Return to Alma Mater

I returned to Cornell, my college home of five years, for the first time in just over 15 years!

Got to visit with my prof/mentor and he gave me a great tour of the update campus and the changes and new architecture/buildings.

We also got to take a nice long hike around the breathtaking gorge/park near my prof/mentor’s house:

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Spending about two days on campus, a few things really struck me:

  • After all this time, so much was the same and was so intimately familiar, like burned into my brain.  So, walking around Collegetown, campus, the Engineering & Arts Quads, eating lunch at the Hotel School, reading The Cornell Daily Sun, etc. — all of that felt like I was back in school.  The feeling was really eerie and totally unexpected!
  • Distances, physical and mental, felt smaller — I thought it was 20 minutes to walk across campus, but everything’s a bunch closer than I remembered it.
  • Everyone is on laptops & smartphones — and it’s campus-wide open wifi.  I don’t know <b>how</b> kids pay attention in Electricity & Magnetism with a twitter feed rolling…
  • Everyone is so young!  Given the fact it was only ~3rd week into classes, many of them *were* just out of high school.  The energy, optimism, and hustle was palpable and easy to feel/ride…   Ah, youth!
  • (Speaking of which) Although I hear weed is de rigueur in college now, I saw 0 evidence of it there (kinda relieving — esp. if you gonna pay that kinda $ to learn).  Only clear-eyed, sharp, hustling kids did I see.
  • The Engineering Quad has a brilliant new building, Duffield Hall, straddling the corners and joining two prior ho-hum old halls.  So now students have an enormously large open enclosed light-filled space with tables, chairs, cafes, and wifi — perfect in-between classes and for informal meetups while FB strategizing your weekend party scene (or more likely study!)  Yay, Geeks get some nice Goodies, too!   I spent a lot of time here and even saw my second-favorite professor and other profs having a (presumably) informal lunch together.