One Course At A Time (OCAAT) pervades every aspect of the Cornell experience. From the academic schedule and athletics to involvement in organizations and the expected response time to e-mails, OCAAT becomes embedded in Cornell students’ way of life. The block plan has a way of distorting time at Cornell. Many students find themselves marking time by the day or week of the block rather than by the actual dates. Though, from an academic standpoint, the block plan isn’t for everyone, it does allow the flexibility necessary for learners of all types to be successful in the classroom. Additionally, OCAAT allows most students to at least pick up a minor, while many students double or even triple major. There are valuable internship opportunities around every corner, and several programs and centers focused on helping students thrive. Study abroad experiences are unparalleled and easily affordable, due to the shorter time frame. Why take a Spanish class on campus in Iowa when you can take it while living in Mexico for the month?
While the problem of student apathy tends to get a lot of lip service on campus, it is really only true in terms of school spirit for athletics. Cornell has over 100 student organizations—impressive for a school with a student body numbering less than 1,200, and a majority of these are very active and visible on campus. Recognizing that small-town Iowa may not have a lot to offer in terms of entertainment, Cornell works hard to bring entertainment to campus. The theatre department puts on four to five productions each year, and student organizations like the Performing Arts and Activities Council (PAAC) and KRNL-FM bring bands, comedians, and other performers to campus on a regular basis. Best of all, it’s all free for students. Ultimately, the Cornell bubble can be a bit confining if you let it. But if you make an effort to enjoy your four years at Cornell, it will be more than worth it.