Ariane de Gennaro

As I write this piece — my last one ever for the Yale Daily News — I am lounging outside at an Airbnb in Cape Cod with my suitemates (aka the God Quad). There’s seven of us. Hanna is coding on the couch, Caroline looking suspiciously at the internet, Lily cooking chicken for our taco dinner, Val reading a book, Noel masterfully knitting a sock, Maya embroidering a mushroom. And me? Well, I guess I’m typing this up on my computer. But a few minutes ago, I was reading “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry. I only have thirty pages left and I’m crossing my fingers that the romantic interests get their happy ending.  

This article is supposed to be an ode to everything I hate at Yale — the annoyances and frustrations I’ve built up over the past four years. In an effort to make this list of grievances more representative, I asked my suitemates to share their thoughts. Now that we’re done — exams over, papers submitted, grades released, degrees finished — we took some time to reflect on some of the experiences that made our eyes twitch or teeth clench. Just little things, here and there. Things that made our daily lives slightly more difficult than they had to be. Things that caused us unnecessary anxiety or undue stress. Things that drained our bank accounts significantly over the years. 

That being said, I want to acknowledge what a truly wondrous place Yale is and how it will always hold a piece of my heart. The memories, the experiences, the lessons learned. The professors (good and bad), the promises (kept and broken), the relationships (romantic and platonic). The opportunities, the community, the facilities. All in all, there is so much to look back on with pride and satisfaction. I made mistakes, and I strived to do better. I worked like a dog. I struggled. I thrived. I felt love and heartbreak. I experienced raging success and total failure. I felt true happiness and utter despair. At Yale, I’ve experienced everything a twenty-two-year-old could hope to experience. 

My list of grievances is written in both past and present tense — it’s Senior Week, and I have no idea where we stand. Are we still Yale students? Are we allowed to say things now like “back in undergrad…”? The seven of us are still trying to figure it out. 


All sorts of charges. Somehow, Yale has found a way to make us pay for basic needs on top of our sky-high yearly tuition. 

We’re charged for laundry — $1.50 per load. That’s $3.00 per wash and dry. $4.50 if we’re being realistic — laundry never gets done frequently enough for everything to fit in one washer. The Tide Pods are expensive enough as it is. Charging us for laundry on top of the room and board fees? Criminal. I’ve heard that living on campus is more expensive than off campus. It would make sense to me if free laundry was the incentive to stay on campus, though I suppose Yale has never really had a problem with demand. 

We’re charged for printing… simply appalling. This past semester in particular, I had professors who requested all assignments printed. I’m actually curious to figure out how much I’ve spent on printing these last few years. Each page is not that expensive, but I’m thinking about everything compiled. All of the sheet music, forms, assignments, study guides, etc. Maybe I should’ve invested in an iPad. We don’t have to pay for Canvas and Gradescope, where we often submit assignments. Why should we for printing? However, I can see an argument for printing when you consider all of the other tools we have to pay for — computers, notebooks, and most importantly books for class. 

As an English major, books are my life. I’m also the type of person that loves to fill my bookshelf and just stare at it with pride. So, I bought most of my books used throughout college — one of my dumbest decisions ever. When I realized I couldn’t possibly ship that many books home, I went to the bookstore to sell them back. I can’t tell you how upsetting it was to learn that my exorbitantly priced Shakespeare anthology was worth a whopping zero dollars. 

Missing Items 

I’m not talking about the overflowing lost and found full of water bottles in Bass. I’m talking about basic items that you turn around and expect to find… but don’t. 

For one, clocks. My time has truly been timeless. I find myself constantly sitting in class not knowing what time it is. Classrooms these days don’t have clocks. Honestly, it’s quite alarming. What happened to the good-old-fashioned analog clocks? They’re staples in high school classrooms, but apparently not important enough to be on any wall at Yale. Caroline and I, personally, try to stay off our electronics in the classroom, and what do we get? Disorientation. Particularly during exams, I’m running around like a headless chicken in a maze. Professors try to write the time on the chalkboard and update it frequently. But that feels inefficient. You know what is efficient? A gosh darn clock. 

And then there’s the lack of water fountains. This used to bother me so much, particularly on Old Campus in Vanderbilt. Now, I know that hydration stations have been installed in this dorm since my sophomore year there. But I’m bitter, okay? Dare I say jealous of the current first years and sophomore who are having the college experience I always wanted. In Branford, there are two hydration stations in the basement… approximately fifteen steps apart. And therefore, they’re both too far from my suite for convenience. But you know what? I’m too old to care anymore. New Haven tap water tastes delicious, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My in-suite bathroom sink has done me well over the past year.   

This next qualm is real. I feel this frustration every day of my life at Yale. Whenever I open the bathroom stall, finished with my business and ready to wash my hands, I’m met with the same problem. No. Paper. Towels. For some reason, Yale thought to provide all of its students with hand soap, toilet paper, toilet plungers, and the like. Yet, somehow this like doesn’t include paper towels. Every public bathroom at Yale has paper towels or hand dryers. Why can’t dorm bathrooms have them too? For my in-suite bathroom, the argument could be made that we’re supposed to use a shared hand towel, one that you can wash in the laundry. But I live with five other people… that’s bound to get pretty beaten up very quickly. For floors that share a bathroom, it’s an absolute nightmare. In my sophomore year, my three suitemates and I shared a bathroom with six guys. No way we were going to share a dainty hand towel between the ten of us. Plus, the whole sharing thing gives me the ick. And what if I spill something in the common room? Am I supposed to use my shower towel to clean it up? Get toilet paper residue all over my floor? I want paper towels, and I want them now. I’ll never reap the benefit, but at least future Yale classes will. 

Summer storage is an issue I go back and forth on, mostly because Yale’s response hasn’t been necessarily consistent over these last four years. The summer after my first year, Yale provided all of its students with free storage. Superb. Amazing. Very convenient. If this was the only year that Yale provided us with storage, I would have understood — the pandemic and everything. That year was hard enough as it was, and the least Yale could do was relieve a bit of our summer stress. But then, the free storage continued my sophomore summer. That was Yale’s mistake. For a minute, Yale gave me false hope that something as beautiful as free summer storage could be an infinite reality. As you hopefully know, this accommodation to students was revoked my junior summer for good. Safe to say, I got absolutely scammed by Dorm Room Movers that summer. Thankfully, I won’t have to deal with summer storage anymore (although, law school?), but my heart breaks for all of the incoming students whose wallets will be wrung dry for summer storage. But not that much, because at least there isn’t a pandemic consuming and sabotaging the first two years of your college experience. Also, if you have conveniently placed relatives in the Northeast who can store your belongings, good for you. I’m not jealous in the slightest. 


My issues with the Yuttle — Yale Shuttle for those who aren’t in the loop — are few and far between. Honestly, I am kind of a die-hard fan of the Yale Shuttle, particularly these last few months. For the last three years, I’ve had the honor of singing with Yale Schola Cantorum at the Institute of Sacred Music. Everything about the gig is divine: the people, the music, the experiences, the travel. The only con (well, other than having to miss Spring Fling this year) is the commute to the Yale Divinity School twice a week for rehearsal. My sophomore year, I walked there and back every time. That was a full hour out of every Wednesday and Friday spent walking. In hindsight, that amount of time doesn’t feel like such an egregious portion of my days. But nineteen-year-old me definitely struggled with the commute. In junior year, one of my friends with a car drove me to rehearsal. Senior year, my friend’s car got stolen. Then, my bike got stolen. It was a rough time. My knight in shining armor? The Yuttle. Pros: it’s free. Cons: it somehow manages to be both early and late, the times online always change, and you can’t see departure times in advance. This last con is my biggest bone to pick with the Yale Shuttle. How is anybody supposed to plan out their day in advance when they don’t know if a shuttle can get them somewhere on time? 

Compared to other college dining halls, the food at Yale is scrumptious. I just wanted to share that. But the food isn’t what my gripe with Yale Hospitality is about. For me, it’s the fact that dining halls close at 7:30pm. Some of us out here like to live on Barcelona time, eating dinner at 9:30pm in preparation for our incredibly late nights. Granted at Yale, we’re more likely to be spending those nights at Bass Library than at a club called Razzmatazz. What my suite has done this last semester at Yale to counteract the early dinner schedule at Yale is to accept it to the extreme. For the last few months, we show up to the Branford dining hall right when it opens at 5:00pm. Like clockwork. And then later at night, we make some runs to the buttery or munch on our plethora of snack options in the suite. Perhaps that is why butteries were invented. Maybe we were just embracing the experience Yale was trying to concoct for us all along. All things considered, I completely understand that having dinner open for more than two or three hours each day is unfeasible in terms of logistics and staffing. Still, a girl can dream. On the note of food, I do have a grievance with the daytime food availability at Yale, specifically with the fact that there are hours of the day where not a single place on campus is open for students on the meal plan. The hour between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm is a food desert. Any hour after 8:00 pm calls for a GHeav run. Sure, I like The Ivy at Schwartzman just fine (a lot actually), but I have the automatic meal plan. Twenty-one meals per week and no dining points, which means I can’t get food there without paying out of pocket. Finally, there’s the breakfast conundrum. The argument, I’m guessing, is that college students don’t wake up early. Generally, this is an accurate stereotype. However, as someone who runs or bikes in the mornings, sometimes at 7:00am, the breakfast schedule has been a frenemy. The fact that breakfast on the weekends is only offered in two locations and doesn’t even open until 8:00 am is simply ghastly.  

Final Senior Things

Seniors have to buy their stoles… dare I say more? Also, our caps and gowns. Heinous. Egregious. All the synonyms. 

Why do the seniors not have food vouchers for the week between finals and commencement? It makes very little sense to me that Yale would provide us with housing, but not with meals. The most ridiculous part of this whole meal-less week is that some colleges provide their seniors with vouchers for three meals a day. The inequity — scandalous! Where are my meal vouchers? Granted, many seniors go out of town, but not for the whole twelve days between the end of exams and commencement. I’ve resorted to getting really big dinners, skipping breakfast, and eating my leftovers for lunch. But you know what? Maybe that’s just what adult life is all about. Eating leftovers on the couch, contemplating your future. 

I’m not sure if I can categorize this gripe as a senior thing. Possibly a senior Branfordian thing. But I feel like my senior status at this school, having spent a full(ish) four years here, is what has instilled this gripe in me.  One year, and I was in love. Three years, and I wasn’t as annoyed. Four, and I’m ready to cut my ears off, Van Gogh style. Yes, I’m talking about Harkness Tower. Specifically, the carillon inside. Initially, I was enamored by the bells. But when you spend eighty percent of your time within the confines of Branford and Harkness plays for two hours every day? It becomes a nuisance. Somehow, it always plays at precisely the worst times. I’ll be trying to read at the library, but be endlessly frustrated by the people whispering across from me. Then, after trying a few other locations, I’ll relocate to my room because I just need no distractions. No people, no talking, no nothing. And then, Harkness will start playing… All I want is to be able to read my books in silence. Don’t get me wrong — the tower is an architectural masterpiece that I love to gawk at every morning. But the bells? They can go. Justice for the sanity and ears of Branfordians!

Jacqueline Kaskel edits for the WKND desk. She is a junior in Branford College majoring in English Language and Literature.