Monday, April 26, 2010

Yale Revisited: Bulldog Days 2010

When Dean of Yale College, Mary Miller, told us Class of 2014 admits to stop pinching ourselves in her welcome address at Bulldog Days, I reluctantly took her advice to alleviate my prolonged shock and to compliment my immense gratefulness of being accepted at Yale. Last summer, the Ivy League Connection sent me off to Yale's Ivy Scholars' Program and I fell in love with the university itself and its campus. I have dreamt of attending Yale ever since. In fall, I worked hard to present myself to the best of my ability in my college application. Eager to become a bulldog, I applied early action to Yale, but to my dismay, I was deferred. I had to wait until April 1st to receive my final status as an applicant. During these past three months, I mentally prepared myself to be okay with being rejected from my top choice college. However, to my surprise and incredible delight, I was accepted. I submitted my intent to register without hesitation. Going to New Haven for Bulldog Days and experiencing life as a Yalie has more than justified my decision to accept Yale's generous offer. Not to mention, those who have raised me for the past seventeen years of my life, my parents, were given the opportunity of experiencing the environment of where their daughter would be spending the next four years of her life. Now, I will do my best to explain the three days I spent sampling the life of a Yalie, otherwise known as Bulldog Days.

Many I know assume that students at Yale are all snobbish people. However, actually being submerged in the student body proved this assumption wrong to me. In fact, it felt like the opposite: I found nearly all the Yalies I met to be amiable, approachable, and helpful. If I was lost or confused about a class I was going to or just had a random question, I felt comfortable to ask help from any student walking past me. Whenever I did this, the student or students I asked did all they could to help me, whether it meant answering my question in great depth, or physically walking with me to my destination. On an even more personal level, my hosts, who were four freshmen whom I shared a suite (a two bedroom complex with a living room, a typical Yale dorm) in Timothy Dwight college, went out of their way to assist the six of us that stayed with them. One of my hosts let me sleep on her futon, and another one of my hosts organized a list of all four of their classes so us six could go sit in their class if we were interested in a particular subject. I accompanied one of my hosts to two of her Directed Studies classes, and afterwards she even treated me to Lithuanian coffee cake off-campus and she refused to accept me paying her back for it.

Directed Studies leads me into the academic aspect of Yale. At Bulldog Days, us pre-frosh were allowed, encouraged rather, to sit in classes we were interested in. The first day I was at Yale, I sat in an intro to macroeconomics lecture. The classes that impacted me most, however, were the Directed Studies classes. Prior to coming to Yale, I had read about their Directed Studies program, a freshman program that focused on Western thought through studying literature, philosophy, and history. It is one of the most intense programs at Yale, sometimes referred to as "directed suicide," so initially I told myself I would never join Directed Studies. However, I talked to many students about it when I was at Yale, and I actually began to believe that I just might be interested in the program. After going with my host to her DS seminars, I was completely sold on DS. Yes, sure it is a lot of work--one must read three books such as The Illiad, The Republic, or The Peloppennesian War every week and write a paper of one of the three subjects weekly as well--but I have been interested in Western thought since I was young, a huge reason why I was attracted to Columbia's core curriculum, but I realized that Yale's rigorous liberal arts program would be the perfect academic immersion for me. The program consists of two seminars and a lecture for each of the three courses every week. I love the seminars; about fifteen students sit around a table and discuss the readings with their fellow peers and a very brilliant professor (many of Yale's most distinguished faculty teach DS). Bulldog Days have already influenced my classes this fall--I plan on applying to their DS program.

Now, another big part of Bulldog Days was extracurricular activities. I was exposed to their music groups, cultural groups, dancing groups, singing groups, and debating societies. Through their meticulously planned out agenda (32 pages long!) I could experience a bit of each club or group that I was interested in. Now, I am looking forward to joining Yale's Concert Band or Jazz Ensemble, and possibly even trying out for the Yale debate team, which is ranked number one in the U.S. and number three in the world.

Bulldog Days not only gave me a taste of Yale, it has given me the best picture of how dynamic the next four years of my life will be before I can actually experience them. I am so grateful to the Ivy League Connection for making this experience possible by making it more affordable for me and my family.

In front of the School of Drama

With Yale Dean of Admissions, Jeffrey Brenzel

With my awesome Northern California Admissions Officer, Alex Richardson

With my mom at BDD farewell pizza party


Old Campus with Harkness Tower in the background

More pizza party madness

In front of Yale Repertory Theatre


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Yohanna for the opportunity for all of us to share in your joy. I loved your comments and appreciate the pictures. I just am wondering where is dad!

    Just joking, I am sure that everyone had a great time and I know that Yale will be a place where your talents will be challenged for the good.

    The Ivy League Connection opened your eyes to all that exists in education circles. The experience from your written words was a life altering experience. This is what we wanted you to have from being in this program. I am glad that it left an impression on you.

    When you finish your freshman year at Yale we would value you writing another post detailing what you learned and what students should expect once they leave high school.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience with the team.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District