Remember Yale’s Alma Mater, “Bright College Years?” (Hint: You have mumbled the lyrics at least once, during freshman assembly your first week at Yale). It says that these are the “shortest, gladdest years of life.” Bah.
I’ll be honest: Yale’s academic stress has traumatized me. Yale Dining Services has nearly destroyed me. And Yale administration, registration and renovation projects make me endure it all against a tyrannical backdrop.
My midterms began in the third week of the semester and run until reading week. At the end of shopping period, I was cumulatively 1,675 pages behind in required readings, ruining any chance I had for passing my imminent midterms. Not that I had a prayer anyhow, thanks to my incompetent non-English-speaking Yale TA and the psycho Yale premeds ruining the grade curve.
So my chances of getting into any good graduate school are shot, unfortunate since with Yale’s Undergraduate Career Services in disarray, my prospects of finding a job after graduation is nil. What about my comfortable position at Goldman Sachs? What about my white-fenced house in a good school district with an active tennis club? What about my yacht? With my resume after four years at Yale, I’ll be lucky not to be the one sweeping the tennis courts for a living.
Alternatively, I could have come to Yale to marry into that lifestyle. I should have met my white knight at a functional UCS, and enjoyed four years of unstressed, utopian romance before galloping off into the New Haven sunset. But the dating scene here is dismal; it’s impossible to meet people and no one is interesting anyhow. Another dream down the hatch. Thanks, Yale.
“Bright College Years” goes on to say that time will “not avail to break the friendships formed at Yale.” Too late. Because of Yale’s incompetence in renovation, most of the people I once knew stay far away from my college. I can’t see them in the dining halls, either, because Yale Dining Service’s lousy quality, astronomical fees and geriatric hours have driven everyone away. The remaining few are grappling with eating disorders because of Yale’s new nutrition information labels anyway.
Desperate times, all right, but I found the silver lining. Remember the trendy kids at the lunch table in junior high? I was never one, probably because I wore pink sweatpants, but my lifetime of social marginality helped me quickly identify the new cool-Yale-kid pastime: sharing grief. The beauty of this is the understanding that no one else can possibly comprehend my suffering these days. All happy students are alike, but each unhappy Yale student is different in their own way. So I might not be the only person on campus forced to write three preposterous pages comparing a chair to a painting. I might not even be the only one writing the said preposterous pages while directing two plays and playing club rugby. But I can still whine like it. And maybe even get published.
So the next time I get to meet Ralph Nader or Joe Lieberman, I will remember my sadistic PoliSci TA and my four untouched packets from Tyco. The next time I see Emmanuel Ax in concert or Harold Bloom in the classroom or Claire Danes on Cross Campus, I’ll think of my shoddy college courtyard. And when I finally sing “Bright College Years” again at my graduation, I’ll remember that I had to eat London broil for four years straight.
Frances Brown, a junior in Branford College wonders where the Flower Lady’s next London broil is coming from. Her column appears alternate Mondays.