Three years ago, we were spamming panlists and visiting classmates’ rooms to convince people to donate to the Senior Class Gift. They took away our Yale email and keycard access after graduation, so now an op-ed will have to suffice. As young alumni, we still believe in the importance of giving back to Yale and participating in the Senior Class Gift.
We constantly reap benefits from Yale. In the couple years since graduation, our Yale classmates have been busy racking up impressive accomplishments and massive awards. Obviously they were all hardworking and naturally talented already, but almost all of them give ample credit to Yale for helping them along the way. Just as you’re experiencing, time on campus allowed us to discover passions, refine skills and gain leadership experience. Now, a simple recommendation from an old Yale professor, an introduction facilitated by a friend-of-a-friend or even a search through the Yale Alumni Network database can be the springboard to professional and academic success.
As alumni, we live with Yalies, work with Yalies, date Yalies and annoy our non-Yale friends with our obsession with Yalies. While some people (particularly those in New York City) occasionally bemoan their inability to leave the “Yale bubble,” we are blessed to have a group upon which we can rely. Giving back to Yale now helps ensure that our community will continue to grow and remain strong long after all of our East Village apartments are washed away by hurricanes.
A few years out, we have a better appreciation of how costly it is to support an organization like Yale. Being employed has forced us to better understand and internalize how difficult it is to keep large organizations running, whether an investment bank, school system, growing start-up or now-multinational university. Just as we did when we were undergraduates, we support and expect Yale’s investment in sustainable buildings, ethically responsible food and a living wage for campus employees. We recognize that none of this comes cheap, but these types of things make us proud to be Yale alumni and proud to help fund their continuation.
In retrospect, Yale was actually a pretty efficient place. Yes, sometimes navigating the Registrar’s Office was a mess, but you may find yourself pining for Yale bureaucracy when your landlord charges you $300 for an extra set of apartment keys.
Winning is fun. Some of us have struggled to find appropriate competitive outlets outside of the inherently competitive structure of Yale colleges. “Which were the best or worst residential colleges” continues to come up amongst us surprisingly often. You may find yourselves some day gloating about every accomplishment your college had, whether it be Senior Class Gift participation, getting 12th place in the Gimbel Cup or who had the best tailgate. Do not miss out on any opportunity for additional bragging rights. Does that make us petty? Yes. Does that cause us shame? No.
We wish we had been more grateful. By spring semester senior year, it was relatively common to hear our friends express how ready they were to leave Yale behind. They were tired of New Haven and the weather and the “am-I-doing-enough” insecurities and the constant fear-of-missing-out. They were ready to cut the cord on the long emotional malaise of impending graduation. Many of you probably feel this way already, and that’s understandable. But do not let this malaise prevent you from expressing your appreciation for your time at Yale, as that’s surely something you’ll regret in the years (if not mere months or weeks) after you leave. Thank your professors, masters and deans and staff — and donate to the Senior Class Gift. It’s just one way to show your appreciation for their commitment to improving your Yale experience. You have only two days left.
We hope at least one of these reasons resonated with you. Maybe you’ll end up giving so you can make some nosy alumni pay a little more out of their pockets — the two of us have committed to matching our college’s Senior Class Gift donation. There is no wrong reason to participate in Senior Class Gift … Maybe if you love Branford. Branford is the worst.
Bobby Gibbs and Jasper Wang are 2010 graduates of Jonathan Edwards College.