As a student at Cornell, you learn to navigate the 745-acre campus pretty fast as you run from class to class and explore the gorges and plantations that seemed so mysterious during your first week there. Here’s a list of a few insider facts about Cornell that you learn as a student:
1. Free Printing
Printing is extremely important at college. If you don’t have your own printer, you’ll end up paying 9 cents for every page you print, and that adds up over time. Luckily, there are a few places on campus where you can avoid that print tax. On the fourth floor of Rockefeller hall, you can print up to 10 pages at a time for free in the Latino Studies Center. On the second floor of the CIT building (between Caldwell and Bailey hall), there is unlimited free printing in the diversity student center. Also, in the DPE lounge in the basement of Olin hall, you can print for free if a chemical engineer lets you in (looks like my choice of major is already paying off).
Freshmen will eat mainly at the Robert Purcell Community Center or Appel Dining Hall for their first few weeks on campus, and once classes start people eat at Oakenshields since it is located right in the middle of campus. Unfortunately, these are some of the worse dining halls on campus. In Risley, the theatre program house, there is a dining hall anyone can go to that is usually not crowded and has really good food. Also, in the West Campus residence halls (where the sophomores or juniors live), every building has its own dining hall, and these dining halls are amazing. It’s a bit of a walk up and down libe slope, but it’s worth it to avoid eating at Oakenshields every day. Also, if you’re not afraid to spend your BRBs, whenever Oakenshields is crowded, you can take the staircase in front of it down to the Ivy room where you can get get quality burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas/burritos, pasta, sushi, etc.
2b. More Dining
Speaking of BRBs, Goldie’s Cafe in the Physical Sciences Building, and the Duffield Cafe (engineering building) have mac&cheese that you can’t get anywhere else on campus, which is a favorite of many students. Also, wake up early on Sundays because RPCC brunch is incredible.
3. Halloween Tradition
On Halloween, students all go out dressed up in costume, of course, and many carve pumpkins either for decorative purposes or for competition. After Halloween is over, groups of students will take their jack-o-lanterns, light them on fire, and hurl them off the bridge into the gorges where they float off into the distance.
4. Midnight Scream
At midnight, the night before finals start each semester, the freshmen gather in from of Mews (one of the freshman dorms) or in Ho Plaza if they are studying in a library, and scream to relieve stress from finals week. Food is provided for the students who gather for the event, and the noise is so loud it can be heard anywhere on campus.
This sounds boring, but becomes pretty important when you walk 5-10 miles a day, every day, and absolutely hate walking up hills. To get from North campus to Olin Hall, Carpenter Library, Hollister Hall, etc. (the engineering quad), rather than walking down the street past the Statler and right through campus, it is much easier to cut through the arts quad and Ho Plaza (this will easily save you 5 minutes in the morning). Also, most freshmen cross the suspension bridge near the Balch Arch to get to Bailey Hall or anywhere else nearby (many math classes and campus-wide events happen in this area), but the hill after the bridge is brutal. If you walk past Baker Laboratory and the Physical Sciences building, there is a little alley along the side that cuts right to Bailey hall and avoids walking up or down any major hills. (Trust me, it’s not worth waiting for the buses, so you’ll be walking a lot if you go to Cornell).
6. Campus lingo
The “Bear Necessities” market, where most people get calzones or pizza at 2:00 AM is referred to as “Nastie’s” by Cornell students. Nastie’s is located in RPCC (the abbreviation used for the Robert Purcell Community Center). If someone tells you to meet them in PSB, they are talking about the Physical Sciences building.
The fraternity Llenroc is Cornell spelled backwards, don’t look silly being the last of your friends to figure that out.
Everything on Cornell’s campus is overpriced. If you need something, plan on taking the bus to Target, Wegman’s, or the Ithaca mall over the weekend to stock up. Also, don’t waste money on bottled water in any of the cafes on campus, they have plastic cups off to the side.
9. Social Media
Join the “Overheard at Cornell” and “Cornell Compliments” Facebook groups since one of your friends will inevitably end up in a post on one of them. Also, if you make it on the Ivy League snapchat story you become a celebrity for the day.
If you go down the side staircases in Uris library there are these little dungeons called the “stacks”, if nowhere else is available, you’ll almost never find anyone here, so it’s the perfect place to get away from any noise or distraction.
-Alex W, current freshman at Cornell University, planning to major in chemical engineering and minor in business.