Being an old and haggardly second-semester senior, I barely noticed the arrival and departure of Bulldog Days but for the spa water on Cross Campus and the sudden appearance and disappearance of 10-year-olds carrying around snazzy drawstring bags. But my intimacy with Yale had detached me from the enthusiasm inundating campus, and being around the energy of these wide-eyed high schoolers made a tingly little part of me want to be a prefrosh again. So on Tuesday I nabbed a BDD 2014 Bible off an unsuspecting child and spent the day as a prefrosh. And this is what the world looked like:
Tuesday afternoon: The first thing I noticed was that the grass at Yale is kind of ratty. I guess this is a good thing, because it means people sit on it and have great conversations about Sartre while they’re sitting on the grass like everyone does in college, but I sort of expected the grass to be perfect, and there were a lot of brown spots wherever I looked. It’s okay, grass isn’t everything.
Also, is there a dress code here? I’ve scoured my BDD Bible cover-to-cover and I honestly can’t find anything about a dress code. I’ve just never seen a campus with so few sweatpants, so many pretty shirts and so many pairs of those tortoise-shell glasses I’ve only ever seen in black-and-white photos. Also, people are pretty nice. Especially the tour guides — man, the tour guides really love this place; I think I want to become a tour guide. Isn’t it cool that the library is like a Cathedral of Learning? Also, my tour guide ate dinner with Morgan Freeman.
Wednesday morning: The BDD Bible is becoming the bane of BDD. There are five things occurring at any given time, and every time I arrive at an event the food is already gone, and I’m starting to suspect that the upperclassmen eat most of it before the prefrosh even arrive.
Side note — does anyone at this school actually take classes? I mean, I assume people do them, but I just don’t really see when it happens, you know? I visited this econ lecture but everyone was looking at food porn and then left partway to go sweat serious pit stains at the extracurricular bazaar. In fact, everyone always seems to be on their way to “a meeting.” Is “going to a meeting” Yale-speak for “going to class”? Genuinely confused here.
Thursday evening: The color of the sun on the buildings and leaves and faces is so rich and vibrant that it looks like it’s being refracted through an ozone layer of stained glass dyed a deep sunflower yellow. It’s so unnervingly beautiful, at moments I feel like I’m inside a literal bubble, constructed and lit and manipulated by the machinations of some Dr. Strangelove who has a manic and romantic obsession with the liberal arts ideal and somehow decided to offer me a spot.
Friday morning: BDD is over. I’m a senior again. Being a prefrosh was way too exhausting; it’s time to go back to my common room and sit on the couch with my eight other suitemates, our legs and arms all intertwined, our papers unwritten but our minds oddly at rest. Lying there, I think about how exactly four years ago yesterday, this campus meant nothing to me. Yes, it was beautiful, but it was just a jumble of random buildings and leaves and faces just like any other jumble of buildings and leaves and faces. Slowly, that jumble has taken on meaning, because I’ve studied in the buildings, run through the leaves, and above all else, come to know the faces. And what the prefrosh don’t know and can’t yet experience are the community of faces and the people behind them. They aren’t listed in the BDD Bible or marketed at the bazaar, but not to worry, they’ll always be here.
Friday evening: The sun has faded but for a few lingering gasps of muted pink-grey sky, and the lamps have begun to glow in its stead and the world outside looks a shade of blue — not a melancholy blue but a sort of diluted indigo wash, a very tranquil, dulcet blue, a Bulldog blue. And music from upstairs is drifting down through the ceiling while conversations float up from the sidewalk outside and I realize how very, very lucky we are and how moments like these should be captured whenever they possibly can before they slip away and evaporate into the cool evening air, where they’ll hover patiently in wait for the Yalies coming to take up our places.
Tao Tao Holmes is a senior in Branford College. This is her last column for the News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .