus.

Our class read Kant's Critique of Judgment—the first philosophy text I have ever read—and a guest speaker came in to explain the enigmatic reading to us. I learn so much from the readings and class discussions; I have absolutely no regrets selecting this course. My favorite aspect of the course is how interactive class is. It is truly discussion-based, and each classmate's input gives me invaluable insight. I will admit, I felt teary when I realized that I only had a week left to go. Is it weird to say that I'm starting to enjoy six-page papers? Spending your afternoons in Olin Library is not too terrible. Besides, when I need to take a break, I just take a step outside and check out the beautiful scenery. I admit to spending too many hours gazing at the campus from Libe Slope, but there is something mesmerizing about lying down on the grass and soaking in the serene surroundings.

In addition to relaxing on campus, I highly recommend visiting the Ithaca Farmers' Market. My friends and I visited the amazing display of food and music on Saturday. I shared delicious crepes with my friends and enjoyed the beautiful, sunny weather while exploring downtown.


Hawaii welcomed me with two hurricanes when I returned. It would be an understatement to say that I miss the cool Cornell weather. Haha. It's strange that I'm not constantly surrounded by people of my age now. If Cornell's Summer College was a taste of college life, I definitely want more.

I would be lying if I said I haven't been nostalgic over Cornell. Am I allowed to say that I miss reading all the mind boggling narratives and writing six-page essays on them? There aren't any English courses at my high school like the one I took at Cornell. I am sincerely thankful for my professor and TAs showing me the beauty of literature this summer, and they have confirmed where my true passions lie. Aside from the invaluable knowledge that I gained from Professor Schwarz, the TAs, and my wonderful classmates, the people are what I miss the most. The friends I made at Cornell were from all over the globe, and I hope that I will be able to see them again in the future. Having modern technology like Facebook only assuages the pain to a bearable level.

I start school in a mere three weeks, and it's going to be strange not having to walk two miles to class every day. I'm going to miss venturing into downtown, eating at Collegetown Bagels on Saturday afternoons (because RPCC closes at 9:30 a.m.), and simply lying down in the Arts Quad with friends. I hope to see you again Cornell.