MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: OK, welcome, everyone. Fabulous to see you all here. My name is Margherita Fabrizio. Can you all hear me? Yes. I'm the director of the Tatkon Center, a support and resource center for first year students. And I've been in the position for seven years now. It's been an extraordinary experience to watch the growth of these college students.
Before that I worked at another position on campus for almost 20 years. So I've actually been on campus for over 30 years. And it's been just an extraordinary privilege to work closely with these amazing, very fine young people that you are raising. So I really commend you. You're doing a great job.
I would say consistently over the years, Cornell students have just been so kind and good and wonderful. And I have two of them here with me today, Avery and Buma. And they are going to answer some questions for you after I give you my little spiel about Tatkon.
But before we get started, let me just ask, how many of you are here with students who matriculated last year, but they're here on campus the first time? Is anybody-- yes. OK, great. So glad that we're able to pick you up. How about transfer students? Oh, wow. OK, excellent. And the rest of you are here with first year students? Yes. OK, so some of you have been on campus before. Great. So welcome back for you.
So I always think that if family members learn about us that we have a much better chance at getting students to come into the doors. In pre-COVID years, I always had three surefire ways of getting students in the door. One was dogs, because they missed their pets so much. Right? One is succulents. I'm a big gardener, but it still surprises me how crazy they are about succulents and how long a line they'll wait in to get a little baby succulent for them to take care of. And the other thing is Insomnia Cookies, which despite the fact that they're not homemade, they're very trendy. And they always bring people in.
But we've had to modify our strategies a bit with COVID. So you learning about Tatkon helps us a lot because you can help them not miss out on what we have to offer. Cornell is a huge, huge place, and they are getting inundated with email. And so if you ask your family members, hey, do you know about the Tatkon Center, and they draw a blank stare, I think you should say, check your junk box. Because we do send a weekly e-newsletter.
We seem to have a good amount of people, maybe 60% or so that are opening it. But we're still missing a lot of people. So everything that you do will help, and I thank you for doing that. OK, so I'm going to give you a very quick overview, and then we can open it up to questions.
So here's our amazing Tat staff. They're at the heart of our operation. And they really represent a majority of the colleges here at Cornell, and dozens of majors and minors and student organizations. And I have handpicked them, so I can guarantee that they are pretty extraordinary people. They're kind, they're empathetic, they are generous with their time. And they are here at Tatkon because they want to help new students have the best possible first year that they can have. And they have gone through it all themselves. So they know the ups and the downs, and they're very eager to share their knowledge.
This is very hard to talk with this mask. Sorry.
We're located really close by to the first year residences in the Robert Purcell Community Center, which is also called RPCC. We have a suite of three rooms with-- you can see-- soft, living room like furniture. And we are open at noon, and we close at 10:00 most days. So lots of availability to go to our help desk and ask anything that people might need.
Late in the afternoon, we regularly host programs to help introduce first years to opportunities here at Cornell. And the focus of these are usually on academic support and exploration, health and wellness, and career services. We also do social programming to help people meet each other and just to destress.
So we opened the year this year with a campus walking tour, student panel on all things Cornell, and speed friending sessions. We did a super popular, unexpectedly so, trip to the farmer's market, hosted a time management study skills workshop, and we got our peer tutoring program up and running within the first two weeks of classes. We've offered resume reviews and meet-ups for engineering students.
Every year is a bit different, but it's always very diverse and broad-ranging and reflective of our student staff and their colleges and student orientation, personal interest. I try to challenge them and invite them to come up with programming that's appropriate for first years, and that's also about things that they're interested in. So that keeps them engaged.
So you can find more of what we cover in a typical year on our website, which is tatkoncenter.cornell.edu. And hopefully you all picked up one of those purple brochures. If not, get one on your way out.
So still to come this term we have more career services related programming. We did something just recently last week on discovering your strengths. We're going to have one soon on exploring majors and careers and on how to use Cornell's massive alumni database called CUeLINKS. So this is a really super important thing for first years to learn about sooner rather than later, which is very much what Tatkon strives to do. They can use the database to find mentors and internships and do informational interviews.
So let's see. What else do I want to tell you? We also have what historically has been a super popular program coming up on how to get involved in research as an undergrad called Research 101. And we know that so many students come to Cornell wanting to get involved in research as soon as possible. So this has been really, hugely popular. And we're going to cover things like how to explore your research interests, how to reach out to faculty, the kinds of work student researchers do, that sort of stuff.
So we partner also with the Learning Strategy Center. We're going to offer another session soon on how to prepare for exams. In the evenings, we host a very robust tutoring program. And these are peer tutors that are available to work one on one. And it's free, so it's free help. And we really, really strongly encourage this here, especially for students who, maybe before they came to Cornell, have never had a tutor.
We try to put it out there that successful students ask for help. And we really want to make this very easy for them to get it. So having this tutoring at Tatkon, which is close to where they live, becomes particularly good and important during the winter months when it's much colder and not so nice at night to go out and walk clear across campus to go see a math tutor. Right?
So these tutors-- I just want to mention one more thing about them. They are trained by each of these other centers across campus. So they're not actually Tatkon staff. They're tutors that are coming from the Math Support Center, the Econ Tutoring Center, the departments of chemistry and math, and the writing centers. And they all operate tutoring programs in other places, on other days, with other times. So they have many options. But this one's super close to home, basically.
And then you can see besides tutoring, we have the Tatkon Info Desk, and this is staffed about 50 hours a week. And our students are available to informally help guide first years. Our motto is, ask us anything, and we really mean it. Students can ask everything from how you preregister for courses to what are the best restaurants downtown, everything in between. We also have pretty nice study spaces and a printer, and this is all very close to home.
Then last year, we rolled out this Tat Buddies program, and it's been going pretty well, actually. A lot of students signed up. Not everybody followed through, but there is still time for that. And there's also still time to sign up. So this is a more official peer mentoring program, and it's an opportunity to get one on one advising about anything, basically. So it could be about managing time better, managing stress, about joining clubs, finding friends, about minors, or maybe about Ithaca.
Sometimes it's just an opportunity to talk to an older student who can listen and can help reassure them that, yeah, there are going to be some rough spots, but you're going to get through it. And you deserve to be here, and you belong here.
So I would encourage your children or family members to check this out still and potentially take advantage of this. It's not something like they have to meet all the time. Some of the students are just doing it by email. Most of them are just dropping in when the Tat Staff buddy is on shift, so they connect in that way.
Then we have another signature program, Wellness Wednesdays, and this occurs every week. And we really encourage students to take a one hour study break with us. And these take a lot of different forms. It could be a game night, a music jam. We've done some movies. We're doing crafts. We've done Zumba. We've done painting workshops.
And probably the most fabulous for me was a meditation with live music with a violinist who's on the faculty here, who is just world famous. And we had this very intimate circle of people listening to her play Bach for 45 minutes straight. And it was just the most extraordinary thing.
And these are also really good opportunities for students to make friends, and just a good reminder to take a break and to take care of yourself. Right? So that's what that's all about.
And then we have another signature program, Tat Chat. These are really informal conversations. You saw the first photograph of our sort of living room set up in our reception area. And that's where these take place. And we try to set them up so they're before dinner time and after dinner time. And they very broad-ranging on the topic. The Tat Staff dream up the topics, and then they host them.
And so just to give you a little-- here's sampling up here of the kinds of things that we've done. But I can tell you this semester what we've done so far. We did one on finding clubs, on how to ace your first college paper, studying for engineering prelims, delicious dining for dietary restrictions, discovering downtown Ithaca, finding mentors, finding the best campus study spaces, staying fit at Cornell, finding performing opportunities on campus, questions about finding research positions.
So this is the most incredible way to fast track your knowledge about this huge campus and the enormous possibilities that are here. It takes a while to get your grounding and really take advantage of everything that's here. And Tatkon is really about that. It's about slightly older students helping younger students, new students really see what's here. We're like a GPS for them. So it's a way to help filter all this information about so many different programs and so much stuff that's happening here.
I would really encourage your students to come. Just come, and you can just stay for 10 minutes, 15 minutes on your way to dinner or back from dinner. It's a great opportunity to learn about a lot of different things, very low stress. So yeah, if you can help pass the word on those, that would be great. We are not getting as many people at those as I would like to see, but we're going to keep at it.
So another way I like to think about Tatkon is to think about it as a home base. So these students have home bases in their college, sometimes if they have already chosen a major in their major, in their residence halls, in their student organizations or teams. All of these places are grounding places for them. And Tatkon is really another one of those.
And our staff, obviously they're not therapists. That's not their role. But they do know about Cornell. And they have figured out how to thrive here. And that's what we're all after, is to help these first year students, whether they're transfer students or people who are in their very first semester of college, to help them have the best possible year that they can have and to set themselves up in a very good way to take advantage of the next three years and everything that is possible for them to do.
So for any students who haven't found us yet, if you can tell them, come visit us. It's not too late. We're going to be offering programming all year long. So it doesn't just stop after the first semester. Tatkon's an extended orientation. And we start after orientation, but we really are going the whole year long. So if they can keep our email out of the junk box, they'll be able to figure out what we're doing. And they'll be able to take advantage of it.
So I thought what we would do right now is see if maybe you guys have some questions for Buma and Avery, who are both here. Do you guys want to come up? And maybe also just further introduce yourselves-- your college, your major, where you're from. And maybe tell us the thing that you love the most about Cornell. Yeah, sure.
BUMA: Hello. Does this work?
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. There you go.
BUMA: OK. Hi, everyone. I'm Buma. And I'm a senior in CALS, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. But I'm an information science major, fashion minor. And I think the thing I love most about Cornell is the fact that the campus, even though there are so many people and it feels so big in theory, campus day to day activities just feel so intimate. And I love that. There's this little network of like people on this campus that I know I'm going to be depending on for the rest of my life, really.
But things like the Tatkon Center and just groups on campus just make it feel way more smaller and intimate than it really is.
AVERY: Hi, everyone. I'm Avery. I am also a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. So my major is industrial and labor relations, and I'm also minoring in info-sci, like Buma's major. I'm from a small town in Connecticut. And I do a lot of volunteering and community service on campus and in the greater Ithaca area.
I think my favorite part about Cornell is that, as a senior, I'm still making new friends and running into people that I've never met before, and actually making really great friends who I'm so grateful that I'll be able to go forward with them in the rest of my Cornell career, but also after, in tune with what Buma said. But there are just a lot of really amazing people here that I'm excited to be friends with for the rest of my life.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Awesome. Who has questions? You can ask them anything. That's our motto. You must be curious about some aspect of campus life. Yes, in the back.
AUDIENCE: So I was just going ask-- thank you, by the way, for this presentation.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah, of course.
AUDIENCE: But I was just going to ask about your tutoring. So does it encompass all subjects?
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Oh, sorry. Yeah, at our center we have math, chemistry, econ, and writing. But there is tutoring across campus in so many different places. Do you guys want to say a little more about that?
BUMA: Yeah. So our tutoring encompasses that, but like Margarita said, we're connected with so many avenues on campus. So oftentimes when there's not a subject that we offer right in house, we have connections with the Learning Strategy Center, the Learning Center, and we can typically point students to that direction. So even though those are our subjects, we totally have resources to point people in the right direction if they want that extra help.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: The Learning Strategy Center has an amazing website. You should take a peek at that. And there are a lot of also supplemental courses that students can take here. They can do it non-credit or for one credit, right?
BUMA: Yeah. So there are these classes called AEWs, and essentially what they do is that they're supplemental to the main class. You can take it for credit, or you can really just drop into the classes. I took one for math freshman year because I was in Calc II, and I had never taken Calc I. So I took the AEW, and it really helped a lot. And I didn't take it for credit. I just came when I needed help.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yes, you had a question there.
AUDIENCE: I was going to add on basically with the [INAUDIBLE], Are you tapped into where there's study groups for different classes [INAUDIBLE]?
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Again, the Learning Strategy Center has, I think, a link on their website for study partners. Yeah, we tried it one year at Tatkon. It was quite a few years ago now. A lot of people signed up, but they didn't end up actually connecting so much as a group. And I haven't heard how it's going with Learning Strategy Center. That also goes by LSC. But I know it's more than this one semester that they've done it, so I think they've been having some good success with it.
I know at Tatkon, on the nights that we have study groups for two of the math classes, it is pretty crowded in the Math Support Center. I mean, we'll probably have 35, 40 people in there during an evening all at one time. So it's even more than that. People come in and go out.
BUMA: Yeah. And I will say I work all the tutoring shifts that are on Monday and Sunday. And I find that people create their own groups, and they branch out. And that's how they find that chemistry of what group works for me. They find their people in tutoring. So I think that's also a platform we facilitate.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. Yes?
AUDIENCE: We all know we're coming out of COVID. A lot of our kids were at home for the last year and a half, for the most part. Our daughter never had school since, what, her junior year. And we're also hearing on the news there's a massive mental health crisis in children and adolescents. That's some of the findings. Educationally, some kids really have been impacted.
Based on the last few months, are you observing any trends that you believe are related to the phenomena that our kids have gone through? Or are you seeing kids basically being able to move out and not really having any residual impact from COVID? Are there any observations in general that you can make?
BUMA: Yeah. So I think in that aspect that's such an extremely valid question. And everybody on our staff really does prioritize mental health. Just what I'm seeing, and maybe, Avery, you can attest to this, too, because we've worked at the Tatkon Center since we were sophomores. And while, yeah, I think people did-- what I see now in the students that come through the Center and just freshmen in general is that people are so eager to be re-engaged into the community and do in-person events. And people just have a fun time going into our space and studying with their friends.
I think while all of that did have a strong impact on all of our psyches and being away from people, I'm really glad that the reaction has been to, OK, I really want to be more involved in the community. I want to get help. I want to talk to people. I think this year, more than anything, people have come in for advice on trivial things more than any other year that I've worked at the Tatkon Center. And I feel like that speaks to the experience that people do want to be back in and be re-engaged. I think it's just a matter of facilitating that for them and helping them get there.
AVERY: Yeah. And I think, just to add on to that, one great example is we hosted two different panels just to kick off the year. So we had a class of 2024 for students who were maybe on campus for the first time or transfer students. And then we also had class of 2025. And then after each student panel, which was run by Buma and myself and a few other senior staff members, we did speed friending.
And that was something that we had struggled with a little bit in the past, to get numbers of people who were willing to come in and just ask random questions with people, which makes sense. I mean, it's a little bit of an awkward concept, but you can get great benefits from it. But after those panels, we had double, or triple, or even quadruple the amount of people we expected. So I think that was a really great moment for us to see how willing the students this year are to just go out of their way to meet people, compared to those in the past. So definitely the desire for connection and the willingness to put themselves out there.
BUMA: Yeah. And I still see some of those people hang out, which is cute.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah, in fact, there were many more of them that came to the speed friending than that actually came to the panel, which the panel had a lot of good information. But anyway, they still made some really good connections. Yeah?
AUDIENCE: Will you be doing that throughout the year? It seems like a lot of the good stuff happens at the beginning of every year. But maybe your kids, or people's kids, can't be involved.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we'll probably do one at the beginning of next semester. But it is true that people-- you do them a little bit later, and you might only get a couple of people who show up.
But we keep reaching out through the Tat Buddies program. I mean, that's another great invitation to people to just-- how great is that, to be able to come and meet and have a friend immediately who's a senior or a junior? We do have a few sophomores on our staff this year. But that's a pretty great thing to be able to do. And they help students also understand how they can network and branch out.
These student organizations here are huge. I'm sure you know this already, right? There are over 1,000 student organizations at Cornell. And they're very extraordinary. And I think one of the most amazing things for me over all these years is to watch how many are mentoring organizations. I think it speaks to my very first point about our students here and the caliber of the students. They are just really kind, generous people. And there are many of these.
I mean, I have a list this long of mentoring organizations here that people can join. And they're older students who are helping younger students. And they do all kinds of pre-professional programming to help them and share their experiences, and their connections, and everything else.
Do you want to talk about any of the mentoring groups?
BUMA: Yeah. I can say, while I don't think I'm-- I can't remember right now, but I don't think I'm in any formal mentoring group. A lot of organizations on campus do set up mentoring group situations or organizational mentoring from within. It's like you join an organization, and then you're assigned essentially a mentor. Or most pre-professional fraternities and sororities call it a big, for lack of a better word. Because we were in PSP, and we had bigs as well, too.
So it's really helpful. It's a really helpful resource. And you're doing something you care about and something you're passionate about. And there's also someone to just guide you along the way. I'm on the cheer team, and I'm a senior. And we just started this thing called-- I don't really remember what my coach calls it. But essentially, we take a freshman on the team or a sophomore, and we teach them all the tricks that we've learned years before. And we showcase that. So it's natural for that to be in every organization. So I would really encourage it.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yes, in the back?
AUDIENCE: My daughter was looking for one on one accounting tutoring. Is the only tutoring offered at Tatkon peer tutoring, or do they offer something [INAUDIBLE]?
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: She should check with the Learning Strategy Center because there might even be supplemental courses for that kind of thing. Yeah.
Yeah, we just have a selection of tutoring. But there's a lot. I mean, believe me, the resources here are really extraordinary. The students have to ask for help. They have to reach out. And I think you can be encouraging them to do that in every way, whether it's for tutoring, or coming to Tatkon, or joining clubs, anything else.
AUDIENCE: OK. Thank you.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. Yes?
AUDIENCE: You mentioned before that [INAUDIBLE]
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Are you in any aspect of that now?
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: We are doing Insomnia Cookies. We're going to try. I didn't mention that we've also moved. We were in our old space, which was a wing of a residence hall, the Balch Hall. We were there for almost 20 years. And that building is going to be renovated over the next three years, or maybe four years at the rate we're going with it.
Right now, it's serving as the COVID isolation place. You guys might know that already. Hopefully, none of your children have had to go there.
So that space was much bigger. So we've had to amend a bit what we're doing to ensure that we don't have mobs of people. You could get 70 people show up to roll around with five or six dogs. And that's very close contact. My staff, believe me, has been begging me for weeks, could we please have dogs? So I'm going to have to at least get some dogs to come to one of our staff meetings.
But if we get any good days still coming up, I was thinking of trying to do one outdoors. And then we do have Insomnia Cookies-- a cookie night coming up. And we'll have to try to organize that carefully because that will be a very big group of people. But there are a lot of prelims. I'm sure you've been hearing about that. It seems like every couple of days there are are zillion prelims. I can't even believe how many there are here.
But on the 16th of November is a particularly big prelim night. And so we chose that one to do some Insomnia Cookies. So yes, we are still trying to do some modified versions. Yeah?
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] of the student, how would you say it is different, your first semester here to the others that you [INAUDIBLE]
There's so much that happens so fast, he didn't know what to do. How was your experience? How did you get involved throughout your career, or did you get involved early on?
AVERY: Yeah, so I can definitely start, and then Buma can share her experience. But I would say I think the semester where I got involved most or put myself out there most was probably my freshman spring, so second semester. Just because when you first come on campus, I had no idea what to expect. I don't actually have any older siblings, so I didn't really know what college was even like. So I was figuring that out myself. And I also took a lighter course load, partially because my major allowed it, but also partially because I had heard from older students to do that.
And then once I felt more acclimated and more comfortable, got into a routine, I definitely started looking into joining clubs. Some of the clubs that I joined that semester I'm no longer in. Some I'm a student leader in. So definitely just joining what I found an interest in, and then figuring out from there which I actually felt more passionate about once I was in it, and once I was either enjoying my time or felt that I could put my time elsewhere to get the most out of it. But yeah, I'm not sure if it was the same.
BUMA: Yeah, I would definitely say I was also in the same boat, had no idea what college was like whatsoever. And I'm also first gen, so like my parents went to school and in Cameroon and college there. So I'd never really experienced that. Mind you, I think that made me really, really reserved going into freshman year.
I joined clubs and things like that, but nothing really stuck until I changed my major sophomore year. And I think that is to attest to the fact that it's just never ever too late to join that club or an organization that you're really proud of. And I think I started really getting into my clubs junior year during when we had a lot more COVID restrictions and everything was online. And I had that opportunity to still get engaged.
And even now, I would say I've seen seniors join clubs. And while I was really scared to put myself out there that first semester, I do feel established in my network. And I'm really proud of the organizations that I'm a part of.
I think there's a point to make of also not overextending yourself when it comes to clubs. I think most people are happy when they have one to three-- three is even a stretch-- but one to two organizations that they feel really passionately about and they consistently work with and do everything with. So yeah.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: I think the one to tree is a good point to make, Buma. Because what I've noticed over the years is that if it was just coursework that these students were doing, hey, this would be a breeze. Right? What happens is they get overextended with all of the extracurricular activities, which are all amazing. And they do add to their life in so many ways. I mean, it's not just about fun and socialization.
A lot of these clubs, I mean, they're really seriously helping them prepare for their future careers and just helping them grow and take positions of leadership. And they're really significant things for them to do. But it is very easy for them to overextend, and that's what makes it really challenging. Yes? Do you agree with that?
BUMA: Yeah. Yeah. I speak from personal experience, as somebody who constantly overextends herself. But I think I'm a lot better now, and I'm pouring all my love into the few orgs that I have leadership positions in and sort of making that what it is.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah?
AUDIENCE: Can you unpack more about how you manage your time? I keep asking my son to go the the Tatkon Center. And he's like, I don't have time. I'm studying all the time. And he wants to do a sport, and [INAUDIBLE] has the time. So how do you manage?
BUMA: You want to--
AVERY: Yeah. I mean--
AUDIENCE: Are there any lessons that you can teach him? Don't do this?
AVERY: Yeah. I mean, obviously it's different for everyone. I found that I don't even-- how do I manage my time? That's a good question. I think when I like look at what I prioritize-- so for example, like a sport-- that's a great way to stay athletic, gain a community. That, to me, seems like a very productive use of time. So it can be about reallocation.
But also, I take a lot of time for reflection. And just looking at how I do spend my time, I find a lot of it I'm just spending it on my phone or in ways that everybody does. And not that that's a bad thing. It's really important to take breaks from school, and I do feel frazzled a lot. But I find that when I put that towards something else-- so going for a walk, and I can multitask while doing that, or just like taking a break in general, like reading a book because I like to read, and I find joy in that-- has been really helpful.
I think when I reflect on my semesters, sometimes I'm constantly busy. Like this semester I feel that I'm like always doing something. I'm always thinking about the next assignment. And it's really hard to get out of that mindset just because it's like being afraid of something that's coming up but you don't really need to worry about right now.
Yeah, I've found, in my experience at least, that it sort of ebbs and flows, how I deal with time. But as for lessons, I think taking time and making sure that, even if you feel overwhelmed, that you take time for yourself. And for me, I like to go to the gym. And I'm always like, I don't have time to go to the gym. I can't make it. I have to do schoolwork. But when I take the 30 minutes to go to the gym, I feel a lot better and more in control of what's going on.
So I would say definitely still prioritizing things that may not be school but may still be important is helpful.
BUMA: Yeah, 100%. And I also think with time management, because it's so different for everybody, it does require a degree of self-awareness and self-reflection and being honest with yourself and prioritizing, like Avery said, what is important to you. And how do you carve out time for that so you feel like you're still in control?
Because I think a lot of students get stressed out. And they're like, oh, I can't. My life is everywhere. I can't control this. But really setting aside time for yourself just grounds you so much more.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: And I'll just put in another plug for the Learning Strategy Center. They have study skills peer tutors, and that's the kind of workshop that they do all the time. They're really good at it. And they have also a lot of good materials on their website about time management. And that's one of the biggest challenges. I mean, maybe it is the biggest challenge for a first year student, really. So different from their high school experience. So it really takes a while for them to get that down.
But you'll see huge changes, even by the second semester. It's pretty extraordinary how much growth happens so quickly.
Did anybody have any other questions? Yes?
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] in reference to next semester. When does the sign up for all the extracurricular clubs, sports, whatnot-- is there a certain time they should start watching out in emails and whatnot? [INAUDIBLE].
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. Isn't it typically about the third week?
AVERY: Yeah. So they host something called a Club Fest, which is every semester. So it happened this semester. It will also happen next semester. And that's pretty early on, maybe the second or third week of being on campus. But that's when you go into Barton Hall, which is one of the biggest buildings on campus, and each organization has a booth. And you can put your email down. You can learn about them. So it's a great way to sort of learn about clubs that you might not know about otherwise. So there's just a simple sign up process when you're there.
As for any sort of sport, I think that happens in-- the club sports happen, usually they have a booth too, I believe.
AVERY: But intramural sports-- so that's another thing where you can get a group of friends or just meet people. That's a bit of a different process. So that would be checking the website, which would just be like intramural sports at Cornell. And you can find out the different deadlines for each sport and how you go about that. But yeah, usually you would just focus on joining a new organization in the first few weeks of next semester. There's not usually anything to do at the moment, I don't think.
BUMA: Yeah. And I checked, and it usually happens around the first week of February. But yeah, I don't think Cornell has officially released the date for that yet.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Question over here. Yeah?
AUDIENCE: Yes. Thank you very much for doing this. I just had a question about what was the biggest challenge for each of you as an incoming freshman, and how did you overcome that?
BUMA: I would say mine was probably impostor syndrome. I definitely felt like I did not belong at Cornell, especially after I changed my major from-- I was biology, pre-law to information science. And so that was a huge switch for me. And I hopped into all these computer science classes where everybody had been coding for years. And I definitely experienced a huge, I guess, gap in my understanding of things freshman year just because I really didn't feel like Cornell was for me.
And I was really not taking risks for myself, and I wasn't challenging myself. And I don't think I was necessarily in a place where I was like, oh yeah, I can do it. And I honestly think that all just got better with just me being unafraid to reach out and ask for help. And I just learned that failure and getting a bad grade on the prelim is not the end of the world. And the best place to be to grow as a student is rock bottom because you just have so much to prove.
And I think that just reaching out to my professors and creating a network of people who are able to support me and talking to my advisor just really helped me get out of that mindset and celebrate the little accomplishments I had and celebrate myself. So yeah, I think that's probably the toughest thing.
AVERY: Yeah, I would probably say mine's a bit similar to Buma's. But I think just-- not a lack of confidence, but just not having as much confidence as I do now. I think you get to Cornell, or your family member gets to Cornell, and it's still hard here. You still have to prove yourself, or at least you feel that you do. There are still clubs that are selective. So it's like, yeah, you're here, but there are other things that you feel that you have to navigate.
And kind of going off Buma's point, it can knock you down a few notches if you don't get into a club or you don't do well in a class. So I think the biggest thing for me was just not having enough confidence to even go to office hours. I have found those so helpful. I went to my professor Thursday morning, and I said, I'm a senior. I'm getting nostalgic. I have no questions about the class, but I would just love to meet you and learn about who you are as a person and your background. And I sat with her for 45 minutes yesterday, and we just talked about nothing. But it was great, and I would definitely recommend just putting yourself out there.
And even I'm sitting outside the room, waiting to go in, and I'm like, oh, I don't want to disturb her. Do I knock? Do I wait? Things like that. But then just getting the confidence to go in and make the most of it. So I think, yeah, the more you put yourself out there, the more confident you'll become. I think if I looked at myself four years ago, I would never be sitting up here.
So I think that's the biggest thing. And I was able to find that from putting myself out there. Because in high school, the classes are small. My high school was small, so you know everyone. I didn't have to talk in class, so then that was a big adjustment for me. And now I'm willing to talk in class and willing to share my ideas.
So I think the more that you can emphasize just to put yourself out there-- because everyone's in the same boat. It's not like anyone here has all the answers or is going to say all the right things all the time. So I think that's the biggest learning experience and the biggest way to boost confidence.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Thank you. OK, one more question. Yeah?
AUDIENCE: No, we have to run. We just want to thank you.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Oh, yeah.
AVERY: Oh, thank you for coming.
MARGHERITA FABRIZIO: Yeah. So you can see two amazing people, two amazing people of this like-- this is our whole staff. So this is the kind of stuff that students can get from these students who are on the staff. Every year I usually ask the seniors for maybe five things that they wish they'd known as first year students. So I'm just going to read a couple of these because I think they're kind of fun. They're kind of fun to hear.
There is always-- in caps, in parentheses, ALWAYS-- slush on the ground in winter. Do not, I repeat, do not skip in the winter.
Experiencing early morning and sunset on the slope is absolutely magical, especially in fall.
Career Services is a real thing that could have helped me learn how to write a cover letter and get an internship.
There is more in me than I thought I knew. Your first year seems endless and daunting, but you are more incredible and capable and resilient than you think you are.
And a few more. Don't stress about the small stuff. If things don't go exactly your way, remember that it happens to everyone, and everyone gets through it. If you realize that and don't treat every small mistake like it's life or death, you will be a lot happier.
And then to echo Avery, go to professor's office hours. It's scary at first, but if you force yourself to do it, then you start to form a relationship with the teacher, which can lead to all kinds of cool opportunities.
How about this last one. Find the balance, and take time for yourself, again echoing what they've said.
Sports, clubs, homework, friends-- there are a lot of things to juggle while being a student, and it just gets harder in college. Make sure to prioritize, and don't overburden yourself. When you feel like you are drowning, take a step back and reevaluate what you are doing and what you can cut back on to make work a little more manageable.
So thank you so much for being here and learning about Tatkon. And I again thank you in advance for encouraging your students to check us out and come and take advantage of everything that we offer. And I hope that you are finding your family members thriving and that you're going to have a super fun weekend. I think it's supposed to clear up a little bit later. Thank you for coming.
AVERY: Have a great rest of your family weekend.
BUMA: Thank you.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this request.
Come learn about the Tatkon Center for First-Year Students, a unique Cornell program dedicated to providing support for new students throughout their first year. The Tatkon Center is staffed by older students who help new students make connections and discover important campus resources and opportunities. Tatkon offers free, peer tutoring in addition to a full year of events focused on academic and career exploration, academic support, health and wellness, and social networking.