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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Denver, CO
MyCUSC: Create Your Own Summer College Program
Summer College 2010
Hello! My name is Alicia, and I live in Denver, Colorado. I have just finished my junior year at Cherry Creek High School. Before I moved to Colorado, I lived in Germany, Maryland, and Texas.

My passion is history. I really love to study ancient cultures, particularly those of Europe. In the future I hope to become an archaeologist and a history professor at a university. Because of this, I will be taking a class in Ancient Greek at Cornell this summer. Hopefully, learning to read this language will help me on archaeological excavations!

Besides studying (of which I do a great deal), I play the cello in two orchestras and I am the president of two community service groups at my school.

I have been looking forward to this experience ever since I found the program! I am so excited to spend six weeks at Cornell this summer, and I can’t wait to board the plane!

I am so excited to leave for Summer College in four days! I still need to start packing (something at which I am notoriously slow) and to get some sleep in preparation, because my flight out of Colorado leaves at an atrociously early hour of the morning on Saturday. Also, I anticipate that during the program, I will not have as much opportunity to sleep!

Although I am eagerly looking forward to going to Cornell, I am still a little nervous about the work I will have to do for my class. Since the classes are at college level, I presume the schoolwork will be fairly difficult. Hopefully my heavy load of AP classes has prepared me well!

I have already met several of my fellow Summer College students online (thanks to Facebook), and I can’t wait to meet them all in person, as well as to meet the hundreds of others students there!

Has it only been a week? So much has happened already that it seems like much longer! The day I arrived was kind of crazy—everyone was here with their parents while I arrived alone (and my luggage, of course, was lost). But while the move-in was overwhelming, once we were settled in the dorms things began to fall into place. The ice cream social was a really fun way to meet the hundreds of other high school students attending Summer College, and I also played in an intense game of ultimate Frisbee that day.

The next day was really exciting: after brunch in the morning, I hung out with my new friends all day, exploring the Cornell campus around the dorms and getting used to the university. The scenery is so beautiful. It is really interesting to see how many people come from different parts of the country and the world. I have met people from Los Angeles, NYC, New Jersey, Boston, Utah, and Chicago as well as Nigeria, Russia, South America, and many other places.

Monday was first day of class; I was actually really nervous to go to my first class. Since it is at 8:30 in the morning, I have to get up at 6:30. There are five people in my Ancient Greek class…four college students (including classics majors) and I. Needless to say, it is a little intimidating. Still, I am really enjoying taking the class. I find studying the language really interesting, even though it is really hard and time-consuming to memorize all of the declensions and conjugations and accent rules.

Although class is interesting, the part of being here I am enjoying the most is hanging out with my friends and enjoying the activities here. Already I have found a group of really close friends. We have explored around campus, been to Collegetown, and successfully navigated the bus system to go to the Ithaca mall.

There were so many activities this week, at least one activity a night. One night there was a fruit parfait party, another night a scavenger hunt (my team won!), and various other parties and activities which were all very fun (and very distracting from doing homework…).

This weekend has been amazing. Since it is the Fourth of July weekend, we have Monday off. On Friday night, my friends and I went to the mall to the food court for dinner, and then we went to a movie. Unfortunately, we thought the last bus came at 9:30, so we had to leave the movie early. The next day, we learned that the last bus was actually at 11:30! There was a picnic/field day Saturday afternoon. It was fun, although I didn’t win any prizes. That night we went into Collegetown and had dinner at a really good pizza place, then went to a cookie store, which was very delicious! On Sunday we realized that we probably should do some homework, so we went to the architecture building to do some homework, since one of my friends is in the architecture program.

I am so excited for the next couple of weeks! I am already sad that there are only five weeks left…

The past days have been incredibly busy as usual; it seems like my work is piling up now that I have been in class for a while. I usually study for several hours every night for Ancient Greek, completing written assignments and studying to keep up with the tremendous amount of information that I need to learn in order to keep understanding my class. We have a quiz every Friday afternoon, which I also have to spend extra hours preparing for. So far I have received a 90% and 87% on the two quizzes we have taken. I was happy with these scores since the subject is so difficult, but I know I need to keep working hard.

The weather for the past week has been very, very hot, but recently it has cooled off, a relief since I am on one of the top floors of the dorm and it is HOT at night. I am planning on buying an extra fan as soon as possible, since each room has only one. I haven’t been swimming yet, either in the pool or in one of the approved state parks, but I definitely want to go swimming sometime soon.

I have been trying hard to keep a balance between having fun and studying. It is difficult because there are so many fun activities to do and so many people to hang out with, but hopefully by the end of the six weeks I will have figured out how to do this. It will be a useful skill to have in college.

I am trying to go running every day here, as I need to train for the cross-country season at my school in the fall. My gym pass is really useful, but also I have discovered that there is a set of paths in the Cornell Plantations, a foresty area near my dorm in which it is really nice to go running. There are so many hills in Ithaca, it should be good practice for cross-country!

This summer has been so amazing already, I can’t wait for the rest of the program!

Things still very busy as usual. Every moment is packed with class, studying, and activities. If I have any complaint about being here it is that I don’t have any moments to just relax—even if I am not in class or freaking out over a test, there is still so much to do that I can never just do nothing.

After dinner in Collegetown on Friday night, I went to the Summer College talent show. People performed everything from songs to juggling to poetry recitation. It was mostly pretty good (mostly) and a lot of fun to see. On Saturday my friends and I finally succeeded in climbing the clock tower (it’s only open certain times). The view was incredible—we could see Cornell’s beautiful campus in all directions for miles. The chimes concert was really cool, too; it was for a wedding and the songs included “Here Comes the Sun” and the Harry Potter theme song (the song most often requested for weddings, according to the student playing). Later on that day there was a tie-dye activity, during which I managed to dye both of my legs green and red. I watched a movie with my friends that night. On Sunday we went to the movie theater at the Ithaca Mall—I have already seen about five movies there.

It’s really hard to believe that I’m halfway done with the program. I can’t imagine going home just yet. Even though there is a lot of work, this is the best summer I have ever had!

Class is definitely getting harder as we get closer to the final exams! Now I usually study for at least seven hours in addition to class twice a day. I have a new professor too—for the first three weeks we had one professor, and then switched to a different professor, this time a grad student, for the remainder of the program. It took me a couple days to adjust to his different style of teaching. Before, the professor assumed we were memorizing everything we learned in class on our own and gave one large test per week. Now, we have daily quizzes and a test that is purely translating sentences on Fridays. It requires much more preparation daily, but I feel like I am learning Greek better. So far I have been doing well on these daily quizzes, and I hope I can keep this up! As we go further into the course, we also are learning more about the significance of particular parts of the language and how they pertain both to Greek culture and to modern English, which I think is really fascinating. It is also nice that I now know the college students in my class much better, even though they are several years older than me.

Life outside the class is interesting, as always. On Friday night my friends and I stayed inside the dorm and watched a movie. Saturday was game night, which was fun too. But the most exciting thing that has happened: we formed a Quidditch league! I am on the Slytherin team, playing as a Chaser. We had a tournament this weekend—it was incredibly fun, and my team ended up in first place. We play again next weekend. Also, every night this week there is a Disney movie showing in the dorms, which is very exciting at least for me—I love Disney movies and it makes the studying so much more bearable!

I am going on the Niagara Falls trip this Saturday with my friends; I am really excited for this all-day trip, and it should be really fun, even though the bus ride is extremely long. I can’t believe there are only two weeks left—I don’t want to leave Cornell!

I can’t believe that I only have one week left here at Cornell! The six-week program seemed like a long time at first, but the days really have passed quickly. It is hard to believe I will be home in a little more than a week. I’m not ready to leave everyone here yet!

Class grows even more stressful as we approach final exams. My exam is next Monday, from 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning. I am quite nervous for the test; I will have to do a lot of studying over the weekend. My exam is mostly translating from Greek to English, both sentences which my professor will create and passages from real Greek authors like Plato. Luckily we have been reading a lot of ancient texts in class to prepare for this, but I am still scared! I have learned so much already that it will be hard to review all of it for the final.

On a happier note, the trip to Niagara Falls was this past Saturday. I went, as did many of my friends (except those in architecture—they always have so much work that they don’t have time for fun trips!); it was a really cool experience. The bus ride was incredibly long (four hours each way—most people spent the time catching up on sleep) but the falls were very impressive. We went on the boats that go right up to the waterfall, then climbed up the path that goes right next to it. It was a whole-day expedition, but it was a relief to get away from the Cornell campus for a while.

The following morning I went for a long run, exploring parts of campus I hadn’t seen before. It made me realize that although I have been here for five weeks and done quite a bit of exploring, there is so much more to see on the campus, and I probably won’t get to see it all before I leave! My friends and I have decided that on one of our few remaining days here, we need to take a tour of the parts of Cornell we haven’t seen yet. Should be a good study break for my sure-to-be-stressful weekend.

It is sad to think that I will have to say good-bye to so many people soon. Several programs end this Friday, so some of my friends are leaving this weekend. The rest of us are leaving on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have to leave on Tuesday morning to go the hour and a half drive to the Syracuse airport. Even though we have only known each other for a couple weeks, we have become so close that it is going to be hard to say good-bye.

I hope I manage to keep up with my work this last week and prepare for finals, and still enjoy my last week of "college"!

I had my final exam earlier today. Luckily it was a lot easier than I had been dreading all weekend—hopefully my long hours of study paid off! We don’t get our results for a little while, so I am curious as to how I did in my class.

It is so hard to believe that Summer College is practically over! Now that my classes are done I have no real work…except packing my bags, which will probably take a great deal of effort. I really don’t want to go home at all, so packing is that much harder. Many people left either on Friday or Saturday as their respective programs finished, so the dorm has been feeling more and more deserted, and it is really sad to see friends leave.

This Friday, there was a dance, supposed to be a masquerade ball, in Risley Hall, one of the houses near the dorms. After getting dressed up for the dance, my friends and I finally went bowling. It was really fun, and we all wished that we had checked out the bowling alley sooner! We then went to the dance (for a short while); while we were given masks, very few people were wearing them. It was interesting to see the inside of Risley Hall; it is slightly creepy, and I found out afterwards that there really is supposed to be a "ghost" who haunts it.

On Saturday we went to breakfast at Collegetown Bagels, then went to the architecture studio to look at the final projects of those students. The designs were really cool, and, seeing how much work the projects must have taken, we finally understood why we never really saw any of the architecture students out of the studio!

The rest of the weekend was pretty much devoted to intensive studying/stressing out over exams. A few people did not have to take finals, having done final projects or papers the previous week, so I was incredibly jealous of their free time.

Since my friends and I were all done with exams by tonight, we decided to go to a pizza restaurant in Collegetown, then the famous (deservedly so) Insomnia Cookies to celebrate. However, it was a bittersweet celebration, since we know that tomorrow we will have to say goodbye. I wish that I had more time at Cornell…

It has now officially been a week since I left Cornell. And I still can’t believe that I’m gone.

My last hours at Cornell went by much too quickly. I still had to finish packing the morning I left, finishing an impressive four minutes before my assigned check-out time. And then I had to say a quick goodbye to my friends, then travel to the Syracuse airport, where I got on a plane and left New York. Every minute of my journey home, I wished I could just turn around and repeat my six weeks over again. And again. Perhaps forever.

My experience at Cornell was, in a word, amazing. But a word really isn’t enough to describe it. It was so much more than just taking a college class. It was the most amazing summer I have ever had, with great new friends, a beautiful college campus, and new freedom. I really discovered how to be independent at Cornell.

And now I know that I am definitely ready for college, now that I have sampled six weeks of it and absolutely loved it. I don’t know whether Cornell is one of my top choices for college, but I do know that the university will always be special to me, full of memories. I also know those whom I met at Cornell will be lifelong friends, people who were indispensible parts of my past and whom I hope to see in the future.

So I will just say that my summer at Cornell really changed my life. I will always carry these experiences with me, and I’m sure that I will use everything that I learned there throughout my life. Thank you, Cornell, for a fantastic summer!