Saturday, July 20, 2013

Those in Favor of Yale, Say "Yay!"

Today we ate a good breakfast at Starbucks, and I finally got some coffee! I felt really energized afterwards.
Modern art illustrating World War Two

European art.

We drove for about two hours into Connecticut to see Yale, but first we stopped at the Yale University Art Gallery. Seeing the museum was definitely my favorite part of the day. Each floor has a different theme. The art that we saw consisted of European, African, Asian, Indo-Pacific, and Modern. I think my favorite section was the European art, because most of the paintings were very realistic, and it was easier for me to understand the story the artist was trying to get across. When I first saw the modern art, I immediately thought, "I don't get this. This is weird." But then looked more closely at the paintings and sculptures, and realized that modern art is more about symbolism, rather than realism. I ended up enjoying most of the Modern art section as well, even though I couldn't understand the meaning of the works as wholes like I had been able to with the European art. Lauren, a Yale graduate who had accompanied us on our visit to the museum, also mentioned that there was a British art museum. I really wanted to take a look at it, but we didn't have enough time.
More art
After the museum, we headed over a few blocks to the Visitor's Center to begin our tour of Yale.
Modern art painting

I loved this display

African art

Her face alone tells the story

We walked into the dorm area, where we learned that the student housing at Yale is, "residential housing," meaning that students are always guaranteed a place to live on campus. There are twelve dorms altogether, each of which have a Dean who lives in building with students, and is invested in the students' lives. A Master also lives near the students in the dorm, and is basically a, "social well being insurer." The Master also hosts events, and organizes tea dates for students to meet with people famous in their fields, such as Morgan Freeman. Residential housing is something I would like, and I think it really gives a sense of community to the school, especially because there are professors who are so invested in the students. 

We walked into the Branford college student housing, which was intentionally made to look older and aged so it would fit in with the rest of the school, even though it was built in the 1930s. The architect poured acid over the outer walls to artificially age the bricks, and even broke windows and had them replaced with different glass. 

We walked past a vast green field that was scattered with people having picnics. Our tour guide informed us that the big beautiful field used to be a burial ground back in the 1800s, and that there are still bodies under the ground! It was a bit morbid to think that all those people were sitting right on top of skeletons.
It's so green here!
While walking, we learned a lot about the history of the school. It used to be called the Collegiate School, but when a man named Yale donated a large sum of money and supplies to the school, it was renamed Yale. Apparently a man named Dumber also sponsored the school, and was invested in seeing it grow bigger and better. Good thing Yale donated more... I don't really like the sound of, "Dumber College."
A beautiful ceiling outside of Yale Law

As we continued our tour, I noticed a statue of a man whose feet and hands were bound by ropes. This man was Nathan Hale, the first US spy who was caught and sentenced to death during the Civil War. On the day of his hanging, the only things Hale carried were his Bible, and his Yale diploma. When the CIA was founded, they requested that Yale give them the statue of Hale. When Yale refused, CIA operatives snuck over the side of the gate and took a mold of the statue! Little did anyone know, the statue was not actually a statue of Nathan Hale. When the sculptor set out to work on the sculpture in 1914, he realized that no one actually knew what Hale had looked like. In response, he had all the men from the class of 1914 line up in a straight line and pose. He then chose the, "most patriotic" of the men. "The jokes on the CIA!" Exclaimed our tour guide. But honestly, I feel like maybe the CIA should own the statue. Hale was a spy, after all. All he did was attend Yale, and because he is known for being so patriotic, I think the CIA should have rightful ownership of the statue. However, since Yale made the statue and has owned it for so long, perhaps the school should deserve the ownership of the statue. At least they both have one!
So much culture!
We then saw a statue of a stern-looking man whose body was copper, but whose right toe was a dull, faded color. We learned this was Theodore Dwight Wolsey, the creator of the old campus at Yale. He would supposedly attend the Yale boat races and kick the boats with his toe for good luck, and each time he did this, Yale would win. Now any time a student wants good luck, they rub Wolsey's toe. I wasn't sure if his toe was intentionally made a different color, or if it had faded from all the people touching it.

We then walked past a small fountain called "the women's table," which commemorates women on attending Yale. Created by Maya Lin, the women's table annually writes the number of women attending Yale. Eventually they might run out of space, but luckily Maya Lin is still around to help them figure out what to do next.
A gate

Wolsey Hall, easily the nicest building we saw today, has a Halloween silent film festival in which the band plays live. I've never made, or thought about making, a silent film before, but I think this would be an excellent opportunity to do so.

While standing outside of Wolsey Hall, our tour guide informed us that the Yale President is extremely involved in student affairs, and often comes to hockey games and band concerts. I thought the fact that the President of the school is so thoughtful was really interesting. Yale is the perfect size for an administrator or professor to reach out to students in that way.

We then went into the library. The walls are made of a material that makes them translucent during the day, but do not allow harmful UV rays to penetrate the building and ruin the books. There was a large glass rectangle that enclosed thousands upon thousands of rare books that are available to students. I would love to read a book from many years ago, particularly the World War Two years, as that is a period in which I am very interested.
The library! So many books!

Overall, I really liked Yale. I thought the campus was beautiful and was a perfect combination of suburban and city lives. I loved the fact that residential housing is always available at Yale, and I like the sense of community that is present at Yale. However, I didn't feel like I learned very much about the actual school on the tour. I definitely learned lots of interesting facts about the history of Yale, but I don't think that they were necessarily relevant to my wanting to go there. I expected the tour to be more like the other tours, and discuss the different classes, class sizes, and other important details that would determine whether or not I were to apply. The history of the school was entertaining and thought-provoking, but it won't help me decide whether or not I want to attend Yale.

On the way back, we stopped at Brown to get our course books. The campus is amazing. I only got to see little snippets of it, but from what I saw, I really like. It was very urban, yet at the same time, still suburban. The buildings that I saw were really beautiful, and I can't wait to go tomorrow!
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