Recollections of Yale, across the decades. Send your own memories to be considered for posting to, with subject line “For Memories.”
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Booking the big one (Summer 1999)

For the last three years I have watched other Yalies graduate. From an outsider’s perspective, Commencement looked like a happy weekend that served as the culminating experience of a four-year career full of great friendships, lots of work, and very little sleep. From the viewpoint of a recent graduate, I now realize that the weekend presents a maze of hurdles and scheduling nightmares that makes the previous four years look like a walk in the park.

To begin with, in order to ensure that everyone coming to see you graduate has a hotel room to sleep in, the planning for graduation weekend has to begin at least one year prior to the big moment. Unfortunately, my girlfriend was busy last year during the one hour it takes for all the hotel rooms in New Haven to be reserved for the coming graduation, which meant that her parents had nowhere to stay.

Envisioning myself as a valiant knight riding to her rescue, I managed to call around and find rooms for her. Everyone was happy and I was a hero—things could not have worked out better. Five months later, I discovered that for the first time in several years, Yale was not holding Commencement on Memorial Day—and that I had made the reservations for the wrong weekend. After mulling over my options, which included explaining to her parents that they were welcome to the couch in my living room, I decided to panic. I spent so much time making frantic phone calls instead of studying that my own graduation appeared to be in doubt. Finally, my roommate, whose mother had booked hotel rooms for 30 relatives for graduation at both Yale and Princeton four years ago (before he decided which school he would attend), let me have two rooms his extended family was not using—one for my girlfriend’s parents and one for my family, since in my zeal to help my girlfriend so many months ago, I had forgotten that my own mother needed a room.

In order to complicate things further, my close friends and I thought it would be nice to have our own graduation reception. While the party itself turned out to be a huge success, finding a time that was mutually convenient for everyone involved proved far more logistically vexing than anything a humanities major should have to face. After much discussion, we decided on a time that overlapped the President's reception for graduating seniors and their families by an hour. I was told by those who attended both that our party had better food.

As the son of a Yale graduate and a newly minted alum, it would be nice, someday, to see one of my children follow the Blue path. I just hope it will be easier to get a hotel room in New Haven by then.

Sandy Christopher ’99, a frequent contributor to this column for the past three years, is on his way to Japan to teach English.

Filed under Commencement, Yalie parents, 1990s
The comment period has expired.