Why every Cornell student should spend at least one summer in Ithaca

‘An Ithaca summer is sweaty, fun if you do it right, and essential for your time at Cornell’

A college town like Ithaca is both a blessing and a curse. During the school year, it becomes its own bubble full of events, parties, and things to do. When campus empties out for the summer, the few brave souls left have a slightly different experience. We asked current students how they make the most of their time in the absence of full class schedules. Simply put, it’s a different experience than the regular school year.

Jillian Foley, 2019

Where are you from?

Rochester, NY.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

Pretty typical: summer classes and research.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

I went on a road trip to Roseland Water Park for the day and even though it’s small it was a blast.

Where is the best spot to hang out? Have you found any new places?

I’m still pretty new to Ithaca so almost everywhere is a new place. I’ve liked seeing more of the gorges and walking bridges that I never got to during the year.

How do you feel about campus during this season?

Everything is less crowded and there’s more parking which I like but the construction is insane.

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

Always somewhere to explore as long as it’s not pouring.

Julia Tantillo, 2019

Where are you from?

Trumansburg, NY.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

It’s my home! I’m still working both of my jobs on campus I hold during the year, including teaching fitness classes. I am also enjoying the peace and quiet around town.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

Anything outside – hiking, paddle boarding – has been fun. GrassRoots Festival is always a highlight of an Ithaca/Trumansburg summer, too.

Where is the best spot to hang out?

The Farmers Market early on Sundays when it’s not busy. No new places I’ve discovered, it’s tricky finding places I haven’t been before!

What do you like the most about campus during this season?

How much there is to do outside: visiting parks, going to concerts, eating outside, and more.

What do you like the least about campus during this season?

The construction!

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

Being here in the summer makes you fall in love with the town even when you feel the opposite in the middle of winter.

Debbie Nyakaru, 2020

Where are you from?

Minneapolis.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

I am a course assistant for General Chemistry and I am doing research in the Fiber Science Department.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

Swimming and Hiking at Treman State Park – when it’s not crowded.

Where is the best spot to hang out?

The slope is 10 times better in the summer. The commons also has some nice places to eat, listen to music, and hangout.

How do you feel about campus during this season?

I don’t like the fact that most of my favorite places to eat on campus are closed or have short hours.

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

Underrated, but super chill: campus is a ghost town in the summertime.

Aditi Mohapatra, 2019

Where are you from?

Plainview, NY.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

Doing research in the BME department.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

I finally got the chance to go to second dam this summer! I didn’t jump off the cliffs but it was fun taking pictures of my friends and watching the more daring ones do crazy things like cartwheeling into the water.

Where is the best spot to hang out? Have you found any new places?

There are so many fun places to hang out with friends it’s hard to choose just one! But when I wanted to be alone, I love laying out on Libe Slope to read or listen to music. During the summer it’s much less crowded and it’s so great feeling like you have the whole slope to yourself.

What do you like the most about campus during this season?

I was able to spend a lot more time doing things I just didn’t have time for during the semester. For two Wednesdays in a row, I went dancing at Agava’s salsa night – something that would be almost impossible for me during the school year.

What do you like the least about campus during this season?

Not being able to share it with everyone I love. A lot of my Cornell friends left campus for internships, but I know I can hopefully do some fun summer things with them during O-week.

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

Great friends, gorges, and lots of brunch.

Max Goldberg, 2018

Where are you from?

Miami.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

I am a lab assistant in the Bonassar lab working for a startup named Aerin Medical, which develops ENT medical devices. I am also a peer advisor working in Office of Sorority Fraternity and Independent Living. We help people with leases in the Ithaca area and help with fraternity and sorority issues.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

I went to Taughannock Falls state park and it was beyond beautiful. I also went to DC for Fourth of July with some people I knew from Miami and Cornell.

Where is the best spot to hang out? Have you found any new places?

The lobby of Mann library; I’m doing some studying for the GMAT. It’s nice to be able to grab a coffee and just chill out in an air conditioned place, which is hard to find around Ithaca. This summer I went to Ezra’s tunnel for the first time it was really cool.

What do you like the most about campus during this season?

The best and worst part of the summer is the chill environment. There is no pressure of prelims or problem sets or projects so it’s just a really nice time. Although, because there is so much downtime Ithaca in the summer can get kind of boring.

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

This is what Stanford must be like all the time.

Nitya Deshmukh, 2019

Where are you from?

The middle of nowhere, aka the border of NY and PA.

Why are you staying here for the summer?

I’m here this summer to take a a class: genetics (UGH), and to work at my summer internship, which is Public Health and Public Outreach Advocacy with the Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes.

What is your favorite thing you’ve done so far this summer?

I’ve really, really enjoyed my internship, and I loved to go there because it takes me outside of campus and I get to explore Ithaca. The other way I like to explore is by running – I’m training for a race and in my desperation for more mileage, I’ve found amazing spots of Cornell and Ithaca that nobody ever goes to. The other high spot of the summer was the fourth of July, when my friends – who I never get the chance to hang out with during school – took a whole day to chill and go to the gorges and Purity.

Where is the best spot to hang out?

The best spot to hangout is definitely either Collegetown Bagels or the tables outside of Goldwin Smith, sipping on kombucha on tap from the Temple of Zeus.

What do you like the least about campus during this season?

Other than the terrible library hours… If you don’t stay in Collegetown, then you don’t really get to interact with other people and you’re kind of removed from anything fun (nightlife). It makes the summer go by very slowly.

Describe an Ithaca summer at Cornell in a short phrase:

An Ithaca summer is sweaty, fun if you do it right, and essential for your time at Cornell. Just do it, y’all.

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