Monday, March 15, 2010

Please Seek Help

As many fellow Cornellians are aware, we have had three tragedies this past month that have really shocked and saddened the entire community. Three promising students are no longer with us and the news breaks all of our hearts. As an alumna I understand the enormous burden to be successful at a school filled with the brightest. I was and still am proud of our school's reputation within the Ivy League as an institution without the grade inflation that other schools succumbed to but I am also aware that this pressure is extreme, especially for those who have never pondered failure. How can you explain that sometimes you learn more from the failure than the success? How can you explain that what is so big now will seem so small in the grand scheme of things? How do you tell someone with the weight of the world on his shoulders that he has not even begun to really live and please, please allow yourself to live and learn?

From the Cornell Daily Sun: "In response to the recent string of gorge-related deaths — which only exacerbated the pain for a campus community already burdened by an unusually high number of student deaths this academic year — the University launched an aggressive mental health campaign Saturday. It involved knocking on the door of every dorm room, stationing staff at bridges and widely publicizing the University’s counseling services. Student leaders also announced plans for events this week aimed at combating the somber mood on campus."

From Dean Skorton: “Your well being is the foundation on which your success is built. You are not alone. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your colleagues, and an array of counselors and advisers are ready to listen and help you through whatever you are facing. If you learn anything at Cornell, please learn to ask for help. It is a sign of wisdom and strength.”

Finally, I want to share with you who these three young men were because they were special and they will be missed.

Matt Zika ’11, a beloved employee at RPCC dining, tremendous athlete, talented poet, and caring friend, died Friday afternoon after he is believed to have dropped from the suspension bridge over Fall Creek Gorge. A junior operations research major in the College of Engineering, Matt was scheduled to graduate early this May and already had a job lined up with an insurance company in Madison, WI. In high school Zika was a member of the National Honor Society, won numerous writing awards, and was a star on the varsity baseball team – holding hitting records that still stand. Zika was also a volunteer firefighter for the Cayuga Heights Fire Department his freshman and sophomore year, but stopped after a shoulder injury from playing basketball. In addition to remembering his deep concern for other people. (source: Cornell Daily Sun)

William Anthony Sinclair '12, a student in the College of Engineering, was recovered from Fall Creek Gorge on Thursday, March 11. Sinclair, a passionate and gifted student. Having come from a diverse household and grown up in various places, he recognized the value of fostering relationships with students from around the world. “He spoke of wanting to be the first to reach out to international students in a classroom at Cornell, because he knew the value of a friend in a new country,” Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Chris Ober said. Sinclair was an avid automobile enthusiast, and his friends affectionately gave him the nickname “Axel,” according to Ober. Ober said that in high school Sinclair’s passions were jazz and physics. When, one year, he had to decide between taking jazz band or AP Physics during a class period, rather than sacrifice one of his interests, “he found a way to do both.” He elected to take jazz band during the class period and taught AP physics to himself during a free period. He would go on to score the highest on the AP Physics exam. (source: Cornell Daily Sun)

Bradley Ginsburg '13 was an economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Boca Raton, Fla. He was a new member of Alpha Epsilon Pi. “He was someone we had only known for a short time, but he made such a happy and positive impact on our fraternity,” Lerner said. “Brad will be remembered in nothing but the fondest light.” (source: Cornell Daily Sun)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boys' night out?

SB asked me on Monday if he could go out to a boys' night for Wednesday. "Can I come along?" I asked. He was nervous until he realized that I was teasing, although I had a good time reminding him of my ladies' night that he tagged along for. But I was actually relieved because it would allow me to stay at the office later without feeling like I was missing out by not being at home with him.

He called me at around 10:30 to say that he was coming home. It seemed a bit early but the timing was perfect because I was just packing it up at the office and we were both in Wanchai. "You're back so early," I told him as we met at the bus stop, "are the rest of the boys still out?" "No," said SB, "it was only Bob and me out." Huh? What kind of boys' night out is that?

SB recounted to me his boys' night out:
SB had dinner at Wooloomooloo, which is located at the top of the Hennessy. SB recounted how he met Bob at the bar at the rooftop, where he was treated to a spectacular view of the city. "It's such a different experience at that height with no windows separating you," he gushed, "It's really an outdoor experience."

They made their way downstairs and had a lovely steak dinner for two. "Did you at least go to the girly bars afterward?" I asked. "No."

"Did you at least drink a lot of beer?"

"We had some wine."

"You shared a bottle of wine?"

I was torn between rolling my eyes and succumbing to a jealous rage. That poo has never taken me on a date like that! Even the most "datey" evenings have begun with us racing against the clock because he left his office at 8pm and we had to squeeze it all into a three hour window of wonderful from appetizers to romantic race along the seafront. But there he was, lounging about the rooftop bar at 7:30...with Bob. Oh I am going to claw Bob's eyes out when I see him, if I ever see get to see him because SB keeps that Bobtart hidden from me.

"Well," I said diplomatically, "It sound like you and Bob had a lovely date."

"Boys' night out," he mumbled, "we had steak."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

and this sums up my feelings about organized religion


Almost as awesome as reading about how the pope's brother once slapped the choir boys who came forward with sexual abuse allegations.

Monday, March 1, 2010

There's this woman....

Her name is Hilary Mantel. She is a Man Booker Prize-winning novelist. She wrote Wolf Hall, which is an intriguing (or at least filled with intrigue) historical novel about the earlier years of Thomas Cromwell as he was ascending to power. She seems to have a keen intellect.

She recently gave an interview and asserted her belief that society was structured in a patriarchal fashion (I'm with her) and certain norms imposed on women are harmful (yup, I agree), and then she started to discuss how men are forcing women to be on their timetable of reproduction because women really are ready to have babies at the age of 14.

Whaaaaaat?! Wait, what? Has she forgotten what it was like to be a teenager. Because when I look back on myself I also think of how much more mature I was compared to kids now. Except that I wasn't. I just tend to gloss over the parts that remind me that I couldn't even operate a car or navigate a map much less raise a baby.