Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Tale of Yale

I know that many American Presidents are alumni of Yale University.  This fact seems to give Yale a certain gravitas. I could imagine the thousands of students from the 1920’s to the present who have sat in groups on the manicured lawns studying together.  Many have contributed greatly in one way or another to the United States or the entire World.
The clock tower at Yale
Lauren, an alumna of Yale, took us to Yale's art gallery before our tour. I have been to many art galleries, but
I found this one to be my favorite because the paintings were more realistic; I like paintings that look like photographs. I recognized one of Van Gogh's paintings by the way the shining light was depicted. The painting was of a poolroom and the light around the ceiling light in the picture was identical to that in Starry Night. 

I was also able to ask Lauren about Skull and Bones, and she pointed out their congregation tomb so that I could take photos. I was interested in what she knew about the secret society because of its infamous and secretive reputation. She told me that most seniors are affiliated with a society. I was unaware that there are multiple secret societies at Yale and that it is a part of the university's tradition to be a member of one during your senior year. She mentioned that you are chosen by someone wearing a mask and a cloak. This is an interesting tradition but it is not usually disclosed because they are "secret societies".

The Skull and Bones tomb
I imagined Yale to be a more consolidated campus, but it partially reminds me of Boston University. Although I discovered that the residential college buildings were built in the 1920s, the campus has an 18th century facade. The campus reminded me of Hogwarts. The campus is so grand with its arches, tunnels, and carved images on the side of walls. Our tour guide, Alyssa talked more about the generalities of the campus but did not elaborate on the courses offered at Yale. I guess the tour inadvertently encourages us to conduct more research on their campus. Despite the absence of course descriptions in the tour, I thought it was great! 


Our tour primarily focused on the history of the campus. Nathan Hale, America's first spy, stayed at Connecticut Hall. There is a statue dedicated to his patriotism outside of the hall. Before he was killed his last words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Similarly a statue is dedicated to Theodore Woolsey, Yale's first president. Scientific research has been conducted and proves that his toe is lucky since it is "responsible" for all of the winning games at crew competitions. The tip of the statue's shoe is bright gold since students believe they are granted good luck if they rub it. The residential colleges also have an interesting background that is correlated with their architecture. They look as old as the original buildings on campus, but they were built in the 20th century. They developed this appearance because the architect doused the walls with acid.  I felt fooled by the campus since I was completely incorrect about the age of the residential colleges.


Rubbing Theodore Woolsey's toe for good luck!
Alyssa, the tour guide and a junior who is majoring in American Studies, did elaborate on student life at Yale. Freshmen stay at the Old Campus (the statute of Nathan Hale is on the Old Campus). After freshman year, you move to residential colleges. Residential colleges are community oriented and each one has a master and a dean. The masters are the overseers of the social well-being of its students while the dean monitors the anything associated with academics. Both the dean and the master stay on campus with their families. This set-up creates close ties between students and faculty members.


Residential College 
In the afternoon we unanimously voted on eating pizza since it was first created in New Haven. Lauren told us how each college has a representative in each region all across the nation. The representatives are the people who read the application that you submit. She also said that you should never have your heart set on one specific school because there is a possibility of not getting accepted. Her advice was invaluable since this is common among students. When I was younger, I was only interested in Stanford and U.C. Berkeley. It is best to choose your desired college after you have been accepted. Once I get accepted into a college, I can adore a specific college in its entirety.

When we were back in Providence, we went to Brown to pick up our homework, and I immediately became nervous and excited. Although we were only at Brown for a maximum of twenty-minutes, I became mesmerized with the campus. I only have a slight idea of what to expect, but I know my experience will be great.
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