Sasha Chanko ‘19: Eat your f***ing breakfast. Wake up, have a bar or yogurt or something small in the dining hall. Get a coffee if you need one. Never go to class hungry.
Eat your damn lunch. If you think you can handle the hour and twenty-five minute lecture that starts at 1:25 without food, go ahead. Try it! See how it goes.
Eat your dinner, please. Going to bed hungry is one of the worst feelings.
Exercise. Go running. Go to the gym. Walk or bike everywhere. Keep your body in shape and your mind will follow suit.
Lastly, study something you are genuinely interested in. Take a lot of different classes. Try something new. Follow your gut and follow your head. If you like something you didn’t think you would, keep going. Keep taking classes that stimulate your mind. A class for your GPA? That’s a waste of money.
Maintain your physical and mental health. Please.
Bruno Avritzer ‘20: Don’t be ashamed of what you’re interested in. Just because other people think your clubs or your major are BS doesn’t mean you should think any differently of them. Prioritize your happiness over things you feel compelled to do.
Jeremiah Kim ‘19: Stay the f*** away from Fireball, ya dingus.
Ashley Radparvar ‘19: Ask a lot of questions, even if you’re hesitant to do so. It’s totally okay to not know where a building is, not understand any of the acronyms, or be confused about the material in a class. Want to know the best cafes to spend your BRBs or the best place to get brunch downtown? Ask! And definitely go to a ton of office hours—professors love talking to students and it’s a great way to get to know your professor on an individual level, especially in large lectures.
Evan Kravitz ‘19: Take advantage of dim sum brunch at RPCC. It’s tasty and convenient, though the lines can get long, so arrive early!
Yang Lu ‘18: Don’t take your failures in college so seriously. I remember freaking out coming in because I thought everything had to be perfect. But I slowly learned that it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to not know what direction you are heading. What is important is that you stay true to yourself and strive for improvement. I’ve learned my greatest lessons through failure and, looking back at my college career now, I wouldn’t change a thing – mistakes and all.
Charlie Liao ‘18: Bring your GPA to a 2.0 so you never have to stress about grades again.
Tony Li ‘19: Stop comparing yourself to everyone else’s standards.
Coming to Cornell as a Fine Arts major, I felt super insecure about how my peers were going to judge me. “He took the easy way in.” “Why is he studying art at Cornell?” “What a waste of an admission.” These thoughts weren’t just paranoia or voices inside my head. My high school peers had been saying these things behind my back since the day I was admitted.
So, from the first day of class, I tried my best to impress everyone. I joined more than 10 clubs. I made Dean’s List every semester. I became known as “the guy who worked really hard.” But no matter how many hours I dedicated to my art studios, classes, and personal projects, I continued to be unsatisfied whenever I realized that there were still some people who didn’t respect me and “what I studied.” Comparing myself to others’ opinions was unsustainable. Especially when there were 3,219 of them in my class. I was always losing.
It took me two full years until I met a senior who inspired me to really get out of my own way and develop mental toughness… “calluses in my brain,” as David Goggins (search this badass up) says.
Beatrice Jin ‘18: Advice doesn’t work on freshmen – or at least it never worked on me. If I had to help my freshman self out, I’d give her a mega pack of gummy bears and some Pepcid AC.
Lev Akabas ‘19: My first thought was to tell Young Lev all the things that he didn’t figure out until later on (there exists a Cornell fraternity with a dry house, always schedule your first class of the day for either 10:10am or 11:15am, if college is a video game then freshman year is basically just the tutorial where you learn all of the controls, etc.). But then I worried that maybe, in some weird time travel way, Old Lev telling Young Lev these things would alter the past and result in his never figuring them out at all, so I’ve decided to tell Young Lev something else that I really, really wish someone had told me:
“Prepare yourself for Donald Trump winning the election.”