I’m a super senior, so you should, like, listen to my sage words of wisdom about how to make the most of Yale. This is my last hurrah, so I’d like to take this opportunity to bestow advice on you young, spry, not-jaded folks. These are the things I have found to be true. It’s not like I made the most of Yale. In fact, I have very, very mixed emotions about leaving Yale. I’m somewhere in between wanting to GTFO and wanting to redo some things. Somewhere between glad that I watched all of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” here, but also regretting that I wasted that much of my Yale experience on Netflix. I don’t know! Well, here’s what I’ve got, for better or for worse:
-Check your privilege. Take an ethnic studies class.
-Take science classes. Take math classes. Take computer-programming classes. Take classes vaguely involving the kind of thing you want to get a job in after college. I did not realize this until my senior year, but the Internet has essentially made the humanities and social sciences accessible to anyone. You don’t have to go to Yale to be exposed to Derrida and engage with people about him. I’m not saying these classes aren’t wonderful, and that you shouldn’t major in whatever you happen to find interesting (holla Anthro majors!!), but nobody is going to pay you cash money for your thoughts about post-colonialism unless you get a Ph.D. in it (and sometimes not even then). The most powerful and wealthiest folks in the world are programmers and engineers. I know you love critical analysis, I do too, but it is only useful here, and Yale is not forever. Sorry. I, for instance, learned how to write script coverage. Horrayyyyy. Someone will maybe pay me minimum wage for that.
-But don’t let school get in the way of your Yale experience. Hmmmmmmm should I do a great job on this paper two people will read or meet an academy award nominated screenwriter? Or go to a talk with freaking Aung San Suu Kyi? Seriously, is that even a question? You can write papers at any university. Besides the fact that we get brick oven pizza in our dining halls and have lots of money for petting zoos, the only difference between Yale and basically anywhere else is easy access to super duper awesome folks. Also, more often than not there’s catered food involved. And alcohol, depending on the department. Who am I kidding? In every department.
-When you are done hanging out with your profs, hang out with international students. They throw the best parties. Best music, best dancing, best looking crowd.
-Study abroad. I guarantee you that your friends will still be here. They will, and you will be cooler. Or you could feel ownership of that country and be like, “Yeah, well I lived there for several weeks,” whenever someone mentions it. I swear, every time anyone mentions the Czech Republic I turn into a name-dropping monster. Anyway, the point is you should go, and of course, get Yale to pay for it.
-You know what? Squeeze as much travel money as you can out of this University. If I could do it all again, I would plan my academic career by which classes sent students to awesome places. Seriously, why didn’t I take Rainforest Exploration? Stupid.
-If you don’t want to take Orgo in exchange for a vacation to the jungle, visit East Rock. It’s an easy escape from the bubble. Go there, commune with nature. There are deer in New Haven! Did you know that? No, you didn’t because they live in East Rock. It’s a mile away, people, and it’s literally a Garden of Eden and joy and puppies and babies.
-But most importantly, it’s okay to be lost. It is okay not to have a passion. It is okay to not know what the hell you want to do with your life. There are people here who have known what they want for their entire life. Sometimes it’s easy like “I would like to be rich,” or “I would like be the best _______ in the whole entire world.” Some folks have no idea what they want to do at 20 years old. That sounds pretty healthy to me. We got in for displaying passions, drive and a good return on an investment. This does not mean you are not allowed to change your mind. It also does not mean that other people are better than you for having direction. That just means they are faking it better than you. NOTE: You should fake a passion in order to get money from Yale to do cool things. Go visit penguins or some shit.
So after 4+ years here, that’s all that I have to offer. This is all that’s left. I have nothing more. I am washed up, drinking wine from the bottle, over language and seriously over my age-bracket. Good luck motherfuckers, may the odds be ever in your favor.