Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Q (and sometimes answers) with Mark on the cold and new beginnings

I decided to have a mini interview session with my little brother over tea. He’s a great listener and we always have good conversations together. The Olympics are on live in the background. This is a Q+A session sometimes without the A. Mark just wrapped up his freshmen year at Cornell and his first working summer in Seoul. He will be an orientation leader at the freshmen o-week this fall.

I sneaked in this photo on his first day of work. He’s far off in the center with the white shirt and the backpack. Onto the questions.

2012-07-03 09.54.52

First, how do you survive the cold? (Ithaca regularly gets down to 20F!) I am worried about the northeast winters.

It's not that cold. Um. Riding the bus and not walking a lot helps. Actually I’m not getting the free freshmen bus pass next year, so other than that, dress warm. Wear layers, wear wool socks. Wear layers under your normal clothes. You definitely need gloves- buy lots of sweaters to layer.

I don’t know what to wear in the winter! What do girls look good in during the winter? Scarves and hats.

Should I buy Uggs? Also I’m going to take my old pea coats. No- lots of people wear tall dark boots on campus. I think pea coats are fine.

I am only an hour away from NYC. What should I do there?

When I went, I went to the Comedy Club, stopped by the Toys R Us, visited the NYU campus, and went to Chinatown and Little Italy for food (the best almond cookies!). Remember to say no to solicitors- they can be sneaky. Sometimes it’s fun to go into the city for something small like watching a movie.

Picture of Cornell on a heavy snow day:IMG00059-20110325-1044

It takes four hours to get from Ithaca to NYC! Maybe we can meet up there. Let’s talk about meeting new people. How did you meet people and make friends?

It is much easier when you are living in a dorm with other people. Most of my friends lived in my building last year. Once you have a few friends, you meet other people through them. But you’re not living in a dorm, so… A lot of people live on my block- so it’s similar. Okay, you also meet people in classes: some of my good friends are from my freshmen seminar which was smaller.

What about facebook? I can start making friends right now even before meeting them.

People can sometimes give off a different persona online from their physical presence. Sometimes I look at our old facebook group and the people who were really active online did not turn out to be so in real life. Each first day is a new beginning! Don't pretend to be someone you are not. Don't try to forge a new identity. You can't really hide yourself for long. Don't be fake- be yourself.

That’s a little cliché.

But it's true. And- if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Say hi.

Here’s a question- how do you memorize names? I sometimes have a hard time remembering names.

Link names with someone you already know with that same name. And try to us their name in conversation to repeat it to yourself. This really helps.

Oh, and working out is a great way to connect- especially for guys. In the weight room it is easier to have a conversation. In the cardio room, people are usually watching television on the elliptical. I also meet a lot of people through Greek life. (Mark pledged this spring and will be living in a fraternity house this upcoming year.) Again, since a close friend pledged at a different fraternity, I met people there through him. Being introduced by a common friend is the best since you already have a common base.

Isn’t it sometimes awkward to speak to strangers?

Of course it can be awkward to meet people. But when you are in a big group, you don’t have to say a lot. Sometimes paying attention is enough. If you are uncomfortable not being part of the conversation, join them for other activities you can participate in and enjoy.

Do you have any advice for my particular situation? Being with the same 120 people for four years?

Just say it. If you are upset by something, let the other person know. You can't hold it in for long. Even if you don’t like confrontation, do it. It solves problems.

Will we hang out for Thanksgiving? I am going to E’s house. Their food is so delicious. What if you don’t get invited? I’ll probably have dinner with Martha Stewart. (We talk about some of his friends and then are distracted by the Olympics.) Okay, will you come to Penn sometime? I’ll think about it. So about that kid… (more stories)

Last words before I conclude this interview?

Make good friends. Sometimes it's necessary to keep a distance from those who aren't a good influence to you.

I hate the cold. Can you buy me new boots then? Will you send me care packages? Maybe.

Sometimes this young one is too wise for me to handle. We will only be four hours away- that’s like Austin to Houston- a totally do-able drive on a weekend, although I don’t have Kasey anymore. And a weekend get-together in NYC is totally feasible too!

1 comment: