APA Blog Contest Series: “Take Nine” by Peter Lu

Bart Simpson has 9 spikes of hair. A full moon is nine times brighter than a half moon. The following nine pieces of wisdom are what I wish I knew coming into Yale (arranged in order of importance).

1. Talk to your professors. As a rising senior looking for intellectual stimulation and, uh, letters of recommendation, I’ve realized that my professors are the University’s biggest asset. It took me 2 years to approach professors, that, while distant-seeming, are willing to talk to you about anything (even if you sound stupid trying to describe something). I can’t emphasize this point enough. Office hours. Go.

2. Take graduate school classes. Forestry school classes (you learn about fire, water, global warming) and SOM classes (MGT 562 is Intro to Psych for professionals) are bomb. Plus, there are classes like Tropical Forest Botany, Plate Tectonics, etc etc that will pay for you to travel during Spring Break. Find these treasures.

3. Have fun with your extracurriculars. This is SO important for your well-being. Every Yalie wants to leave a legacy with their activities, but you’ll soon realize that outside the bubble of Yale, they don’t *really* matter. Take it as training to sharpen your organizational skills. So have fun with it—don’t beat yourself over failing once or twice, and make sure that you get to know and enjoy the people on your board. Trust me on this.

4. [for the guys] Ask a girl out on a date. Seriously—despite the menacing, bottomless fear of rejection we’re evolutionarily endowed with, having a ‘casual dates’ mindset is the only (and I mean only) surefire way to improve your love life. Girls, apparently, like going on dates too. So ask away—dining hall, ice cream, a play—just do it.

5. Switch up your study locations. http://www.midnightatyale.com/2009/11/by-dung-la-december-2-2009-i-am-hermit.html

6. Play intramurals. Yale will likely be the only place where you’ll be ensconced in the competitive spirit of intramurals day in and day out, so take up a sport and meet some new people in your college. C Hoops was the highlight of my year this semester.

7. Create ambiance. If you’re going to be at Yale for 8 months, coming home to peace, calm, and friendship does tons to your psyche. To that extent, go to IKEA and buy the ORGEL VRETEN lamp. You won’t be disappointed ($20).

8. Buy/bring a ‘wow’ piece for your room. A bit different from the above point, but important. I had a hammock for an entire semester that was fully functional. A neighboring suite had road signs plastered everywhere. Another photocopied the face of every person that walked into the room and put them on the wall. It’s never bad to add some personal flair.

9. Learn how to accessorize. Coming from the West Coast, it took me 2 years to learn how to deck myself out in puffy jackets, beanies, scarves, bandanas, and flannel. Don’t let it take you that long.

10. Probably most importantly, engage with your peers. There are 5000 people within walking distance from where you are sitting. Don’t let all this potential human connection go to waste. Take the small steps: working on unimportant things in Bass/college common room, go to social events even when you don’t feel like it, and embrace spontaneity.

If you’re reading this as a pre-frosh, freshman, or sophomore, thank your lucky stars you have multiple years ahead of you at the best college in the world. Upperclassmen, feel free to share any of your personal tips on living.

In solidarity,

Peter Lu

3 thoughts on “APA Blog Contest Series: “Take Nine” by Peter Lu

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