By Student Blogger Leah
1.Living on campus
One night I got in the elevator in my dorm and there was a string quartet playing music that was good enough to pay for, and I’ll never forget those four students. I also had access to an R.A. which functioned as my go-to for any question that I had about campus life, chefs, classes, activities worth doing, or any other question. My neighbor became my best friend and my old roommate might put a roof over my head again when I graduate next year. Everything is really convenient and class is never more than a 10 minute walk away. Also, the laundry is free.
2.Going to the 4th of July Dance
CIA knows how to throw a party and this was the first of many campus sponsored activities that impressed me. We all gathered on Anton Plaza and danced our hearts out while the summer night sky was home to so many fireworks.
3.Exploring campus alone
I discovered all the places that are good for pondering life’s tough questions like “where should I extern?” and “what restaurant should I choose?”. No one distracted me and I became intimately acquainted with my surroundings. This is also one of the safest and most comfortable pieces of land that I have set foot on, so I took full advantage of that. I also found the sweetest little strawberries that I’ve ever eaten.
4.Sharing food with strangers
“Do you want a bite?” he asked me, before I could think my fork was scooping up eggplant and cheese. I had just taken food from the guy sitting next to me at dinner, when I realized that I didn’t even know his name. This was one of the first times that I fully embraced the beauty of community eating and sharing in the experience of food because students are here with a common, unspoken purpose: learn hospitality and share food.
5.Taking really good care of my whites
I created noxious combinations of detergent, dish soap, bleach, and Oxi-Clean in a storage container stored in my bathroom where I soaked my chef jackets but my whites were always clean. I also got cricks in my neck and scabs on my knuckles from scrubbing at stains to keep my jackets perfectly clean. When I returned from extern and was issued five new chef jackets, I still had the original five and I was so grateful. I can’t prove it, but I think people respect you a little bit more if you have a clean uniform too.
6.Going to the tutoring center
It’s free and it makes you smarter or better at your knife skills (they have potatoes and cutting boards to practice your precision knife cuts), what’s not to love?
7.Getting involved with a club
It can be really easy to only hang out with the students in your class and completely miss out on the other people on campus. There aren't fraternities or parties all over campus where it is easy to bump into strangers and make new friends. Students from all parts of the program are involved in clubs and so in addition to just meeting new people, you can meet mentors and get advice about school. Clubs are also free and a lot of time, they'll even have snacks.
There are many big events held on campus that require behind the scenes help. Often there is an e-mail that circulates about volunteer sign-up. One time, I washed dishes for the Certified Master Chef Exam and made contact with several of the chefs who were trying to achieve their CMC certification. Those contacts are invaluable and undoubtedly worth the pruney fingers.
Good grades make you more eligible for scholarships (everybody loves those) and I'll be honest, staying up late flipping through hundreds of flashcards with different varieties of vegetables or fruits is fun. The investment in the early part of my education where I was learning all the foundations of food set me up to be successful as my education has progressed.
10.Attending the Hudson Valley Rib Festival
Nothing makes you feel welcome in a community like sticky bbq smiles. There are lots of local events (concerts, craft fairs, wine festivals, etc.) that make this area a pretty special place to live. It is also important to get off campus and participate in the world outside of CIA to maintain a healthy balance between the bubble of college and real life.