Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Day at Hogwarts

More and more often, I find myself having a change of heart as I meet more people. My attitude toward Yale today was no exception. Just like the previous schools the cohort has visited,(MIT, Harvard, and Dartmouth so far) I knew Yale is an amazing school in its own way when we headed there this morning. Something unique from other schools informational undergraduate sessions was Yale's student forum session for example. It was an interactive panel with high school students asking two Yale students questions regarding anything about their experience at Yale. Their names were Mike and Stephanie and they were so informative about their lives at Yale. They managed to get me thinking about Yale, but I was not attracted to it because I couldn't imagine myself going to a school that was so perfect. They didn't mention anything bad about it which automatically made me think there was a catch. Come on, it's an Ivy League School but there is no way it can be so perfect! 
Yale Bulldogs!
Throughout the student forum, informational session, and campus tour, I was set on not liking the school. Of course, the study abroad program and gorgeous campus largely resembling Hogwarts made that difficult. I am trying to narrow down the universities I am interested in, but I am drawn to the liberal arts schools Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale like a moth to a flame. One thing that struck a chord with me at Yale was the sense of community, even though it was not a large school. Aside from that, I kept comparing Yale to Harvard to make finding a school to like easier for myself which I realized was a huge mistake when I started talking to students at Yale during dinner.
The interior of Beinecke Library.

Saybrook College's beautiful courtyard (surrounded by Hogwarts castle?).
Old Campus: a freshman's home.

For dinner, the cohort met up with ILC alumni and Yale juniors Austin Long and Genvieve Simmons along with other students Carie, Yasmine, Anthony, and Tony. Carie and Tony are pre-med students, Austin  is a Biology researcher this summer, and Genvieve is a cognitive and international relations student. I was next to Austin and Tony and across from Carie at dinner. They answered all my questions until I ran out and I connected really well with Austin. I was so happy he remembered me! Last winter break, he visited Pinole Valley and helped my debate team with our debating skills and he is also an old friend of my sister who graduated in class of '11. As the Yale students began talking to us about their school, I realized it was a unique school and I can't compare it to any other other schools. They are separate places all with amazing characteristics that I can be attracted to, but it should be for their own individual reasons. What I really like about Yale is its intimate feeling, but broad horizons. It is not a large campus population wise, but it still manages to allure me with its great social vibe, research opportunities for undergraduates, and history of the campus.

By the end of the dinner I had made a decision. I want to be in a school community that is balanced and is not a pressured or competitive environment. I think leaving the tour and college info sessions are no comparison to the insight a student offers. "The worst thing about Yale is having to leave Yale," said Austin Long. The crazy thing is that he was completely serious. The students genuinely love their school and they fit it perfectly. They are the ones that largely influenced my opinion about Yale. I realized I am too quick to judge a school and try to make up my mind about it in comparison to other schools. From now on, I need to have an open mind and realize that the right fit of a school for me will make itself known in time. Until then, I cannot determine a top school I want to go to because I want to explore each opportunity offered to me and do my best to find where I fit in the picture of that school, not questioning whether it is perfect or not. 
Austin, myself, and Tony

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