As a Cornell College student One Course At A Time (OCAAT) turns each month and course into a distinct experience. It’s the beauty of the block plan. I look back on my block 4 Writing Course with fondness. I recall the eager anticipation of winter break, the twisted joy I got from racking by brain over my final paper, and the peace that came with having worked ahead (during block break) prior to the class (which can result in a very chill month).
But, sadly, I don’t walk away from each class unscathed: and that bring me to block 6… aka the reason for my blogging hiatus. Block 6 means many things to me: it was an education course called human relations, it was taught incredibly, it was eye opening, it was overwhelming, it was constant large assignments, it was Louder Than A Bomb season, it was self induced insomnia, it was a whirlwind. But most of all, it was a march through hell that is now a crazy/fantastic memory.
What happened was the block plan itself is a unique conquest. Taking one class at a time is a great system, in my opinion, because it allows me to put all my academic energy towards one goal. Yes sometimes that’s easier than others. 3.5 weeks is a short amount of time to complete a course but unlike the semester plan it comes with a nice routine. For instance, block 6 only had morning class which is always 9am to 11am (occasionally professors opt for 9:30am to 11:30am).
But at Cornell, and at any school really, the extra-curriculars can become the straws the snap the camel’s spine in half.
It is hard to read 80 pages with a broken spine…
My back breaking straw was my commitment to Cornell College’s Slam Poetry Team (which was just created this year (though a slam poetry club has been present on campus for some time now)). We competed in an annual Chicago poetry slam called Louder Than A Bomb, and I’m proud to say we got 2nd place in the college slam. Slam poetry, and LTAB, are very dear to me as I’ve been competing in LTAB since I was a freshman in high school (Walter Payton slam team). But yes, it was an overwhelming month!
The take away is this: know your limits. For me, I pushed myself to the edges of my abilities that month (pulling multiple allnighters and sleeping few hrs (on the nights I slept at all!)). But I was able to power through it because I had a great study partner (who has a proclivity for late nights) and my team was full of older students who were in the same boat as me (if not worse!) and still continued to show up to practices and even propose additional meetings. In college, and life, it’s important to surround yourself with hardworking/impressive people because they are going to explicitly and implicitly challenge you. They’re just as exhausted, but they’re still studying. They are just as booked, but they are still at the meeting.
When you watch people do impossible things you realize you’ve been overlooking the possibilities.
So I implore all of you to look twice, strive for excellence, and surround yourself with people who are doing the same.