Dear Cornell Swim Test,
Thank you for making me pack a bathing suit that I have yet to wear any other time this year—like I needed to add to the pile of stuff in my suitcase that I wasn’t going to use. I was thrilled to register for you over the summer and have you hanging over my head while I unpacked, settled in, and made friends. Because I obviously wanted to spend the beginning of my O-week floundering around in a freezing cold pool at Helen Newman with my fellow freshman instead of hiking in the gorge, eating at CTB or exploring campus.
You were also really overhyped. When I went to take you I was expecting to have to do multiple strokes for different laps of the pool and for there to be some sort of structure as to how the test would be set up. Instead I was told to “just do whatever” as long as I jumped feet first into the pool and didn’t touch the lane-lines. Gonna be honest, I was unimpressed. I mean I didn’t start drowning so I guess that counts for something, but seeing if someone can swim 75 yards without drowning isn’t a good way to test if they can actually swim.
And I know this might sound a little rude so I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I don’t get what point you serve. Cornell has been very clear that we’re not supposed to swim in the gorges, and I don’t know where else we’re supposed to be swimming. And If I couldn’t struggle my way through you, I’d be trying especially hard to stay out of any and all water, so it confuses me even more that other colleges like Columbia think there’s a point to you too. If I were Cornell, I’d be more worried about students studying all night in the libraries and binging on CTB quad shot lattes. Lack of sleep is the real killer, whereas the only thing I’m at risk of drowning in is my work.
But I really don’t want you to take this personally. It’s not your fault that you’re an old, outdated requirement that should probably be deemed irrelevant. And in all honesty I don’t have anything against swimming. In fact I kind of like it. Just not when I have to do it to graduate.
Yours with lots of tough love,