Recollections of Yale, across the decades. Send your own memories to be considered for posting to, with subject line “For Memories.”
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Home, sweet New Haven (May 1993)

Before I left home for Yale, one of my friends was giving me a very hard time about having to go to school in New Haven. Now, after a year and a half of living here, I tell him he doesn’t know what he’s missing.

An example: I’m walking down Chapel Street and recognize many of the people who pass. I say “hi” to a few and stop and talk to some others. I walk a few more blocks and am on a street where I don’t know anyone. How easy it is to be surrounded by your friends, and a few minutes later be able to get away without going very far.

And another: My roommates and I are up late studying, and we suddenly get a desire for a Diet Coke. We throw on our shoes, and ten minutes later are back at our books with a drink in our hands. It feels as if, in New Haven, life is totally centralized and convenient. If you want a slice of pizza, you’re bound to find one minutes from where you’re standing. If you need a grocery store, there will be one just as close. Somehow the positives of city life easily fit the positives of college life.

It’s a Saturday night, and we are trying to decide what to do. A movie? A show? A party? Which one(s)? A concert? The list of options goes on. A few weeks ago I saw one of my favorite rock groups in concert, and I got there in a five-minute walk. There are so many theaters in New Haven that I think you could see a show on or off campus every night of the week for a month. Up for a nice dinner? Just ask someone down the hall, and you will soon be listening to a long list of restaurants to try.

Living in New Haven, I feel as if I have gotten a much better sense of what it will be like to live in the outside world. Being in the city keeps Yale students exposed to the positives and negatives of urban life, and keeps us that much closer to reality.

I hear a lot about New Haven’s problems with crime and homelessness. But, for better or worse, I also realize that though I live in the city, I am not very exposed to such things. For me and the average Yale student, New Haven is Yale.

Last fall, I was sitting in front of the television with my parents in New Jersey. It was Thanksgiving break, and I was telling them how I couldn’t wait to go home—meaning, of course, back to Yale. I hope they weren’t insulted because, the truth is, I love New Haven, and I’m happy to call it my home.

Alissa MacMillan ’95 is a sophomore in Morse College. Her home away from Yale is in Princeton, New Jersey.

Filed under 1990s
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