If you lived in a city before coming to Cornell, it’s for sure an adjustment to move to Ithaca, with all its greenery, foliage, and rolling hills. Although you can seek support from other city kids, there are a lot of pleasures to be found in your four years of semi-suburbia. Here are some thoughts you may relate to if you’re a city kid at Cornell.
1Oh look, a deer!
Did you get made fun of by your friends when you saw a deer and cried with joy? Apparently, most people in the suburbs see deer every day in their backyard, but for the city kid, it’s equivalent to seeing a lion in its natural habitat. Seeing grass feels like a novelty, and air that doesn’t smell like garbage is the biggest treat of all. But some nature isn’t super easy to get used to. Most city kids can sleep through a car horn but when chirping birds are your alarm clock, it’s frankly unsettling.
2Did she just smile at me or did she have something in her teeth?
Many people on city streets are either trying to sell something, steal something, or make an inappropriate comment. You have learned to keep your head down, so when your friend from class or your roommate tries to hail you down, it’s common to have “street” PTSD. But on Cornell’s campus people actually make the effort to be friendly. Mind blown.
3Is it ok if you drive?
If you’re a city kid without your license, you’re in the majority. However, if you have your license either because you have a country house somewhere or you forced yourself to learn when you came to Cornell, it hasn’t been an easy ride. It can be scary to get behind the wheel of a car, especially when you’re anticipating persistent honking and no turn on red. Even though your friends probably won’t agree to get in the car with you, driving around Ithaca can be freeing. You might be directionally confused because at home, the subway takes you where you need to go, but the non-city traffic is a huge plus.
4Yes, I know them.
You are probably sick of getting the question, “Do you know this person?” Cities may be big, but they’re smaller than people think. Odds are, if you don’t know the person you’re asked about, you probably know their middle school friend’s camp friend’s sister.
5Excuse me, where is the nearest garbage can?
City dwellers are used to having a garbage can on every street, and on campus it can feel like there’s a major shortage. You can find yourself walking to class for minutes on end with your finished salad from Macs and an empty Aquafina bottle before disposing of your lunch.
6Dinner won’t break the bank.
Most major cities are crazy expensive. Meal plans and Ithaca eateries are a huge relief to your monthly bill. Sometimes, an appetizer, main course and dessert will be the same price as a cocktail at a NYC bar. Winning.
7I miss Postmates.
It’s a bummer that you don’t have apps like Postmates and Seamless to get anything you want delivered to your apartment. But the good news is, you can ditch takeout and learn to cook. You can even drive to the grocery store and don’t have to walk ten blocks with heavy bags. It may sound like more work that you signed up for, but when you’re cooking meals other than Ramen for your roommates like you’re Bobby Flay, it’ll be worth it.
Ithaca has amazing things to offer Cornell students and you will probably love the environmental change of pace. But if you don’t, moving out of a city will make you appreciate home even more. Even though you may struggle through adjusting to a college campus, the good news is many students at Cornell aim to move to major cities after they graduate. That means you’ll have an automatic network when you go back home and can show your friends around since you’re the expert! When everyone is scrambling to find housing, you have the option of being snuggled up at home, and maybe instead of ordering in, you may just even invite everyone over for your home cooked meal.