This column was published as part of the Commencement Issue for the Class of 2015.
For the past four years of my time at Yale, I’ve searched endlessly for a way to categorize the typical Yale student, to define what makes us tick, what we look like, how we act, who we are. Op-eds in the past have attempted, but all have failed. But now that I am on the edge of graduation, I am in a position to tell you the secret. As a 22-year-old, I know a lot about the world and also about Yale, so please take everything I say without any grains of salt. Without further ado, I present my research on what Yalies are.
Yalies are humans. They are not dogs or carpets or hubcaps or falafel sandwiches (though I see how you could confuse them with that last one, given how often Yalies eat them from Mamoun’s at 2 a.m.). Yalies are vegan. Yalies are gluten-free. Yalies love meat and pasta but like to complain about Yale Dining. Yalies will fight to the death about what the best pizza in New Haven is. Yalies like Pabst Blue Ribbon, because Yalies are hipsters. Yalies like Natural — “Natty” — Light, because Yalies are also frat bros. Yalies also like drinking beer that doesn’t taste like piss. Yalies often drink water. And coffee.
Yalies work in consulting. They also don’t work in consulting. Yalies are not above dressing up in a jacket and tie and getting wasted because it’s an open bar and, hey, those are fun, right? They kept bringing out bottles of wine, what was I supposed to do? Yalies still don’t quite know how to talk about the fact that they are Yalies to people back home. Yalies slyly answer, “Oh, out in Connecticut” when asked where they go to school. Yalies say “Yale” when asked where they go to school. Yalies go to Yale. They do not go to Harvard or Princeton or the University of Michigan or ITT Tech. That’s where the term “Yalie” comes from. Yalies are privileged.
Yalies are assholes. Yalies are compassionate. Yalies are sympathetic, because they don’t know what the hell you’re going through. Yalies are empathetic, because they’ve been there, too. Yalies are apathetic, because, whatever. Yalies are concerned about the future of the world, the future of Yale, what can be done to fix the injustice of it all, the fact that people are hurt every day when they don’t need to be. Yalies are anxious, so they create artificial structures that separate haves from have-nots, taps from not-taps, to fulfill the sense of exclusivity that the word “secret” can grant, even when things aren’t secret at all. Yalies are in secret societies with 14 other people. Yalies are also in secret societies with themselves.
Yalies are kind. Yalies are thoughtful. Yalies are idiots. Sometimes Yalies don’t know how they’re coming across, and they didn’t mean to say what they said that hurt you so much, but they can’t take it back and now what do they do. Yalies are inconsiderate, and sometimes they’ll spend the night with you, be so close that you almost become one and then won’t look you in the eye the next day, carrying on as if nothing happened. Yalies like girls, Yalies like boys, Yalies like both, and they’re just so tired of labels, man, why does everything have to have a label, man? Yalies are tired of empty, mechanical hookups. Yalies want something more. They don’t know how, though. Yalies are afraid.
Yalies are confident. Yalies are young. Yalies are filled with a sense of false security. Yalies are not statistics, man. They are also not spray paint or Wenzels or straw hats or the second season of “American Idol” or the Magna Carta or without purpose.
That is the extent of my research (I think I nailed this one, you guys). Please direct any questions to the comments section, but do know that I am totally right about all this. I am getting published, after all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get a diploma and a falafel sandwich.