Kosslyn: The world beautiful

April 21, 2009
Elihu Yale made his fortune as an employee of the British East India Company. That much you’ll find on Yale’s Web site. Somewhat less publicized, however, is his firing, for corruption and misuse of power, in 1691. It appears that in his capacity as governor of Fort St. George, Elihu carried the fortune-seeking ethos of »

Kosslyn: Resist ‘leaderliness’

April 6, 2009
“Do you want to be a student leader?” I had been walking along, enjoying the spring and minding my own business, when the man behind the plastic table asked me that question. The table was covered in pamphlets; he was hawking some leadership conference. Mystified, I replied, “Well, I don’t know. What does it mean »

Kosslyn: Dry foundations

March 26, 2009
Chocolate-brown and larger than a football, the cow patty had lain undisturbed on the parched soil of a nameless New Mexican ghost town. Undisturbed, that is, until my left foot landed right in the middle of it. Fortunately for me, the patty was rock-solid — a good platform to stand on. I looked around. Barbed »

Kosslyn: My ulcer alerts me to problems

February 23, 2009
I appear to have an ulcer. A stress ulcer. The test hasn’t confirmed it yet, but all the evidence suggests that the twisting in my gut is an ulcer. I’ve never had one before, but now, as a second-semester senior, I seem to be afflicted. Here’s my theory why: My gut knows a terrible truth. »

Kosslyn: For better administrators

February 9, 2009
Earlier this year, a friend of mine e-mailed an administrator with a routine question about an event he was planning. Despite several follow-ups, it took four months for the administrator to respond. The plan died. Another friend, seeking research funding, contacted two administrators, each of whom suggested a different funding source. Upon applying, she was »

Kosslyn: Two ways to reduce our tribalism

January 26, 2009
Yale is tribal. Generally speaking, we eat, drink and come to know that small sliver of Yale that resembles us, that tribe with which we feel most comfortable. Some tribes are based on residential colleges. Others are extracurricular. Yet others coalesce around majors or more classic tribal qualities: ethnicities, nationalities or religions. Each of us »

Kosslyn: Elegance, not tech support

January 12, 2009
Computer science is tragically misunderstood. Popular opinion notwithstanding, my major is not preprofessional. It does not teach how to fix a printer — though I sometimes wish it did — nor does it explain why my laptop keeps making disquieting noises. Despite three and a half years of classes, I have yet to learn how »

Kosslyn: Honesty will free us

November 21, 2008
Fraud. Impostor. Fake. An acquaintance recently used those words to describe himself. We were in an economics lecture, skimming articles on our laptops while barely following the professor’s accented lecture. Then we started quietly discussing politics. The whispered conversation meandered around to our extracurricular experiences at Yale. My acquaintance is generally perceived as social, competent »

Kosslyn: Leave elitism at Casino Night

November 7, 2008
Casino Night, that annual role-playing spectacular, is tomorrow. Hundreds of Yalies will put on our best renditions of old-world gentry as we gamble and dance the night away. It is a fun occasion — and also a small component of our training in navigating part of the elite world. The exemplars of banter, dress and »

Kosslyn: Numbers can’t measure life

October 23, 2008
I would like to invent a stressometer. A barometer of sorts, it would quantify campus stress levels. The semester’s jittery curve would inch downward from a high start, stabilize for a month and spike around the middle of the term. For midterm exams are now upon us and we are anxious about our scores. We »

Kosslyn: Trust self, not the compass

October 8, 2008
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? The same goes for morality: if a deed is done but nobody notices or cares, can it count as immoral? On this day, the eve of Judaism’s Day of Atonement, it is a question worth considering. The answer to »

Kosslyn: Pre-post-Yale anxiety reframed

October 2, 2008
If you’re a senior, the following question is probably driving you crazy: “What do you want to do?” Six little words, so innocuous individually, that combined make your stomach churn. There’s no real map for your future ­—no “work here five years”; no “live there after graduation”; no “then have your first child.” The map »