SUNSPOTS | Ask Us Anything – Orientation 2019

We get it! You probably have a lot of questions. We all did too. We also know that good advice can be sparse, hard to find, and mixed in with a lot of crap. So here is a form for you to ask us your most pressing questions about Food, Student Life, Extracurriculars, Classes, Ithaca, and whatever you want.


For those who still haven’t quite mentally prepared themselves for adulthood yet (read: me), this could be quite a jostling thought: where exactly is home now? Prior to coming to Cornell, I was so caught up in the frenzy of excitement and eagerness to explore the newfound limits of college and independence that I never stopped to consider the consequences of the transition: once I moved out, would my definition of “home” change? Sure, home is where my family is, but even my trips to California during breaks are merely “visits” now. Many times I’ve caught myself telling my friends “I’m going home now!” when I’m really about to trek back to North. Have I begun to think of my dingy little dorm, and even Cornell, as my home?


Ah, syllabus week. The time to lounge around with friends, partake in that Tuesday karaoke night at Loco, embark on that spontaneous trip to Niagara Falls with your friends—these are the good days. Unless you happen to be in bed with a 102-degree fever, curled up in a nest of blankets/scarves/bathrobes, alternating between passing out and silently cursing the gods while watching Seth Meyers: A Closer Look reruns.The latter, unfortunately, was my sad destiny this past syllabus week as the influenza ravaged my frail, defenseless body. A fate perhaps easily avoided with one little shot, offered for free at various locations on Cornell’s campus. ***
The vaccine market: a unique one within the pharmaceutical industry, revolving around shots administered once or twice a year to patients who are not yet actually ill.

AN EDUCATION | Missing Connections: My Love Affair with Tinder

I have something to confess: I love Tinder. And, disclaimer (because it’s necessary): I’m not hooking up with anyone on it. I used to think Tinder was an app that, once designed for a certain function, could no longer be subverted beyond it; an app that, once people learned of my presence on it, could only invite eyebrow-waggling and my own vague defensiveness in regards to privacy. But I won’t hide it anymore — the world is so big, and there are so many people, and there is so much to see; I’m not ashamed. Tinder, as an app, brings me joy and laughter, curiosity and satisfaction.

ITHACA WEEK | Building a Home for All in Ithaca

What would it be like to return to a home that no longer recognized you? Maybe the people you knew have packed up and left, maybe they are no longer on speaking terms, and you no longer feel at ease. Regardless, a place that you thought you could trust, into which you had invested yourself, is somehow giving you the cold shoulder. This is all the more troubling because of how natural it is that, over time, certain parts of what we call a home etch themselves into our lived experiences, until they are grooves worn smooth by the habit of habitation. A lived-in space has fewer surprises around the corner.

ITHACA WEEK | The Little Apple

If Ithaca possessed a “spirit food,” it would be the apple. After living in Ithaca for the past three years, I have consumed way too many apples in solid, liquid, and in-between forms. In their own subtle way, I feel as if apples define Ithaca just as much as the gorges or the freezing cold winters. In light of this, here are the three most “apple-ly” things in Ithaca that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already:

The Apple Harvest Festival

The Apple Harvest Festival represents Ithaca’s celebration to its inner-self. Apple-themed commodities, quirky street art and products, and random carnival-esque food stands fill the streets of the Commons. Some of the apple concoctions may seem a little dangerous at first glance; for instance, when I first saw a stand giving out samples of apple curry at Apple Fest last year, I felt a knot from in my throat.

ITHACA WEEK | Blue Balls

There are so many great things to do in Ithaca and I’ve certainly collected my fair share of memories and moments that have helped me to call this place home. I remember going to Taughannock Falls as a kid; I’ve been to the Ice, dog, and apple festivals; and I’ve spent days studying in the little coffee shops in The Commons and going to poetry readings at Buffalo Books (often because I was forced to trek down there when a professor didn’t want to support the Capitalist Pigs at the Cornell store). Each of these, in their own way, are indicative of this beautiful and weird place that we live in – the intense seasons, the amazing natural beauty, the weird, artsy-fartsy townies who got lost on the way back from Woodstock and never managed to get home. But I think that my own personal relationship with Ithaca is defined by one story. I was preparing to go visit my at-the-time long distance girlfriend in Atlanta for Valentine’s Day.

ITHACA WEEK | Ithaca’s Very Own Farmers Market

April: Amidst the hustle and bustle—the only trace of New York City here in Ithaca—it feels liberating to venture outside every now and then to explore Ithaca and recharge in the loving womb of nature. Don’t let the “there’s nothing to do, Cornell’s in the middle of nowhere” eye-roll mislead you. A welcoming, homey venue with polished rows of autumnal-colored bell peppers, the Ithaca Farmers Market at Steamboat Landing has been beckoning hungry travelers to its diverse selections, ranging from organic honeys to ginormous furnace-baked pizzas, since 1973. April: Follow the adventure of two such hungry girls as they wow at one of the country’s best farmers markets, their eyes drinking in the homemade apple ciders, 5-person-job pizzas, and Thai-flavored ice cream. Mango sticky rice and Thai tea

Grace: For an appetizer, we started off by splitting a mango sticky rice.


Couch potato that I am, I surprised myself this past February Break by actually going outside and doing something active: hiking! Along with a few other residents of Bethe House, I trekked through the scenery of Roy H. Park Preserve, a Finger Lakes Land Trust Preserve that is a twenty-minute drive from West Campus. We arrived at 11:30 A.M. this past Sunday, which – as those of you who remained on-campus will remember – was an unusually warm fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that made for quite the pleasant hike. Upon parking the car in the preserve’s parking lot, we immediately saw the following signs:

As depicted in the photo above, we started out on the Baldwin Tract, one of two parts of the preserve that is slightly closer to campus. The other part is a beautiful boardwalk located five minutes down the road which we would visit later.