You may be a little scared — but very excited. You thought the time would never really come, but here you are on Elm Street with 1,000 or so of your classmates, their families and belongings. It’s late August in New Haven, Conn., which means it’s either raining or very hot and humid, and you just want to get your necessary life items to your new home. Although your pile seems a tad larger than you remembered, you maintain that you couldn’t possibly have left behind that shirt you haven’t worn in nearly ten years, your ice cream maker, your fish named Fruitcake or your self-tanner. But fear not: As two freshman counselors, we understand, which is why we’ll be there to welcome you to Yale. Trust us, you can’t miss the freshman counselors. We’re wearing shirts that say so — smart, eh?
So, how do these wizened frosh counselors help you? In any way we can. We’ll be there when your families leave, when Camp Yale ends, and for the transition into Real Yale. We are bastions of knowledge, or at least we try to be:
You: How do I get to WLH?
Us: Go across the street.
You: What classes should I take?
Us: Whatever you think you may be interested in, but remember to explore. Five histories might not be the greatest idea.
You: Do you suggest I take 9 classes this semester? There are so many I like!
Us: (Emphatically) NO! Easy there, skipper — you’ve got eight semesters to do the whole “college” thing.
We’ll help you with the small stuff, like turning on your voice mail and setting up your computer. We’ll help you at 4 a.m. with that paper jam and at 4:15 when you need some cheers of support to pump out that last page. We’ll also remind you about perspective and listen to whatever it is you want to tell us. We’re confidants, advisors and friends. We’re definitely not the fun police.
And good thing, because there’s a ton of fun to be had! The first couple weeks, keep your eye out for barbecues, dances, pumpkin-carving contests and, later on, the Freshman Screw. Be prepared for conversations that last until six in the morning and all kinds of random procrastination: dance parties with your roommates, study breaks, midnight runs to Durfee’s, sprinting through the Old Campus sprinklers, searching through the freshman facebook for hours, and feeding your newfound addiction to e-mail. But fun can take many forms, and we’re confident you’ll discover what works for you. Yale has something for everyone.
On the other hand, remember too that it’s OK if you miss home, and you probably will — at least a little. It’s normal to feel like your classes are the bane of your existence at times and like you’ll never survive that first bout of midterms — but you will. You’re on an adventure; it begins now. If you need some help with the load, we’ll be there to help you with it on move-in day and every day after. But from what we’ve experienced, you’ll soon be able to carry it on your own. Learning this is what freshman year is all about.
Welcome, Yale Class of ’05!
Laura Kolar ’01 and Anthony Taglienti ’01 were Pierson College freshman counselors in 2000-01.