Determined to get a head start, I am trying to think a topic to fulfill the 10–15 page final essay requirements for Environmental Studies, Gender Inequality, and Classics of Ethics, Politics and Economics. The best that I have come up with so far is an empirical analysis of chauvinistic, Marxist, endangered male Hawaiian monk seals and their battle against the global warming caused by capitalism. Unfortunately, it looks like I might actually have to write three different papers.
When we returned for shopping period in blustery January, I could only think about returning to tropical Hawaii as soon as possible. I cleverly chose classes without final exams so I could leave early. Little did I realize I would have to write enough pages to kill a good portion of the Amazon rain forest (ooh, potential topic!).
If I have to write a collective 45 pages of anything, I may as well write a short novel with continuity. Rather than mastering some obscure topic vaguely relevant to the course, I learn only how to liberally use footnotes, spacing and fonts to satisfy the final paper length requirement. Instead of wasting time experimenting with page setup and margins, I should be writing one really stellar work worthy of the exorbitant $4.50 printing cost in the computer labs.
Not to mention that I can’t fathom having to research three different subjects at one time. Although finding reputable sources on the Web isn’t that easy — try typing “teenage girl” (for my Gender Inequality seminar) into a search engine and see what kinds of sketchy sites you get — it sure beats wandering aimlessly around Sterling Memorial Library.
I have a great fear that I might get lost in the stuffy corridors of the stacks and never be seen again, having collapsed from the microspores thriving in the mildewed books the same way archaeologists in Egypt inexplicably died after inhaling some weird germs in old mummy tombs.
Besides my phobia for the library, I’d still rather do research in the comfort of my own home, where I can enjoy the eerily orange nuclear glow of New Haven’s skyline through my windows — thank God for electronic databases and full text articles.
But spring is more than just final papers. It is the time to see those spring break tans before they fade to pale white again. I remember when I came to visit Yale as a prefrosh last year; the weather was sunny and warm during the week right after spring break. Not that watching chiseled, bronzed, shirtless boys play Frisbee on Old Campus is what convinced me to come to Yale — although it didn’t deter me either.
It was that visit to the campus in late March that really switched my loyalties from Brown to Yale. I took the tour and saw Harkness Tower, Beinecke Plaza and SML. At night, a Yalie from my high school took me on another “tour” from Gotham Citi to Gecko’s and from Toad’s to Tucker’s. But it was in the basement of a frat where I first learned the time-honored game of beer pong with my friend against two frat brothers.
After a nail-biting miracle win, we were trounced in the next game as we tried to defend our victory. Humble in defeat, my friend and I walked away from the table and stumbled upstairs to puke and pass out. I will never forget, when on that same fateful night, as I stumbled down Crown Street in my happy state, I belligerently promised my friend that I would attend Yale.
Out of love for this school, last week I hosted a prefrosh from my rival high school, a strange cookie. Interrupting my effusive praise for Yale’s great academics, she asked me the difference between Heineken and Budweiser. When she asked my gay friend, “Have you always liked boys?” I began to wonder whether she would make a good Bulldog. But I still tried to sell Yale since my visit was what made me want to attend.
So for Bulldog Days, remember what made you want to come here and then embellish those great qualities to trick, I mean, convince the prefrosh to attend Yale. I’m not saying to get your prefrosh drunk — “Hey kid, here’s five bucks and my fake ID. I’ll see you in the morning!” — but pump up Yale; unless, of course, your prefrosh is weird. Then perhaps it’s better to be less than enthusiastic.
Now that I’ve wasted a good portion of the night being nostalgic, I figure I’ll put off the papers (there’s still a lot of time) and pay homage to one of the great things about Yale: Off to Risk I go!
Nicole Lim is a freshman in Berkeley College. Her columns appear on alternate Fridays.