Entering Branfordians in the Class of 2005: to echo my sixth-grade math teacher, you all don’t know just how good you’ve got it. The gloomy pre-renovation days are over. Beautiful, newly-renovated Branford College opened this past fall, and you’ve got four fantastic years ahead.
Branford now includes not only Robert Frost’s vote for “prettiest courtyard in America,” but a new frozen yogurt machine. It boasts a shiny new dining hall, a huge common television, a pottery studio, a game room, a gorgeous new library and “Fred’s” — a tasty new buttery. A college is more than just its conveniences, though, and even the fact that we have both modern plumbing and overhead lighting — a rarity at Yale — would mean nothing if Branford’s student body didn’t measure up to its palatial accommodations. It does.
While we haven’t recently won the cup for highest college grade point average, our intramural teams are consistently top performers, and the Branford section at any Yale football game proves we have enough spirit to compete with anyone. “God Quad” parties (hosted by a suite of seniors elected by the Branford students) and courtyard parties are big draws for all Yalies. Our annual Independence Day is a more — ahem — elitist affair: one Saturday each fall, Branford declares its “independence” from Yale and spends a day barbecuing hamburgers and jumping on a moon bounce.
Through it all, our college authority figures do Branford right. Master Steven Smith arranges excellent Master’s Teas that range from Tom Wolfe GRD ’57 to “Rent” star Anthony Rapp. He also leads Branford outings to Yankees games or the Metropolitan Opera and provides much-needed pizza study breaks. If you’re uncertain about your acceleration or hoping to find a good group IV class, Dean Nicole Parisier will be your academic guide; she also shares personal advice and fresh-baked cookies.
Sure, there are some minuses in all this. Branford is home to Yale’s famous Harkness Tower, meaning that tour groups bring a steady stream of anxious high schoolers and gaping, fanny-packed tourists through our peaceful courtyard. Still, just hearing the daily concert of Harkness’ 54-bell carillon makes tolerating any number of visitors worthwhile — and that’s even before you’ve found a way to obtain keys to the Harkness kingdom.
When you do, climb to the top, gaze out at your gorgeous college filled with spirited Branfordians, and remember my sixth-grade math teacher: you just don’t know how good you’ve got it.
Frances Brown is a senior in Branford.