After yesterday's long day of touring, hot weather, and late trains, it was very nice to be able to sleep in until 7:15. The only problem was that Adrianne and I needed to be down in the Lobby by 7:30. The two of us rushed got ready and to the Lobby, knowing that we would be late not matter what. What we didn't know, however, was that everyone was running late--we were even the first group downstairs!
When everyone had finally arrived downstairs, we quickly walked to the train station; stopping only to pick up our usual breakfast of bagels and beverages. After we finished buying our food, we boarded our train started towards our destination--New Haven, Connecticut's Yale University.
When we arrived by Yale I was impressed yet again. I was instantly captivated the school's grandeur architecture and landscaping--and I had only seen the Admissions Office. When we entered the Admission's Office, we meet with a familiar surprise.
Instead of beginning with an informative seminar like the other schools, the people of Yale University decided to grab our attention singing. Yes, singing. Through the collaboration and expertise of Yale's music, drama, technical departments Yale was able to produce a 15 minute musical to convey "That's Why [They] Chose Yale". Although the musical wasn't live, it had the same energy as if it were so. I had seen the video once before and I still find it as amazing as ever. With it's fantastic actors and vocalists, wonderful script, great editing, and catchy melodies the video was easily able to capture both the enthusiasm of the students and the essence of Yale. If you would like to watch the video yourself, you can do so here.
The video was then followed by our Yale's informative seminar. During the seminar, I learned that currently Yale has 5,200 undergraduates and 6,000 graduates. Students are given a large selection of courses to chose from, with over 2,000 course, with a student taking 4-5 classes per semester. However, while Yale has over 75 majors they do not offer any minor courses. The first two weeks into the semester students are allows to "shop around" for their courses. Meaning that they initially just sit in a class and witness what the class is like to help gauge their interest in the course. While Yale does not have a core curriculum, student must meet distribution requirements--meaning that all undergraduates are required to take courses that may have nothing to do with their major. For instance, while a biology major is taking their major-specific courses they are some point in their academic career required to take at least two mathematics courses as well. Due to Yale's wide selection of courses, students rarely have trouble completing their requirements before graduation. Instead of having traditional dorm rooms, Yale uses what they called "residential colleges" which serve as the students' living quarters for all four years. n total, there are 12 residence halls and they house about 400 undergraduates each. Students are randomly placed within their college, with no regard for the students major, extracurricular, or background. This is Yale's way of having their students reside diverse communities rather have students only mingle who are very similar to themselves. Residential colleges come accommodated with their own courtyards, game rooms, and common rooms.
After the informative seminar concluded, we met with Yohanna Pepa who is both a current Yale student and a former ILCer from Pinole Valley High School. Together with Yohanna we walked from the campus to Soul de Cuba--a local Cuban restaurant. When we arrived at the restaurant we met with two other Yale students, Lorenzo Labitigan and Chris Marnell. During lunch, we conversed with the students about their time at Yale, their application process, and why they chose Yale, although this time there was no singing.
With the end of lunch came the beginning of our tour, which was lead by Lorenzo. For the tour we explored one of the residential colleges, the dining hall, courtyard, as well as both the main and Beinecke libraries. When our tour ended, we said goodbye to our kind Yalies and returned to the train station and later the hotel.
On the way home, we encountered a quick change in plans. Instead of going to Bar Masa, which is an upscale Japanese sushi restaurant in NYC, we decided to take the rest of the night easy and go to a more causal restaurant for dinner. And so, after resting at the hotel for about an hour, we decided to go the cabaret the Stardust Restaurant.
Most, if not all, of the staff are aspiring singers and or actors. The gimmick of the Stardust Restaurant is that the waiter and waitresses take alternate between severing and entertaining their customers, in hopes that one day a producer may enter the restaurant and offer them a gig on Broadway. The staff at the Stardust are so amazingly talented that it's almost mind blowing, were even shown on one of the Square's television screen! Overall, I think that today was one of my favorite days of the trip.