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First-year favorites

  Photos by Lisa Hazlett  

The Cornell Report asked first-year students, the Class of 2009, to tell us about one item they brought to Cornell that has great personal significance. Read what six students wrote about the most important thing they packed and why.

Jeremiah Geffe, Greeley, Colo.

I brought an awesome ice shaving machine I got as a graduation gift from my high school chemistry teacher for being his student aide. This ice shaver means a lot to me because he was the one who let me make contact explosives—in a controlled environment, of course.

My roommate thinks it’s awesome. I use the ice shaver to make snow cone-type snacks. I have different syrups, and it makes a tasty treat. In our dorm room, we have limited ice-making capabilities, but when we do have ice we make snow cones. I share with anyone who wants a delicious snack.

Elizabeth Jach, Brookfield, Wis.

I was co-captain of my cross country team my senior year of high school. All the seniors were honored at the cross country banquet, and then my co-captain and I were each presented with a quilt. Mine has beautiful colors and pictures of the team, my coach, and all of us running at meets—printed on cloth. It’s beautiful! During the rest of my senior year, I kept my quilt on my bed at home, and it was one of the first things I packed to bring to Cornell. It hangs on my wall to remind me that there are 65 girls back home who care about me, and who have helped to make me who I am.

Nicole Bienfang, Austin, Texas
One thing I had to make sure I brought to Cornell with me was my skirt made entirely of men’s ties. It means a lot because it was made by a friend the day she was leaving for college in Canada. It also represents the type of high school I came from—tolerant, understanding, laid back, and with a funky fashion sense, which happens to be the type of place Cornell is as well. Plus I knew it would be an attention getter so I figured that from my clothing, people would get an idea of who I was. The skirt is a great conversation piece and a good way to get to know people on campus. Every time I wear it I get a few inquiring comments. With every stitch, my old friend has made an opportunity for me to make new friends as well.

Heather Stocker, Champaign, Ill.

When I was 3 years old, I gave my grandma a blue teddy bear. She died when I was 11, and my family let me take my bear back. Ever since it has been my most valuable possession, and I have slept with it every night. She was my hero and a wonderful person, and though she’s not physically here, I truly feel that my bear brings her closer to me. It has traveled everywhere with me, and I would not have been able to come to college and leave it at home, so of course it came with. It’s the only stuffed animal I have owned that has never been named, because I still haven’t found a name special enough.

Chelsea Boisen, Lawrence, Kan.

A good friend of mine, knowing it was something I’d always wanted, bought a record player for me as a going away gift. My collection of LPs is small but consists of the Beatles and Neil Young (handed down from my parents) to German polka (this album was a semi-gag gift from two friends on campus, but it has turned out to be quite entertaining!). When people come into my room, they’re always astonished to see someone with an actual record player, speakers, and receiver instead of a regular ol’ CD player. I imagine my record collection will expand not only in size but genre over my next three years at Cornell.



Nick Wondra, Centennial, Colo.

Without my books I would go insane! Even if I’m not reading them they are a comfort. My attraction to books is the break they provide. When people walk into a room in which you’re reading, they understand a calm urgency and seem to leave you alone. If you’re watching TV (which I rarely do), there is an implied invitation for distraction—not that distraction is bad, but it is so nice to have alone time. I’m a busy person; alone time is important to me. My favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye because it helped me at a time in my life when I needed help sorting through things. My least favorite is Shakespeare. Since I’ve come to Cornell, I have a drawing journal, too, as I’ve taken up life drawing. Somehow, I have resisted reading any Harry Potter exempting the first book (and I hated it, but it was in Russian translation).

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