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


Dubai, UAE
Biological Research and the Health Professions
Summer College 2006
Hi! I'm Zaid, a 17-year-old junior living in Dubai, UAE. I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, lived there for eight years, moved to Malaysia, lived there for another eight years, and now I'm here. Yep. Confusing. On top of all of that, I've got an Indian/Pakistani origin. I'll be taking the six-week "Biological Research and Health Professions" course, along with "Cognitive Science" and "The Art of Secret Writing," which both look like they're going to be fun. Summer Collegians before have talked about what a great experience Cornell Summer College has been, and so I decided to join myself. I'm known for my knack at drawing ambigrams ("drawing" words that are rotationally symmetric). I play basketball in my free time. You'll be hearing quite a bit from some Summer Collegians on this site. Hopefully you'll also be joining Summer College at Cornell, and I'll meet you there!

Wow... Only one week left until Summer College! I've been having mixed feelings about this summer. On one hand, it seems like a really exciting experience, what with living in an Ivy League college, eating "Award Winning" food from Cornell Dining, and using Cornell's gym and computer labs. On the other hand, though, there are some things one would get worried about. The very fact that I'm going to be taking lectures with world-renowned professors, taking classes with university students, and just hanging out in such a big place does make me a bit nervous. The thing that really puts me off is that I'll be spending approximately twenty-four hours a week on homework! Packing was made pretty easy thanks to the "what to bring" list from the "accepted students" handbook. I don't think I'll be needing to study earlier for the two subjects I'm taking, although I might browse through the books when I arrive at Ithaca, which will be a few days before the 24th of June. All in all, it should be a great summer, and even though there are a few things to worry about, there will probably be more fun things to do, and it will pay off in the future anyways!"

This was one awesome week. I met a bunch of new people, explored many new places, and yes, I also did a LOT of studying! I've met all sorts of people here: DJs, people from orchestras, football teams, the variety of people is stunning! I made friends with a group of exciting people in the Architecture course, but the only problem is that they're stuck in the Architecture studio the whole day! I usually hang out with them in their workshop, and sometimes even do my homework there. The campus is absolutely gorgeous; one could walk around forever just gazing at the scenery. Buildings on campus range from 200-year-old castles to ultramodern residences.

The weather was interesting, to say the least. The first day was beautiful, but for the next few days, the rain didn't stop! There is a saying here: "The weather in Ithaca changes in the blink of an eye!" Even the weatherman got stumped a few times. I had to change the two courses I was taking. I now take Chemistry, so I will not have to take the AP next year, and Oral Communication, because there was a clash in my schedule with my Cognitive Science course. Our kind Director and Assistant Director gladly helped students change their courses. We have only just started the courses; maybe next week I could go into detail about our courses. There are a lot of activities here; the amount of things to do is just overwhelming! To cut a long story short, I bet nobody would get bored here over these six weeks!

Another week down in Cornell. This week went by pretty fast. It was fun, but we also had a lot of work to do. Our chemistry preliminary exam is tomorrow, and we have to hand in our outline for our graded speech in Oral Communication on Tuesday. For chemistry, we're still in the introductory phase: we learned about the shapes of molecules the other day. Our teaching assistant said that this course is going to be harder than the AP course, so taking this indeed means that I will not have to take the AP course for chemistry. I don't really know about how the AP really is, but the things we've done in this 200-level course seem to be just a bit tougher than my junior year in high school last year! In oral communication, we have to give an informative speech on Friday, and I chose to write on the history of Dubai. It's a lot of work, but then again, condensing a 15-week course into 6 weeks WILL make life a bit tough!

One of my friends was telling me how the college experience isn't complete until one becomes narcoleptic, and I just realized that I'm halfway there. It took a LOT of willpower for me to keep awake in chemistry today after that long night of research for Oral Communication. It's amazing how I'm the only person in the world who finds Chemistry easier than Oral Communication! My next speech, this coming Friday, is on "Why exams should be abolished," and I have spent a LOT of time on it until now. Who would imagine that it would be so hard to research for such a topic, when almost everybody (at least the students) is against exams? The old three-weekers just left, and the new ones just came. It was pretty hard separating with the old ones, but the new ones are pretty interesting too. We played Mao, a card game, with a bunch of them yesterday. The ironic thing is that there is a 'time management' workshop thing today, but I don't have enough time to check it out. I hope it's not the same with the others.

It's been only a few days since I checked out of Mary Donlon Hall, and I have to admit, I'm not enjoying my summer anymore. Almost everyone talked about how they were planning to utilize the rest of their summer to get the most fun out of it, but I personally feel that after Summer College, the next month of summer is going to be a bore. One can't imagine all the fun we've had, even though we've been studying like half of the day.

For the last week, I've hung out in Appel for two hours every dinner, I've biked to the mall three times, and I've done a lot of crazy things that I'd never see myself doing in my wildest dreams.

I've read quotes on all of the Summer College pamphlets, all over the website; everybody claims that this was the best summer of their lives. I know for sure that I was not the only one who was skeptical of these claims, but now I know why everyone liked it so much. It was like an adventure with people unknown, all braving the seas of homework and exams, helping each other out of tight spots...

I know I'll probably never again see most of the friends I've made here, but I will for sure keep in touch with most of them. I have even made plans to meet a particularly close friend back in Cornell next summer, as an undergrad. For that to happen though, we'll both have to work very hard, and we know we'll help each other along the way.

I know for sure that I'll be missing the friends I made the most, and I know that most of us had lots of fun complaining about the dorms! Lots of people made their first friends just because of the collective complaining of the fact that our dorm was a concave triangle and it was not air-conditioned! I made quite a few friends by getting lost in the dorms! The fact that it was a concave triangle made people get lost pretty often. One wrong turn and you'd find yourself in the wrong corner of the building!

There was just so much to do in Cornell. I'm going to miss playing Halo with the skateboarders in Robert Purcell, and watching movies late at night with my fellow all-nighters. I'm going to miss my half-hour biking rounds every morning and having dessert for dinner at Appel (the dessert there was pretty good, people complained about the rest of the food being 'under expectations.' The only thing I found under my expectation were the doughnuts, everything else was great!)

I guess now, the only thing left to do is rest for the rest of my summer (those six weeks seriously exhausted me, I ended up sleeping for fifteen hours the day after my final, it was just something that rarely happens to anyone!), and start preparing my university applications. Cornell will definitely be on my list, along with a few others, like GeorgiaTech and UMich. I might even throw in another Ivy League to see what happens.