First Days at Yale


First-years talk about their first impressions.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Kwabena Boateng, Las Vegas, NV View full image

Kwabena Boateng
Las Vegas, NV
Pierson College

Did you visit Yale before you matriculated?

The first time I visited Yale was with my uncle [Joseph Mensah '79]. He wanted me to see his alma mater. I like to say I was pre-Yale since second grade. I always wanted to be a Bulldog.


[My uncle] instilled in me that Yale is a place where you go in with a blank slate and come out with new passions and newly honed skills. As soon as I got here, I had that open mind that I can major in anything, I can do whatever I want. The professors I've met and the classes I've shopped so far have inspired me to look at all the academic and extracurricular opportunities that Yale has to offer.


Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Jennifer Belliveau, Pittsburgh, PA View full image

Jennifer Belliveau

Pittsburgh, PA
School of Management

What brought you to SOM?

I'm sort of a nontraditional business student. I don't come from finance or consulting or marketing backgrounds. I've been in the nonprofit field since I graduated from college. I think there's a lack of business know-how in the nonprofit field generally.

What are your impressions of New Haven?

I think New Haven is charming. I'm living downtown, which I love. I am a foodie, so the restaurant scene here is a pleasant surprise, considering it's a relatively small city. I love that it's walkable. I almost never have to get in my car or on the bus.


Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Landry Deuboue, Yaounde, Cameroon View full image

Landry Deuboue

Yaounde, Cameroon
School of Nursing

What did you do before you came back to school?

I used to be an industrial engineer.

What made you change professions?

One of those things you think about for a very, very long time. One day I said, "OK, I've got to do it." Of course, some events happened in my life that gave me that courage to move toward that.

What gave you that courage?

I went back to Africa and I encountered a situation where the health-care professional there didn't have that much help. I decided to help him. While I was helping him, I realized it was something I really could do. The two days I spent with him really gave me that confidence.

It really opened my eyes. My evaluation of what people needed at the time was wrong. They needed a health-care professional, not a guy who was going to help them build their house differently.


Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Ayesha Muhammad, Karachi, Pakistan View full image

Ayesha Muhammad

Karachi, Pakistan
Branford College


You pronounce it EYE-shuh. It's actually the name of one of our Prophet's wives, and I think it roughly translates to "someone really smart," which I doubt.

The exact translation is "someone who can get into Yale."

No, no, I still think I'm an admissions mistake.

My experience is that everyone thinks they are a slip in the admissions process.

I talked to my froco [freshman counselor], and she was, like, everyone . . .

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Matthew Browning, Iowa City, IA View full image

Matthew Browning

Iowa City, IA
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

What have you been doing for the last few years?

I was a state park ranger for three years, and before that I was teaching middle-school science.

What will you be studying at the environment school?

I'll be getting my master's. I'm hoping to do for my thesis a study of how to begin to manage for unstructured children's play on public lands. How to environmentally and socially sustainably get agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and maybe city parks to open up parts of their public land for building tree houses, and damming streams, and stuff that I did growing up on private land but it seems like kids don't really have the opportunity to do nowadays.

How did you get interested in children's play?

Well, when I was a park ranger I had to discourage many forms of play, since they were against the rules.

Do you think if you let children take part in that kind of play, they'll become advocates for conservation?

Yeah, there's quite a bit of research saying that any sort of outdoor activity in nature as a child builds environmental awareness and stewardship later in life.


Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

Bianca Rey, New York, NY View full image

Bianca Rey

New York, NY
Berkeley College

Has anything surprised you since you got here?

I shouldn't have been surprised, but once I walked into the undergraduate activities bazaar, I was just overwhelmed with people trying to get me to rush their particular groups and their particular activities, and I kind of realized I was at Yale.

Did your parents give you any advice?

My parents didn't really have the college experience, so they weren't quite sure what to tell me. My mother kept saying how pretty everything is and my father just kept saying, "Well, don't let it go to your head." And he's right, of course.  


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