Seniors ponder options for life after graduation

In seven months, Yale will evict the class of 2003.

In the meantime, seniors are going through the motions of planning their futures — taking LSATs, scheduling interviews, filling out applications — and hoping that on May 26, 2003, everything will just fall into place.

As it stands right now, some seniors are following plans made in elementary school; others are just beginning to figure out what they want to do with their lives; and still others have no idea what will happen once Yale deactivates their ID cards. Over the next year, the Yale Daily News will follow three Yalies in transition: Will Hsu, Gabe Kuris and Carolyn Wright.



An international playboy?

As Will Hsu speaks passionately of the romance of spending the next year in Italy or Argentina, riding horses and perfecting his language skills, post-baccalaureate applications sit untouched on his desk. Thousands of miles away in Taiwan, Hsu’s mother assumes he will spend next year preparing for medical school.

He knows how to talk with the ladies — just not with his mom. He has other plans, but he cannot bring himself to tell her.

Hsu walked onto the Yale polo team freshman year never having ridden a horse. Now, as a senior and the team captain, Hsu said he is hooked.

“Feeling the wind on your face, scoring a goal — it’s addictive,” he said.

Hsu’s mother, however, thinks polo is dangerous, and begs him to quit every time they speak on the telephone. She wishes he were doing something safer — such as studying for the MCATs.

Hsu is the oldest grandson of an extended family of half a dozen doctors, including his father and grandfather. He said he anticipates starting medical school by the time he is 25, but first he wants to take a “grand tour of the world.”

Argentina is known as the polo powerhouse, Hsu said, and it is his first-choice destination for next year. By day he would feed, clean and brush horses on a farm. By night he would explore the country and perfect his Spanish skills.

As excited as Hsu is about this plan, he is skeptical of his mother’s reaction.

“She would think that I don’t take myself seriously,” he said, “or that I just want to be an international playboy.”

A true romantic, Hsu has grand ideas but few concrete plans.

“There’s this guy named Fabio,” Hsu said about his connections in Argentina. “I think I have his card somewhere.”

But Hsu has big goals beyond horses. He hopes his political science background will someday help him be a valuable member of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, and he hopes to introduce medical technology to aborigines in the Taiwanese countryside. But not today. Someday, after his polo escapades.



Smart kids, smart things

On a Friday night three weeks ago, Branford College had a late-night fire alarm. Gabe Kuris, a political science major, was scheduled to take his LSATs the next morning. He overslept.

When Kuris arrived at Davies Auditorium 15 minutes late, he caught glares from other students.

“A friend told me she overheard people talking in the girls bathroom about how they hated me and how I shouldn’t have been allowed in,” Kuris said.

But he was.

Kuris has extra time, however, to secure his teacher recommendations and bring up his grades. He decided last month to wait a year before applying to law school, mainly to improve his chances of admission.

In addition to gaining reasoning skills that are valuable in any profession, Kuris said he hopes a law degree will allow him to skip entry-level positions and prolong his academic career.

Kuris began considering law school late in his junior year. He decided on it, he said, because he realized that the TAs he had respected the most in his Yale career had been law students. So he took an LSAT preparatory course and met with a prelaw advisor.

“I’m not totally aimless as a person,” he said. “I’m interested in hanging out with smart kids and talking about smart things.”

Until then, Kuris hopes to find a job writing, an interest sparked by a Yale course on comedy writing. He said he will make an appointment at UCS as soon as his midterms end to discuss his options.

Kuris, who does not want to practice law, said he has considered eventually settling into a writing career. However, he feels an obligation to affect change in the world, and he sees writing as selfish.

“I feel the need to be unique, but there’s no such thing as a unique field,” Kuris said. “You get hired into a field, and then you’re one of those people.”



Broadway, New Haven to Broadway, New York

Carolyn Wright was not a theater kid. She does not have a resume full of cereal commercials or a mother who doubles as a manager.

But she has always been a performer: from age three to 18, her main medium was gymnastics.

Before Yale, Wright said her only exposure to theater was a class she took in high school — just to fulfill her arts requirement. The real theater kids were in the drama club, she said; Wright was not.

A gymnastics recruit, Wright came to Yale planning to major in English, or maybe French. But during first semester of freshman year — just for fun — Wright decided to become involved with Yale Children’s Theater.

Ten shows and two films later, she is a theater studies major with a double concentration in performance and playwriting. When she says goodbye to New Haven next spring, she will head for a different, bigger Broadway.

Wright has not had much time to make solid plans for post-Yale life. Her senior project goes up today, and it has consumed most of her year so far, she said. Soon, she is sure, she will fill out an application for StrawHat, an organization which casts for over 50 regional companies.

In a field where connections matter, Wright will start off virtually alone — and unlike many of her classmates, Wright does not expect to reap the benefits of the Yale name.

“It doesn’t really matter where you went to school, it matters how you audition,” she said.

Uncertain, though organized, Wright has also begun scanning the Backstage newspaper for audition notices even though she does not plan to start auditioning until the spring. For now, Wright said she just wants to familiarize herself with the theater world.

Usually confident, she said she is a little worried about making enough money. If she finds she cannot support herself as an actress, Wright said she hopes to teach theater while she continues to audition.

In addition to her coursework at Yale, she has experience as a lifeguard and a restaurant hostess.

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