Sophie Henry

By people-watching outside of my suite window, navigating Commons traffic jams or scanning into Marsh Hall before Economics 115, I’ve been able to identify boxes to categorize Yalies into — even as quirky and unique as they may claim to be. Don’t feel targeted if you’re on this list. If anything it’s a compliment; it just means you’re my daily entertainment on my way to Science Hill. The admissions office “doesn’t make mistakes,” but they do have a pattern to who they admit each cycle, and here are the archetypes:

Coddled kid who learns their limit first semester

This is the person you saw on a three-day bender or you witnessed begging their TF to extend the pset just “one more day.” But none of these problems are their fault. These kids’ loving parents set rules and boundaries that made them holed up in their rooms, memorizing their resume for their Yale interview. Either way, you know they’ll learn to navigate college the hard way, but at least they’ll help the curve in your lecture!

Comedian who insists you go to their stand up routine or sketch show

The friendly DMs begging for an ounce of support have already started, sending invites and Instagram posts that read, “Red Hot Poker’s First Show!” You’ll see them humble themselves, resorting to self-depreciation or criticizing the audience when a joke doesn’t land. With dreams of being on SNL, they’ll work hard to make it big and refuse to accept their class clown role is over.

NYC school groupies who eat every meal together

Taking up two tables in the Jonathan Edwards dining hall, you can’t help but stare at their perfectly crafted outfits and cool unachievable aura. They’re absent from any weekend event because they can just take the train back home. Instead, on weekends they can be caught exploring the Upper West Side because they miss good bagels and NEED to bring back new clothes for the season. They seem to have a never ending web of connections, not limited to the Yale bubble.

Guy who insists on playing “devil’s advocate” in your political science section.

He’s annoying, he takes up time and he never gets to the point. He’ll warn you that how he acts in class doesn’t reflect his true values, so you just endure the 50 minute discussion for the sake of participation.

Artsy girl whose dad is a billionaire and funds her creativity

An enigma and someone you just wish you could be born as, she mimics a “manic pixie-dream girl” aesthetic in her outfits and is way too talented for Art 114. She keeps her dorm in just the right balance of messy and artsy, always sure of where her supplies are. But when the conversation turns to wealth, it seems her bright and bouncy demeanor changes. “We were pretty comfortable” is her phrase to escape the discussion, and it works pretty well for her mysterious image.

Heavyweight rower who you have never seen in class

He’s genuinely nice and a little confused at times, but he has better things to do, right? Whether he doesn’t come to class because of the night before or from being too tired from practice, he never fails to ask for notes from the last class. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot him in the very back of the class during the midterm, not worried because “I can just Credit/D/Fail it.” 

Footballer on pink razor scooter swinging his leg to class

The bright magenta scooter he’s riding on makes seeing his trip to class funnier than it should be. He will come close to running you over with no remorse except a mere “my bad!” You wonder if he chose that color or if it was the last one in stock, in a pinch from the “no electric scooters” mandate.

“Educated in London”

With various types of accents, the “London educated” are an unique set of students with their own distinctions. In the group, there is a clear distinction between original London kids and those who grew up in the United States but were shipped to British boarding schools. The posse will branch off into two but you’re bound to run into one, probably in your “Shakespeare in Literature” class.

Kids who “know each other from some summer program” 

College prep programs with a cohort that all ends up at Yale: the best kind of cult. They are so much more prepared than any of us when it comes to juggling the stress of school, programs and a social life (they are already equipped with their own built-in friend group!). They have inside jokes denoting their shenanigans sneaking out of programming or re-telling summer drama. I’m slightly jealous.

Theater kid who overcommitted to multiple shows and is now stuck in Bass

The start-of-the-year extracurricular frenzy gets to us most of us, with a passion to join all the clubs and activities we can, but theater kids take it to a new dramatic extreme. Joining three productions on campus and needing to practice whenever they can, I’ll see them with headphones, reciting lines and acting out the socially acceptable parts in public. Now, after realizing they are backed up with work, they hole up in Bass and have the play’s soundtrack as study music.

That one kid who “is an actor” but has no more than two listings on IMDb

They might be labeled as the “campus celebrity,” but do not be fooled. Soon, everyone will discover that their acting credits are made up of voice-over roles in Nickelodeon shows or as an extra in an indie film. They’ll insist that they will major in theater, or at least do improv on the side, but they eventually meet their fate and sell out to a more “lucrative” major (as their dad suggested). 


Karla Cortes covers International Relations at Yale under the University Desk. She is a first-year in Silliman College majoring in Political Science.