Having lived in a huge metropolis for most of my life I have been use to the loud lifestyle of the city. Buses, cars, motorbikes zoom around on the road, trying to find the fastest route to their destination. In the sky, huge jumbo jets and helicopters fly over head, always leaving a trail of noise behind them. Before coming to Cornell, I thought that Ithaca would be a much quieter because it is a small town with a great natural surrounding environment. But after coming here and getting use to the Ithaca lifestyle, I realized that I was only partially right.
I have concluded that there are three different phases in a given 24-hour period. The “class rush” which is from 7am till 4:30pm. Then the “after class” phase from 4:30pm till 12:00am and finally the “no man” phase from 12:00am till 7am. In each of these 3 different phases, campus life changes dramatically (and I am only referring to the week day here). I shall describe each in greater detail.
The “class rush” is the loudest time of the day, especially during those 15 minutes in between classes, when thousands of students storm the streets, each with a specific destination in mind. Some are going to lunch or home, while others are rushing to the bus stop to catch the next bus home. It is a very hectic time of the day and it would be very interesting to track everyone’s movements and plot them on a map. The spatial and temporal distribution would generate some interesting statistics.
The “after class” phase is slightly calmer than the normal class rush. Most people are heading home and the dorms and college town start to regain life. Others flood into the libraries, hoping that nobody would take the seat in their favorite spot. Okenshields starts to get crowded during dinner time while everyone on central tries to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the library or home to study.
The last phase, and my favorite phase, is the “no man” phase. This is when campus is empty. Everyone has basically gone home. There is just a slight rush of people at 2am, when the libraries close, trying to get home to get some much needed sleep. The air is quiet and cold with the wind often howling strongly.
I find it weird how I am able to distinguish these different time zones, but one thing that they all had in common was the fact that whenever the buses drove past, it would be one of the loudest things ever. It was due to the sound of the buses that I decided I would reflect on the noise pollution in Ithaca. Everything seems to be quite nice and quiet until one of the TCAT buses comes along. Many people don’t see it as a problem, but the TCAT could be quite disturbing.
I think what I am trying to get at is the fact that people need to listen to the environment around them much more. Most people don’t see it but noise pollution is actually a big issue. Imagine living next to a busy international airport and how it can affect a person’s life. But often we are too focused on our own lives to realize the sounds around us. This relates to the bird idea that I had written before. As now is the time of spring, more and more birds would come out and sing. If we just open our ears to this natural world, we would be able to hear things we never once thought existed.