First days at Yale

Newly arrived students talk about their initial impressions.

Interviews conducted, condensed, and edited by Cathy Shufro

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Imani Butler ’20
Queens, NY
Jonathan Edwards College

Did you take part in a pre-orientation program?

Yes, Cultural Connections. The advice I got there was that you should feel free to explore in your freshman year. There’s not a way you can irretrievably mess up. Another piece of advice is not to expect to feel at home right away and not to get scared. So there’s much less pressure to acclimate. And one of the classes that they totally recommended was Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. So I’m shopping [Introduction to] Ethnicity, Race, and Migration.

What else is on your course schedule?

I’m taking Intro to Microeconomics. I’m not a math person, and I think economics is much more practical math.

Has anything surprised you so far?

Probably the fact that I’ve made a lot of friends already that I expect to be friends with for a long period of time. I don’t think I was expecting to feel so comfortable, so soon.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Ryan Matteo ’20
St. Louis, MO
Davenport College

Where are your suitemates from?

Alabama, Connecticut, South Africa, and Florida. A lot of diversity.

Did you go to a pre-orientation program for freshmen?

I’m on the soccer team, and we had two weeks of practice.

Did you make friends with your teammates?

Yes: you’re with the same 27 guys for 15 hours
a day. Now I only see them a couple of hours a day.

How will you get to know people who aren’t on the team?

When you have the FroCo [freshman counselor] groups, it makes it a lot easier. The residential college system is nice because it’s a smaller community. We all met outside Welch Hall [a freshman dorm], and we walked over to Davenport together for meetings.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Meiqi Yang ’17MS
Beijing, China
Graduate School, Computer Science

What’s your impression of New Haven?

I really love the buildings here. It’s like a castle. The university is very, very beautiful.

What do you miss from home?

All sorts of Chinese food, like kung pao chicken and stewed pork with potato and crystallized jelly. It’s a traditional dish from my hometown, Shenyang, in the northeast of China.

Why did you choose to come to the US for your graduate work?

I think the IT industry in America is developing better and it’s easier to find a job here.

If you had your ideal job, what would it be?

At some IT company and do programming, maybe in databases or user interface.

What will you do for fun while you’re here?

I want to do Latin dance or belly dance.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Chase Wilson ’18MFA
Berkeley, CA
School of Art

What is your medium?

Painting. I just got my studio yesterday.

Why did you decide to do an MFA?

One of the biggest things is seeing how people manage their spaces and manage their workflow and what art means to them—to be in a community with a lot of people sharing deadlines, facilities, pressures. [And] to work in a new space: I’ve worked in a garage for the last four years with the same kind of dust and the same smells.

Would you like to try anything new?

I want to do printmaking, making clothes, maybe some animation, but I get too ambitious. It’s only two years. I might just get sort of battened down. I might just get focused on making paintings.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Sara Tridenti ’19
Derry, NH
Ezra Stiles College

Are you a freshman?

I’m a sophomore transfer student from WPI [Worcester Polytechnic Institute].

Why did you come to Yale?

[At WPI], pretty much every student is studying some permutation of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]. Whereas, here, you can pretty much be studying anything. And you’re among so many students, with much more diverse interests, that it really does make for much better discussions.

And what do you plan to study?

I’m thinking of doing a double major here—chemistry as well as the history of science, medicine, and public health.

Why combine those two?

I love chemistry as a subject, but I’m not necessarily looking to go into lab work right now. I’m more interested in how chemistry overlaps with society. I’m looking into going into policy work.

What might you do for fun?

I’m really interested in the sketch comedy groups.

What has surprised you in the four days that you’ve been here?

The other day someone asked me where home was, and I responded [with] my dorm room and number. To already consider Yale as home really speaks to the community here.

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