Saturday, September 26, 2009

College for real.

I'm at Cornell right now finishing up a caramel apple... just got back from the Ithaca apple festival. Had breakfast at College Town Bagels this morning with about a million Cornell kids. Catching an afternoon movie, heading to dinner and hitting up the college bars tonight. I think this is what real College feels like... especially because of the gorgeous (gorges) fall weather.

Cornell is beautiful - quaint, picturesque, clean and green. All of the apartments / restaurants / bars are around the block from one another and within walking distance to campus. And there is a Wegman's... so it's pretty much a perfect town. Cornell has got me thinking... would I have been better off at a real college? As my lovely friend at Wagner astutely pointed out, NYU is basically a commuter school. Even if you live on campus, there is not actually a campus or a community and few people (myself included) partake in any on campus events or clubs. It's sort of like going to work or commuting to university... you only head down to campus to spend an hour and a half in a classroom and then go home, like you would in an office building where you work. I always thought I liked that. But now I'm not so sure. I'll admit it definitely leaves room for NYU students to have extensive lives outside of college... i.e. few people that go to school elsewhere could have the type of job I have now while they study. But is that reason enough to forego having a college town?

I've noticed up here that students really have the opportunity to grow and advance in a slightly less intimidating setting before facing the harsh realities of the real world. In the hotel school at Cornell, for instance, the students speak with CEOs of companies and wealthy alumni to plan a massive gala at the hotel... a full weekend of parties and events planned and executed by a massive team of "hotellies" (hotel school students). Definitely a huge undertaking, but it's sort of inbetween the real world and college... mistakes are acceptable because it is on a college campus and it's a great learning experience. Why don't we have anything like that at NYU?

Or maybe we do but I just don't know about it. NYU is the type of school where you get out of it what you've put in. But there are so many distractions in NYC that I haven't bothered to put much into it. I've put effort into the firm and into the city in general - just trying to take advantage of all it has to offer (like the upcoming Great Gatsby party at the Met to celebrate the opening of the New American wing!). Maybe it's my own fault for not trying to get more out of my school, but I think part of the appeal of NYU and part of the intent is that students have the opportunity to branch out and pursue their own interests while at school. I'm just not sure whether I see that as a drawback or an asset.

I was joking with my sis and roommates about how we never seem to make any friends in class. I was half kidding, but it's sort of true. Everyone at NYU is very independent. And whether pretentious, shy, or just trying to make it seem like they have more important things to worry about as a defense mechanism, no one really socializes in class. Everyone has their ipods in or is addicted to their laptops, so there isn't too much room to make friends. People tend to hang with whoever they live with at the time. Totally not so here in upstate NY. In both Binghamton and Cornell there are so many different ways to branch out and meet new people. The sororities, fraternities, bar scene... all are conducive to socializing. And if you're in a small school within Cornell (unlike College of Arts and Science at NYU), it's the opportunity to become close with students in class since you'll be with them for all four years. Same rings true of Wagner's P.A. program and any small program anywhere. I think NYU (and I) would benefit from having a niche within the massive CAS. It's so easy to fall through the cracks.

Anyway, off to the movie. Big thumbs up for Cornell (and Binghamton!).

And driving to the supermarket makes me feel so suburban.

1 comment:

mjr said...

Insightful, elegantly written, and thought provoking. Well done grasshopper.