Skip to content
Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

The information on this site pertains to the Summer College 2018 program. If you would like to be notified when 2019 information and applications are available, please join the Summer College announcement list. We also invite you to become a fan of our Summer College Facebook Page.

Student blogs


Chicago, IL
Introduction to Veterinary Medicine
Summer College 2006
Hello! My name is Hannah and, although my parents are both from New England, I am a mid-Westerner both by birth and at heart. I was born in Chicago and have lived there all of my life, although I must say that it is not nearly as scenic as upstate New York (unless you really love endless acres of corn). Currently, I attend Hinsdale Central High School and will be a senior this fall. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano and clarinet, and I also have a black belt in karate. I have an older sister and a younger brother (hence the value of the black belt), two dogs, three cats, and other sundry pets depending on when you ask. My experience with animals has led me to aspire to a career in veterinary medicine; I'm looking forward to taking Cornell University's "Introduction to Veterinary Medicine" course this summer!

I will now arrive at Cornell in exactly one week: seven days, and counting. I'm sure the next several days will be the usual blur of packing bags and attending to other details that precedes any journey. There's no doubt about it; I am anxious to leave behind the general boredom that is my home town during the summer and explore a new environment for three weeks. It is exciting to imagine who I will meet, what I will learn, and how it all will have changed me by the end. Plus, I've never actually seen Cornell University or even been to upstate New York, and what better way to learn about a place than by living in it. I am especially looking forward to my veterinary medicine class; sure, I have taken biology classes in school, but nothing can really prepare one for a career like hands-on experience. Although I'll certainly miss my family and friends, I'm ready for something new and, with a feline care center nearby, maybe my three cats (and two dogs) won't seem so far away.

I arrived just three days ago and already I feel at home here at Cornell. The gorgeous (or, as people say around here, "gorges") location, the friendly people and, most importantly, the awesome dessert table in the North Star Cafeteria makes this school seem more like home every day. I will admit that the move-in on Sunday was strenuous (let's just say dragging a fifty-pound suitcase up ten flights of stairs in 90-degree weather is not a walk in the park), although it has cooled off considerably since then. Also, my Veterinary Medicine class surpasses my expectations, and they were high before I even began. Yesterday, my class had up-close contact with cattle while studying the relative nutritional value of the pasture's various plants. Today, we will be visiting an animal shelter to discuss the ethical role veterinarians play in eliminating overcrowding. Although there is quite a bit of reading for the class, there's still time for lots of other activities--I'm especially excited to try salsa-dancing with my friends this evening. The only aspect of my experience I regret is not having signed up for the six-week program!

Everything is going great here at Cornell! Luckily, it rained on Saturday and has cooled off quite a bit (which makes the mile-and-a-half walk to class much more enjoyable). Despite the rainy weather, my friends and I had a lot of fun this past weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we went to see a wild horse auction held at Cornell's stables, and in the evening, we went to Pyramid Mall to quench our thirst to shop. Unfortunately, I had to spend most of Sunday preparing for my Animal Science midterm exam, which I took today. I think it went OK, but who knows? The class is going very well, especially because my professor and his teaching assistant are so helpful. Our labs during the afternoon are very exciting; I expected them to involve lots of tedious mathematical calculations and procedural minutia, but instead, I am learning how to put wrestling holds on sheep (I always knew my black belt in karate would come in handy in academia!) and the practical aspects of handling a variety of veterinary emergencies. It seems hard to believe that I have only been here a little over one week.

My summer at Cornell is going by so quickly! It seems like I checked in only yesterday, and already I have only one week left here. My class and labs are going well; we observed a horse on a treadmill, milked cows at Cornell's dairy barn, and learned about the hardships of being a zoo veterinarian (apparently, shooting angry monkeys with tranquilizing darts is no small task!). The final exam for my Animal Science class is coming up soon, so I suspect that there will be a lot of studying going on in the dorms the next couple of days. Although I had a lot of textbook reading to do this past weekend, my roommate and I decided to make a trip out to the mall Saturday evening. Although the skies were sunny when we left, suddenly there were storm clouds and huge bolts of lightning, and we were forced to feel our way out of a pitch black department store when the power went out. And I thought the weather in Chicago was unpredictable! Earlier this week, however (when the weather was cooperating), I got a chance to see some of the beautiful waterfalls and forests here. It's hard to believe, when I am walking by bubbling streams, huge trees, and grazing deer, that I'm on a university campus. I still have a week left at Cornell and already I know that I'm going to miss Ithaca.

I've been back home in Chicago for two weeks now and it's back to the grind and stress of high school. Although I'm glad to see my family and friends, I find myself missing Cornell: my friends, my class, the long, scenic walks, and the cafeteria (I would take it any day over home cooking). Strangely, after experiencing the independence and excitement of college life for three weeks, I have to go back to high school in three days. Of course, the whole college application process of senior year is just beginning to dawn on me, although I certainly take comfort in the fact that I have had the opportunity to see what college is truly like. College tip guides and review books are no substitute for the real thing. Cornell's Summer College was wonderful, and I hope that I may have the chance to attend Cornell as a full-time student.