Nooz Explains: 161 Simple Cornell Mask Guidelines

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Cornell has once again revised its health and safety
guidelines for students. Feeling confused about when and where you should wear a mask? Fear not—CU Nooz is here to help!

1. Masks are not required for any student who has achieved Dean’s List in at least two
semesters, unless they have posted the Dean’s List certificate on LinkedIn.
2. Masks are not required if you left your mask at home today, but only if this was done on accident. This clause can only be invoked three times in a given academic semester for
any student currently enrolled in 12 or more credits.
3. Masks are required for students who exclusively order the California Sunrise at CTB.
4. Masks are required for all students who have LED light strips installed in their bedroom.
5. Masks are required in Mac’s Cafe, but not in Terrace. Sneeze in the burrito for all we care.
6. Masks are required for any NCAA Division I varsity athlete when visiting schools ranked outside the top 50 in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings.
7. Masks are not required if you are a male student that is 5’7” or below. We
understand that you need all the help you can get.
8. Masks are required for anyone that is a 4 or lower. To clarify, anyone that is a Cornell 4 or lower.
9. Masks are not required on TCAT routes 83 and 30, but only before 9:00am and after 10:30pm.
10. Masks are required for Dyson students if they plan on discussing cryptocurrency that day.
11. Masks are required during sex, but only if it’s a casual thing.
12. Masks are recommended but not required if the nature of the thing has not been defined yet.
13. Masks are required in all Tinder profile pictures.
14. Masks are prohibited if the wearer has not shaved that day. It’s time to face the shame.
15. Masks are required if the wearer expects to run into an ex, unless you look really good that day and need to make them jealous.
16. Masks are required while walking up the Slope, but not if you are walking down it.
17. Masks are not required if you are a philosophy major, unless your family is supportive of
your studies, in which case you have to wear two.
18. Masks are required for legacy students, but let’s be honest, the rules don’t really apply to you anyways.
19. Masks are required for all professors who cold call students during lecture.
20. Masks are not required for professors who let students call them by their first name, but
are required for professors who force students to call them by their first name.
21. Masks are not required for students who are lactose intolerant.
22. Masks are required in section if you have not done the reading, but not if you promise to raise your hand every time the TA asks a question.
23. Masks are mandatory if you tend to visibly lick your lips, but are optional if your lips are already chapped.
24. Masks are required if you don’t have COVID-19.
25. Masks are not required if you do have COVID-19.
26. If this is your first time wearing a mask, you have to fight.
27. Masks are required if you are right-handed, but not if you are left-handed.
28. Masks are required for anyone who cried during Avengers: Infinity War, but only if you also cheered when Loki died.
29. Masks are not required for anyone who has been rejected by a pre-professional fraternity, but mandatory for current members of a pre-professional fraternity.
30. Masks are required in the S.C. Johnson School of Business as penance for past sins.
31. Masks are required for anyone who unironically uses the word “rad.”
32. Masks are required if you’ve ever been to Slope Day. You are probably part of the
elderly population and are at higher risk.
33. Masks are required if you’re a chronic mouth breather.
34. Masks are not required for good little children who slurp their slop.
35. Masks are required for professors who only accept physical copies of homework dropped in a specific location instead of online submissions.
36. Masks are required for upperclassmen who still live on North.
37. Masks are required for students who have eaten at Okenshields in the last 24 hours.
38. Masks are Required in Bathrooms containing four stalls, but not those with three.
39. Masks are not required when at a height of 20–23.5 feet on the climbing wall, but are necessary at all other heights.
40. Masks are not required in fitness centers, with the exception of the deep ends of the pools.
41. Masks are not required if someone drew something funny on your face while you were asleep.
42. Masks are required when making eye contact with President Pollack.
43. Masks are not required for those willing to lie about their vaccination status.
44. Masks are not required for students born on a leap day, as they are not yet six years old.
45. Masks are required for students who wish to tell jokes, unless they are also going to make a very funny face.
46. Masks are not required for statues on the Arts Quad, unless they plan to come alive that night.
47. Masks are required for those shredding gnar outside Milstein.
48. Masks are required for students who wear glasses, because then the losers can’t see or breathe.
49. Masks are required in dining halls, including while eating. Eat through the mask.
50. Masks are not required when hiding under the covers from a scary monster.
51. Masks are required for groups larger than four unless you are part of a gang getting back together for one last heist.
52. Masks are not required in Upson bathroom stalls if you don’t flush. Masks are required for the remaining three engineers.
53. Masks are required for people with butt chins.
54. Masks are required for Scorpio moons unless you have a water sun to balance things out.
55. Masks are not required for women with childbearing hips as a signifier that they are of fine stock and would make a worthy wife and mother to any well-to-do member of the genteel class.
56. Masks are required for cartoons brought into our universe, but not for people transported into cartoon universes.
57. Masks are required for anyone who puts their height in their Tinder bio, but they are not
required if you actually told the truth about it.
58. Masks are not required for students who can recite up to 250 digits of pi.
59. Masks are required for all students who willingly call themselves theater kids; in fact, we
recommend wearing two.
60. Masks are not required if there is a water bottle within a 10-centimeter radius of you, but
only if it is a reusable water bottle.
61. Masks are required for people who live on West Campus if they complain too much about
having to walk up the Slope.
62. Masks are required while riding the TCAT unless you are prepared to serenade your
fellow riders with a musical number.
63. Masks are not required for students traveling to rival universities.
64. Masks are not required for anyone with one of those long pointy mustaches that are good
for twirling.
65. Masks are required for lengthy speeches, except for those giving long monologues about
the inner machinations of their evil plan.
66. Masks are required for students whose names are drawn out of a big glass bowl full
of little slips of paper, unless their cooler older sister takes their place.
67. Masks are required for secret agents, but not required if those secret agents are not
currently wearing the hat that signifies them as an agent.
68. Masks are required in Milstein Hall, but not if you’re just coming in to take a Gov class
in the main auditorium.
69. Masks are prohibited at the annual Slope Day Lip Synching Competition.
70. Masks are prohibited for anyone currently in the act of theft, but not if you send the
administration a 25% cut.
71. Masks are required in any building with an odd number of letters in its name.
72. Masks are not required if you know at least three brothers and can recite how you
met them to the bouncer.
73. Masks are required if your fake ID is still horizontal in 2022.
74. Masks are required if you were ghosted by your Perfect Match pairings, but not
required if you ghosted any of your Perfect Matches.
75. Masks are not required if you are already in a big bear suit riling up fans at Cornell
hockey games.
76. Masks are required if you have ever shared your GPA on campus without being asked,
unless that GPA is under a 3.0.
77. Masks are required if you cannot name at least two members of the United States
Supreme Court.
78. Masks are not required in Day Hall, but only if you donate over $1,000 to the university
during your visit.
79. Masks are required if you land on “Wear a Mask” during your turn, but are not
required if you also have a “Get Out of Mask Free” Card in your hand.
80. Masks are not required if you successfully pass a charisma check.
81. Masks are required if you can’t find your phone and have to ask someone else to call it
for you.
82. Masks are required if you’re on the verge of a mental breakdown, but are not required if
you’re “just a little tired this week, haha.”
83. Masks are not required if you wistfully stare into a well at your reflection.
84. Masks are required for Weezer fans unless they can upload proof of a successful
interaction with a woman in the past six months.
85. Masks are required for all students… unless we can throw together the best talent
show this town’s ever seen.
86. Masks are required for the fire that will save the clan. Leaders receive eight
additional masks from StarClan.
87. Masks are required for headstrong businesswomen who hate Christmas but not for small
town men who own Christmas tree farms.
88. Masks are not required for those who can answer my riddles three.
89. Masks are not required for those who can do a kickflip.
90. Masks are required when in an ascending elevator, but not in a descending one.
91. Masks are required for those who wish to operate in the shadows, until they are ready to
come into the light.
92. Masks are required for the owner of a white Nissan Versa with license plate number
GFD-5276. Your lights are on.
93. Masks are not required for students who have received a star on their well-behaved chart
for each day of this week.
94. Masks are not required when traveling 20,000 leagues under the sea.
95. Masks are not required in Mann Library, but not wearing one increases the likelihood the
librarian will yell at you like the dirty little slut you are.
96. Masks are required for the bitch in my 12:15pm lecture. They know what they did.
97. Masks are required unless you’re wearing one, in which case they aren’t.
98. Masks are forbidden for professors who assign 5pm deadlines until they can prove that
they begin grading at 5:01pm.
99. Masks are required while solving mysteries, unless the gang splits up to look for clues.
100. Masks are not required for whoever found my Airpods case, have you seen that
anywhere? I could’ve sworn I left them on this table.
101. Masks are required for students from Ohio. Also Nebraska.
102. Masks are required for people watching movies in the Cornell Cinema, except
for when they wish to guffaw loudly and slap their knee.
103. Masks are not required for anyone who can help me with my PHYS2213:
Electromagnetism homework.
104. Masks are required for that one guy on my freshman year floor who would blast
electropop music at 1am every night of the week, never took a shower, and pissed on my
105. Masks are required for anyone who got a higher grade than me on my prelim.
106. Masks are required if you’re coming over to my place tonight babe 😉 Oh wait, not the
surgical ones I mean the BDSM kind.
107. Masks are not required if you are uglier than me. Masks are required if you are hotter
than me.
108. Masks are not required for hale and hearty boys with apple cheeks from a midwinter
walk ‘round the grounds.
109. Masks are required for anyone with a Rice Purity Score less than thirty. You animals
must be stopped.
110. Masks are required for lonely men with disfigured faces haunting the local opera.
111. Masks are not required for those who have paid the blood price.
112. Masks are required whilst crying in the Cocktail Lounge, but not whilst crying inside
Duffield Hall.
113. Masks are not required for students who only listen to real music. It’s all pretty
obscure stuff that you probably wouldn’t have heard of.
114. Masks are required for anyone who has ever said “I go to a school in upstate
New York.”
115. Masks are required when you’re taking pictures to show your mom.
116. Masks are not required when you’re taking pictures to show your mom, and she’s a
117. Masks are required for any individual who has been possessed by a ghost or demon
who has not yet been fully vaccinated in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
118. Masks are required for anyone whose GET App will not load and better hurry the
fuck up.
119. Masks are required if you are a disgusting pig who has recycled the same crusty
disposable mask for the past year.
120. Masks are required for anyone currently stealing Cornell property. Stay anonymous,
kings and queens.
121. Masks are not required in Trillium except for anyone ordering the pasta, who must be
muzzled for their own protection.
122. Masks are required for any man named Justin. They don’t deserve freedom.
123. Masks are required for every club that rejected me: Cornell Consulting Club, Cornell
Consulting Group, Cornell Venture Capital, Cornell Hedge Fund, etc.
124. Masks are required for any member of a secret society who chose not to tap me.
125. Masks are required for people I don’t like. You know who you are.
126. Masks are not required for Touchdown the Bear.
127. Masks are required for shy, nerdy girls with frizzy hair and thick-rimmed
glasses who have potential to be gorgeous, but the masks must be removed once they
get a makeover in preparation for the Homecoming dance.
128. Masks are required for anyone who has successfully had sex in the stacks. You dirty,
dirty dogs.
129. Masks are required for students who unironically enjoy “Despacito,” but only if
they’re referring to the Justin Bieber version specifically.
130. Masks are not required for anyone who has received a parking ticket within the last
24 hours if the violation was for Overtime Meter.
131. Masks are required for New Jerseyans who never shut up about Ithaca not having
“real bagels.”
132. Masks are required for people quoting “Borat” in 2022.
133. Masks are required if you are Dillian from my group project.
134. Masks are not required whilst pontificating, introspecting, or genuflecting.
135. Masks are not required for any woman whose name is mentioned during Lou Bega’s
Mambo No. 5.
136. Masks.
137. Masks, straitjackets, and shackles are required for the loser who requests Mr.
Brightside at a party.
138. Masks are required for student enrolled in the Hotel school who willingly refer to it as
the Nolan School of Hotel Administration.
139. Masks are strongly recommended for anyone living in an apartment owned by
O’Connor Apartments. This one is for your own safety.
140. Masks are not required for the squirrels on the Arts Quad, although if anyone
has a good idea for getting them on their little faces we’re willing to listen.
141. Masks are not required if you call movies movies, but they are if you call them
142. Masks are not required for any woman who sneaks away in the middle of the night
dressed as a man to enlist in war in place of her elderly father following the emperor’s
order that each family needs to send at least one man to fight in the ongoing war against
the Huns.
143. Masks are not required when serenading me from my window.
144. Masks are not required for any student who brings a dog to campus. Thank you for
your service.
145. Masks are required if you have spent more than half of your Big Red Bucks before
March, unless you managed to spend them all already.
146. Masks are not required if this week has been kinda crazy for you.
147. Masks are required if you have told more than three people your star sign in the past
week, but are not required if that sign is Virgo.
148. Masks are not required if you are currently wearing mismatched socks.
149. Masks are required for anyone who pays in cash for dining hall meals.
150. Masks are required if you did musical theater in high school, but not if you did
technical theater.
151. Masks are required if you go to poetry slams.
152. Masks are not required if you have successfully gaslit university financial aid offices
into granting you free tuition.
153. Masks are not required on campus, unless your mom asks if you are being safe and
still wear yours, in which case they are.
154. Masks are required for any student who has an email signature that includes a
hyperlink to their LinkedIn profile.
155. Masks are required for all students currently in the Cornell Free Food GroupMe.
156. Masks are not required if you bring the bridge troll who guards the gorge trails
a small treat of fish and stale bread.
157. Masks are not required if you’re not like other girls.
158. Masks are required if you are talking shit about your friend, but not if you preface it
with “I love her to death, but…”
159. Masks are required for any man who decides they don’t have to bother dressing up for
the party theme, instead opting for a hoodie and flannel.
160. Masks are required for anyone who claims to have failed a test in public when
they scored above an 85.
161. Etc.

“Thank God We’re Done with Zoom,” Says Guy Who Will Be Complaining About In-Person Classes in 48 Hours Max

In a move as predictable as the changing of the seasons or frats violating COVID protocols, Cornell’s switch to in-person instruction has been celebrated by students who will once again be complaining about the class format in 48 hours, tops.

“I can’t wait to be back on campus and moving around instead of sitting in my dorm all day,” said Michael Herrera ‘22, completely unaware that he will be complaining about the walk to his morning lecture by Wednesday at the absolute latest. “It’ll be so much easier to concentrate once I’m in a lecture hall packed with talking students with no chance of the professor noticing I’m on my phone. I’ll even get to see my classmates!” he said of the people who in a mere two lectures will be “the worst project partners [he’s] ever had.”

Despite Herrera’s fanatical conviction that in-person instruction will save him from a semester of disengagement and poor academic performance, the people familiar with his extremely predictable behavior aren’t convinced.

“It’s obvious that he’s gonna complain about in-person classes this semester, just like he has every single day of every semester so far,” said Carson Cooper ‘22,  Herrera’s roommate and longtime sufferer. “Right now it’s all ‘transmission is low’ and ‘we should have been in-person already,’ but you know he won’t stop talking about how he’s being ‘exposed to a life-threatening disease’ the second he hears a sniffle. He hasn’t been this full of shit since last time he promised he’d pay me back for Oishii Bowl.”

Herrera concluded his praise of in-person instruction by proclaiming that this will be “the semester he gets it together” for the seventh semester in a row.

Students Grant Emergency Authorization for Drinking on Tuesday Nights

COLLEGETOWN—In an unusual decision motivated by the “unprecedented circumstances” brought about by the ongoing pandemic, students collectively decided that drinking would be considered socially acceptable this Tuesday night.

“We, by which I mean myself and the guys, are committed to doing everything possible to mitigate the impacts of COVID on our student body by fucking up our physical, corporeal bodies,” said Darrin McDonough ‘22. “With that in mind, it’s pretty chill if you wanna drink this Tuesday. I mean, why the fuck not, right?”

With classes shifted online amidst the long Ithaca winter and no end in sight for many pandemic-related restrictions, Collegetown residents determined that this Tuesday— a day considered by many to be the last on which one cannot reasonably justify a tipple—would be cleared for alcoholic consumption as a humane method of lessening the deleterious effects of Cornell’s present reality. Although no central government was responsible for reaching this conclusion, it was clear that the student populace was in complete consensus.

“After I got off my fourth and final Zoom class of the day, I just went straight for the special occasion whiskey on top of the fridge,” disclosed Marina Walker ‘23. “I was a little worried someone might see what I was doing and get judgy, but it was pretty clear my roommates had already taken a few swigs themselves. And then I saw the people in the house across the street hauling in a keg. It made me realize that sometimes extraordinary times call for the most ordinary of comforts: getting shitfaced beyond all belief on the most boring day of the week.”

At press time, students had already waived restrictions on dropping acid on Wednesdays.

Cornell Introduces New “Sluggish Tests” That Provide Results in 15 Days

DAY HALL—Students across campus have been left in suspense after administration announced that Ithaca campus residents are now required to take “sluggish tests” that produce results in fifteen days. 

“Sluggish tests are the perfect diagnostic tool for this stage of the pandemic,” attested President Pollack via email. “In a mere fifteen days, they inform students whether they were safe to socialize two weeks ago or if they have exposed their entire social circle to COVID, with an astonishing 67% accuracy. We believe these sluggish tests will be key to reopening campus within the next fourteen years.”

Unlike the sluggish tests, President Pollack moved quickly to shut down criticism of the new testing regimen.

“Many students have asked why we would switch to sluggish tests when there are faster and more accurate COVID tests available,” the email continued. “In the interest of providing students with a sense of stability in this unpredictable pandemic, we have decided to lower COVID testing to the level of the rest of our ineffective and bogged-down healthcare system. Additionally, the money saved on tests can go to more urgent matters, such as our seventh continuous semester of construction on North Campus.”

The email concluded by cautioning students that due to server outages at Cayuga Medical Center, students may not receive their results for up to three months.

OP-ED: My Hand Brushed Against Another Student’s In Okenshields, Should I Get Married Or Contact Traced?

OKENSHIELDS 一 Let me paint you a picture. There I am, alone, in Okenshields on a Tuesday night, preparing for a hearty meal in the line for stir fry and rice. My mind is wholly on food, and I am ravenous. My plan, executed to perfection numerous times hence, is to grab my meal, retreat to the safety of my table in the corner, eat, and leave. Alas, God sees the plans of man and laughs. Reaching out for the spoon to scoop my jasmine rice, another hand brushes up against my own, in a soft, warm caress that sends shivers down my spine. Thoughts spiral through my head of marriage and growing old together with this stranger. Yet I hear a cough at the same time, from the same general direction of the caress. I am now racked with a crisis of conscience: should my next move be to profess my love for this soft-handed seductress or procure a supplemental test at the earliest opportunity?


My gut instinct is to follow the former course of action. After all, how many true opportunities for love are we granted in one lifetime, and what man can afford to let them slide? You must understand that I have not felt the touch of a woman in many months, and that as the pandemic falls under control, I am tempted to reenter the romantic scene in person. I cannot abide another year filing out the Perfect Match survey only to discover a lack of chemistry in person. So on these rare occasions I must seize my chance and make my feelings known, right?


On the other hand, a positive COVID test could harm this and any future opportunities for courtship. What if, in avoiding the dangers of disease, I miss another chance down the line? What if I get more people sick and settle for someone not right for me? What if this relationship leads to disaster in such a way that I may never love again? As with the ripples of a leaf on the surface of a lake, one can never fully anticipate the consequences of unintended action, nor can man truly count himself a master of his own fate.


As I consider, in thorough detail, how to make my next move, I feel the glare of my peers, and look up into the piercing, emerald-green eyes of my potential lover. “Dude, you’re holding up the line,” she says, grasping the rice spoon. I walk away dejected, riceless, selecting my appointment on DailyCheck. Fate has once more conspired against me, and I was but a hapless spectator to the machinations of love.

Cornell Riot Police Deploy Freshman Dorm Smell Against Maskless Monday Protestors

DAY HALL 一 Student protestors participating in the first Maskless Monday protest against Cornell’s masking policy were met by the repulsive aroma of a sweaty, virginal freshman’s dorm room as CUPD Riot Police sought to disperse the protest.

“At first I didn’t know what scents were hitting my bare, uncovered nose,” said Chasten Miles ‘25. “The flavors of dead rat, gamer sweat, rotten food from Nastie’s… it smelled weirdly familiar. It was only when I started seeing upperclassmen faint from the odor, and the freshman protestors sort of just shrug it off, that I realized I was smelling the despair and disgust of a freshman dorm in tear gas form.”

The deployment of Freshman Dorm Smell tear gas is banned under the Geneva Convention, but Cornell’s use of the brutal protest suppressor demonstrated the administration’s desire to prevent the Maskless Monday protests from growing further. Leaders of the Maskless Monday Movement have reportedly already filed a complaint against Cornell at the United Nations for the use of this illegal, deadly chemical.

“Use of this toxin does not come to us lightly,” explained Cornell Riot Police Chief Reston Angler. “We reserve the right to deploy Freshman Dorm Smell only when a peaceful protest descends into an illegal, violent riot. The effects have been proven to work: if rioters don’t faint immediately from the smell, they cry profusely at the deep sorrow contained within it and convulse from the enriched chemical compounds of Gamer Sweat and Halitosis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any effect on freshmen themselves, since they’re kinda used to it.”

As the gas was being deployed Monday, protest leaders, many of them frat brothers, reportedly screamed “GAS MASKS ON!” only to yell, “Sike!”, high-fiving and laughing in their commitment to the Anti-Mask cause as they began to lose consciousness and became immobilized from the stench.

OP-ED: Saying “Don’t Come to Class When You’re Sick” Discriminates Against Cornell’s Sickly Little Victorian Boy Population

My dearest Cornell community—you see us wandering about campus in our finest nightgowns, draped dramatically over the lavatories, or reclining in our sumptuous beds that do nothing to alleviate our physical agonies, but do you truly care about us? Lately I have been witness to a dangerous trend, one that puts my entire community at stake. Telling students to stay home when sick is a direct attack on the sickly little Victorian boy population.

As sickly little Victorian boys, telling us to only come to class when well ensures that we shall never be in class. There is no telling what dangers may assault a sickly little Victorian boy, such as tuberculosis, reading by candlelight, or The Miseries. On my way to Oceans lecture this very Wednesday, I caught chill from the advanced speed with which my horse-drawn carriage proceeded down the cobblestones towards central campus. Should I stay home every time I feel my humors become unbalanced, I would never attend class at all. 

Missing class is especially difficult on a Victorian child such as myself. I try to collect notes from my classmates, but by the time their carrier pigeons arrive at my window I find the prelim has already passed. My father disapproves of this correspondence with the common folk, limited as it is, and often uses the pigeons for riflery practice to teach me a lesson. I have sought to protest, but my choler elevates with worrisome rapidity, and thus I am resigned. I am so lonely in my bedroom, attended to by none but the nurse who mops my fevered brow as I shake like a willow branch in the wind. What is the point of taking a 50-50 mixture of laudanum and cocaine if I cannot then allow myself to be surrounded by 300 of my closest friends as I cough blood into a satin handkerchief? ‘Tis cruelty, dare I say, cruel—

—Mamá? Is that you, here to bring me to heaven? You look so young, and the light is so beautiful. Don’t cry for me, Papá. I am not afraid. The light, it takes away my pain. Goodbye forever, Cornell, goodbye—

Alas, ‘twas but a phantasm wrought by the plagued recesses of my spirit. I must establish swift correspondence with CAPS ere these ghoulish apparitions further impinge upon my coursework. But who am I, a sickly little Victorian boy, to seek counseling in this uncaring university? I can but pray the superintendents pity my woeful pleas.

OP-ED: I Tried to Get Tested at Willard Straight But Was Stopped by a Sphinx Requiring I Answer Three Riddles to Gain Entry Into the Testing Room

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve always liked getting COVID tested. I love the tickle I feel in the back of my sinus when I shove that obnoxiously long cotton swab up my nose, I love feeling the slippery snot exit my nostril when I pull out the cotton swab, and I love the sensation of the lubricated swab sliding its way up into my second nose hole. In fact, what I love more than anything about getting COVID tested is knowing I can confidently make my way into the testing room and out in no-time. However, that all changed today.

Today was a typical day like any other Friday. The weekend was near, campus was alive, and I had an hour between my only two classes of the day; plenty of time to get tested and pick up a tofu banh mi from Cafe Jennie.

I pushed my way through the double doors, noting the uncanny lack of queue forming in front of the testing room. YES! This was an excellent sign, a sign that I will be completing my nose swab in a pinch and enjoying my tofu banh mi to the fullest extent.

I waltzed confidently towards the testing room, but before I could enter, a large foot slammed on the ground so forcefully as to knock me to the ground. Or… was it a paw?

“HALT!!!”, erupted a mighty voice. I began coming to my senses when the creature before me let out another roar. “WHO DARES TO ENTER THY SACRED TESTING ROOM WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE GREAT SPHINX OF WILLARD STRAIGHT?!” 

Fear struck my heart at the Sphinx’s reprimanding, and I felt myself crying and shaking uncontrollably as I struggled to produce my next words. “Oh p-p-please Great Sphinx of W-W-Willard Straight! I did not mean to d-disobey you!” I managed.

“You did not mean to disobey me, you say?,” the Sphinx questioned, inching his face closer to mine. “Do you see all of the trespassers piling up right there?” the Sphinx said, gesturing to the room that once served popcorn. “Do you think they meant to disobey me?!?” I peered over my shoulder to see dozens of students with varying degrees of physical injury. Suddenly, the lack of queue made sense to me.

“I beg of you, oh-mighty Sphinx of Willard Straight, please let me pass through to the testing room! I will do anything you ask!”, I cried out.

“Anything, you say?” said the Sphinx.

“Anything!” I cried out once again, tears welling up in my eyes. I began to grovel at the Sphinx’s feet.

“Well aren’t you a desperate little beggar,” mocked the Sphinx. “Since you say you will do anything to bypass me and enter my sacred testing room, I shall require that you answer all three of my riddles correctly. If you dare answer any of my riddles incorrectly, you will serve out the same punishment as your fellow trespassers and live out the rest of your days suffering in the Dungeon of The Great Sphinx of Willard Straight. Do I make myself clear, peasant?!?” I nodded my head yes, wiping away my tear streaks and pulling myself up to my feet.

“Now, riddle number one: What goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening?”

“Oh, I know this one!” I exclaimed. “A human of course! As an infant, humans crawl on four feet, as adults, they walk on two feet, and when they are elderly they walk with a cane.”

“Very good,” crooned the Sphinx. “Now, riddle number two: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came sweetness. What am I?”

I pondered for a few moments before realizing this was from none other than the Old Testament’s Book of Judges. “Bees forming a honeycomb inside the carcass of a lion!”

“That is indeed correct,” mused the Sphinx. “You’ve done very well to answer two out of three of my puzzles. However, I will advise you now to be very careful in answering my third and final riddle. You wouldn’t want to join your friends in the popcorn room now, would you?” I shook my head no and the Sphinx then let out a deep chuckle. “Finally, did you register your appointment for Willard Straight?”

My heart stopped. Then it began pumping blood dramatically. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins, traveling a mile a minute. I began sweating profusely, the salty liquid running down my forehead into my eyes, burning them. The sweat formed everywhere, my armpits, the back of my neck, my nether regions! My cheeks reddened intensely as I began to stammer out my answer. “I-I-I’m sorry, did you say an appointment for W-Willard Straight? W-w-why wouldn’t I have an appointment f-for Willard Straight?”

“Do not fool me!” exclaimed the mighty Sphinx. “I asked if you had an appointment for Willard Straight, I do not take kindly to bypassers attempting to trick me!”

“Y-yes I believe I do, oh Great Sphinx! M-may I please pass through?” I giggled nervously.

“I sense that you are withholding the truth from me,” said the Sphinx, anger rising in his throat. “I will not be tricked by a fool such as yourself. Show me your confirmation email, immediately!”

I shakily pulled my phone out of my pocket, my fingers trembled as I pulled up the Mail app and searched for emails from “Cayuga Health System”. At the top of my inbox, is none other than yesterday’s booking confirmation. I held my breath as I read the subject line, my heart dropping into my stomach. Booking confirmed: West Campus.

“No,” I cried. “No no no this has to be a mistake!” The Sphinx began wrapping his paw around my waist. “Please Great Sphinx of Willard Straight! You are the mightiest of all the creatures that inhabit Willard Straight, perhaps the mightiest of all of campus! You don’t have to do this! Think about the COVID dashboard!” Tears streamed down my face as the Sphinx began lifting me in the air.

The Sphinx’s eyes began to glow a hot red, his voice amplified by what must have been a thousand voices, almost as if they were voices of his past life coming to life. “You will never trespass the Great Testing Room of Willard Straight again!” boomed the Sphinx, before launching me into his dungeon. “Prepare to suffer for eternity!”

The English language lacks the vocabulary to articulate the agony that I experienced that day. My body may recover from that vile Sphinx’s lashing, but my soul almost certainly cannot. My advice to all of you readers, whoever you are, that may hear my desperate plea: go to Bartels instead.

“Did You Catch the Cornell Football Game?” and Other Conversation Starters that Will Start No Conversations

Picture this: you just took a seat at your 8 a.m. Monday morning FWS. The room is soul-crushingly quiet as your fellow first-years, slack-jawed and dead-eyed, scroll endlessly through their phones. You want more than anything to get some conversation going, but you have no idea where to begin. Desperately racking your brain for some prominent campus event, you suddenly alight upon the perfect subject: the Cornell football team’s home game this weekend! That ought to get everyone talking, right?


No. No it will not.


Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s college football! Who wouldn’t want to bond over tailgate experiences and the thrill of the game? I’ll tell you who: literally everybody at this university. Maybe that would get people talking at some podunk Midwestern state school or an SEC powerhouse, but that bullshit is not gonna fly up here, you insufferable hayseed. All you’ll get are some confused scowls and maybe a few groans before your classmates retreat back into their sleep-deprived stupors.


Don’t believe me? Give it a try. And while you’re at it, here’s a few more talking points that will slaughter the social momentum of any room you’re in.



  • “Have you started the homework yet?” Yes, this is a shared reality for everyone in the class, but you can rest assured the answer is “no” unless it’s within three hours of the due date. Everyone will either think you’re a tryhard or want to copy someone else’s work, neither of which is ideal.




  • “Man, COVID is crazy right now, huh?” This is the only thing anyone’s thought about for the last year and a half—there’s no way anybody wants to think about it even more. Come to think of it, do you even want to be discussing this?




  • “How’s the internship search going for you guys?” The best-case scenario here is that nobody says jack shit because if you do get any responses, they’re probably going to be insufferable regardless of whether or not they’ve been successful.




  • “Did you guys see what’s going on with the Supreme Court lately?” Dude, really? Yeah, they saw, and no, they don’t want to talk politics with strangers at 8 a.m. on a Monday.


“So I saw this really funny thing on Reddit…” Shut the fuck up.

2020 Grads Excited to Relive Glory Days of Having Things Canceled by COVID

SCHOELLKOPF FIELD—In keeping with some of their fondest college memories, members of Cornell’s class of 2020 were thrilled to learn that many events originally planned for the weekend’s in-person homecoming had been canceled or made virtual at the last minute, much as they recalled the latter days of their college lives.

“It’s  exactly how I remembered it,” said Monica Gomez ‘20. “The excitement and anticipation building for months only to come crashing down in the form of an accusatory email right before the big day? That’s the Cornell that I know and love.”

While graduates expressed some interest in festivities such as the fireworks and laser shows, they overwhelmingly agreed that these events’ cancelations truly made them feel at home. Many reasoned that while such events might be nice, they would feel out of place for alumni whose college experiences came to be defined by Zoom.

“I was honestly a little disappointed that there were so many things going on—it just didn’t feel like my life at Cornell, you know?” said Kenny Callaway ‘20. “But now, this weekend’s gonna be so nostalgic: bad wifi connections, people forgetting to mute themselves, sitting alone in my room watching a shitty DJ perform 2000 miles away… that’s truly befitting of the class of 2020.”

Several alumni noted with dismay that the football game would still take place, but reasoned that completely ignoring Cornell athletics was another worthy school tradition.