11 Things That Will Happen When You Transfer to Cornell University

11 Things That Will Happen When You Transfer to Cornell University

You're not a freshman, and you're not technically an upperclassmen either.

You've gotten your acceptance letter, notified your school that you will not be returning next semester, and paid your deposit. You are officially a transfer student at Cornell University! Now that the hard part is over, here's some things that may happen to you as you transition to life at Cornell.

1. You'll realize the housing process is a mess.

In your orientation packet, you are told that if you pay your deposit by a specific date (in my case, July 1st), you are guaranteed on-campus housing for transfers. However, this doesn't guarantee it will be good housing. Typically, transfers are placed on West Campus with other upperclassmen. This year, several transfer students, including myself, received an email stating that they would not be getting a housing assignment on the day they were supposed to. Due to "an unusually large incoming class of transfer students," many new transfers (including myself) were placed in temporary forced quintuples in study lounges on North Campus. As housing opened up, they were moved there and promptly charged for the price of the room they were placed in. This practice was incredibly frustrating, especially to students with no prior knowledge of Cornell's housing process.

2. You'll learn that finding housing in Collegetown is just as hard.

If you decide that living in the dorms isn't for you, Collegetown is your next best bet as a transfer. However, you'll quickly realize that finding an affordable living space is much harder than you'd think. Due to Ithaca's housing crisis, students wait outside rental offices overnight months in advance to get a good lease. So as an incoming transfer student, you're pretty late to the game. Even if you do find a lease, apartments in Collegetown are usually exorbitantly overpriced, and are typically low-quality. Subletting is the easiest route in my experience, but constantly negotiating and moving to new living arrangements is just another stressor.

3. You'll struggle to learn the lingo.

During your first few days at Cornell, you'll learn a lot of new vocabulary. Prelim, TCAT, Hotelie, CTB, BRBs... the list goes on. You'll hear these phrases all over campus, and you'll have no idea what people are talking about. The key is to make friends with an upperclassmen who doesn't mind explaining it all to you like you're five. And even then, you probably won't understand it all until your second semester.

4. You'll figure out the food options, and realize that they're all terrible.

As a transfer, you'll probably struggle with figuring out Cornell Dining for the first few weeks. It feels like there's a million dining halls, but deciding where and when to eat is a real struggle. If you're not eating on North, you're stuck trying to figure out the menus on West. And what the heck is a House Dinner anyways? If all else fails, you'll probably end up at Okenshields. You'll probably develop strong feelings about Cornell food, especially regarding the Trillium vs. Terrace salad debate (#TeamTrillium). If you're a commuter, I recommend getting as many BRBs as possible--it's much easier than relying on swipes. Bonus--if you have enough left at the end of the semester, you can blow it on expensive food and coffee!

5. You'll learn that finding a study spot is even harder than deciding where eat.

Depending on your college and where you live, you'll grow very attached to certain study spots and quickly learn the types of people that inhabit each one. You'll probably feel the joy of snagging an alcove in Duffield, getting a seat in Libe, finding a good couch in Mann, or taking a spot in the coveted A.D. White Library. If you really want to upgrade the scenery, check out the Law Library.

6. You'll discover the list of 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do and wonder if you'll ever finish it.

As a transfer, you're already late to the game when it comes to Cornell traditions. You've missed one or more Dragon Day, Slope Day, and other experiences only Cornellians know. It feels almost impossible to finish all the items on the 161 list in your limited time at Cornell, but that shouldn't stop you from trying!

7. If you're not into hockey, you'll quickly become a fan.

If there's one thing Cornell is known for other than lack of sleep and incredibly hard classes, it's hockey. You'll go from not knowing what a puck is to following the stats and chanting "Let's go red!" by the end of your first semester.

8. You'll develop insane leg muscles and get a workout any time you need to walk across campus.

Whether it's trekking up the slope, walking from Collegetown, trudging up East Buffalo Street, or just hustling from one class to the next, you'll quickly learn what a workout truly is. After all, Cornell is filled with hills! Even if you're in the best shape of your life, walking around campus will seem to suck the life out of you. It'll only get tougher once the snow and freezing winds start up.

9. You'll learn the art of dodging quarter cards on Ho Plaza.

Clubs and organizations recruiting on Ho Plaza are ruthless. First, you'll see the seemingly never ending chalkings all over campus advertising for acapella auditions, club meetings, and other activities on campus. As you make your way through Ho Plaza, you'll be bombarded by brightly covered cards and enthusiastic students trying to convince you that their organization is best. If you don't want to talk, it's best to avert your eyes and walk quickly, or avoid Ho Plaza all-together.

10. You'll develop intense school pride.

Within the first month, you'll turn into a full-blown Andy Bernard. Cornell will be the best at everything, even if it isn't--period. You'll soon find that your closet is full of red gear, and you'll try to convice your other friends that they should transfer too. You'll instantly feel better every time you hear the fight song. And if all else fails, you'll know that HARVARD SUCKS (but so do Penn, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale).

11. Even though Cornell is probably way more stressful than your old school, you'll grow to love it.

Although Cornell's brutal weather, prelim season, and competitive nature can be almost too much to handle, it'll become your second home. You'll join an organization you love, find your way around campus, and (hopefully) expand your horizons. Even on your most stressful day, you'll hear the Alma Mater or Evening Song, and you'll be proud to say you're a Cornellian.

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Calming Music, And 9 Other Study Methods To Prepare College Students For Any Major Exam

When your week gets booked, there are simple ways to help get your mind in the zone.


Making through the first two months of a new semester without breaking down might be considered an accomplishment for college students. If the homework assignments are not as difficult as you originally believed, there should be nothing to worry about. The one major thing that is still considered a pain among college students is exams. The one- or two-page quizzes or long midterms, upon discovering the exact date and time, will send any student into an emotional frenzy. These techniques will help students to overcome the challenges they will face during these terrifying days.

1. Go for a short walk an hour or two before you have a test

Exercise is a great way to distract the mind from stress and improve your memory. It helps if you are walking to get lunch or you are going to the library or another class with someone. Having a conversation with friends about their major and the exam you have that day is beneficial. Talking not only only keeps you focused, but you might learn something from your friends, and they could possibly have advice for you when it comes to preparing for exams.

2. Take frequent 10-minute breaks

When studying for an important test, it is crucial that you take a break after every 45 minutes to an hour of reading or writing something. Even if you are in a study group, leaving to get food, use the bathroom, or just standing up to stretch is good for your mind and body. Make sure the meals you eat are healthy to increase memory retention. Doing a quick 10-minute workout is another method to strengthen your mind.

3. Put on some calming music or perform other small tasks

While studying alone for a midterm or test, putting on soft music while you are reading will help you to stay calm during your study session. When taking a break, doing other activities like cleaning your dorm room, doing yoga, or meditation are other ways to keep your mind focused. Switching up your methods or moving to a place where you can study without any distractions is a priority to achieving success.

4. Watch a Netflix documentary related to the subject

Although television is a distraction from your studies, it might be useful to search on Netflix for an interesting documentary about the exam topic. This is especially great if you are majoring in business, health science, criminal justice, or history. You will hear about all the information related to your test within a few hours. Unlike a lecture, you can pause and leave to get a snack or go to the bathroom without missing anything. As a bonus, if you have to write an essay, you can mention the documentary and reference some facts and other useful information you learned.

5. Make flashcards

One of the best ways to help retain information fast is creating flashcards. Either buy the cards yourself or use a study app. Fill the cards with key terms, facts, essay topic ideas, famous quotes, math problems, or science formulas as something to review (or practice with friends) while studying for an exam.

6. Try making a mind map

If you are having difficulty organizing and summarizing ideas that you have for a topic you are studying, creating a mind map is a unique strategy. Mind maps can be created on paper or by using a computer. This is a simple way to understand material that will be on an exam. Include visuals, words, and ideas, which may help you to remember information.

7. Create a study schedule

During the weeks that students are having midterms, it is challenging trying to balance school and social life. One solution is to make a schedule dedicated to studying for your exams. Mark down on a calendar (or your phone) the times that you have free to study. Putting at least two hours of work a day to prepare for exams will increase your chances of success.

8. Find a secluded place for studying

Another great way to make sure you are retaining the information you are studying is finding a quiet and comfortable area for reading and writing. By relocating yourself to a location you feel relaxed in, the chances of doing better on exams will increase. Make sure that the place is clear of any distractions like televisions, electronic devices (unless you need to use a computer), and loud noises. Some of the best spots can be your dorm room or a reserved spot in the library.

9. Do practice exams

If you want to get in some extra practice for an exam, trying looking on websites or use apps that have quizzes related to your test. Find questions with multiple choice, true or false, short answer, or math problems. Checking your textbook for examples is another good option. This will prepare you for any possible questions that you might see on your exam.

10. Review exam material before going to sleep

When studying for an important exam, try to get some reading done around one or two hours before going to sleep each night. Reading over material or doing some practice questions before going to bed will help you retain information. This is a method known as sleep-learning, and it is effective for college students. While your body is recovering, the brain is processing information during sleep, which means that everything you learned will be stored in your long-term memory.

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