Paloma Vigil

So, you’ve moved in, your parents have just left, and you’re sitting in your comically small dorm just as Camp Yale is about to start, beginning what will be the most chaotically neutral (or evil — you choose) next four years of your academic career. How in the world do you survive being a Yalie? In an attempt to formulate a “How to…” guide on surviving Yale, current students have provided the inside scoop on making it all the way from contracting the Yague at Camp Yale to not tripping on the stage during Commencement. 

1. Do not feel the need to be your overachieving high school self immediately. 

The first few months of freshman year are quite possibly the most chaotic months of your entire life and attempting to add the typical Yalie’s perfectionist mindset is a recipe for disaster. Maintaining your emotional, physical, and overall well-being is a full-time job when you arrive at college. Being President of Yale College Council, leader of eight clubs and writing 5 YDN articles per week will only hurt you. 

2. CourseTable is your best friend.

Turns out that the best advice for which classes to take is from *surprise surprise* other students who have taken the class! CourseTable is 75 percent reliable, but 100 percent available. Plus, it’s the best way of finding that last credit (or full schedule) of gut classes. On that note, NEVER feel the need to take 5 credits in the fall semester of your first-year — your GCal and mental health will thank you later. 

3. You will get the Yague (many, many times).

You would be surprised how many times you hear the phrase, “(Insert person) is at Yale Health.” The diseases in the frat basements during Camp Yale manifest themselves into what seems to be a covid-like variant that plagues the entire student body, particularly first-years, for the ENTIRE first semester. Prepare with plenty of Mucinex, Tylenol, and electrolytes to cure the inevitable hangover that comes hand in hand with the Yague

4. Studying doesn’t always involve friends.

You get to college and *BOOM* everyone in your suite, on your floor, and in your resco becomes your best friend. Suddenly, alone time is priceless. Do not feel the need to hang out with people 24/7, especially when it comes to studying. Many first-years have given advice for perfect types of studying and the correlating spaces: Starr for grind-time, Bass for group study (or long-hour cram sessions in the single rooms), Beinecke plaza for outside-school work, and Yale School of Environment for finals. 

5. But, sometimes you need to rely on your friends.

Sure, you just met a crazy number of people in the past three weeks, but a couple of strong connections is well worthwhile to make you feel like Yale is a second home. Heads of colleges, deans, professors, and upperclassmen  are all there to support you; however, keeping a tight-knit group of people, whether that be a study buddy or movie buddy, is crucial to staying sane during the changes that come along with college life. 

6. Breathe, sleep, eat, repeat.

Yalies are geniuses, so you’ll be surprised to learn that they continuously forget to do basic human functions: breathing, eating and sleeping. When in doubt, take a deep breath, get some froyo from the dining hall, and take a nice long nap — it will all be okay.

Paloma Vigil covers diversity, equity, and inclusion at Yale. She also writes about sailing and gymnastics for the sports desk. Paloma previously covered religious life and the YCC. Originally from Miami, she is a sophomore in Pauli Murray majoring in Cognitive Science and Political Science.