Dear Kingsley Trust Fellowship Committee,
Since arriving at Yale as a wide-eyed, undeclared youngster with no clue what he wanted to do with his life, I’ve faced many challenges, both academic and personal. I’ve stumbled my way through demanding classes, extracurricular hardships, winters, housing crises, parental visits, dining hall food poisoning, ongoing osteoperosis, an incorrect prescription for mood stablizers, a blood feud with a family of squirrels, a malevolent, talking futon, and a battle against blacking out each time I hear a Disney Classic™ played poorly on the carillon. In short, it’s been a wild ride. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this crazy little journey we call an undergraduate education, it’s this: I have to avoid walking through Branford at 12:30 and 5:00. And if there’s a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to find your passion to succeed — nay, even to cope — with the pressures inherent in growing up a brilliant, wealthy, physically gorgeous person.
And finally, after months — nay, years — of searching for that passion, I think I’ve finally found it: the city of Amsterdam.
My interests in Amsterdam are manifold and multiform. The first and most obvious is, of course, my love of canals. Man, do I love canals. What could be better, I ask you, than riding around in a boat … in the middle of a major metropolitan area? Very little, I tell you: one need only ask the residents of Venice to a receive a swift, affirmative answer. And nowhere in the world are canals as plentiful as in Amsterdam. Yet to this date the study of canals is one of the most highly neglected areas of Urban Studies. As a potential Urban Studies major, I would relish the opportunity to explore the complex and exciting possibilities that canals have to offer city planners of the future.
I am also very interested in architecture, particularly Dutch architecture. There are many buildings in Amsterdam and almost all of them are Dutch, so the possibilities for research in Amsterdam are nearly endless. As a potential Architecture major, I would relish the opportunity to look at all (or at least a large portion) of Amsterdam’s structures, especially from the unique perspective of a college student on a boat in a canal.
As you probably — nay, surely — have encountered in your experience on the Kingsley Trust committee, some of Amsterdam’s many buildings are dedicated to the housing and exhibition of artistic works from all around the world. These buildings, called “museums” by the Dutch, are among Amsterdam’s most intriguing attractions. The Rijksmuzeum (or “museum of Rijk”) is one such building, and its collection, along with the neighboring Van Gogh Museum (a “museum” dedicated almost solely to the works of people named Van Gogh), comprise one of the greatest collections of human and other art in the world. As a potential Art History major, I would relish the opportunity to observe this art in its natural habitat and develop a proposal for developing a similar institution on the Yale campus.
Amsterdam also boasts a newly-redesigned “museum” at the site of holocaust survivor Anne Frank’s house. Although I’m unfamiliar with the holocaust, I gather from the Web site of this unique “museum” that its contents are of specific interest to Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the physically handicapped, and those who hate them irrationally. As a Jewish, gay, pagan, crippled bigot, I gather that this site would be of specific interest to me for many reasons, although to be frank (pun certainly not intended) I can’t imagine exactly how. My sister’s name is Anne, though, so I feel myself drawn to this “museum” regardless.
A budget for my proposed travel is attached. On it you’ll find expense estimates for travel, lodging, food, and miscellaneous expenses. The allocation for the “miscellaneous” category may seem to be tweaked a bit high at first glance, but I can assure you from preliminary internet research that it isn’t: canal rides, “museum” admission fees and basic cost of living in Amsterdam are extravagant to say the least. Rest assured that, when given the opportunity to study Amsterdam the way it was intended to be studied, the Fellowship Committee’s money will be appropriately spent.
Thank you for your time, and for considering my application. I am grateful in advance for your financing the pursuit — nay, fulfillment — of all my wildest dreams. Sincerely yours,
David Chernicoff, BR ’07
David Chernicoff is the chairman of the Yale Record and works in his spare time as a “baker” at Book Trader. His brownies are to die for. He also is fluent in Dutch.