161 Things #161: Climb all 161 steps to the top of McGraw Tower

This post is a long time coming… I checked climbing to the top of the clocktower off 161 Things at the end of September. (And conveniently went on a blogging hiatus in the beginning of October. Coincidence?)

A few of my teammates and I had just got done with class and had a little bit of free time before any of us had anything else to do. We were walking across the Arts Quad toward the clocktower, none of us had climbed it yet, so we figured what the hell. Backpacks and all, we marched to the top.

I will say that the one mistake we did make was climbing to the top in the middle of a chimes concert. Having I Can Go the Distance from Disney’s Hercules blaring in my ears wasn’t necessarily the most pleasant thing. But let me tell you, the view was magnificent.

Despite the unseasonably hot weather we were having in Ithaca at the time and the sweat that was dripping down my back by the time we reached the top, the view was worth it. Definitely all it was cracked up to be. …it also helped that it was an absolutely gorges (Ha! Punny!) day in Ithaca.

I stood there in awe, looking at Cornell from a fresh new perspective. It was breathtaking–the bright blue of the sky contrasted with the blue of Cayuga Lake, the green of campus, all of the students… amazing. I’ll let you be the judge.

Looking at over Sage Chapel at Sage Hall

Looking at Sage Hall

Ho Plaza

Ho Plaza

The Arts Quad

The Arts Quad

photo 8

photo 4

I love Instagram.

I love Instagram.

I will definitely be visiting again before graduation this May.


161 Things #92: Go Gorge Jumping

I’ve been on a roll, haven’t I? I have checked off another item on the 161 list! This one involved going to one of Ithaca’s many, many beautiful gorges and yes, jumping.

Now, it’s not what you think. It’s not like I was jumping 150 feet from the top of the gorge to the bottom–the spot I jumped from was only about 25 feet high at the most. But lemme tell you, 25 feet is a lot higher than you think when you’re flying through the air hurtling to the bottom of a waterfall.

I tried to check this item off on July 4th, when it was super hot and a bunch of my friends in a fraternity were going. Unfortunately, they beat me and my roommate to the gorge and by the time we rolled up, there was a Cornell bike cop ready to send us back. Yes, swimming in the gorges is dangerous and yes, it is also illegal. They didn’t get caught and we were sent on our merry way home, but I was the most determined to do this.

On Saturday, the same boys wee were going to go with before wanted to go again. To another spot, a safer spot, one where we couldn’t get in trouble. It’s called Second Dam and holy shit was it fun.


Definitely where all the cool kids go.

We finally get down to the water and I see a family with a BABY swimming and frolicking around in the water and tons of other Ithaca townies so I conclude that this spot must be safe–because there are definitely spots on campus that are super dangerous and people have died. Also, this particular swimming hole is off campus so the Cornell police, who are always dicks, pose no threat to us.

Anyway, so we’re swimming around and sitting on a rock, when my friend decides that he wants to jump. He asks if anyone wants to go with him, but everyone declines so he goes alone. Watching him from that rock, I begin to regret not going with him. It might be a little dangerous, but a ton of other people did it so it must be pretty safe, right? Hell, one kid even did a backflip of the cliff!

I manage to climb up to the spot to jump and find myself staring down at swirling water and praying to God that I don’t slip. Somehow I muster up the courage and jumped! I was surprised–I thought for sure that I would be up there for 10 minutes contemplating if I really wanted to jump. But within only one minute, I was flying through the air to what could have possibly been my death. And man, was it fun! So much fun that I got out immediately and went again.

The second time I jumped, I was much more prepared.  I managed to hold my bathing suit top down and hold my nose at the same time, because on jump numero uno, water rushed up my nose and got into places in my skull I didn’t know existed. I also landed better so that my bottoms didn’t go DIRECTLY UP MY ASS like they had the time before. That was not pleasant.

All in all, gorge jumping was a blast. My friends and I even went back today. Jumping definitely satisfied my need to thrillseek. I think I’ve found my new favorite summer spot!

161 Things #8: Streak Across the Arts Quad

Happy Fourth of July! Okay, it’s no longer the fourth but it’s close enough. Every day should be Independence Day, right? And what better way to celebrate than with copious amounts of alcohol. Drinking for ‘MERICA.



My Independence Day shenanigans got underway on Wednesday night when my roommate and I were pressed for time and decided it was a good a idea to line up a bunch of shot glasses and rip four shots back to back to back to back and then leave. I have never gotten so drunk so quickly before in my life. Once my roommate (who for the sake of this article I will call Annie) and I reached our friends’ house, our bad decisions were quickly met with another one–let’s take America shots! YES! What a great idea!

Let me back up a second though to explain something. From the first Wednesday night I’ve spend in Ithaca this summer, my friends and I have deemed Wednesdays to be “Bad Decisions Wednesdays” (or #baddecisionswednesdays if you will). So let’s just say that Wednesdays are usually an interesting night up here on the hill.

Grenadine + Blue Curacao + Vodka = one patriotic shot

Grenadine + Blue Curacao + Vodka = one patriotic shot

But I digress. So we’re taking shots and playing Kings and basically just ringing in the Fourth of July in a good old American manner. Finally we decide it’s a good idea to leave my friends air conditioned room (which is never a good idea. Air conditioning is like the laughter of Jesus) and go to our favorite local dive bar in Collegetown, Dunbar’s. This bar has been around for decades–no really, I was talking to someone during reunion weekend who loved going there in the 80s–and proof of that is from the walls covered in written names and quotes that are dated with graduation years. Oh, and the jukebox music. That thing hasn’t been updated since I’ve come to Cornell. Wait…what? I just turned 21 and wouldn’t know what Dunbar’s was like my freshman year? …uh, duh, you’re right. Yikes.

I”m going to spare you the details, for both yours and Annie’s sakes, but, basically, what had potential to be an amazing night ended in a bust and the end kinda sucked. I’m standing there with Annie, thinking “I want to do something crazy,” and when I say thinking I mean that I was drunk and I actually said it, only for her to look at me like I was crazy. But then I said, “Let’s streak across the Arts Quad! 161 Things, right??” to which she immediately agreed and we started trekking all the way to the clocktower.

On the way there, Annie starts to get nervous. Especially when two pretty intoxicated people are walking up Ho Plaza (yes, it is actually called Ho Plaza) to get to the Arts Quad only to pass two Cornell policemen writing tickets to a group of students. Actually though, I think that was the reason we were able to get away with it–the cops were distracted so we could shed our skivvies and streak across the quad in what was quite possible one of the most freeing experiences ever. So we dropped our drawers, took off our shoes, picked them up, and sprinted across the quad to Goldwin Smith Hall, the only building on campus open 24 hours.

After fits on fits on fits of laughter finally subsided (oh, and after we put our clothes back on), we headed home, not a cop in sight, with yet another of the 161 things checked off.

161 Things #31: Spend a Summer in Ithaca

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while until it was official–but I’m staying the summer here in Ithaca! (Even though I’m writing this post from home currently, oops). The most important thing about this decision though, is that it was my last chance to accomplish this item on the list of 161 things to do at Cornell before you graduate. Because I’m going to be a senior. What. The. Fuck. I don’t like this… I’m almost a real person.

I really didn’t decide to spend the summer in Ithaca until about… March? I don’t really know what spurred the decision, to be honest. I knew a lot of my friends were staying, and I had heard great things from my friends that stayed last summer, so I figured why not. Oh, and I couldn’t find a subletter. So why pay rent and not live there? Okay, well, my parents would be paying the rent, but it’s still the same idea.

Hail, all hail, Cornell!

Hail, all hail, Cornell!

I was pretty much gung ho about this decision as soon as a I thought about this. I mean, what could be better? It’s summer (the only nice time of the year for Ithaca), I’m away from home with no rules, a ton of my closest friends will be there with me, an I can drink and party when ever I want. And it’s always acceptable to drink in the summer.

Despite my excitement, my parents weren’t nearly as thrilled as I was. But after A LOT of convincing, they finally agreed to let me stay–as long as I got a job. Which I did… eventually. Not my proudest moment, but I am one of the newest employees of RPCC’s dining hall! Woo! The only reason I would work in the dining hall is because it’s the summer and I don’t have to worry about seeing anyone I know, just little sticker---Ithaca-Is-Gorges__mcampers all day.

Anyway, I’m ready for the best summer of my life (and so far it’s been better than my other summers BY FAR) and there will be more than plenty of stories for you to hear about. I’m ready for my last gorges summer where I can be crazy–and more importantly, not yet a real person.