Johnny Scafidi ’01 likes to stretch his long phone cord to reach the window on the opposite side of his second-floor office in the heart of Old Campus. Scafidi, Dwight Hall’s program director, watches students scurry to class and sometimes even interrupts business calls to shout a quick greeting to a familiar face passing below.
Like Scafidi, many young Yale alumni now working for the University say they feel like they are in an awkward phase between being a student and being an adult. They are still friends with many students at Yale, and memories of their own bright college years are hidden behind every Ivy leaf, fueling the uncertainty these young workers have about the current stage their lives.
Although they are unclear about their role in the Yale community, most Yalies working for the University say they are glad to still be around.
Rob Doyle ’01 said his time at Yale “was kind of like a drug addiction.”
The Davenport history major is now weaning himself away from the community he grew to love by working in the University’s Development Office.
“It was and still is ridiculously fun here,” said Doyle, who now lives near many graduate students.
He said he tried to avoid undergraduate hangouts at first but found it too difficult.
By the time students started arriving in late August, Doyle — who was the men’s cross country team’s captain last year — could be seen at Toad’s Place and Au Bon Pain just like everyone else.
While some college friends initially teased Doyle about staying in New Haven, the jokes faded when he arrived in New York City to treat recent graduates to lunch on Yale’s tab.
Spoiling and sweet-talking Yale alums — friends included — is Doyle’s job. His objective is to sign up recent graduates for Yale’s annual fund, to which they donate a little money each year.
Doyle said there was some confusion in his office when he started his job about the age of a recent graduate.
“When they say ‘recent,’ they mean from 1970 and on, but that’s not recent. That’s like my parents,” Doyle said. “But I guess it’s recent in terms of Yale’s history.”
Doyle enjoys his job, but he said it is temporary; he sees it as a way of paying off loans while he reflects about what to do next.
His first task though, is to master his office’s complicated phone system.
“It’s a disaster,” Doyle said after three unsuccessful attempts to transfer a call to Daniel Brodhead ’01, another young development officer.
Doyle ended up giving out Brodhead’s number instead.
The listing for Brodhead in Yale’s on-line phone book demonstrates the conflict young Yale employees feel about their status on campus: His new Church street office and old Branford residence are both listed.
The on-line phone book also incorrectly still lists Trumbull College as the home of Jason DiPinto ’01.
The Trumbull alumnus now lives on Lake Street behind Payne Whitney Gymnasium. DiPinto, who majored in political science, lives with 10 other recent graduates, including Scafidi.
DiPinto works as a technical specialist for the Center for Language Studies, which he said is an extension of a job he had as an undergraduate.
He is also auditing an undergraduate political science seminar and applying to law schools and believes his experience is probably like that of a Yale senior living off campus.
“I don’t exactly feel outside of the student community,” said DiPinto, who still frequents Naples and Yorkside Pizza and often meets friends who are Yale juniors and seniors for lunch.
“But I’m not trying to relive my undergraduate experience either,” he said.
DiPinto said although his extended stay in New Haven is temporary, he is glad to be here.
“This is not a fallback plan,” he said. “I could be doing all the things most Yale seniors do, but I made a conscious decision to stay.”
Scafidi, on the other hand, said his stay might not be as temporary.
A Silliman College Italian major, Scafidi became Dwight Hall’s program director when the longtime director of the center unexpectedly retired.
It is an “official job,” not just an entry-level position, Scafidi said.
While he wants to move on eventually, Scafidi realizes that the longer he stays at Dwight Hall, the more long-term goals he can establish and see carried through at the center.
Scafidi said he’s still adjusting to being an independent adult.
“Figuring out your loan repayment schedule is not as easy as you would think it is,” he said.
After graduation, he said, even buying sheets becomes a complicated ordeal
“I’m not in college, so maybe I should have nice sheets,” Scafidi said. “But I’m not an adult yet, so I don’t want them to be too nice.
“I want my sheets to say, ‘I’m out in the working world; I’m professional, but I’m young and hip and cool, too.'”