So the past few posts have been kinda deep, revealing some of the hidden truths of my ever pondering and analytical psyche. I am also experiencing some very cool and tangible things during this Global Health Corps training at Yale. Let me break it down for you.
Expectations before arriving
Yale is one of those places that you grow up hearing about and is frequently depicted on television as one of the most be-all end-all places on earth. With architecture and student life echoing life at Oxford, Cambridge and, yes, Hogwarts, it has always seemed majestic to me. This image became strongly reinforced in my mind by none other than Rory Gilmore. As a 90s chick-flick oriented girl born and raised in suburban America, Gilmore Girls meant everything to me in the early 2000s and arguably still does today. So when Rory went to Yale, my vision of this beautiful place was crystallized.
Thankfully, many of these visions I had about Yale before arriving were supported by fact:
Today, Yale has matured into one of the world’s great universities. Its 11,000 students come from all fifty American states and from 108 countries. The 3,200-member faculty is a richly diverse group of men and women who are leaders in their respective fields. The central campus now covers 310 acres (125 hectares) stretching from the School of Nursing in downtown New Haven to tree-shaded residential neighborhoods around the Divinity School. Yale’s 260 buildings include contributions from distinguished architects of every period in its history. Styles range from New England Colonial to High Victorian Gothic, from Moorish Revival to contemporary. Yale’s buildings, towers, lawns, courtyards, walkways, gates, and arches comprise what one architecture critic has called “the most beautiful urban campus in America.” Yale’s West Campus, located 7 miles west of downtown New Haven on 136 acres, was acquired in 2007 and includes 1.6 million square feet of research, office, and warehouse space that provides opportunities to enhance the University’s medical and scientific research and other academic programs. The University also maintains over 600 acres (243 hectares) of athletic fields and natural preserves just a short bus ride from the center of town. (http://www.yale.edu/)
Needless to say, I had pretty high expectations.
My Yale experience
Even though it has only been (less than) 2 weeks, and even though I don’t actually go here, I feel like I have gotten a pretty good taste of the Yale experience. First of all, just breathing the air here makes me feel more intellectual. I feel like thats another interesting facet of my weirdly complex brain, but it is true. The architecture and campus dorms in addition to the really really green lush looking grass have caused me to frequently reminisce on my Summer 2011 Oxford days. Although the weather has been quite temperamental, ranging from cold to hot to rainy relatively quickly, the campus aura makes you feel like people here get shit done. As a huge advocate and practitioner of applied knowledge and research, I like the feeling of action that is present here. I would say that that feeling is a lot stronger and much more present at my alma mater, Georgia Tech, but as a world class, technical, STEM institution, you should expect nothing less than incredible action oriented all stars of all ages from around the world ( I love GT). However, I am impressed by the feeling of action that exists at Yale considering it is a liberal arts university, which in my biased, STEM trained mind translates to meaning primarily theory oriented.
For this Global Health Corps training, we have had pretty packed, yet engaging sessions everyday to help prepare and inspire us for the year ahead. We have had a host of incredible guest speakers including representatives from IDEO.org, the President of Echoing Green, one of the authors of Switch: How to Change things when Change is Needed, the president of the Black AIDS Institute, as well as a many other amazing and empowering people that seek to plant the seed of resilience in us as we embark on our global health journeys this year. Still Harbor sessions each day really help us dive deeper into our personal vulnerabilities to teach us about how to relate with others despite differences and how to overcome struggles when faced with adversity.
Additionally, we are living in Pierson College, which is beautiful and quaint. Walking distance from town (which includes an Urban and an American Apparel) with its own dining hall with actually exceptional dining hall food and their own work out and laundry facilities.
Today, Pierson College is the largest residential college at Yale with approximately 500 students. Pierson’s spacious courtyard, lined with red bricks and white columns, can take on many different functions, including makeshift sports arena, dance floor, and tanning station. Pierson and its unofficial rival, Davenport, share many wonderful basement facilities, including a three room and double level gym, a dance studio, a music room, a printing press, a basketball gym, and a movie theater. Pierson also has its own set of facilities, including a laundry room, two game rooms with pool, ping pong, and air hockey tables, a buttery, a kitchen, and a seminar room. (http://pierson.yalecollege.yale.edu/)
To top off my already incredible experience at Yale, I have to mention its location. A 6 minute Uber ride to the Metro North train station allows you to go from New Haven to the New York City center at Grand Central Station in a matter of hours. I experienced the New York trek with my new friend Reena for the 4th of July and her birthday! Arriving in the city with bags prepared to stay for the night, we were flexible with our schedules and got to see friends as well as explore the city.
For those of yall who know me, you know that I AM IN LOVE WITH NEW YORK CITY, which was evident during my Summer Public Health Scholars Program experience in 2013. Maybe it’s my suburban roots that make me so severely passionate about fully immersing myself in city life–more specifically, NYC city life– but I have known in my heart since I was an awkward, brace-face 16 year old that I would one day live there.
Time Square 2008 Time Square 2015
New York just makes me feel alive and inspired, so I love that New Haven is so accessible to the city of my dreams.
I also got to see my college homie, Justin (aka JAHAHA) who is working at a Coca-Cola distribution center in Hartford this summer. It was great to see him as he reminded me of home during this crazy time of change and transition.
Ultimately, as a southerner, I have told myself that I could only be cold–like a real winter and snow kind of cold– in NYC and possibly DC; regardless, Yale is so quaint and historic. It’s like a majestic getaway; the gem of new Haven and I have loved my experience here!