Life on North Campus

Cornell engineering student Francis, posing with two other RAsHi there! My name’s Francis, and I’m a senior here at Cornell majoring in electrical and computer engineering and minoring in business. From the moment I stepped onto campus four years ago, I knew that I’d try my absolute hardest to make this place home. And I did exactly that. So let me take you back to my freshman days on North Campus—where the journey began.

What did a typical day on North Campus look like for me? Well, I woke up bright and early each morning in Court-Kay-Bauer Hall, one of the first year residential communities on North Campus. And I’d go through my standard morning routine: brush my teeth, pack my bag, say hello to my roommate, etc. And from there, typically I’d get breakfast in North Star Dining Hall in Appel Commons. But if I was ever in a rush to class, I’d grab a quick muffin to go in the Tatkon Center’s Cafe. Once I got my day started, I made my way to the Engineering Quad for all of my classes!

And once I was exhausted from studying, doing work on the Engineering Quad and Central Campus, I made my way back to North Campus for a quick nap before dinner. When dinnertime came, I always had the option between North Star and Robert Purcell Community Center, or RPCC, and 9 times out of 10, I would pick North Star/Appel. I just found it to be more conducive to meeting people since nearly all of the tables were absurdly large and connected to each other, and it always felt more open with the floor-to-ceiling windows. However, if you were to ask any freshman where they’d prefer Sunday brunch, they would agree RPCC is definitely superior. So I had to give up my dining preference for those special occasions.

Once I was finished having dinner, I would make my way back to my residence hall and do some more studying for the night. I’d typically study in one of the residence hall’s study lounges on the first floor or the ones on my own floor. And if I ever wanted to take a break, I would stop by one of my Resident Advisors’s programs that was being held. I remember some of my favorites were cider tastings and a snowball fight on the CKB-Dickson Quadrangle. All in all, these in-house programs were a great way to meet new friends, some of whom ended up being my closest to this day. And when these programs were over, I found myself reverting back to my room or a study lounge to do some more work and calling it a night.

Overall, during my first year, I spent a decent chunk of my time on North Campus, and while it was incredibly overwhelming at first, I loved every moment of it. I loved it so much that, fast forward to my junior year, I had the fortunate opportunity of becoming a Residential Advisor myself. And I got to relive some great memories with even more eager freshmen. Cornell is truly unique because in the way the housing and dining system operates on North Campus, I found that first year students get the opportunity to build relationships that will last a lifetime. And looking back on it all, I’m grateful to have shared many meals, have countless late nights in study lounges, and make some meaningful memories on North Campus.

—Francis, electrical and computer engineering