Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dinner With the Professor and Hiking Near the Gorges

Today was more interesting then yesterday, however I started out with my usual routine of waking up at 7:30 and going to class at nine. The class routine was extremely different today. Instead of saving the discussing for the end, we held two discussions today. One in the beginning of class and one in the end. The first discussion was about legalizing marijuana and our stance on it. It was pretty alright seeing and hearing all of the different opinions. My professor then went into lecture and then the discussion of legalizing prostitution. I was assigned to do a memo policy on this yet I was slightly stuck writing it so it was helpful getting a lot of insight from my peers.

After class, the professor decided to treat the whole class out since it was his last day teaching us. He took us out to eat at the Statler hotel: an on campus hotel run by the students of the Hotel Operations class. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the hotel. It was very high class and premium with a buffet style setting for lunch. The restaurant looked absolutely beautiful. It was interesting going to this lunch because I managed to talk to my professor one on one about why he chose his field of economics. It was really interesting to hear his perspective and how he fell in love with economics because I have been interested in economics for quite some time and because of how interesting his class is and how Cornell using economics so phenomenally, I'm a lot more interested in pursuing a degree in it.

After the buffet, I went to the computer lab to finally submit my memo and then I worked on some college application essays. I went to eat dinner then went back to my dorm to get ready to go hiking,which was a club I signed up for. I was going with a friend and along the way we got to know a new friend from our Public Policy class. During the hiking trip we took a tour of the gorge that resides near Balch Hall and we circled around it. It was such a beautiful sight.

After hiking I invited my two friends back to my dorm hall which is where we played table tennis and multiple different card games while getting to know each other better. We then took a walk around campus and hung around Mary Donlon hall and ventured out until it was time to go back to Balch for check in.

Overall it was a very fun day. The dinner with my professor and seeing the gorges were definitely the highlight of my day. I'm excited to see what happens tomorrow.

~Connections Are Key~

Today I woke up at 8 AM to get ready ready for class.Our discussion today was about Henry Hudson's leadership. We almost finished the book, but we are stopping because we already read the main story. We mostly analyzed in discussion what were some of the main aspects that ultimately created his down fall, which in my opinion was his lack of communication and connections with his crew. If you don't know the tale of Henry Hudson long story short he was a captain that his crew committed mutiny against out at sea.  We have to write now an argumentative essay explaining what was the main factor  that led to his downfall. I really thought it was interesting to see how lack of common values and connections in a team can have such a disastrous effect. I really took this as a lesson for future leadership situations to make sure I communicate well with my team and  form bonds with them.

After discussion we watched a video on leaders and how their beliefs and why they do what they do takes them a long way. A speaker was explaining how Apple is very successful because they tell why they do what they do while other companies mention only what they do and how which most consumers don't pay attention to. It's a very weird subject yet very interesting. The video's message to me was always explain why you do what you do, belief is everything. Do not just do anything for anything, make sure your beliefs are authentic values  or your team will fall apart.

After class I left with Jane to go eat and than  hang out in in the dorms lounge and read. We went on a walk and discovered more views at Cornell. From there we left to the bookstore and back to the dorms. I started to work on my outline for my upcoming essay, so its easier for me to write about it. After much studying I left to go eat dinner.I met a new friend Alex who was apart of Kachi's class and another mutual friend of ours Diana.

Entrance to Cornell University
I went to go meet with my RA to talk about how my classes are going and how I like Cornell, the basic questions you could say. I really  liked my RA her name is Ceile. She has already helped me with my essay I submitted yesterday with some finishing touches and she is very helpful in general, I am really happy she's my RA.

I finally walked around with Kachi and Diana to see the beautiful stars outside the dorm, I tried taking a picture of it, but it didn't come out well. I will try tomorrow to see if I get better results. I even saw fireflies for the first time today, they are so beautiful as well.

Studying for My Quiz

We spent today's morning lecture talking about our own intuition and how that comes to play. The professor asked us who would be willing to play a game where we would flip a coin and if the student was able to call it correctly they would gain ten dollars from the professor but if the student calls it incorrectly then the student would give the professor ten dollars. With the possibility of winning ten dollars you would think that a lot of us would raise our hands, but only about five in a class of thirty-seven people raised their hands. Only a few people were willing to play this game because psychologically the risk of you losing something is a very negative feeling which would seems to not outweigh the benefit of winning ten dollars for most people. What's even more interesting is that the person who did win would need to have a larger monetary incentive for them to participate in the same game. I personally believe this has to do with feeling territorial over the money that you did win and if you were to lose then you would lose all feeling of accomplishment, which is a negative feeling that we all wish to avoid. After the main lecture we went into our discussion groups to review for the quiz tomorrow. We went over a lot of material that really helped. 

After lunch at the dining hall, I went with a friend to Cornell's Dairy Bar. I got two scoops of ice cream, strawberry and triple play chocolate. It was really good. We then took the bus back to central campus and I went to the Cornell Store to buy a new pair of flip flops because the ones I use in the shower broke on me in the morning. So, I bought a red pair of Cornell flip flops. I was actually super lucky because I found them on sale. Though, Cornell Store's merchandise is cheaper compared to University of Chicago's and Northwestern's merchandise. 

At 3:15 PM I went to my second class. We learned about different types of mental disorders, their treatments, and finally tried to diagnose a woman who had bipolar disorder. It was actually super strange because almost everyone thought she was a schizophrenic, but she actually had bipolar disorder. She was originally diagnosed incorrectly as a schizophrenic in her 20s because at the time bipolar disorder didn't exist, but ten years later when her husband took her to the hospital for strange symptoms he saw in her she was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was able to get the right medication for it. 

Afterwards I spent a while in my room studying for my quiz before going to dinner and going back to my room to study some more. Around 9:00 PM I went over to Balch Hall to study with my friend. We played a game of Egyptian War beforehand so we could be happy and study in our best state (reference from one of my previous blogs). The game was actually super intense and the three other girls kept slapping back into the game. I didn't end up winning because they all kept coming back into the game, but it was still really fun and a good break from the intense studying. After the game ended we quizzed each other and this was really helpful because she had certain questions I hadn't thought about and vice versa. When it got close to 11:00 PM I went back to my dorm for check in and finished studying before going to sleep. 

Aspirations and Hikes

Yet again, my morning went as it usually goes. I woke up, showered and got dressed for class. I got to the ILR library before class to study again, as the test date is pressing on us. After about one hour and a half of studying Amelia, Abe, Benjamin, and I went to Trillium for some lunch before class.

Abe and Benjamin both speak French. Abe is from Canada and Benjamin is from Belgium. Throughout lunch, they both attempted to teach me phrases I was curious to know. Needless to say, I need to work on my accent. Still, I'm glad I got to meet people to fluent and willing to teach me. Hans joined us at the end of lunch, and by then it was time to go to class.

When I arrived to class, I noticed we had about 4 extra people in the hall. All of them were from Cornell's debate team, because we were supposed to have an example of Worlds debate. Because they were short on people, my professor, Sam, and one of the best female debaters, Alex, were their own teams. Worlds typically requires 8 people that speak for 7 minutes each. The resolution or proposition was that health care in the United States should be free for everyone. Everyone got 15 minutes to prep, even the students. Amelia and I wrote down a bunch of cons and pros that there could be to the argument. One of the biggest pros was that if everyone had health care, people would receive preventative health care instead of only going to the emergency room when they needed it the most. The con was that, it would be difficult to pay for and free health care only works in small countries.

It was interesting to see how fast they wrote down notes, and the points of information they all had to offer or ask while someone spoke. It was definitely fast paced, in my opinion. But, what stood out the most to me was that when it was Alex's turn to be in opposition, she was very confident and didn't seem bothered by the shots that were fired at her by the other teams. She always knew how to answer a question and continue with her speech. Maybe someday I'll be able to be speak like that too. We ended class with Sam reading some comments that he received from his class last semester. Many of them made us laugh, because they accurately represented how things were going for us.

Group of friends on the trail
After class, I went up to my dorm to read and then went to dinner a little after 5 PM. I don't typically eat dinner this early, but today we were going to hiking club at 6 PM, and I wanted to be fed by then. When it was time, we left the RPCC and went to the meeting point, which was the Balch arch. Wei, a Cornell student, was waiting there with a group of other summer college students. At first, I wasn't too excited about the way we were walking. Afterwards, I was very glad about going on that hike, because the view was gorgeous and it was only one mile long. My friends and I took advantage of the scenery and took multiple pictures.

Everyone was busy studying today, since some people have tests tomorrow. So, I went up to my room continued with note-taking and reading. Later on, when people got work done, we went to check out the Karaoke club. We only sang one song but it wasn't too fun so we decided to call it a night.
A very green Beebee Lake

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

~ What Are My Strengths? ~

Today I woke up at  7 AM earlier than  usual to go have breakfast with my room mate because we usually don't see each other throughput the day except for night time. The lines were so long I ended up just eating small snacks  because none of the  lines were worth the wait. I than left to go back to my dorm and take a nap  got ready  at headed to class at 8:45 AM, since it only takes 10 minutes to get to class.

During class we had discussions on our pre-reading which I learned the actual power of words. We read about many inspiring leaders who were starting up an organization and told stories about what they would do in their organization to inspire others  with their visionary words and people actually felt inspired and tried to help. I never really though of how powerful words can be until now. I read  another example about how a kid in college received hate mail, so this group started to ask students around school how they felt about the situation. Yet, when they did a person who posed as a student would say either he deserved it or that wasn't right and most of the time the real student would follow along with what the posed student would say. So how I thought about this is, if you can you use in a positive way to inspire others people will follow you in your goal,but you have to speak very passionate about it.

After the discussion  we had a guest speaker by the name  of Jen Baker who has pretty much done everything she put her mind to. She said she started off as just a normal teenage girl, but from their instead of normal she was extraordinary. She has been in the military and has went to Cornell and now she is the assistant director of Athletics. She has gone through a lot in life, but what has kept her to keep pushing is her strong persistence. It was very inspiring to hear all of her accomplishments. After her speaking she had made us took a strength analysis quiz. From there we would pick our top five and analyze how we have used them, will use them as a follower, and use them as a leader. My top  five strengths were  Positive, Relate, develop, futurist, and  empathize. Which now looking back at it, it really does describe who I am. I am very positive person who can relate and make connections with others. The strengths just made me sound as a very happy person, which I am. My strengths will definitively mold me into a leader who can make connections with people and I know that will help me in the long run.

After the lesson I went to go eat lunch and met four new friends ranging from New York all the way to Singapore.The one thing I really like about Cornell so far is all the different people I will and have met so far.

I finally went back to my dorm and tweaked finishing touches on my essay and finally went to go eat AGAIN with Kachi. From there Kachi and I watched our favorite show, Game of Thrones together and studied in the dorms.

When You Finally Have Enough Time to Watch Game of Thrones

Started off with the same routine as the last. I had ended up waking up at around 7:30 and heading to class at nine. Class was pretty interesting today as well. The talk was majority spent on discussing addiction and alcohol. It was a very interesting topic and I liked how my professor used videos and visual aid to help us understand the concepts of addiction and alcoholism. We eventually broke off into our smaller groups to discuss if the drinking limit should be lowered and to what age? Our group decided on lowering it to 15 years old because our strategy was that introducing children to small quantities of alcohol when they are young will encourage them not to get so reckless with it when they are of legal drinking age and would hopefully reduce the rates of drunk driving. However, only parents would be able to purchase this alcohol for them. Overall many people had different ideals but most agreed on lowering the drinking age. I'm not really big on drinking policy but I did enjoy hearing other peoples points.

After class we had to meet with our head professor to discuss out group projects. We told our head professor how our public policy we would be analyzing is how North Dakotas drug overdose death rate has had a huge increase at 125% and we wanted to look into why that is and what we could do to solve it. She told us she really liked our idea and she really liked the fact that we were actually comparing different states with our policy and she liked how ours was very specific which is cool.

Overall I ended up doing what I did yesterday and hanging out at the computer lab to finish my paper for the class. When I finished my paper I was super happy though because I had finally gotten enough time to finish watching the season finale for Game of Thrones so me and Diana got some cookies and flipped the laptop on to watch some Game of Thrones (the episode was epic).

That was basically it for my day. I'm hoping things get more eventful tomorrow since it's been a tad bit slow (except in the homework department). Can't wait for tomorrow.

Two New Types of Debate

My morning was basically the same as it has been the past few days. I got to sleep in, and then had some food and walked to class. This time I was determined to eat at Trillium. I started walking to the ILR building when I found out that Abe, one of my classmates, was in the library inside the ILR building studying. Before I got there I went to Trillium and found out it didn't open for meal swipe until 11 AM, so I would come back later.

I got some work done in the ILR library, until it was about 11:30 AM and Amelia and I went to get some food. I got a grilled chicken sandwich with fries, but I didn't enjoy the chicken so much. Tomorrow I'll probably get something different. Hans joined us not too long after and we discussed the hypothetical situations the professor had given us during class yesterday. Soon enough, it was time for class and to hear some more hypothetical situations.

In class, we got yet another strange and difficult hypothetical situation. In this one we had to pick whether we'd kill one person in order to save the lives of 27 people, or let those 27 people die but not sacrifice anyone. Most people thought the answer should be quantitative and not qualitative. One life is worth less than 27 lives, or so some said. But who is to decide who is worth how many lives, it was such a dilemma. After debating for a while, we got the same sort of question. Except, in this case our lives would be the ones that would be taken in exchange for 10 people's live. In this case, most people valued their own lives more than 10 other people's. This class really gives us a lot to think about and makes us question our morals. 

We received a break from the controversial conversations and started learning about Policy debate and Worlds debate. In Policy, you already know the resolution and you're supposed to have done your research. When you arrive at the debate, you're told whether you'll be affirmative or negative. That one seems simpler to me than doing Worlds, because if it's a narrow topic you can definitely research in-depth and get to know every positive and negative angle. In World's, you find out the resolution 15 minutes before the debate. Most of the topics tend to be about stuff that's happening in the world, and or common sense. You also don't get to research anything online. The part that's probably more fun about World's is that even if you don't know a lot about the subject, there's ways to attack the task with an angle that could still result in a win. Tomorrow, we'll get a demonstration of both and I'm eager to see how it goes.

A.D White Library
Once class was over, I walked over to the Cornell store to buy some flashcards and I took some time to visit the A.D White library inside of the Uris library. Everyone says it looks like it came out of a Harry Potter book, because it's from the original building. It was aesthetically pleasing to walk around it and look outside through the small windows. One of these days I'm going to study there, but it's very quiet I'd feel bad even turning a page and making noise.

A few hours passed and I studied and went over to Shuxin's dorm for a while until I went to the Yearbook club meeting. I was worried I'd miss dinner, but we mostly introduced ourselves and talked about how we would want to theme the yearbook this year and did some FAQ. For example, someone asked if the yearbooks would be shipped internationally, and of course they do. Because yearbook was cut short, I was able to make it to dinner time with Valeria, Victoria, Connie, Ericka, and Paula. It's always so much fun. At 8 PM it was time for the Newsletter meeting. Newsletter was far more intense than yearbook. A lot of people had great ideas of what to put in it, and we're actually going to incorporate a section similar to Human's of New York. Basically, we'll take pictures of people and write their stories. I'm helping with that and some entertainment portions. Then we went back up to Victoria's room to study some more. Despite being in  different classes, we all got work done. At 10 PM we went to our usual Donlon Hall hangout, until it was time to check-in back at Balch.

I'm trying to change up my days a little bit, maybe run in the morning and take advantage of the swimming pool sometime. I'm also pretty sure yearbook and the newsletter will help me out with constantly taking pictures for my blog and getting ideas of what to write. After only 4 days it feels like I've been for weeks, but I really like the people and atmosphere. 

One Big Crazy World

I went to my usual morning lecture today and learned about how we react to various things and what can affect our reactions. Different things that can affect our reactions are our feelings toward the situation and subject and the timing of the entire situation. These varying things that affected our reactions are systems that we use to help us categorize our feelings and create order within ourselves.

During my discussion group we talked about how people form stereotypes and prejudice. This was super interesting because as human beings it's natural for us to categorize different things and people into certain feelings within ourselves yet people are constantly saying how these classifications on groups are bad and why they shouldn't exist. So going against stereotypes is essentially going against our own human nature, but we go against stereotypes because we value what is considered morally right and can respect that other individuals have the same rights and feelings as we do. 

We also talked about a way we can combat stereotypes of different groups of people which is to get to know various individuals' stories. It's a lot easier to understand and feel empathy for an individual rather than thinking about the entire group. Understanding these individuals can lead us to better understand all the others that are like that individual. This was also really interesting because previously we had talked about how we're much more detail oriented when we focus on the smaller things and events while larger pictures are much more abstract to us. Thinking about all these different interactions that we have within ourselves and how they're affected by other people really makes me think how crazy this world is since it is really twisted to think about how we need racial stereotypes and prejudice for us to create a sense of order within ourselves. 

After my lectures and discussions, I went to lunch and took a nap. I woke up around 4:00 PM and started reading some articles for tomorrow's class. I spent some time with my friends before going to dinner and talking to a girl from my floor. She was really happy because she was feeling homesick, but started talking to lots of nice people that made her feel better. This made me think back to my class and how despite thinking that we're very in control of ourselves, in reality we're actually easily affected by those around us. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Work Is Definitely Piling Up Now

Today was pretty much the same course as yesterday. I had woken up at my routine 7:30 and headed for my Public Policy class at 9. However, I will admit that today's class was a lot more interesting and made me more excited for the course. We looked into trends with health in the world and what people are dying of the most. 1000 years ago most people were dying from famine. 100 years ago, most people were dying of infectious diseases. Today we die from our own man made decisions. Obesity, Diabetes, Car Crashes and Cancer are some of the leading causes of death in the world yet they are all diseases people die from mostly because of choice (cancer is a little more complex though). It was really interesting learning about that today and studying how those trends could be applied into creating new policies and rules to fix such situations.

In the second half of class the professor made us break off into groups and in our groups we had to answer questions related to taxing energy dense foods and liquids. At first, in these groups I was quiet, but I ended up being one of the most expressive ones in the conversation in the end. One of the questions was "Should energy dense liquids be taxed?" At first I thought "yeah sure" like most other people but then I began to branch off and my final decision became more complex than that. In fact, I had decided that we should overall ban children being able to purchase energy dense foods in the first place. It's a drastic approach and some had counter argued my point which would make sense. However I related my answer back to the data we learned in class: 30 years ago the average child thought smoking was normal. They were able to purchase cigarettes and it was even advertised subtly towards children. Now, the average child thinks smoking isn't a good thing. And this is prevalent with smoking rates dropping consistently as policy has changed with smoking such as banning advertising and eventually banning kids from ever purchasing a cigarette in general. This is how society was able to program into the minds of youth that smoking is bad and drop smoking rates in huge amounts. So why would high energy liquids be any different? Growing up in a house where we weren't allowed to drink soda I now don't really see the need for me to drink soda. I might occasionally order a Sprite once in a while when I'm eating out but overall I choose water because I'm used to it and understand the health benefits over soda. I added on more points to my argument and more people started to understand what I was talking about. Even the professor told me how he liked my approach because he's never heard anyone use my idea before. And that's gold coming from a guy that's written multiple award winning books. But what can I say, I love to argue out a policy,

After class ended, I had headed to the RPCC to pick up some lunch with my friend and then began working on my courseload for my class. Though the class is very interesting, the courseload is A LOT. I'm kinda sad that I haven't really been doing much ever since classes started but its inevitable.

After working I decided to head back to my dorm. I caught up Diana and we decided to play Frisbee with multiple other people that were walking along and decided to tag in. Then we played many different card games. It was a great destresser in a time with a lot of stress. After going to eat dinner I went back to the computer lab until 10:45pm to finish ONE of my papers for my class. And now it's on to the next one.

Pretty chill yet work loaded day. The highlight of my day was definitely my class. I can't wait to go tomorrow.

Arguments and Views

This morning I was woken up by the fire alarm tests. I knew they were going to happen, because we were reminded yet I chose not to get out of bed. It wasn't really loud or an awful experience, but the guys doing the testing probably felt bad or something. Because it was past 10 AM when I woke up, I didn't go to breakfast and only got dressed for class. Yet again, I hoped to make it to lunch at Trillium, but I found a classmate, Sara, on my way to class and decided to go straight to class. Only one student, Abe, was already there because were a little over a half hour early. Without much to do, we discussed the reading from the night before. 

We picked class right back up with the introductions and I got to explain the fact I'm not from San Francisco, but from a city around the area. Then we were given two resolutions, a word for topics in debate, to choose from. One was shorter and more broad and the other was more descriptive and long. We talked about which one we preferred, personally I liked the second one because it used specific words and phrases that would allow us in the long run to focus and research more in depth. The majority of the class agreed that as well, so I think that's the one that we're going to work with.

Then, we went over ethos, pathos, and logos. We had to give the professor examples of when he used each one in his life story without telling us he was using them. I said that was appealed to emotion in the whole story was the fact he moved to Ithaca because he fell in love with a woman from Long Island. It made most people say "aww" when he told us. Afterwards, he gave us a very strange hypothetical situation. He asked, what if he stepped on puppies as he lectured. The same puppies bread by the vet school for medicine testing. We all were very confused what he wanted us to react, because whenever we tried to argue it, he would act like a hypothetical jerk. It wasn't until later that I realized maybe that was his point, he was being irrational and it's not possible to debate with someone who isn't being rational. We actually were all very interested by the debate that we stayed a couple minutes after class trying to understand what he wanted to hear from us.

My textbook
After class I walked back to my dorm because it was still hours before dinner. On my way there I talked to the girls in my class from Spain, and they're super nice. I was excited to introduce them to the Latina girls I had met yesterday. Just outside of Balch I was able to run into Victoria, the one from El Salvador. I did some reading on the grass with her and a really nice girl from Hong Kong, Myka. I had plans to swim with Myka, but then I found out I did not bring my practice swimsuit with me. 

At 5 PM I had to go up and have a meeting with my RCA, She was just checking up asking how I was doing and how I was liking Cornell. She's an engineering major and that's something that interests me so I got to ask her a couple questions about that. Especially that engineering majors at Cornell all have the same classes freshman year, which is good but at the same time not so flexible. It was a good talk with her altogether.

Paula and I had some down time in our dorms before going downstairs to meet with Victoria. We weren't too hungry but had no idea what to do so we went to the RPCC. Although it was 6 PM and I honestly don't believe it gets too full during that time, it was packed. Like always the lines still flowed and they were bearable. Not longer after being at a table, we were joined by Erycka. the girl form Costa Rica, and Connie, a Spanish girl. The cool thing about them is both of them are actually Asian, and their Spanish is so great. The boy from Puerto Rico sat down in the same table but a few seats away with his friend Keith. In the middle of joking about something I went up to them and found out Keith, although he is very Caucasian and from New York, speaks Spanish! He said it was actually his first language because when he was growing up his baby sitter was from Ecuador. Unfortunately, over the years he spoke it less but is learning it at school now. It never ceases to impress me how many people are multilingual. 

Once dinner was over Victoria, Paula, and I decided to explore the campus and went so far we ended up by the football field. We made it to Libe Slope in time for what was left of the sunset.The rest of the evening was hanging out in the Donlon lounge, meeting new people, and later listening to music from Puerto Rico (or as they pronounce it Puelto Rico).
Sunset from Libe Slope
My class is going to progressively get more rigorous, so not every afternoon/evening will be as fun as they have been. Already, some of the Hotel and Operations and Body, Mind, and Health students struggle to keep up with the coursework. Regardless, not one day has been exactly like the other and it's a part of the experience I'm very grateful for. 

~ Core Values With a New Laptop~

Today was my second day of class which was actually interesting. Today in our class discussion we talked about Henry Hudson and his values. Which are pretty much what you stand for. I liked it a lot because you get a realization of how people are really different, being if they're background, religion, or culture. Being a leader you have to work with people who have different values, yet still try to be apart of a team and incorporate everyone's idea while also not letting loose of your core values and objectives. Which is really difficult, but it is a skill every effective leader must have.Later in class we discovered what are our own core values by process of elimination. My core values were love, confidence, and balance. I think they are all important in daily life and are something I stand for so that is why I pick these as my top three core values.

After class I went to go eat lunch with Jane and a new friend named Lela from the same class. After lunch we actually went to .... Library to go finish some reading and homework for our class.

 Inside Uris Library
Later on I went to go play Frisbee with Kachi and a guy randomly came up to us and started playing. I thought that was really cool so we made a new friend named Christian. We played Frisbee for a while and  two other guys began to play with us too who were actually from my leadership class also , so I got to get closer to my peers. After we went to go get dinner. The dinner consisted of bread sticks and  turkey. YUM.  There I met a new friend who was Christian's room mate named William. After the dinner William, Christian, and I went to play some ping pong and just chilled in the lounge.

Finally I came back to my dorm and finished more of homework and took a wonderful nap. Don overnighted me a laptop and it arrived which I am so happy and grateful for because of my last minute broken laptop. Now I can finally work on papers and blog at Ease. Bless Ivy League.
North Balch (Left Side) South Balch ( Right Side)

Starting My "Second" Class

I woke up relatively early today and went to my lecture after eating breakfast. Everyone was really early today too. Before the lecture started, we switched our discussion groups around. Some students talked to the professor about being the only non-international students in their discussion group, so the professor divided us a little bit more evenly. Even though it was slightly more even this way, it really didn't make that much of a difference because the discussion groups were still mostly international students. 

After finishing that up we learned about overconfidence in our lecture. Learning about it made me think back to my discussion group from the previous day because we took a survey that showed us how overconfident most of us were. The survey included a bunch of scrambled up words with the answer right next to it and we had to estimate about how long it would take us to unscramble the words. The answers ranged form 2 seconds to 1 minute. After finishing the survey we all tried to unscramble the words chaos, gnome, and youth. By the end of two minutes, only one person had gotten anything done. It really showed how overconfident we were in our own skills. 

During today's discussion, we did another experiment. We were given either the number 0 or 1. The 0s were the control group and got no chocolate while the 1s were the ones that got chocolate. I was a 1 and we were testing whether or whether not chocolate actually increased peoples' level of happiness. After the 1s ate their chocolate, we were given surveys where we rated our happiness levels. I gave a happiness level of a 2 (where 1 is not at all happy and 10 is very happy). Most people's, regardless of eating chocolate or not, were around 5-6 (somewhat happy). These results weren't at all accurate though because we didn't have a baseline measure of happiness to compare to. So, we really don't know whether chocolate makes people happier or not, but personally I don't believe eating chocolate would make me happier. Of course, there are situation factors, such as if I'm hungry or if I were to like chocolate, but I think I would feel happier receiving chocolate than eating it. I read in my textbook that Westerners are more individually centered, meaning they think of themselves as an individual rather than as part of a group, and because of this want to stand out more and be unique in some way. Because of this desire to be unique, I believe it's very likely that Westerners would believe that receiving chocolate from somebody makes them more unique than the individuals who don't receive chocolate. Therefore, fulfilling that inner desire to be unique and making themselves happier. 

The workload of just this one class is insane. It's only been two days and I've already read 100+ pages from my textbook. I can't imagine taking more than one of these classes at time, which makes me realize why college students don't take ten classes at once. Even though the workload is insane, it's not tiring (maybe just a little bit tiring) at all because everyone else is just as interested as I am and this really motivates me to keep up with them so I'm able to understand and participate in discussions. After I get over the workload, communal bathrooms, and having to walk everywhere "college" life is super cool. 

After my usual class ended, I had another lecture at 3:15 PM. This is technically a second class because it's taught by a different professor and we discuss different things. During that lecture, we talked about the different fields you could go into through social psychology, which are all different types and levels of counselors. We also did a little activity that helped us get to know each other. We all went into a circle and then different people in the circle would make an inner circle so they were facing somebody from the outer circle. Each person within the pairings got 45s each to answer the question about ourselves before switching. After one question the outer circle would go to the left and we would answer another question to our designated partner. We did six of these questions. It not only helped us get to know each other better, but it also helped us get smarter. We were all talking about happy things in our lives and according to a studies that involved young children, you are able to perform much better when you are happy which is used as one method of measuring intelligence. I really enjoyed this lecture because the teacher was extremely interactive and talked about interesting things. Afterwards, I went back to my dorm and did my homework for the next several hours before eating dinner and coming back to my dorm to finish my homework. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Spanish Debate Day One

So the title is very misleading. I am taking a Debate and Rhetoric course, but it's not in Spanish. Although, I did speak a lot of Spanish today and met a bunch of other Hispanic people, and it was wonderful to say the least.

First rainy day
I woke up around 8:40 AM since my class doesn't start until 12:30 PM but I still wanted to make it to breakfast. Right before I was going to leave my dorm, and try to have breakfast at Trillium (the other dining hall closer to most classrooms) it started raining. I knew that even though it was raining it was probably just going to be humid later. Either way, I put on my Cornell hoodie courtesy of the Ivy League Connection and grabbed my umbrella. As I was walking down the staircase, my classmate Amelia texted me saying she was having lunch at the RPCC, so I went with her instead.

Around 12 PM, we started walking to Ives Hall, in the ILR school (Industrial and Labor Relations). I had passed by it yesterday, so it was a short 15 minute walk, some of it uphill. Apparently most people struggled, but we found the lecture hall with ease. About 25 students were already seated, and our professor was no where to be found. So we were early. His TAs, Rubin and Armands, eventually showed up. They asked us how we were liking the campus, and everyone said they hadn't done much. I don't think I've done enough exploring either, but I hadn't spent all my time in my dorm so I was okay.

Class started and it was mostly introduction. The biggest thing I got out of it was that my professor, Sam Nelson, has a certain pedagogy, and it's to democratize the class. He believes he has as much to learn from the students as we do from him. I personally appreciate that, because although yes he's very well-rounded in debate, being a champion of many competitions and all, he definitely does learn from us. Also, he said that a good debater has a mindset of sharing ideas. It's not so much about how they look when debating or how they "perform," but the actual sharing of concepts from that person to another. That made me think about how I would be debating in the future, and made me try to focus on worrying more about getting my ideas through as opposed to worrying about appearance.

We then all got to introduce ourselves, almost. About a third of the class, including myself, have yet to say our names and facts about ourselves. They also all got silly nicknames with their initials. The class was a good laugh, and even though I know it's supposed to be a very difficult course I'm glad I chose it. He even gave us time to talk to each other, and I met two girls from Spain, a boy from Iowa, a girl from Connecticut, and a girl from Long Island. The girl from Long Island, Rachel, and I were fascinated by how educated the boy from Iowa, Hans, was. He lives on a farm so he does know a lot about agriculture, but they do think about how it affects global warming and ways to improve and prevent that. That's actually going to be one of our debate topics, global warming. It was a class I'm looking forward to.

After class, I met up with Diana and Shuxin to go to Ithaca Mall with Mike and have some dinner. The Ithaca Mall is unfortunately small and Ithaca in general lacks food options within a small proximity We ate at the food court, and I got Chicken teriyaki. Mike and Diana also got plates from there and Shuxin got noodles. We talked about how it's been so far, first day of classes, and our first weekend at Cornell. I was really full, unlike when I eat at the dining hall because I'm usually talking so much with my friends. We then said goodbye to Mike and went back to Cornell.

I got to Cornell just in time for the Dodge ball circle they had going on. So many people were involved. Afterwards, I met up with Sami and Paula at the RPCC, just to later find Kachi and Diana, our friend from the midwest, and decided to go play cards at Donlon. We were there for a good hour, until we were tired of playing. I told Paula I was going to go on a run, since the day was still so beautiful and it was light out. 

Dodge ball circle near Mary Donlon Hall
I didn't go on that run though. Paula and I ran into some Hispanic girls, who called us over just by yelling, "Hola!" They were so excited to see that we also spoke Spanish. One of them, Victoria, is from Puerto Vallarta and she was really outgoing. Valeria is from El Salvador and Ericka is Taiwanese but she's from Costa Rica. It was a lot of fun speaking in Spanish so we went to look for more Hispanic people to bond with. Then turns out, a girl I had met 2 days before, Eva was Italian but also spoke Spanish! It was such an adventure and I got to meet and talk to way more people. 

Everyday has been significantly different at Cornell. I know it's not always one-hundred percent excited, but being here always makes me look forward to the following day. 

~First Day of New Surroundings~

This morning I woke up at 7:50 AM to get ready, eat breakfast and finally head to my class. My class was a 15 minute walk from the dorm which isn't too bad. I arrived at my classroom just before 9 AM, yet we started later because people got lost.

We started off with introductions in everyone in the class. It was different seeing everyone from different states and even continents. We all introduced why we were in the class and I thought it was really inspiring how many of the students had a lot of non-profits and actually raised a lot of money for each. Many of my peers actually shared my reason for taking the class because I want to major in Business and I want to develop as many skills as I can to become a better leader for my future career.

We than started the next part of the class which was history. We talked about the history of the books we were reading which were about exploration of Henry Hudson to explore a passage over the top of the world past the pole towards East Asia. I liked how he was explaining everything, but I thought it was a little boring because Don had already explained to me pretty much most of what he was talking about. Though he did talk a lot about the challenges one faced at the time period which was interesting because their were a lot like winds, ship technology and even diseases. Which I thought really expressed leadership because of the amount of risks and calculations one had to do.
The third part of the class everyone divided into groups into discussions. Our discussion was about leadership. We had  read one chapter about a leadership story and we just explained how we feel. So in this story their were Elliese and Milko who started a business and Milko would be the shy talker who stuttered a lot yet when he spoke about his business. He actually spoke with passion. That is what I talked about. Being a leader you get to develop skills that you never had or even strengthen because you are passionate of a subject. I really like the discussion part of the class because everything makes you think deeply.

After class I went to the IT department to see if they could fix my laptop which they ended up not being able to because it was a hardware problem. So Don has shipped a laptop to me which will arrive tomorrow.

Later on the cohort except for Kachi because of homework, the rest went to go see Mike at Target. We bought some laundry detergent that we all shipped in for. Than Mike took us to the food court and got some delicious shrimp teriyaki. We took bus to and from  Target which only cost 75 cents which is completely inexpensive.

I met a new friend in class today called Jane who I learned to connect with really well. Which only for this program I would have met her. I went to study at a lounge where I saw someone sitting by themselves so I sat next to her and we became good friends also, her name is Steph.
I finally went back to my dorm to work on papers  for my class tommorow.

First Day of Class

My Lecture Hall
I arrived at class about thirty minutes before 10:00 AM. Everyone was super early because we were all afraid of being late since Cornell has such a large campus. We were supposed to read through the first chapter of the textbook the previous night, which was extremely helpful. We were all able to quickly just go straight into discussing the first chapter which covered the psychology of questionable belief. 

An extremely interesting case I read from the first chapter was that in a survey for the 1936 US presidential election more than a million responded saying Republican Alf Landon would defeat Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, but Landon ended up carrying only two states. This was because the survey was taken from telephone directories and automobile registrations, which ended up creating bias. Wealthy people were more likely to own phones and cars than the poorer people and also be Republicans. This was extremely interesting to me because I often use various statistical evidence for debate, but after reading this case I've started thinking about questioning my opponents how the research was conducted for their evidence. Another really interesting case was that certain studies say married people are happier than unmarried people. While this case did show a survey of how happy people were before and after they married, it didn't consider whether it's because these people are happier that they end up marrying someone. The argument there is that happier people may be more appealing to others and more likely to get married. This is called a case of reverse causation, where happiness might cause marriage rather than marriage causing happiness. 

The professor also covered multiple slides on critically thinking rather than just memorizing the material which I absolutely agree with. Too many students, myself included sometimes, nowadays just memorize the information from textbooks instead of actually learning the material. It not only limits discussion during class, but also the student's preparation for life after high school. From personal experience, I know this is especially a problem at Pinole Valley. While I do believe this problem is partially the students' fault it's largely due to the fact that memorizing the textbook is such a large part of teacher's curriculum. I spent a good part of my time in world history reading the textbook or doing work from the textbook and not actually discussing what I'm reading. I should be using the textbook as reference to discuss it during class, not using it as the only thing teaching me world history. Even though I've only gone through one day of my class, I can already tell how much difference a teacher can make. 

After the main lecture from my professor, we were split into smaller discussion groups headed by teacher assistants. We all went to different classrooms and during my discussion group we paired up and had to introduce our partner to the rest of the group after asking our partner some questions. I was paired up with a girl from Beijing who is going to high school in Delaware. Most of the students in my discussion group are international students from China and all of them are able to speak English fluently, which says a lot about the foreign language departments in American schools because I know plenty of people that are unable to even speak conversationally in the foreign language they study. 

After eating lunch, I met up with Joceline and Diana to take the bus to go see Mike at Ithaca Mall. We went to Target and bought all of the things we needed. Afterwards we went to the food court and got dinner. We all talked about the different experiences we've had so far. I ate wonton noodle soup from Easy Wok. I didn't love it, but it was nice eating Chinese food, even if it was Americanized Chinese food, after not eating it for a while. Diana and I played ping pong in Balch's dorm lounge after we took the bus back. I've only played ping pong a couple of times in my life, so I wasn't very good, but it was still pretty fun. I spent the rest of my night reading through 70 pages of my textbook, which was surprisingly not too bad because I was surrounded by others who were also studying and we talked throughout our mini study session.  

First Day of Classes Galore

The day started out with me waking up at around 7:30 getting ready for the first day of classes. I was excited but a bit nervous on what was to come however I saw the homework load the day before and it made me a little bit more scared on what to expect. By the time I had gotten ready I didn't really end up having much time to grab a lot for breakfast so I picked up two muffins and some water and started rushing to class. I had to put my class into google maps however I ended up getting lost along the way because the way to my class was blocked off due to construction so I had to take a detour. I got lost again when I got to the building (I found out that they apparently wrote the wrong side of the building for my class) luckily there were people who knew the way to help me out.

The first day of my class was more of a tutorial. The first hour went by with the first week professor telling us about plagiarism and why we shouldn't do it and the consequences if we do and things pertaining to that. We also received the details on how our class would go over the next few weeks with four weekly essays making up the bulk of our grade (80%) and class participation and a final group project making up the rest. My main professor also introduced us to the general idea of policy making and showed us multiple examples of why it's never easy to agree on passing a law. She ended off the first half of the class by taking our headshot and telling us that she does it so that if we ever become president of the United States someday she would have evidence for being the reason why.

We then headed to the library so the TA could teach us how to use the database system. It was a bit complicated to watch at first but since I'm used to Contra Costa College's database system and the amount of lectures I received on it then I'm pretty sure it should be straight forward. After the library tutorial, we received homework questions to answer based on it.

At the end of the tutorial I met up with my group for the final project where we had to analyze a problem and create a thirty minute presentation on it along with a bill to address the problem. Our problem deals with the influx of drug overdose that is happening in North Dakota at an over 125% up rise in drug overdose related deaths in the state. It's the highest up rise in the country so it was a good problem to analyze.

After class I started to head back to my dorm. I had a ton of homework assigned and it was pretty much what I did for the rest of the day. I was super surprised by it but also kinda bummed out because I wasn't able to attend to Target and eating out with Mike and the rest of my cohort. I guess it's just another day in the life of a college student.

Gonna get back to my homework and rest. I'm curious to see how the second day of classes go!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

~ A New Day, New Friends~

Today was my second day at Cornell. I stayed up later the previous night blogging and putting together a Cornell picture. So I woke up at 7 AM and I decoded I was still tired so would sleep for another hour. I woke up again around 8 and decided to go visit Kachi in her room, she was sleeping so I woke her up and told her it was breakfast time and she said she wanted to sleep longer and I agreed so I sharing the bed with her and waking up at 10:30. Breakfast ended at 10:30 but neither of us was that hungry. I usually don't eat breakfast at home so I' m getting used to it little by little.

We just took a long time getting ready and than went to go get lunch. I ate these tasty cheesy breadsticks which was honestly the highlight of my meal. I usually drink this cantaloupe infused water which is really good, they have a variety of infused water. They changed up the water so I just filled up my water bottle with the fountain water next to my dorm which I actually really like because its cold. Maybe because I'm used to tap water? I don't know but I just save myself the money instead of buying water bottles and use the fountain which is good. After lunch we went to the Bear Necessity store located inside the same building where they sell a little bit of everything from milk to detergent. So if I need anything I will just go there.

After I came back to my dorm and went on a scavenger hunt with my unit and we just looked at different buildings and they gave us clues. I didn't really pay attention to finding the building I actually made more friends in my floor and got closer. Which I think was the same for everyone. The main focus of the activity was really to bond with everyone. After a while everyone agreed to come back to the dorms because the sun was just beating down on us and the humidity was difficult to work with.

I came back to the dorm to just hang with people from my unit and do some prereading for my inspiring leadership class. Which just consisted of chapter one which was about what a leader consists of and how to become a better leader--which they refer to in The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

After I finished reading I went to the dining hall for some dinner. Today’s meal was pasta which was really good and the sauce was amazing.

After the dinner I went along with Kachi to the club signing activity. Which was held in a lounge and I signed up for hiking, movie, leadership, and board game club. Some of the clubs conflict with each other so whatever I am in the mood to do that day I'll decide. Yet, I am most interested in hiking club.

After the club signing Kachi and I left to go to Bear Necessities to go get some ping pong balls and a Frisbee. Frisbee because we all forgot to bring one and ping pong balls because our lounge doesn't have any. Then we made a stop at Insomnia Cookie and WOW is it good I tell you. 

We then went to go play ping pong in the lounge. Some people ended up coming down after seeing ping pong and I had a mini stereo so I had put on music. So I ended up making a lot of friends there who actually liked the same music as me and they were all super nice. I'm really happy I bought ping pong balls and had that stereo. 

After lots of fun I went to go take a shower because the stalls were empty. The bathroom and showers are connected so when you walk in there are shower stalls with curtain doors and if you keep walking forward a sink is at the end and the toilets are there. 

I went back to my dorm and kept reading a little for my class. Then there was check-in where we have to go downstairs and they check our IDs to make sure we’re in the building by a specific time. I told my roommate Jenny about Insomnia Cookie and we both started to crave it so we ordered delivery to the dorms. It's open till 3 AM for delivery which is really late, but anyways I'm going to go get my cookie.

Day Two of Cornell, and the Last Day Before Class

Today I woke up at around 10ish. It was probably the first day I got to sleep in since I left California. I stayed a little bit in bed to check some emails from my professor. They sent a lot of detail about my course and the things I would need to begin reading for the next day. 

After briefly looking through the things they had sent, I decided that it would be a better time to leave it until later on in the day. I decided to head out to the RPCC though I arrived a bit late however I did make it in time for the beginning of lunch (which starts pretty early at Cornell). So I managed to fill myself with some lunch time foods and refill my water bottle and then head to the Bear Necessities store to buy more crates of water for my room. 

After putting away my water crates, I had headed off to meet with my unit adviser and other girls in my unit. I was in charge of marking off where we needed to head off to next which meant I would have the paper with the list of buildings on it. It was great because I was able to familiarize myself with the buildings. And see many buildings I hadn't seen before. I also got the time to socialize with more people about where they come from and discuss the differences of where we came from which was pretty cool and enlightening to hear about. 

After the tour, we had headed to dinner at the RPCC. I noticed that Cornell's lunch kitchen is very similar to the dinner kitchen and that they have very similar foods from day to day. However the food is great so I'm not complaining yet. I had refilled my water bottle again and then after quickly eating dinner we headed to the Cornell Club/Activity Rush happening at Mary Donlon Hall, which I was the most excited to hear about.

The Activity Rush featured about 10 or 12 clubs we would be able to sign up for at our stay at Cornell. So I decided to sign up for Diversity club (club about talking about diversity and the differences that come with it. And I'm really excited about this club to meet people who are interested in things I am interested in pertaining to diversity), Leadership club (an interesting club about the mafia and how the leadership roles take place in it), Movie club (a movie watching club), Hiking club (a club to the the wonders of Ithaca), Dodge ball club (club about playing dodge ball) and board game club (a club dedicated to playing board games and meeting people). I probably can't go to all of these clubs but I really hope to go to most of them as for the fact that I REALLY love being in clubs. Even if I have the slightest interest in it I still try to sign up and see how I can learn something, meet people with similar interests, or have fun. So I'm really excited about this.
After the activity fair, Diana and I decided to head out to the closer part of town. The town was under a lot of construction but it was a very skinny road that was both commercial and residential. It also was a very good view of  the trees in Ithaca. It was only about 20 minutes away but we wanted to pick up a Frisbee and a few ping pong balls to finally get the chance to play ping pong. Also, we saw it as the chance to check out the Insomniac, the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich shop that is similar to Cream, the one we have in the Bay Area. It was very good and had a lot more Ice Cream in the cookie compared to Cream however it was pricier than Cream. So it's overall a trade off. They both taste very similar. 
When we arrived back, we were able to finally play Ping Pong and relax a little bit before heading upstairs to get to work on reading the material for our classes. Overall it was a great day and I'm excited to start classes tomorrow.

Best Second Day of Anything

Maybe the title is an exaggeration, but today definitely felt a whole lot better than yesterday did. Despite having made some new friends at the Ice Cream Social, thanks to the floor meeting my unit had the night before I befriended two girls across the hall from me, Paula and Sami. They're both from Florida, which is super cool.

I woke up and knocked on Sami's door to see if she wanted to go get breakfast together. I also asked Serena, whom I had met because she left her door open and I sort of just popped in yesterday. We headed to the RPCC and we met up with 2 other girls Sami was friends with, Perri and Eva. While getting food I found Paula and she asked where I was sitting. Who would've known that this morning I'd find two girls I got along with so well. I got a light breakfast of potatoes and pancakes. Probably not the healthiest combination. They have omelettes too and although the line is bearable I chose not to wait in it.
View from the bridge
After breakfast we walked to the other side of campus, in attempt to see if Day Hall was open. Unfortunately it wasn't, so we walked around a little more. Because the day before I got lost I had walked across the bridge with a better view of Beebee Lake and the waterfall to the gorge. I led Sami and Paula to it, and throughout the walk we went into the Human Ecology building, and it was pretty neat.
Staircase inside the Human Ecology building

We knew there was a scavenger hunt at 12:45 PM, and since it was about 11 AM, we went back to the RPCC for lunch. Yesterday I didn't make it in time for lunch, so I was happy that I'd be getting three meals today. During lunch is when things started getting better. Sami and I sat down with Lily, another girl that Sami knew, and gradually more people started joining us. A girl named Madeline from D.C. asked if it was okay to sit down and of course we said yes. Then Carolyn from our unit sat down too. Not too long after Sami saw a boy, Liam, sitting at the table next to us by himself, and as she got up for seconds she invited him to our table. A few minutes afterwards, I was getting ice cream when I saw another guy, Tommy, sitting by himself, so I asked if he was waiting for anyone and invited him over too. They were actually both from New Jersey and live about 15 minutes away from each other. It was a really good time, and by the last few minutes Paula came and joined us too. We decided that we'd meet up for dinner after all of our scavenger hunts.

Inside Ithaca Mall, exit from Target
The scavenger hunt was mostly going around and searching for certain buildings around campus. It was about an hour long and we ended up way by the lower end of campus, almost by College Town.

A friend of ours, Mieke, was coming from the Starbucks and we took a spontaneous trip to the Ithaca Mall! Sami was hesitant because she's a very analytical person, but she joined us anyway. We didn't explore all of Ithaca Mall, it was mostly a Target run for all that Mieke needed and some snacks for us. Mieke is going to be here for 6 weeks because she's doing architecture, so she has a mini fridge so we found it proper to buy some gogurt.

The bus ride back to the dorms was nice, and it was almost 5 PM by then and the activities fair was at 5:15 PM in the Donlon Lounge, so we took a break from all the walking today and had some time in our dorms. The Donlon Lounge was packed with summer college students trying to join many different things: yearbook, Summer Times, soccer, volleyball. dodgeball, hiking, board gaming, and just about anything. Someone from summer college staff tried to start a spontaneous dodge ball game and basically failed.

I found Shuxin in the midst of all the commotion, so she, Sami, Paula, Tommy, Liam, and I went out to the picnic table right outside of Donlon and talked for quite a while until we all got hungry. In between that some guys sat down and talked to us for a bit; they were alright. We all shared interesting things about each other, like how much Liam is into politics. Also, the crazy things that have happened when Sami baby sat and Tommy slipping while cliff diving once. 

We went to dinner probably 15 minutes before it was supposed to close, and stayed there for a whole hour. The sun was starting to set, and some of us have classes that require a lot of reading so we took off. The 2nd floor of Donlon was supposed to have hot chocolate so Paula and Shuxin tried to go get some, but they were out. That's when I heard some slapping on the table and saw playing cards. Some girls were playing Egyptian Rat Screw! I learned that game through some classmates at Middle College, and Shuxin knew it too. We were both really excited and asked if we could play.

After being all sweaty and tired, Paula and I walked back to our dorms. The day felt very long, but the good kind. I did a lot, in my opinion, especially walking. Paula and Sami are taking the same course so I won't see as much of them once class starts, but we made a group chat so we should be fine. I'm looking forward to how tomorrow is going to go and first day of class.

Exploring the Campus....Again

Musical Stairs (stairs leading to this)
There was a mandatory scavenger hunt I had to attend at 1:00 PM. My floor did it together as a group, but I think a lot of people went around by themselves for the scavenger hunt. You had to figure out a riddle and then go to the place the riddle was talking about. After arriving at the place you had to take a picture and at every destination you needed a different pose. We went to the two main libraries, Cornell store, the bell tower, Gannett Health Services, RPCC (our dining hall), Balch Hall (dorm), and the musical stairs. The only place I hadn't been before was the musical stairs and it's become one of my favorite places on campus. The stairs are called the musical stairs because when you kick a rock across the ground it makes different noises on the different colored tiles. It was really cool and I can totally see myself just running up the stairs to kick the rocks in between classes. The scavenger hunt for my dorm was scheduled at 12:00 PM (right in the middle of lunch) and we took a while walking so my friend, Lily, and I had to walk really fast back to RPCC, but we made it on time. 

The other day Mike told us that living in college dorms with communal bathrooms gets you over public bathrooms really fast. I was skeptical at first and completely didn't believe him, but he was absolutely right. The bathrooms here in Ithaca don't have the paper seat covers that are in most public bathrooms in California and so for the past week I have been just placing toilet paper on top of the toilet seat as a replacement. I got really tired of it today and finally just sat on the toilet. I was super grossed out on some level, but I also just didn't care. 

At 5:30 PM I went to my dorm's lobby for club sign-ups. There were a bunch of tables with posters explaining what the club does and sign-up papers. It was extremely packed when I went and I had to work my way through lots of people. It was terrible, but I got to sign up for the hiking, leadership, board game, and movie clubs. Right after I saw Joceline and I joined her groups of friends. They were a really fun and interactive bunch with interesting stories to tell. We just sat outside and talked for a while underneath a tree. The conversation went from crazy dorm mates to Donald Trump. After an hour of just talking we finally decided to get dinner. 

Today's lunch and dinner were much better than yesterday’s. After thinking about it some more the food at Cornell is actually really good. They do seem to have a little bit of every type of food. There's always fruit and a salad bar too if you are feeling healthy that day. I ate pasta with meat, a garlic knot, some noodle thing with beef, sushi, and ice-cream. After finishing our dinner, we just sat there and talked for another hour. It was super cool of the workers to not kick us out because it was already after the closing hours. 

Joceline, Paola (a new friend), and I went back to my floor hoping to make it back in time for the hot chocolate, but unfortunately we were too late. After feeling sad for a little bit we saw these girls playing Egyptian war, a card game where you basically slap down on certain cards and try to accumulate all the cards. We joined the game by slapping down on certain cards and after about half an hour I was able to accumulate all the cards and win. It was super intense and fun because we were all going crazy every time someone slapped back in. 

Joceline and Paola had to go back to their dorm at 9:00 PM and the rest of us went up to the third floor to eat cupcakes. There were chocolate cupcakes and lots of people decorating with different colored icing when we got there. Some people made some super cool designs. I kept mine pretty simple because I'm not a huge fan of icing, but it was really fun meeting all the people and talking to them while icing my cupcake. It's been a really long day and I'm super excited for classes tomorrow. 
My Cupcake Design