Yale and Back Again

This morning I woke up early - earlier than the morning before, that is. It's was around nine o'clock when we left our hotel, I believe, and the first place we went in New Haven was a visitors' center.
Let me stop you right there, for a moment. Did you notice that I wrote visitors' center - emphasis on the apostrophe? In all liklihood, the apostrophe was absent from any signs for the place; I certainly don't remember one. To some extent I question myself as to my usage, but a googling of "visitors center" brings up a crop of variations, from visitors' to visitor's to visitors. Now the question is, which is correct? This is indeed a free country, and I acknowledge that even the Ketchikan International Airport should have no legal obligation to change its disgrace of a sign pointing out the "ferrys." But fellow Americans, I ask you: How can you tolerate such inconsistency? Anyways, that's probably enough on that.

Picking up a map and a bit of advice from the visitors' center, we then drove to the undergraduate admissions office, where my dad and I talked a bit to an officer (and turned in my official card to stay on the wait list) and we got some more info on parking, food, and other things. Parking followed - free, amazingly - and then muffins came (after we walked to where they were and bought them).

After breakfast we returned to the admissions office and began a tour. Apparently, only three of the couple dozen people in the group were from west of the Mississippi. At the time I wondered who the other person must have been, but now I realize the tour guide was probably counting herself. (She said she was Californian.) It also seems the majority, if not all of the other kids in the group, were not seniors. This makes sense, considering that there were special events going on for accepted pre-freshman, but to some extent it seemed strange to me that so many kids would be visiting colleges so early. Obviously I have a much different understanding of such things than some families in the east, but oh well. I realized today that a good way to describe the colleges I applied to was that they were the ones I "fell into." I guess that's just how it is for us isolated Alaskans.

The tour lasted an hour and was quite interesting. It was different than the Princeton tour though, not least because there was a lot more walking involved. Princeton hardly even has roads going through the campus, and everything is very much connected. Yale... not so much. New Haven is an actual big city, and the college is made up of a whole spread of  city blocks divided by an intricate maze of annoying one-way streets. There's no way I would be unable to deal with the environment at Yale, but I think the nature of the campus is the essential difference between Yale and Princeton, and of the city and small-town settings, it's no wonder I prefer the latter.

After the tour, my dad and I wandered a bit before going to the Yale bookstore, and then we went to a class at one o'clock. I had gotten a list of selected classes of very limited scope, but of those on the list we decided to visit "Ancient Civilizations of the Andes" we went to the place and were there several minutes early - and then the professor began the last class of the semester in the course "Portuguese Literature." About twenty minutes into the class I finally realized that "Ancient Civilizations of the Andes" had the letters TTh by it - but all in all I think it was a very good thing to have ended up in a class I never would have thought to see.

During the course of the class, I realized that it was no stretch for me to think I could major in something to do with language or literature. In reality, I could major in a lot of different things at a liberal arts college. To a large extent, it doesn't even matter that much. A major in linguistics could be just as relevant my future as political science, or history, or English, or even some major of which I haven't even heard. All in all, it's just learning. I'd say there are many paths to enlightenment. Most of them probably don't even go through college.

After class, I got some Mexican food from a vendor while my dad went Indian on the other side of the street. Then we drove to Philadelphia, where we met up with a friend who was a class ahead of me at Kayhi. She's going to UPenn, and she had quite a bit of insight into east coast college things - especially from a Ketchikan perspective. My decision of where I'm going to college is basically a conflict between two ideas: the first is that I should avoid sinking myself into debt to get my undergraduate degree, and the second is that, if it's a presitigious quality program, that's worth it. Our visit in Philadelphia shored up the latter side just a little bit more from me. Although my parents also say that it would be ok for me to go into debt, the conflict is still there. By May Day I'll have to be resigned either to the possibility that I might regret not aiming higher, or that I might regret being set back financially from the outset of my adulthood (and affecting my family financially). Seeing these two DC colleges should definitely help in the decision. At least, it had better.

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