Hi there! Over the course of my time at Yale, I have learned 37 things. Here they are.
1) Contrary to popular belief, if a horde of angry termites eats the president of Yale, those termites don’t automatically become president.
2) No person you meet in the rest of your life will ever simultaneously terrify and excite you as much as the first professor you had who openly said “shit” during class.
3) Skin tags are the main reason to be scared of getting old.
4) There are three types of street food and they all involve small flour tortillas, apparently.
5) There is nothing cute about seagulls.
6) The main difference between Yale and the real world is that in the real world you have free time to do things you like.
7) Skull and Bones isn’t called that just because they require that all of their members have a skull or bones.
8) Cynicism is so, so, so easy, especially when you have a humor column deadline coming up and you’re mad that no societies wanted you at this time last year. But it hurts your soul something awful.
9) Ditto ironic detachment.
10) The Long Island Sound is a body of water, not a genre of surf rock from the late Sixties.
11) A Long Island Iced Tea somehow contains no tea.
12) Long Island is indeed very long.
13) If you spend a good proportion of every day making jokes about “ALF,” your suitemates are eventually going to make you watch “ALF,” and it will be so much worse than you could have ever dreamed.
14) If you spend a good proportion of every day making jokes about “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” though, you’re in the clear, because watching “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a bridge too far even for your suitemates.
15) You never feel like you’re well-read enough, but everyone else feels that way, too.
16) To the same point: no one in recorded history has ever actually read Joyce.
17) They have a scientific calculator at the dollar store on Chapel Street that does all the same things as the $35 scientific calculator at the Yale Bookstore.
18) The only information on Dubra Vodka’s label is the stuff that’s governmentally mandated to be on there.
19) High school was your last chance to be The Best at something, and that’s actually a good thing — emotionally speaking.
20) No matter how accomplished a writer you become, your mom will ALWAYS call your latest article “so cute,” and you’re never allowed to be pissed off at her for it.
21) Striking the right balance between being honest about your struggles and making sure you don’t end up fetishizing your own sadness is harder than, like, 85 percent of your classes.
22) Wearing beat-up tennis shoes with a nice suit to a dance is not a violation of any rules or regulations, but your girlfriend is allowed to laugh in your goddamn face about it all night.
23) Your desire to write clever things on the whiteboard outside your suite decreases exponentially every year.
24) Your desire to have a private bathroom without literal puddles of someone else’s urine on the floor increases exponentially every year.
25) The worst moments always pass quicker than you think.
26) The cosine of 8 degrees is 0.9902.
27) When you go back to your parents’ house as an adult, you’ll always find yourself caught in this sort of quantum duality where you’re at once a twenty-something person with opinions about jazz and an eight-year-old kid who knows perfectly well that it’s a beautiful day out but you can’t bring Mario Kart outside, MOM.
28) Pasta made from things that aren’t wheat tastes fine if you hate yourself enough.
29) It’s good that we have eyes, because otherwise it would be hard to see things.
30) Getting caught up in rebutting the relentless cultural criticism that your generation is a bunch of thin-skinned narcissists is satisfying in the moment but sort of works to prove that criticism right, in a way.
31) College isn’t exactly like a version of high school where people vomit in your sink with striking regularity, but it’s close.
32) There are hundreds of mutually exclusive correct ways to tie a scarf.
33) You can get the same linens that cost $120 from the University for $30 at Target.
34) The cost of taking Italian at Yale is your mom incessantly asking you how to pronounce the names of various foods, even those of clearly non-Italian origin (ex. “medium shells”).
35) West Campus is an urban legend created to scare children into eating fibrous vegetables without fussing.
36) College love is love. College fear is fear. Being in college doesn’t make the contingencies and terrors of life less real, or the beauties of it. Addendum: being afraid of real life is normal right now, but college life is life. You just spent four years learning how to be a human. You’re so much more ready than you think.
37) Martin van Buren had both good points and bad points as a person.
Micah Osler | firstname.lastname@example.org