Jessai Flores

As Thanksgiving draws near, we are all left to reflect on what we’re grateful for: family, friends, food, freedom, faith and the other wonderful things that incidentally all begin with the letter F. However, in reflecting on the joys of life, we’re prone to stumbling across the not so wonderful things. These things keep me awake at night staring at the ceiling and keep me from getting out of bed in the morning. They awaken a smoldering fury in my core that only the dining hall tres leches can extinguish. Sometimes I need a nice relaxing jog to East Rock Park just to calm me down, while other times I kickbox in the Branford College gym.

Don’t worry — I’m not actually this angry. I’m not really angry at anything at all this year. There isn’t enough time in the world to share everything that I’m grateful for. I do, however, only need a little time to reflect on a few of my — let’s kindly say — pet peeves.

Most Yale students value a good night’s sleep, though few ever achieve this unattainable goal. The reason? There are many. But notably it’s the existence of classes that begin before 11:35 in the morning. At first, I thought I had it bad with my 9:25 class in William L. Harkness Hall, but there are some students with classes on Science Hill at 9 a.m. Now, that’s just plain torture. It’s unimaginable to even think about my high school days, when I woke up at 6:45 in the morning. Was I even human? How did I ever function on that little sleep? Now, on a good night, I’ll get seven hours, but any less than that, and I require an afternoon nap. It’s like I’ve aged 50 years in only a few months.

Not only do those students with 9 a.m. classes on Science Hill have to wake up at an ungodly hour, but they also have to walk up Science Hill. Here I was, a humanities student, thinking I’d never have to walk up Science Hill for a class. I am grateful that I don’t have to walk up there early in the morning like many others, but I still hold a grudge. When I trudge  to the Yale Divinity School — which lies past Science Hill — I have to block out 30 minutes to walk there from Old Campus, and even then, I have to speed walk. Science Hill is simply too steep for its own good, and many of the buildings up there are just too far away from campus to even be considered part of campus.

And speaking of distance, why must Vanderbilt Hall be the absolute farthest point from anywhere on campus that I need to go? Now, as a Branford sophomore, I’ve made my peace with living on Old Campus. It’s honestly quite beautiful, and I’m grateful to be having the first-year experience. Our little Vanderbilt annex is a sophomore safe haven. However, the fact that it takes at least a few minutes to even exit Old Campus from Vanderbilt is beginning to make me late everywhere that I go. Either I’m a very slow walker or just incredibly lazy, but sometimes walking to the Branford dining hall from Vanderbilt is even too much of a trek.

Now that it’s getting pretty chilly, the hike to the library also is becoming a bit of a hassle. I find myself nowadays wanting to study in my suite common room as opposed to wasting time and energy walking all the way to Sterling, especially when I know that it’s going to close at midnight anyways. I always found it irritating that Sterling closes at midnight while Bass closes at 2 a.m. Though I understand the probable logistic reasons behind this decision, I am still peeved by it. I adore the Stacks — I could stay there forever — and I absolutely despise having to transition to Bass at closing. I’ve only been to Bass a few times that late, but each time I went, it was a cesspool. There were hardly any spots left to study at all and instead of there being silence, there was a cacophony of coughing.

And now, a few quick takes.

Bear with me on this one: the smell of fraternity houses. Just the combination of everything that goes on there never fails to invoke my gag reflex. Never underestimate the smell of nothing, as sometimes, nothing really is a blessing. Let’s just leave it at that. 

Something that has always particularly bothered me is the lack of paper towels in the dorm bathrooms. All of my pants now double as hand towels. Who actually wants to carry a hand towel with them to the bathroom or even buy one in the first place? What’s the solution? A communal towel? Absolutely not. I’d rather my jeans take the brunt of the water.

And then, there’s the fact that the sun now sets at 4:30 in the afternoon. Being from Florida, this is still a very new concept to me. I knew the darkness was coming. I was expecting it, but when the time change came, I still wasn’t ready. Pretty soon, I’ll be going on my daily runs in the dark, which is far from ideal. 

And what’s up with the weather these days? Sometimes, I swear that it’s summer again. Other times, I’m wrapped up in seven layers, a scarf and a coat while sporting boots and gloves. I have to admit that I’m a little excited to return to South Florida for Thanksgiving. The weather might be hot, but at least it’s consistent.

I won’t even get into the sad state of men at Yale.

Despite all of these trivial grievances, though, I am truly beyond grateful to be here. I’m thankful for suitemates who know way too much about me and who have become my sisters over these last few months. I’m thankful for my friends who check up on me and make even my worst days exponentially brighter. I love my family and the way that they ground me and make me feel safe. Yet, above all this year, I’m incredibly grateful to not be counting down the days until I leave Yale for nine months. I’m eager to spend my Christmas season at Yale with the people who make being here a dream come true.  

JACQUELINE KASKEL