My bedroom looks like the remains of a circus after a hurricane. A plastic Viking helmet perches precariously on a bookshelf that leans noticeably to the left (in part because of uneven distribution of textbooks, and in other part because the floor of my house is slanted). A blue feather boa, a wig, a ukulele, a bag of Tidy Cat litter, hairy boots, and various Tyco coursepackets decorate my floor. Between end-of-shopping-period-scramble, improv comedy groups tap week, and dressing up as a male transvestite for Rocky Horror “cast bonding” in the cargo hold of a U-haul, my first few weeks back at Yale have been nothing if not a murky mix of stress and costumes.
But among this backdrop of disorder and three weeks into my third year at Yale, I have finally learned something important. And no, it’s not which containers safely go in microwaves (that is a secret only few will ever master) nor is it how my wireless works (can some kind soul please come fix it?). No, my friends, my newfound knowledge is deeper and more important than household malfunctionings: I can take four classes.
To some, this revelation seems like heresy. Why come to Yale if not to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible? I, too, wondered this all through my first four semesters of five+ credits. But sitting in my common room the other night, complaining to my housemates about the amount of reading that lay ahead, I realized: I have 20 credits, 16 to go. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually have time to do all the reading for the amazing junior-senior seminars I tried so hard to get into? And what about evening walks, home-cooked meals, books for pleasure, self-indulgent News articles? Such luxuries should not belong only to the graduated.
You see, the proverbial “they” are right.
Quality reigns over quantity in more areas of life than hook-ups and food. I am proud to say that, yes, Professors Larlham and McGuinley, this week at least, I did do the reading. And I did it sipping tea on my back stoop at 4 o’clock in the afternoon while other students went to that fifth seminar I did not need or really want to take. Am I lazy? I don’t think so. I like to call it focusing.
Most Yalies (myself included) hold tight to the Puritan idea that any white space on the calendar is the devil’s idleness. But Yale has a way of filling whatever free time any of us has. So while I may not take up bridge or knit a quilt, perhaps with a lighter course load I can really get to know my professors, put more energy into extracurriculars, and enjoy a few bonus conversations.
Besides, in a couple of weeks, when essays are due and play rehearsals get fully underway, you will probably find me in GHeav at three a.m. anyway, buying red bull and wearing the same sweatshirt you’ve seen me in the last ten times I was there. And when you do, please remind me that at least 2:30-5:20 Tuesdays and Thursdays are free.