New York, NY
The Digital World and You
Summer College 2015
My name is Brandon. I am 17 years old, and live in Greenwich Village, New York. I go to school at York Preparatory School on the Upper West Side. I am a Buddhist. My favorite author is Isaac Asimov; my favorite video game is Starcraft II, and my favorite musician is Bob Dylan. I am a member of the drama club at my school; I have been in several school musicals, including Legally Blonde and Underground, an original musical written and directed by performing arts teachers at my school. Before I come to Cornell this summer, I will be going to an acting camp, Perry Mansfield, for two weeks. I also play the guitar, and have studied music for several years at Greenwich House Music School. I am going to Cornell this summer to study computer programming.
"Whoa, am I at Hogwarts? Or is this Starfleet Academy? Oops, never mind, I guess I'm at community college." One may think thoughts like this as they explore the interesting campus of Cornell. In the week that I've been here, the sights and the scenery have been my favorite part. Exploring the vast campus, one can expect to find elegantly designed modern buildings of sleek glass and steel, as well as old stone buildings that will take you back in time if you let them. Cornell's natural landscape is just as beautiful; there are delicate flowers of every color imaginable, as well as exploding waterfalls roaring down into immeasurably deep gorges, and to the north is a gorgeous view of a lush green valley with mountains looming in the distance. The same cannot be said for the weather here, which is often hot, humid, and rainy. And, we don't have air conditioning and have to rely on primitive devices such as fans for any relief from the unrelenting heat. However, the people at Cornell are very friendly. It is a great place to meet other people. People come to Cornell not just from all over America, but from all over the world. There are many students who have come here from faraway countries and from all different cultures, and as such, it is full of many interesting characters.
The courses that are offered at Cornell are challenging. Not only are they college-level courses, but several months of content are compressed into just a few weeks, so the work is extremely dense. Of course, being at an ivy league university is very different from the high school experience. I don't think I realized just how bad high school is until I came here. Whereas high school assigns you mindless work with the sole purpose of making the student miserable, the material that one learns in college is very stimulating and interesting. The work schedule is very different as well. For example, a teacher here at Cornell might say, "Okay, class, read pages 50 to 100 in the textbook and answer these eight questions about it and hand in your answers tomorrow." That may seem ridiculous, but we have about five to eight hours of free time every day, so it is literally impossible to be stressed out (unless you deserve it). I don't mind the work, since I find what I am studying very interesting. I am taking a course about the digital world that entails computer programming, as well as discussing the influence that computers and the internet have on society and our daily lives.
In conclusion, my experience so far at Cornell has been a great one. Cornell is a beautiful place full of brilliant people. I would be honored an privileged to come here as an undergraduate in 2016.
This week is, sorry to say, my last week as Cornell. Everyone is leaving on Saturday. This has kind of caught me by surprise; it really doesn't seem so long ago when I first came to Cornell. Time has passed very quickly, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because I can always find such creative ways to spend time. Now that it's almost over, I am starting to wish that I had explored the campus more. The Cornell campus is so big, and all of it is so beautiful. I still feel like I've only seen a fraction of what it has to offer.
This final week is on track to be the most interesting one so far. In the Digital World course that I'm taking, we regularly discuss the ethical and moral implications regarding the internet. Today, we had a debate about such topics. My team's topic was about whether or not government surveillance is necessary for national security, and our job was to explain why that is wrong. In addition to that, I have to do both a final paper and a final project (TWO SEPARATE THINGS) by the last day, Friday, which is why this post is going to be a little short; my paper isn't going to write itself.
Before we leave on Saturday, there is a talent show on Friday night. One of my actor friends is in one of the shows. I got to see part of the performance a couple of days ago, and I thought it was pretty funny. They're doing a skit about a bunch of people in a talent show who are purposefully bad in a comedic way. They hope the actors will be so bad that the act will be funny; for the most part, I think it works. I've definitely seen a lot of talent at Cornell so far, and I think that the talent show will be a great way to end everyone's time here.
It's been about a week since I left Cornell's Summer College. I was definitely homesick while I was there, but I kind of miss being there. One of my favorite parts of the campus was the Johnson Museum of Art on campus, which is really big and has cool art projects and artifacts, and is free to visit. From the top floor, you can see a beautiful view of Cayuga Lake and the surrounding villages and countryside. I wish I had had the chance go to the top of Cornell's famous clock tower before leaving Summer College, but I did not.
I took away a lot of memorable experiences from my time at Cornell. As a computer science student, I got to visit a robotics lab in Gates Hall. It was really exciting to see the newest technology in the field of robotics. We also visited a 3D printing lab, which was interesting because, until I actually saw one in action, 3D printers were just science fiction to me. The people in the lab showed us how the printers worked and how they scanned objects so they could be printed.
I got my diploma on the Friday of the last week. Everyone in my class passed, and we all celebrated. On the day that everyone was leaving, my parents came to pick me up and brought our dog, Oreo. I had to say goodbye to my roommate, Pumeng, a student from China. Now that I have had some time to reflect on my time at Cornell, I think that it was definitely a good experience. The academic atmosphere just made me feel smarter, you know? I made some friends, I loved the scenery, and the computer science course I took was genuinely interesting, and I learned a lot of useful things.