Mark Chung

It’s hard to envision Yale without distortion: to see the beauty of Sterling Memorial Library without remembering long nights spent finishing essays at ungodly hours; to hear the Harkness Tower bells toll as if it were for the first time; to appreciate the “scenic walk” up Science Hill without knowing that it’s upwards of around fifteen minutes, on foot on a good day (exceedingly rare. Not so rare: rain, snow, sleet, wind, hail and a burgeoning, all-encompassing cynicism towards hills of any amplitude).

As a first-year student, you’re in luck. Yale is still all shiny and new, a blank slate on which to colorfill in your own memories and experiences. Although I can’t see campus through the eyes of my first-year self, I can reminisce on my first year by scouring my camera roll — and for a more accurate daily play-by-play, my Google Calendar — to remind myself of the bittersweet naïvety of my first few months on campus.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Yale just as much as I did a year ago, and I can’t wait to get back to campus in a few days. But it’s hard to beat the excitement and anticipation of your first year.

 There is much to look forward to for baby Bulldogs: Camp Yale, Bulldog Bash, holiday dinner, the annual Old Campus snowball fight — the list goes on.

Then there are all the other firsts — canon events, if you will — for most, if not all, Yale students: surviving the bombardment that is the extracurricular bazaar, experiencing one’s first Woad’s and/or frat party (if that’s your thing), being inducted into clubs, going to class in unholy quantities of snow (this was a big one for me as a student from the South), finding your favorite study spot (typically followed by gatekeeping said study spot), rushing Greek life and/or a cappella groups and, of course, trying to find a shortcut to class because you made the mistake of choosing two classes back-to-back (though going through the Schwarzman Center sometimes does the trick if you need to get from Science Hill to LC in a crunch). 

Of course, many of these experiences persist year over year. However, there are a few things that make being a first year in the class of 2027 distinctly special. What follows is thorough but certainly not complete list of that which you can look forward to:

  1. The Yale vs. Harvard game is at Yale this year! This means your computer won’t crash as you fight for tickets. Don’t text, my hard drive hasn’t recovered. 
  2. If you’re reading this now, that means we can all start manifesting that Spring Fling doesn’t get rained out like last year. No hate on the Pusha T performance at College Street Music Hall, but a Yale version of Coachella is what the people want.
  3. Old Campus has water fountains! What a time to be alive! Shoutout to YCC for advocating for water fountains in first-year dorms last semester. Y’all don’t know the pain of acute 2 a.m. dehydration. 
  4. The Peabody Museum reopens in either late 2023 or early 2024. Yay for dinosaurs!
  5. Kline Biology Tower is now open, meaning the confusing Science Hill construction mélange is no more. No more wandering in circles looking for the entrance to Sterling Chemistry Laboratory. 

The moral of the story is this: your first year of college goes by fast. Make the most of it. Revel in your independence, but don’t forget to talk to your family and friends back home. Try new things and put yourself out there. Yale has so much to offer; take advantage. Soak up as much as you can: it always pays off. 

You have your basic needs covered: food, water, exercise, beautiful gothic shelter. The self-actualization and Yale’s heralded belonging will all come in due time. But until then, look forward to your holiday dinner ice sculptures.

Chloe Edwards is a Photography Editor, as well as a Beat Reporter covering Arts in New Haven at the University. Originally from North Carolina, she is currently a sophomore in Branford College majoring in English.