I open my eyes as the sun shines through the small, round window of my ninth floor dorm room. (Yes, I know, I live on the ninth floor of a building. Yes, we do have an elevator; no need to worry.) I have come to embrace Bingham Hall. I especially love the people, and living in such an enchanting building has made adapting much easier. I’m filled with joy every time I walk out the glamorous doors of one of the tallest residential buildings on campus.
When I come to think of it, walking around campus in general makes me feel exhilarated; bumping into familiar first years, listening to the bells of Harkness Tower, and even trying to pull open the heavy gates of Old Campus, all bring me a sense of safety and comfort. As I wait for the traffic lights, I imagine what it will be like next year to finally move into Trumbull College. I think of the first snowfall of the season and how we went outside to the courtyard to take pictures after our Sunday night family dinner. I felt at home as we sat at the long dinner table by the fireplace, watching the gentle dance of the snowflakes. I remember all the early mornings I curled up on the comfortable blue couch in the common room, trying desperately to meet yet another essay deadline. Despite the slightly pitying tone I often get after saying I’m from Trumbull, I have grown to absolutely adore the modern gothic architecture of our college. I pour myself another cup of coffee to shake off my reminiscent mood as I get ready to leave the dining hall and head to class.
Once I’m a sophomore, my trip to Science Hill will be much shorter. The idea of being only two minutes away from Sterling Library and Cross Campus is enough to put a smile on my face. It’s a sunny day, which only means everyone I know will be hanging out on Cross Campus. I stop in front of the majestic Sterling Memorial Library as I take a moment to admire the view; I stand soaking the warmth of the sun, look up at the bright green leaves of the Elm trees and make way for the athletes on scooters to pass by. Cross Campus is the best spot on campus to appreciate the changing seasons; during fall, red and orange leaves lay below your feet, whereas in winter the biggest snowman is always standing right in the middle, spring brings all the brightly colored flowers and the smell of freshly mowed grass, and summer welcomes the chirping of birds alongside the naive giggles of first year students.
I walk quickly to avoid the crowd and take one last look at Sterling, remembering the first time I witnessed a Naked Run, yet another Yale finals week tradition. We were deep into studying in the Main Reference Room, which could only mean we had serious work to get done, when I heard the announcement from the loud speakers. I had never thought I’d experience such enthusiastic energy in a mesmerizing building closely associated with quiet, concentrated studying. The memory is accompanied by the loud laughter and supportive chants echoing across the library, reflecting from the tall Sterling ceilings. I also remember when, the last night of reading period, we ran all the way from the Berkeley common room to join the crowd in Cross Campus to scream at the top of our lungs, in hopes of relieving built up stress. I am filled with a sense of belonging as I am reminded of the special traditions that unite us even during the year’s most depressing period.
In an attempt to shorten my trip, I decide to walk through Schwarzman Center. I pass Beinecke Library, studying the carefully designed marble exterior in awe. Last semester, our English professor had taken us to examine books from centuries ago, some of which we weren’t even allowed to touch ourselves. There it is again, the childish excitement and pride of slowly beginning to comfortably call this place home. I smile to myself, and to all the familiar faces I walk by as it’s lunch time and I’m right by Commons, and pick up my pace.
I am met with the elm trees once again as I make my way through Hillhouse Avenue, the prettiest street on campus. (This is not just my opinion, apparently both Charles Dickens and Mark Twain have described Hillhouse Avenue as “the most beautiful street in America.”) The imposter syndrome starts to kick in as I am greeted by the Admissions Office, but I quickly allow myself to get distracted by the President’s House on the other side of the boulevard. Once again, I am in awe of the combination of the ethereal nature and alluring architecture. I climb up Science Hill and finally arrive at Marsh Lecture Hall. This is where I took both Introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. In all honesty, the big lecture hall can be quite intimidating, but I do like the balance of seminars and lectures in my program. The hall does, however, have anxiety-inducing memories since it is where I took most of my exams. I tell myself it’s fine, trying to maintain my positive perspective as the professor starts speaking. Time to concentrate on class.
One of my very first memories at Yale is completing a scavenger hunt during international orientation. I was extremely worried I’d never learn my way around campus. Now, after only one year, I cannot believe I have memories associated with so many different spots.
As it’s almost time to move back in, I finally feel like I belong. I can’t wait to make so many more memories in this new place I have begun to call home.