Saturday, July 20, 2013

You've Got Yale

I had the most sleep I've had on this trip last night, probably because we got to wake up later today. If I hadn't been adjusted to the time difference before, I definitely am now.

We drove to Connecticut, ate at Starbucks, and stopped to get gas. Ms. Neal had each of us estimate how much it would cost to fill up the tank, so I guessed $90, which ended up being exactly right. We drove on and scanned through the radio, stopping on the new Macklemore song (Same Love). The second time it came on, the front of the van (which may or may not have included me) sang the chorus together.

We neared Yale, and New Haven, Connecticut is definitely not as busy as Boston, which is something I like about Yale.

The Visitor Center at Yale

One of the many parks on campus

The bell tower at Yale, where students can sign up
to play everything from Lady Gaga to Disney music.

We went to Yale's Visitor Center, then the Yale University Art Gallery, where we checked out some modern art and art from different cultures.

We walked under this on our way to the art gallery, a perfect example of the beautiful structures near Yale

Ancient art, the first thing we checked out in the art gallery at Yale

The gallery had a pleasant layout

A helmet mask from Sierra Leone, made to represent
a male water creature that resembles a hippopotamus with ram horns.
It reminds me of Elia. (Just kidding, Elia.)

Some of the gallery's many interesting pieces

My favorite section
Sonya rudely interrupting my beautifully framed photograph. How dare she.

Reading about the pieces helped give me a better understanding of the artist's message. For example, the painting on the far left is about how a lot of people don't really interact with strangers these days, which is something I'm learning not to do in this program.

This was in the modern art section. I feel like it says so much by saying so little.
(Sorry guys, bad joke, you know I try.)

After the art gallery, we went back to the Visitor Center for our tour. We met Alissa, our tour guide. She is majoring in American Studies, and will be a senior at Yale.

We crossed our first street diagonally; in New Haven, you have to wait for the traffic to stop in both directions before you can cross, so when it does, you can do that without worrying about getting hit. Another fun fact about New Haven: it's America's first planned city, from way back when it used to be a British colony.

Nathan Hale was a Yale graduate (class of 1773) who volunteered to be America's first spy. There is a statue of him at Yale, built in 1914, in his memory. Unfortunately, he was caught. When he was to be hanged, his hands and feet were bound (as they are in the statue) and all he had with him were his Bible and his Yale diploma. Before he was hanged, he said famously, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," and those words circle his feet in the statue. The CIA has a replica of the Nathan Hale statue at its headquarters in Virginia. However, the statue is not actually modeled after Nathan Hale. No one knew what he looked like, so the artist made a statue of the most patriotic-looking student in the class of 1914.

The Nathan Hale statue at Yale

Theodore Dwight Woolsey was a president of Yale, and before every crew meet he attended, he used to hit the boat with his toe, and they won every meet he attended. There is a Woolsey statue at Yale, and people rub the statue's toe for good luck.

I rubbed the toe!

Branford college, a residential college at Yale

The different-colored roof tiles

The buildings in Branford college were built in the 1900s, but they look much older. The architect did that on purpose by putting the tiles (that are now on the roof) in the sand, so they would turn different colors, and by pouring acid on some of the stones. If you look closely, you'll notice that through careful breaking of the windows, some of the cracks in the windows are Y-shaped for Yale.

The grassy courtyard between two residential colleges

Saybrook college at Yale

Saybrook is another residential college; there are twelve of them at Yale. They each have a few hundred students who are sorted randomly into their college. Each residential college has a dean and a master, and masters host events to help students meet new people.

The Women's Table at Yale, designed by Maya Lin 

There were several anecdotes about the history of the features of the campus. Maya Lin, who designed the Women's Table above, was a student at Yale. She had presented a design for a Vietnam memorial to her professor and received a B+, but won the design competition (which her professor had entered) so her memorial was actually built.

Woodbridge Hall

In Woodbridge Hall, the Yale presidents have been given the smallest office, so that they won't want to spend much time in there; they'll want to spend time outside with their students.

The marble exterior of the Beinecke Library

At Beinecke library, the marble slabs that make up the walls are less than two inches thick, thin enough for light to be able to get in through them. The building's only glass windows are on the bottom floor.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
The central column
in the Beinecke Library

Yale has 13 million books in its libraries. Beinecke has the original copy of Paradise Lost, some books bound in human skin (eew!), and one of the world's eighteen Gutenberg Bibles (made with a moveable-type printer).

We didn't have an information session for Yale, but we did have lunch with a Yale graduate named Lauren. She told us about Yale, and colleges in general, explaining that she got into some Ivy League schools, but not a smaller school, because it wouldn't have fit her personality and study method. She said not to be disappointed if you don't get in somewhere, because it's often because you aren't the kind of person that goes to that college, so it can be a good thing that you don't get in. Lunch took place at a delicious pizza place called Bar (it's only an actual bar later at night), where we all tried mashed potato pizza, which was surprisingly delicious.

Lauren told us that residential colleges are really the heart of Yale. They group students together and form tight-knit communities rather than hoping students make friends on their own.

We drove back to Providence and stopped at the Brown University campus to pick up our required reading for before the program (ten whole pages of a packet, I don't know when I'll find the time) and the campus is lovely. I like it better than the campus at BU and Yale, but can't decide if I prefer Brown or the much less city-centered Wellesley or Brandeis.

When we got back to the hotel, I thought of a whole list of bad Yale puns, and finally picked You've Got Yale for my title, but here is a (shortened, yes, it was very long) list of honorable mentions:
• Yale Mix
• Yale and Female
• When it rains, it Yales

I'm definitely thinking about Yale: I'm very impressed with it as a school, but without an information session, I don't know enough about it to be able to see myself actually going there yet. I'm learning a lot about what I do and don't like in a campus environment, and I know that once my Women and Leadership class starts, I'll be learning even more about myself. 
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