Dear potential Cornellians,
Congratulations on your acceptance to Cornell! Looking back one year ago today, I can still feel the trembling of my hands when I clicked on the link that would reveal the final decision and, incidentally, change my life forever. I hope that the moment you saw your acceptance letter, you knew you wanted to spend the next four exciting years in gorge-ous Ithaca.
I also know that you may be overwhelmed by the the numerous options you may have, and surely you want to make the best decision. So as a freshman with fresh experiences and no less curiosity, I’d love to give you some insight as to what Cornell is like (especially if you can’t make it to the Cornell Days) and give you a hint of the future might look like.
First, the weather. I know this is the biggest concern for many of you, especially for those coming from somewhere much warmer and more humid like I do. But hey, we got one-and-half snow days for the first time in 24 years–maybe they’ll keep coming! In all seriousness, it’s true that we are not sunny California, but a heavy coat and snow-ready boots should keep you prepared. If walking in the snow sounds terrible to you, not to fear–we also have buses that can take you to almost everywhere on campus and around Ithaca. Not to mention that it’s gonna be nice and beautiful when spring comes (or at least so I’ve heard. Remember, I’m a freshman!).
Besides the snow, you may also wonder if you can survive the workload at Cornell. We are indeed one of the most academically rigorous universities in the nation. Some courses may stress you out a bit with difficult problem sets or long essays, but luckily there are TAs and professors extremely knowledgeable in their fields who are willing to answer your questions. As a freshman, you can also take this opportunity to learn time management skills, like fully using the short gap between your two classes and not saving everything till the due date. Also, if you do feel overwhelmed and depressed by your performances, you can always talk to your advisor, your residential hall director, or a counselor at the health center, who would be more than happy to help you deal with stress. Plus, there’s just so much flexibility in choosing your classes so you can always have fun. From the famous wine class to tree climbing, I promise you’ll eventually find what classes that satisfy you. I’m a Communication major who’s taking Astronomy, and I absolutely love it!
But don’t think you’re coming to a school of nerds. From arts to media to sports to foreign relations, there are over 1000 student organizations on campus as well as a vibrant Greek community, where you can meet and become friends with really cool people. Even if you haven’t figured what club to join, remember that the people sitting next to you in lectures are often a lot of fun. They might come from different continents, speak different languages, or just happen to love the same show as you do. Cornell is diverse enough that anyone can find a place if they try, regardless of your color or race or shape or size.
Lastly, I’d like to give a quick shoutout to all the spring-admit students. You may have worries over starting to school a semester later than your fellow freshmen–I know I did. But from my experiences so far, it doesn’t really make much of a difference. You’re on the same track with other students on major events like class enrollment and housing; there might be delay on some activities such as participation in greek life, but in general you’re the same as fall-admits. More importantly, in the fall semester, you will have the opportunity to take classes at other institutes, read some big fat books and try something that you normally would not do, as this might be the only semester in years that you don’t have to worry about getting a high GPA or finding jobs. It also gives you more time to spend with mom and dad when your friends have left town for school. Live your life and come to Cornell in January with all your courage and confidence!
Congratulations again to all the high school seniors who did an amazing job in the past four years. We look forward to seeing you here in Ithaca this August or next January as the Class of 2021. And if you’re still on the fence, no matter where you choose to go in the end, I hope you enjoy every minute of your college life and have no regrets.