There is no eraser for GPA, yet bluebooking is a form of art with countless medium options. I came out of shopping period stressed about my mixed-media schedule, despite only having the experience of holding a #2 pencil.

At my high school, AP courses were limited, capped and offered strategically. In an effort to appease their most generous donors, my high school succumbed and admitted the prized offspring of Southern Indiana doctors into the first class of AP Biology some five years ago. The course offering was popular from the start, with every seat occupied by a prospective medical school dropout. The administration, therefore, concluded that other students with peculiar interests such as computer science or economics can afford a couple of Barrons to get them over the pass threshold. Most found it easier to transfer. My senior year, an ambitious freshman argued for AP Physics with an animated PowerPoint. Enrollment consisted of three students, including the perpetrator.

Predictably, news spread quickly, although most reacted with indifference. I established superiority of opinion by now belittling the study of self-explanatory phenomena in addition to insignificant organisms. The trigger was the realization of personal shortcomings, facilitated by heightened self-importance and preference for things of immediate relevance. To keep up my risk averse brand of sticking to social sciences, I came to Yale with an elaborate plan to avoid trying at my science distributional requirement and excelling at the familiar.

The Saturday of 22 weeks ago was unbearably slow. I wasn’t keen on spending the earlier hours of the A.M. at laboratory, but I was promised a fine view of the night sky. We walked faster as our disagreements about the meaning of love picked up speed, reaching maximum velocity as the four of us ran up the steps of Science Hill.

The conversational forces went to a halt as we stood in front of Sloane. The second floor was suspiciously illuminated with cyan, as if the ghosts of misery were still haunting it. Of course, we ended up going up the marble stairs and into the first classroom we saw. The fairy lights on the blackboard revealed half-erased formulas. Judging by the amount of scribbled question marks, the artist seemed to have particularly struggled with number four. To avoid accidentally immersing myself in the problem, I rushed to join my friends who were climbing out the window one-by-one.

By an enchanting coincidence, it started to snow lightly. To make the atmosphere even more pretentious, somebody started to recite poetry in a different language, tuning out a political quarrel on the other side. All of these sounds blended into a single wave of white noise, accompanying the falling snowflakes. A few fell on my sleeve; they melted as I tried to count.

Perhaps it was the temperature of the air, the distance to the ground, the sounds in my ear, or the unfamiliarity of the location, but the only thing I felt was uncertainty. Not necessarily about the future, but a certain lack of control of the present.

It was definitely time for me to go. Blaming the weather, I urged my group to continue exploring inside. Before leaving the classroom, I turned the fairy lights off.

It only took us a few rooms until we stumbled across 57B. There were two doors to room 57B: one on the ground, the other above it without stairs attached. The bottom door was locked. Somehow, this normal everyday occurrence of a locked door appeared special.

With me as the main perpetrator, it only took us a couple of minutes to situate a table stable enough for climbing. I soon realized that six inch heeled boots are a horrible hindrance to developing impulsivity. But even a high probability of me eventually ceding to gravitational forces and breaking my ankles could not stop me from entering 57B. I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting to see (a pot of gold, a time machine, or Narnia, perhaps?) and what I expected it to do for me. As I looked around, nothing inside was of interest; as I descended, I did not retrieve anything of value. Thankful as I am that the awakening of my adventurous spirit did not lead me to urgent care, the decision, seemingly, did not impact my life path.

What it did is that it reminded me that I still have curiosity about the unknown. There is, perhaps, little intellect in climbing a wall, but seeking novelty is essential despite the expected rewards. Fears of the unfamiliar reinforce a loop of mediocrity. Ready to be grasped, many opportunities are ignored by ones too busy chasing a seemingly clear objective of high-expected returns. In-between goals is a good time, but the perfect time can be always.

Aya Hall | aya.hall@yale.edu .