June 29, 2011. The second most important day of my life had finally come. I watched my clock switch from 11:59 a.m. to 12 p.m., scrambled to enter my NetID, and took a deep breath. I was one mouse click away from my residential college fate at Yale. Which would it be? Pierson? Berkeley? Trumbull? The guessing game would soon be over. I felt my right index finger press down on the mouse. My eyes tried to focus as text materialized on the screen:
“Welcome to Morse College!”
A wave of dejection washed over me as I slumped back into my chair. I yelled, “I told you so!” over to my dad in the living room. “Morse?” he responded. Yep … Morse.
On March 30 (the most important day in my life), the mouse click had gone a lot better. I had found out that, somehow, I would get to call Yale home for the next four years. I even had the complimentary pennant to prove it! Now my computer mouse had let me down.
I think it’s safe to say that no prefrosh wants to be sorted into Morse or Stiles (unless they have some really strange Eero Saarinen fetish). The modern architecture clashes jarringly with the gothic, Hogwarts-esque vibe of the other buildings. While my luck won me admission to Yale, it couldn’t get me a slot in one of the more sought-after residential colleges. I felt as if the Sorting Hat had just yelled out “Hufflepuff!” And, let’s face it, who really wants to be in Hufflepuff?
I quickly emailed my Bulldog Days host (also a Morsel), lamenting, “Is Morse really as bad as everyone says?” “Au contraire,” she responded. “Morse is the best residential college at Yale!” “Yeah, sure,” I thought. “Everyone thinks their own college is the best.”
But my initial skepticism soon subsided. Something strange started to happen: I began to see through the same rose-colored glasses as every other Morsel. There’s a distinct unifying force within the box-like cement buildings, the spirit of the Morse/Stiles underdog.
You see, Morse is the New Jersey of Yale. Most people only experience New Jersey from the Lincoln Tunnel to Newark. Similarly, most Yalies only experience Morse from the Payne-Whitney Gym to Toad’s. But both have so much more to offer than initially meets the eye. My dad, a New Jersey native, never ceases to remind me that New Jersey is the state that gave us Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, and my cherished New York Jets. While Morse’s notable alumni may not be as easily recognizable, we do claim Senator Joe Lieberman, Jennifer Beals and Joseph Warner. Not too shabby.
What’s more, Morse’s renovations were completed last year, and I’ll take updated facilities over ornate towers and fancy gates any day. What other residential college has a beach? Our iconic sculpture, “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks,” can double as a makeshift rock-climbing wall after a night of debauchery. Even our walrus mascot is cute … in a fat, mustachioed sea mammal kind of way. I can attest that Durfee Hall is by far the best freshman housing on Old Campus, or for that matter, anywhere. Every mini-Morsel enjoys the privilege of suites that are just as good as, if not better than, living in a New York City brownstone.
As my parents were about to leave campus, I dragged my mother by Morse College. As she took in her surroundings, I could see the smirk on her face as she quipped, “Well, enjoy Durfee.” I stopped her in the middle of the sidewalk and defiantly listed all the ways Morse is amazing. Then I realized I was one of them now: a Morsel who will forever defend the integrity of her beloved college. I, too, will join the proud ranks of Morsels and scream from atop that lipstick sculpture, “Morse always wins!”