On August 31, 2001, Somebody From Somewhere will set foot on Old Campus. She will move in her room, meet her new friends, shop for classes, and then it will begin.

She’ll be bombarded with fliers, with questions and with meetings — and she’ll have to choose. Time will be so short. She’ll want so much and not know where to start.

Her violin will provide the answer, having been there since her parents put it in her hands at age 5. She will decide this will be her niche. Her angle, as it’s always been. She will immediately join the Yale Symphony Orchestra, making friends and fans.

But every day she’ll empty out a full load of e-mail from her inbox. All those other groups! Her eyes will wander from the page on her music stand. She’ll wonder if she plays violin because she loves it or because she’s always done it.

And she won’t know.

Taking a break from the YSO, she’ll start showing up at those meetings she’ll have read about in her inbox. She’ll write a few articles for the Yale Daily New but decide she’d rather just read the paper. She’ll try to learn the cha-cha with the ballroom dancing club but step on her partner’s toes.

She’ll try still more activities. Having been a lifeguard in high school, she’ll dive in to try water polo and like it. Confidence up, she’ll audition for the Viola Question but not get in. She’ll find her place in a cultural house, give admissions tours, lead FOOT groups, and join the College Dems. She’ll know she was a Democrat because her parents always said so. She’ll give up tutoring kids in local schools to dig in on a mayoral campaign.

By the end of her freshman year, Somebody will realize that she has met so many great people and learned so very much.

Sophomore year a friend she met in the VQ auditions will ask her to produce a play. She will. The president of the College Dems will suggest she run for VP. She will. The admissions office will ask her to organize Bulldog Days. She will.

As a junior, she’ll declare her major: poli sci. She will have been thinking — thinking about her beliefs and opinions. She’ll realize she’s conservative, quit the Dems and tell her liberal parents about it during Thanksgiving. Unfazed, they will come up to host a party for her 21st a month later. All her friends will come and smile and shake their hands. Her parents will marvel at the diverse group of people who know and love her. At the year’s end, Somebody will be tapped into a secret society on a friend’s recommendation.

Senior year she’ll pick up her violin again, this time as member of Tangled Up in Blue. Time will fly by, and soon she’ll be giving her last tour before graduation to a crowd of eager high schoolers. When answering the inevitable question, “Why do you love Yale?” the answer will come easily.

“I am Yale. You are Yale, and we make Yale. That’s why I love it. If you think you are a ‘blank’ type of person, stop thinking that. Every activity is worth trying, worth giving to. We give ourselves to Yale because it’s important.” She’ll pause and add with her chin held high, “And, in return, we learn so very much.”

And in May 2005, she will graduate, happy she came.