The first week at Yale can be overwhelming for newcomers, so I’ve graded various sentiments of insecurity that may cross a budding freshman’s mind: an “A” means that the statement is completely true, a “B” means it’s partially true, etc., all the way down to F, which means you are so wrong you should go to Harvard (which is, in itself, given an F because no one cares about Harvard jokes. At all. Until the Game. Then they are THE GREATEST).
“Everyone seems to be texting their new friends non-stop but I’m only getting texts from my little sister Rebecca about my dog Sandscript. I’m a “Loser.”
There are two groups of incoming freshmen at Yale: those that went to school in New York City and those that didn’t. The City Dwellers all understand the nuances of social networking and literally know what’s happening all the time. The rest of us just kind of sit idly, hoping to be snatched up in their whirlwind of late night wanderings. New York freshmen just have this magical “I’ll-do-what-I-want-and-everyone-else-can-go-fuck-themselves” attitude that’s like friend crack. Other people try to emulate them, but the sheer fact that non-NYCers want to not want to want means they’re stuck. If you’re a New Yorker, you’re set. Show pity on the rest of us. If you aren’t a New Yorker, then just be patient until all the New Yorkers stop being friends based solely on the fact that all their street names are just numbers.
“Look at all these groups at the activities bazaar! I’m overwhelmed with choices.”
Yup. There are a mother load of activities at Yale. And if that underwater basket-weaving team you’ve always wanted to join isn’t there, you can apply for funding and start it yourself (which you can later add to your resume as the creator of a student group, which is why 67 percent of student groups at Yale exist). The Activities Bazaar is just overwhelming. People yelling at you, giving you cheap tasteless candy, trying to be cute when asking if you’re interested in a cappella. Just remember: though everyone from your high school disagrees with you, you are a normal human being who can only handle so much. Pick and choose, my friend. Or else you’ll accidentally be the President of 12 student groups on campus and cry yourself to sleep every night surrounded by stained Wenzel wrappers and holding 2-liter bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper.
“I don’t know my major yet!”
You’re a freshman. Get over it. Most seniors barely know their major. Pretend your major is archeology, so you can live a semester as Indiana Jones to get it out of your system.
“What if I look ugly in this shirt?”
Whether or not you look ugly in that shirt isn’t the question — there is no such thing as a universal ugly. The quality of your shirt is based on the values you have assigned to a “quality shirt” (the length, the material, the pattern). Thus, people attracted to your shirt are people that share a similar belief system as you. Your shirt becomes a filter of sorts — the people who don’t like it are people you’ll probably end up not liking anyway, while the people that compliment it might become your best friends because you see things eye-to-eye. Clothes are a good way to filter friends if you never think too much about the clothes you wear. But the fact that I’ve made you aware of this clothes/friends relationship means you can never be unaware of it and this advice is now completely worthless.
“There are just too many classes at Yale. What if I pick the wrong ones?”
Chances are you will pick the wrong course at some point — such is the life of distributional requirements (which, by the way, are good for you, like eating broccoli or watching movies in black and white). But all that matters is finding that one good one. I once took a course where I was the only student in it. That was it — Professor Moricz and I talking about Nationalism and Music. It was the best class I’ve ever taken in my life because it was once a week for two hours with this awesome, awesome music professor who specialized in Bartok (she even wrote a paper about scatology in the orchestrations of famous composers, I shit you not). So, you may pick a bad class, but, as Satan says in South Park the Movie, “Without evil there can be no good/ so it must be good to be evil sometimes.”
“Everyone’s hooking up with someone but me.”
Chances are it’s about the same seven or eight people that are all constantly hooking up with each other, but the sheer frequency makes you feel like the odd duck out. Don’t go out slutting yourself up to have a “college experience.” That’s weird and sad. You’ll find Mr. or Mrs. Make-out. JUST GIVE IT TIME.
“Is that free pizza?”
YES EAT ALL THE GODDAMN FREE PIZZA YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON BEFORE YORKSIDE IS YOUR LATE NIGHT LAST CHOICE.
“To Toad’s or not to Toad’s?”
You either like it or you don’t. No reason to make it a big deal. I’ve been once in my four years here. People have turned it into this great mythical land of opportunity and promises, but really, it’s just sweat so thick you think you went to a foam party. You dig that or you don’t.
“What if I don’t get into Harold Bloom’s class?”
You don’t even know who this guy is — someone just told you he’s impressive. Get off your high horse and take English 120.