If you’re not one of those people who shows up to Ithaca waaaaay too excited about going to their first college party, have no fear. Your options for activities during O-Week are endless!
1. Make a late-night run to Nasties
Jeremiah Kim: The first few days of O-Week might be the only time that Bear Necessities (Nasties) in RPCC won’t be mobbed by throngs of drunken revelers clamoring to fix their munchies with a Bo Burger or Fried Platter, simply because most freshmen aren’t even aware that such a place exists—yet. Take advantage of this momentary lull in traffic to satisfy your most urgent midnight cravings and enjoy that heavenly burger in sweet, sweet solitude.
2. Play ping-pong
Lev Akabas: Not only is ping-pong a perfect 10-minute stress-reliever as well as the perfect game to play while having a one-on-one conversation with a friend, but it also has a pretty low level of entry. I had only played a handful of times before coming to Cornell, but I found a few people with whom I was evenly matched, and the more I played, the better I got. By February, I was playing game 98 of a 99-game ping-pong series that I had started with my suite-mate at the beginning of the year. We still have a Google spreadsheet listing all the scores from the series, which brings back good memories (and, for me, frustration) whenever we look at it.
Note: If anyone asks you to play “table tennis” with them, they’re probably above your skill level.
3. Visit every floor in your dorm and try to make a new friend on each one
JK: On one of my first nights in Jameson Hall, my entire floor was suddenly accosted by a ragtag band (like, a literal band with guitars and a harmonica) of fellow Jameson residents—many in makeshift costumes—who were steadily making their way up the building, floor by floor. Exiting the elevator, the apparent leader of this troupe regaled us with a made-up song about their recent exploits set to bluegrass-y strumming. Some of us joined the spectacle and followed him up to the next floor. If you’ve got the guts and charisma, I highly recommend attempting a similar ploy to establish yourself as the belle of the ball in your slice of town; or, you could just go and knock on people’s doors like a normal person. Either way, it’ll be memorable!
4. Watch a movie
LA: A great way to connect with people on your floor right at the beginning of the year is by establishing a shared reference. I watched Hitch with my unit on the first Sunday at school. Ever since, if I start breaking out Kevin James’s dance moves at a party, I know that my freshman floor-mates will get it, even if I look like a buffoon to everyone else. A few months into the semester we all watched The Room together, and for the a solid four-week period we greeted each other exclusively by saying “Oh hi, Mark.” It was fantastic. Highly recommend.
5. Re-organize your entire room (or side of the room) twice – heck, maybe even three times!
JK: You’re in college! A fully functioning, semi-autonomous adult! You hold the reins of your own life—no one to tell you to make your bed, no one to cajole you to brush your teeth. Exercise your new, profound sense of individuality and freedom by re-organizing your bedroom (wall posters, closet space, desktop, and all) according to various negligible aesthetic preferences, because you can. Nothing says, I’m a fun and spontaneous millennial! like a fastidiously kempt bedroom.
6. Get ahead on sleep
LA: I went to sleep at 10:30 my first night at Cornell. I felt a little lonely at the time, but I have still managed to make plenty of friends, and yet I have not managed to go to sleep that early ever since.
7. Get to know your RA
JK: Take a crotchety old junior’s advice: it would behoove you to get on your RA’s good side now, early on in the game. Go talk to them after everyone’s ditched the mandatory floor meetings! Ask them about their major, or their favorite soup! You never know when a positive relationship with your RA (one of the few upperclassmen who’s required to know your name) might come in handy—they could give you advice on a certain course you’re interested in taking, sell or give you an old textbook or watch Rick and Morty with you when no one else will. Through it all, you might even become legitimate, long-lasting friends.
8. Go for a walk
LA: I like parties now (I’m even in a fraternity), but back at the beginning of freshman year, they weren’t my thing… at all. If this is the case for you, don’t worry about it. On the first Saturday of school, I went to a party. It was loud, hot and cramped, and I was too shy to introduce myself to anyone. I ended up making eye contact with two people I knew from Outdoor Odyssey whose opinions on the party were blatantly similar. We made our way outside and just walked around campus for a few hours, stopping to admire that awesome light display on the ceiling of the Johnson Museum.
Going for a stroll at night is a great way to bond with people, and there’s plenty of campus and nearby areas to explore (I strongly suggest Beebe Lake) while the daily low temperature is still a pleasant high 60s. To this day, I meander on foot with friends whenever my mind is meandering and I need to talk through something.
9. Browse the Make Cornell Meme Again (MCMA) Facebook page alone in a dark room
JK: This is the perfect time to do your research on the meme-life ecology of the only Ivy League institution to be named after a man named Ezra. Experience the most disorderly, licentious aspects of O-Week from the safety of your own bed via the warm, comforting glow of your computer screen. Where real, live friends might not (yet) exist, the internet will be your closest companion in the witching hours of the night to provide constant entertainment and visual stimulation. Cherish these intimate times.
10. Plan out meals to maximize your admittedly excessive Cornell dining plan
JK: You shelled out upwards of six grand for a traditional Cornell meal plan. No, you’re not crazy, you just have a complex, rigorous eating schedule. Now you have to…figure out what it is, exactly. All you have to do is determine which dining halls or Cornell food vendors are within a 200 foot radius of each of your lectures and labs at various points throughout your daily schedule, for each day. Easy.
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