Cornell Engineering Experience
Summer College 2009
Hi, my name is Jeremy. I am seventeen years old and have just finished my junior year at Tenafly High School. I come from a suburb in New Jersey, so moving to the city of Ithaca for six weeks will surely be a unique experience. This summer I will be part of the Topics in Engineering program. I have been thinking about being an Engineering major in college, and I'm hoping this program will help me determine a specific field. Although I have attended other summer college programs elsewhere, this is my first time taking real college courses. I am sure it will be a great opportunity to get a taste of college life, and I am really excited about meeting new people and having an incredible summer!
I absolutely love my classes. I am taking Fundamental Programming Concepts and Introduction to Cognitive Science. Although we progress quickly, I feel like I'm learning at an advanced level with intelligent peers, something that can be hard to find at a high school. I really like my teachers and going to class has been an enjoyable aspect of my Cornell experience.
Thankfully I still have five weeks ahead of me, and I'm looking forward to enjoying every minute of it!
The independence that one can experience here is truly unique. I feel like a real college student, and I cannot even imagine what it will be like to attend high school in only a few months. I don't want to go back! I have made myself a daily routine, which makes my time here all the more enjoyable. Even though I do have quite a bit of work to do, the work adds to the overall exposure to college life. Because of this, having homework is actually gratifying and I feel like a real college student at Cornell.
I have my first college tests this week, so that will definitely be interesting (and surely challenging). It has been an amazing two weeks, and I'm really looking forward to another four weeks here!!
These past few weeks I have begun to love my Cognitive Science class. The professor is incredible, and the fact that he is really animated just adds to the whole experience. We discussed psychology as it relates to computers, and the early progressive stages of artificial intelligence. We also spent a good amount of time discussing whether or not computers will ever actually be able to feel and experience like humans in the future. It is truly fascinating to even contemplate whether or not something like that is even possible. In addition, we talked about language and what it means to us as an intelligent species. We traced linguistic development of a person at birth to adulthood, and it is simply unbelievable to see how our communicative skills evolve.
It was interesting to see so many people leave and many more start their first week. I was surprised at how many people were only staying for three weeks. Despite this, I have met and really like spending time with the people who have only just arrived. It has been nice to meet a whole range of "Cornellians" in my position.
Overall, I have settled into a routine which simply makes this a wonderful and realistic experience of college. Although homework is not my favorite, I really feel like I am in college now and cannot imagine going back to high school in September.
Interestingly enough, when the next group of 3-weekers arrived, my entire experience changed. My friends changed, my daily routine changed, and my experience was altogether altered. Only for the better of course! I love just being here and simply being in college on this amazing campus. Most of my new friends live on a different floor, and they have an interesting chart of local "attractions" to do before one leaves. This weekend we were trying to complete some of the tasks on that list, and spent our mornings touring the campus and Collegetown. One of the things to do was to have ice cream at the Cornell Dairy Bar. It was amazing!
I'm going to be extremely sad to leave Summer College in a week. I'm looking forward to the final week and my final exams and projects!
My time here at Cornell has been nothing short of incredible. I found a group of friends that I grew extremely close to over the course of only a few weeks, and I continue to find it amazing how quickly people can bond in an atmosphere like this. Considering we became so close, it was really sad to watch them leave.
The friends in my group graduated yesterday. As much as I would have loved to reminisce about our good times, I knew I still had one more class left and one more experience to finish and decided to concentrate on that. Luckily, it is the class I most enjoy. I came here with the mindset of being an engineer or possibly a computer scientist. Despite this attitude, I found myself far more intrigued with the field of psychology and I'm excited to pursue a whole new interest in the long run. In addition, a certain experience here led me to want to become a psychiatrist and go to medical school... something I never even dreamed about. As startling as these findings are, I'm so excited to continue psychology this coming school year and in college.
My Cognitive Science final is Monday. I went into Uris library with my pajamas and set up in the President's library until it closed. After that, I spent the rest of the day studying in the lounge downstairs. As much as I studied and tried to concentrate, I couldn't help occasionally stare out the window and think about all of the valuable memories I have of this place. I don't even want to imagine going back home to high school!
I still have some studying left to do today. Hopefully I can end my summer here on an even greater note.
Without amazing people and friends, a school cannot be anything more than a collection of buildings. Thanks to everyone for simply making this experience the best one of my entire life.
I remember everything about my summer at Cornell. I'll always remember passing the gorges everyday, running around Beebe Lake, hanging out in Collegetown, long hours in Olin, and so much more.
As I reflect on my academic and social experience, I realize how much I have learned this summer. I arrived with the intention of being able to select a college focus from three different areas of interest and essentially deciding how to lead the rest of my life. I have selected psychology and cognitive studies to be the center of my academic study for the next four years. These two concepts have opened the door to a host of new possibilities that I previously hadn't even considered. I have been talking about possibly even moving into psychiatry and dealing directly with people's lives as opposed to their mental and cognitive behaviors. This would change my future even more, leading me to earn a Ph.D. and attend medical school. I have also thought about dealing with AI from a purely psychological perspective. This would not deal with the physical wiring of robots, but rather trying to decide what makes humans human and whether intelligence is computable. If it is, what makes us unique to other species that is fundamental in the creation of true artificial intelligence? The possibilities are endless.
Overall, I truly have to say that the Cornell Summer College program was the lead assistant in helping me decide what to do with the rest of my life. Had I not attended the program, I would have sought a different field that I apparently knew very little about.
Once again, I really miss all of the friends I made and all of the wonderful experiences I had at Summer College. Thanks to my peers and the University staff for an incredible summer.