After four years of undergraduate study in New Haven, some Yalies find themselves completely caught up in the academic, professional, social and political goings-on of the Elm City. Others have simply had enough of the long winters, the deluge of rain, and the sometimes less-than-desirable safety reports. Nonetheless, more and more students of both of these schools of thought are choosing to remain in New Haven after graduation.
While some students are staying for Yale’s graduate or professional schools, others remain to pursue independent research, athletic excellence or other particular career objectives. Yet most of these students say they chose to stay not specifically because they wanted to stay in New Haven. Rather, opportunities too good to turn down seemed to conveniently present themselves in the Elm City.
Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03, who remained in New Haven to continue training for cross country, said that they chose to stay because their coach, Yale Director of Track and Cross Country Mark Young, was in New Haven.
“I really liked working with him as an undergrad,” Laura O’Neill said. “And I thought it would be a good idea not have to adjust to a new coach while also adjusting to not being a student.”
While the O’Neills have stayed for their sport, Christopher Bartley ’04 plans to stay to further his academic research. Although he is grateful for the opportunity to continue working in a developmental neurobiology laboratory at the Yale School of Medicine, he said he is not particularly excited about remaining in New Haven.
“New Haven was a ‘con’ for me,” Bartley said. “Weather really affects my attitude. I didn’t really want to stay here after I graduated, but it was such a great opportunity.”
Bartley also said he does not feel as if there is much of New Haven left for him to explore, although he acknowledged the diversity of activities which are always happening.
Matthew Wrather ’02, program director at St. Thomas More, The Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale, said his opinion of the city has become only more positive since his graduation.
“New Haven’s bad rep, one discovers, is largely undeserved — or at least belongs to a time a while ago,” Wrather said. “My opinion of the city has improved from the time I graduated. When you’re at Yale, you’re so involved in what you’re doing at school that you just don’t have time to explore what the city has to offer.”
New challenges come for students who choose to remain in New Haven after graduation, Wrather said.
“One of the big challenges of living here is that everyone else has gone off to a bigger city,” he said. “So, it’s almost like being a freshman; you have to make friends all over again.”
Wrather resembles many current seniors in that he was not looking to stay in New Haven; it just so happened to be the place where he was offered the job. In fact, Wrather actually worked part-time in the first year after graduation and commuted from Cambridge, Massachusetts to New Haven. He now resides here full-time.
While remaining in New Haven is a matter of chance and convenience for some, Garren Givens ’04 is particularly enthusiastic about his plans to stay.
After being one of five students from this year’s graduating class accepted into the Silver Scholars Program at the Yale School of Management, Givens decided — though he was also accepted to the London School of Economics — to accept the offer.
Givens said that he chose the SOM over LSE primarily for academic and career-oriented reasons.
“I am looking to work in the U.S.,” Givens said. “So I think it would be a better avenue for me to complete my education in the U.S. Yale has such a strong reputation, as does the London School of Economics, but I would not have to readjust to a new city and new styles of academic teaching and learning.”
Givens emphasized the fact that the city of New Haven was never a deterrent for him. He described it as a “city on the move” and said he thinks Yale President Richard Levin’s administration has had a “tremendous” effect on the city, moving it in a positive direction.
“I’m just a big fan of New Haven,” Givens said.