Sherry Chen, Ben Cifu and Selina Ni
The Emoji Map is a collaboration between WKND and the News’ Data Desk to share Yalies’ stories. Have a story you want to share? Drop an appropriate emoji on the map and submit a response. All submissions are anonymous and reviewed responses will be placed on the map. Individual stories can be viewed by clicking on the corresponding emoji.
❄️ Mikayla Johnson ’23, Whitney Humanities Center
I’m from South Texas. South Texas winters hit 30 degrees Fahrenheit for maybe two weeks, and the rest of the winter stays at 45 degrees Fahrenheit and above. I am used to being able to wear an undershirt and T-shirt and maybe a jacket to get through the winter. Connecticut bitch-slapped me. I experienced my first snow before we left for winter break, and was not prepared to deal with snow long term when I got back. So, spring semester I was in a play that was going up at the Whitney. Now we’re a few weeks from opening but we were in the space already, and it’s about 9 p.m. As rehearsal got closer to finishing, I got more and more depressed, and when folks were packing up I just laid down on a piece of plywood for an hour. I finally got the will to get up, walked toward the front door of the Whitney… As soon as I saw the ice I started bawling. It was too damn cold. It made no sense why it would ever get this cold. And it made less sense that now I had to huff it from the Whitney to Saybrook for an SCC meeting. My body physically wanted to whoop my ass. Eventually I did make it to my room, and when I told my New Jersey roommate what happened she laughed at my little southern ass and welcomed me to the Northeast.
TLDR: I’m from South Texas and the winter my first year made me break down crying lmaooo.
🤪 Mike* ‘22, Berkeley North
In my sophomore year, I used to play a lot of Mario Kart with my three other suitemates. When we weren’t busy with work, we would play at 2 a.m. and eat cheap chicken ramen. The winner kept changing, which was why everyone was invested in the game. Whenever I won, I always took a photo with the winning screen just for extra winning bonuses.
The game was intense. When we were thirsty, we could only sprint to the bathroom on our floor to drink tap water — because we were too engrossed in the game to drink proper water fountain water downstairs. Special times had their specific beverage.
😁 Daniel Blokh ’24, Slifka
I went there a bunch of times and have, like, different emotions associated with it each time, but I think generally I can just remember a really strong feeling of excitement and eagerness and just kind of like social buzz in the air of like going there, especially on Shabbat, especially for the first time. I started going there second semester mostly, or like tail end of first semester, when I was like, I don’t know, I just kind of avoided it for a long time at the beginning of my time at Yale and then I kind of started going and it was like, “Holy shit this is so cool.” And like, you know not particularly coming from a place of a super active Jewish community or a Jewish community where I wasn’t very active, it was just kind of crazy to see, I don’t know, all these customs that people were so familiar with, all the songs and there was just this like whole routine, but it was also so much fun and so inviting that it didn’t feel out of place at all. And people would just start singing out of nowhere and were like, “Oh my god join in,” and I was like, “Fuck yeah.” I don’t know, I just wanted to roll with it, and I feel like it was that spirit of everyone just really enjoying each other. So that was a place where I felt really intense excitement and kind of group energy.
❤️ Ikenna Maduno ’22, Hillhouse Garden
I went on a walk with my friend who I haven’t seen since the beginning of the semester. We were going up Science Hill and came back down near Trumbull and Temple, around that intersection, around Hillhouse and Trumbull. There’s a backward kind of place that we had access to, that was on a hill. Sat there during the nighttime, looked at the waxing crescent moon. Really beautiful and I really felt connected and love for this friend and being able to sit with my boots and my pants on the grass on this hill and kind of just feel like these trees are huge and canopies around us and also the moon. Really beautiful moment and really nice to spend that half hour over there.
😴 Mahesh Agarwal ’24, Branford Courtyard
The second Thursday night that I was at Yale, I finished a p-set at 2 a.m. and I needed to then finish my essay. I was like, “Okay I’m still very intense about this, have an outline, need to turn my outline into an essay.” I take a notebook, pen and nothing else and go into the Branford library. As soon as the doors closed, I realized I forgot my key. I was locked out in the courtyard and usually I can get back in by calling someone, but I didn’t bring my phone and it was 2 a.m. I slept on a hammock in the middle of the Branford courtyard from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. It was kind of cold, I put my arms into my sweater. Yeah, I just slept on the hammock. [In the morning,] I found someone who could let me in… I emailed my professor and told him the whole situation, he was like, “Yeah, yeah that’s fine just submit it later tonight.”
🎂 Anusha Manglik ’21, CEID
I spend a lot of time in the CEID, which is right under Becton… It’s like a student makerspace. So to me it feels like a place where there’s a lot of innovation and just kind of like an escape. I also study there a lot, and I feel very safe and kind of at home. Just like very relaxed in the space, able to wear my pajamas there if I want to, there are a bunch of whiteboards there that I write on, I’m usually friends with everyone that goes in there. So to me it’s a very, like, comfortable space. That’s where I spend most of my time, definitely spurs thoughts of innovation, my future life, what I’m gonna do next.
So I have some friends who always hang out in the CEID. One of my best friends, his name is Will, he’s also a senior. He’s an electrical engineering major. And so we’re always there, always kind of co-working together in rooms. He’s, like, very funny so he tells jokes. I always laugh at his jokes. I threw him a birthday party once. Just invited a couple of friends, who are also always in the CEID. We went to Sitar for dinner or something and then I, like, got him a cake and we surprised him in our room back at the CEID, with a cookie cake, and he was really happy. There are rooms at the top… a bunch of co-working spaces.
🥣 Se Ri Lee ’24, Silliman DH
Before quarantine, every day before our 9 a.m. classes, I would grab breakfast with my suitemate Shiwen in Silliman dining hall. On the five-minute walk there, Shiwen always had tea to spill and shared guys’ stories, and I listened. I walk faster than most people, so Shiwen always tried to catch up and failed. And I tried to slow down and also failed. We always teased each other for our walking speed.
We always had oatmeal. Shiwen always scooped a mountain of brown sugar on top of hers, and I always poured a pack of chia seeds I brought into mine. We always teased each other for our oatmeal toppings. A lot of teasing in the morning.
Shiwen is from Singapore and was eager to discover everything about America. We decided to go on a food tour in New Haven. Our first stop was Arethusa. I don’t remember what flavor we got, but when Shiwen had her first bite, her eyes glimmered. She liked it so much that she said, “It’s life-changing.”
And this “life-changing” became her punchline. Whenever she really liked something, she would say, “It’s life-changing.” Like Junzi and the boba in T-Swirl. Even the Yale Dining oatmeal. She never had oatmeal in Singapore.
We always sat at a round table next to Silliman’s kitchen. Shiwen always studied for her Greek quizzes. I sometimes just watched the flow of people. Mornings were always quiet. Everyone sat alone or in pairs, studying or reading news, quietly swallowing their foods.
One day this past May, after she went back to Singapore, I got a photo from Shiwen. She managed to order herself some steel-cut oatmeal. Steel-cut oatmeal is really hard to prepare! It needs to be stirred constantly for 30 minutes before serving. And she cooked it herself. Her bowl was drizzled with honey, topped with a lot of brown sugar. I was really impressed.
🌲 Anonymous, a tree near Phelps Gate on Old Campus
The first tree to the right of Phelps gate on Old Campus: I met my FOOT group here. When I got there, my FOOT leader handed me a Barney T-shirt. Then we did icebreakers. Questions like “if water is wet.”
What happened during the trip? I don’t really remember… We had a lot of deep conversations about life. Other than that, not many specific memories.
Someone rolled his ankle on the third day when climbing a steep rock. We waited for the support group to bring him down and had to pass his 60-pound backpack down the rock.
One day when we were having lunch, there was suddenly a thunderstorm. We quickly repacked and just sprinted along the ridge of the mountain under the rain. Water poured into our backpacks. We found a shelter and stayed under it for most of the afternoon. Everybody was drenched. Before the trip, we were told to avoid being the tallest object on top of a mountain during a thunderstorm. Nobody remembered this when we were sprinting.
On the last day of the trip, we found a lake. A scenic lake surrounded by large green mountains. A few people swam across the entire length of the lake. Ducks walked around those of us staying on the bank and tried to get close to us.
Every night, when we lay down under the tarp together, laughing and trying not to get kicked out of the campsite, I just couldn’t help but feel at home.
We have had two reunions. I still talk with three people in his group because of classes and friend groups. The other people are pursuing their priorities. We naturally grow apart. But I still feel like home whenever we get back together.
Whenever I walked past that massive tree on Old Campus, I always remembered my FOOT group.
🥡 Christina Pao ’20, Main Garden
One night late in senior fall, I wanted Main Garden’s hot-and-sour soup. My roommate Jordan was there, and he said he had never had egg drop soup before. So I went to Main Garden and got both soups. Turned out Jordan really liked egg drop soup. So one day the next week, I went to get soup from Main Garden again. And the next week. And the week after.
We were both working hard on our fellowship and job applications. Deadlines. Essays. Weekend interviews on the West Coast. Our weekly Main Garden run became the really nice break in our hectic schedule. Sometimes I went to Main Garden alone and called my grandma on the way. Sometimes I walked over with Jordan. Sometimes I literally just called a friend and we would walk together.
Eventually, I got the Rhodes Scholarship, and Jordan was hired by Sen. Doug Jones in D.C. We had so much Main Garden soup together. The soup definitely helped us get these positions.
🥰 Bruno* ’24, Koffee?
I met Kaia in a first-year seminar. Midway through the semester, Kaia invited the entire class who were on campus to hang out on a Thursday night. The next weekend, she invited me and two other friends for a movie night. After the movie, we went to the rooftop together. The day after, she invited me again to hang out in her suite.
Kaia invited me again to grab coffee together at Koffee? the following Tuesday. I had suspected that she might have been into me. When I was waiting for my coffee, I was finally certain that Kaia was into me. So I asked Kaia if she would like to have dinner together the following Friday. “Imma reserve a spot in a restaurant, is this good for you?” I asked her. “Is this a date?” she responded.
We spent more time together, before Davenport suddenly went into lockdown. We were hopeful that we still could hang out before Thanksgiving. We even planned a trip to East Rock together. And two weeks later, when I was scheduled to get out, she was suddenly put under contact quarantine. Now I have already gone home for Thanksgiving, but she is still quarantined in New Haven. But it’s okay. We will both be in New Haven next term. Three spring months await.
🎷 Jarron Long, Grace Hopper ’23, Davenport Common Room YUJC Jam Session
I went to the Davenport YUJC (Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective) jam session on Oct. 21. The session was intimate; like, you know the scene. There’s friendship; it’s about group activity. I remember distinctly that Davenport had chocolate chip pancakes that day, for their 12 p.m. midday Saturday brunch. Me and some other YUJC people brought in the drum set before the session began, which was cold and heavy. There were a little over a dozen musicians there: singers, different horn players. Bass, piano. I play sax and drums. All of us had different experience levels; there was a collaborative, not a competitive atmosphere. It was really nice just to be focusing on the joy of playing music with other people, than the technical details of making “the most proficient-sounding stuff.” Some students were just there, doing their homework, while we played. There wasn’t any kind of watchful audience or anything, it was very casual, a fun and chill experience. Listening to jazz and playing jazz in person is very different from going to a concert or listening to jazz electronically. I’m very happy to have had this experience.
🧘 Lauren Williams ’24, Stiles Common Room
I think, just in general, I love Stiles for so many reasons. It’s a home, with my suitemates and other people in Stiles. I would be in the actual res college all the time, cooking in the kitchen with my suitemates, and working out. A lot of my life outside of class was in Stiles. The common room was where all those things could come together. Sometimes I would hang out with my friends there. We could study together. It’s really comforting to sit by the fire. I definitely like when there’s people there. It makes it feel more comfortable. Especially because I still spend a decent amount of time alone. I remember little details, little snippets of things. Like my suitemate asleep in the corner. I feel very much at home there.
💜 Kiscada Hasting ’23, York Street Noodle House
Asian food and Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese food specifically have always had a special place in my heart and that’s where I’d always go with my friends or family when we’d go out to eat. So, good Asian food always feels like a treat and reminds me of home, and York Street has the added bonus of being super cheap. It’s some of the best food in New Haven, and it’s cheaper than a Big Mac meal, so it’s basically mandatory to love this place. Also it’s one of the only places on campus to get truly spicy food. I got to meet my admissions officer during FSY, and she took us out to eat at York Street Noodle House. It was one of my first experiences out in New Haven and it’s still one of the first places I take people when they come up to visit me.
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