Prefrosh

Hey Prefrosh! Hope you’re all doing well in the college admissions process – we know what a crazy time that can be! We hope the APA Blog can help you out a little bit when picking colleges (although we secretly know you’ll choose Yale because it’s that awesome.)

What exactly is the APA Blog? It stands for Asian Pacific American Blog, which was created by the Asian American Students Alliance (AASA) at Yale to connect the Asian American community at Yale online and provide a forum for Asian American issues. We blog about anything and everything – Yale, politics, food, culture, even Asian American hip hop! Feel free to browse around and comment … and submit your own content if you’re up to it! (Just email submissions to apablog10@gmail.com to see your stuff posted on the Web!)

And if you have any questions about Yale, college, or just life in general, shoot us an email at apablog10@gmail.com! We’re chill, friendly people who love talking to prefrosh ;)

A Day in the Life...

Calling all Prefrosh! My name is Matthew Tran and I am a freshman in Davenport, which is obviously the best residential college on campus. YDN says so. Even look at freshman Olympics last weekend. What better way to end Freshman Olympics than to OWN EVERY OTHER COLLEGE AND TO TOTALLY HUMILIATE PIERSON BY STEALING THEIR FLAG (we got DQed, but that’s I could go on). Oh I’m sorry you wanted to know about my life? Sorry I thought it was time for FACTS. Davenport greatness aside let me welcome you child-ren into a(n) (a)typical day of a Yalie.

7:00 A.M. Waking up in the morning… I go back to sleep

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Dearest Yale Prefrosh of 2015

Dearest Yale Pre-frosh of the class of 2015,

As you walk around Yale’s campus today and meet some of the undergraduates who define campus-life here, you should find solace in the fact that we were all in your shoes once.

Many of us struggled to figure out whether Yale was right for us, whether the experiences that this campus offered would enable us to mature and grow over the next four, crucial years. We thought about the residential college system, the professors, the majors, the alumni, the support-network and the risks associated with New Haven. Although I was in your shoes exactly four years ago, which seems like forever-ago, I am sure that these same issues are floating around in your mind today.

This blog post is my attempt to help you make that college decision, but it has little to do with Yale, except for my one digression about the risks associated with New Haven. If this New Haven’s crime rate issue is an important factor to you, then your decision has already been made. If you are too scared to live in a city that mind you, is like most cities in America, where you are required to take precaution against street crimes—then New Haven is not for you and neither is Yale.

For those who are still considering Yale despite its location, I hope to offer some general advice.

There is this general wisdom of “following your heart” that has probably reached your ears by now. This wisdom probably told you that these issues like student life, academics, and networks are not going to help you decide. The logic goes, if you are unsure of whether to go to Yale or another school, then you are probably facing a choice between two schools of equally high quality, schools that can boast equally great statistics and anecdotes on student life, academics, and networks. As a result, if you want to decide on your college, you just have to wait for that quintessential moment of clarity when a school just “feels right.” That is when you will know.

This is nonsense.

You should be approaching this college decision with strategic questions and honesty, instead of waiting for an A-ha moment to hit you. This is the time to be honest with yourself about who you are, what is important to you and what your interests are. You should be asking yourself a lot of questions. What kind of weather and culture do you thrive in? What kind of social circles do you prefer? What kind of people can you just not stand? Most important of all, seek out those upperclassmen, professors, advisors, and programs that are related to your interests and judge them. Visit each campus. Seek out the communities on those campuses that are the hubs of your interests. You will spend the next four years incubating in these hubs. Their quality and fit should be the tipping point of your college decision.

You can find solace in the fact that we have all survived the decision you are about to make, but I am not going to lie to you: the pressure’s on. I just hope you will find your hubs at Yale. =)

 

Doors of Old Campus

In the conference room where my lab has our weekly meetings (Mason 321 what up), there’s a poster called “Doors of Yale” with pictures of a dozen or so different doors, gates, and entryways, showcasing the rich variety of architecture on campus. It’s not the most well-designed poster, but I really liked the concept. So this morning, I decided to go out and do a little photo shoot of my own, focusing specifically on Old Campus, since it is home to 83% of Yale freshmen.

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Yale Virtual Tour: Libraries

Sterling Memorial Library

“Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds and gardens.”

-Judan ibn-Tibbon (12th century)

Regardless of what kind of student you are, whether you are the self-contained, studious type or a reckless party animal, chances are that the Yale library system will prove to be an essential part of your academic experience (especially during those stressful days leading up to finals). It actually took me a while to discover the great library facilities and resources that Yale had to offer and the following is just a quick virtual tour of the ones students tend to go to most often:

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Asian American Studies Series: Student Perspective

Submitted by Gina Chen PC ’11

I went to one of the best private high schools in Chicago on a full scholarship. I was one of the two Asian students in my entire grade. The majority of the students are from affluent backgrounds and live in the vicinity of the school. Coming from a bilingual school in Chicago’s Chinatown (my home, my community, my world), my initial high school experience was a bit traumatizing, to say the least. I had trouble relating to my classmates, and I didn’t know whether I had to “give up” my culture in order to become part of the social norm. So I turned to my teachers for advice and counsel. My English teacher asked me whether I had read any books by Asian American writers. I didn’t know of any such writers. She kindly lent me a stack of books by authors like Amy Tan, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Frank Chin. “Take your time with them, and see if they can help you find yourself.” I still remember her words to this day.  These authors wrote about the immigrant experience, stories of assimilation, feeling lost, and isolation. I was able to see pieces and parts of myself, my experience, and my identity in all of these stories. I still hungered to learn more, to find out more about the history of my community, the history of Chinese immigrants in this country, and the political history of various minorities and immigrants.

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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.

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The Art of Making a Tri-fold: APA Blog Style

Get a sneak peak of our Bulldog Days Extracurricular Bazaar poster-in-the-making! And make sure to come on by during the bazaar to check out the actual thing! It’s awesome — and made with love. :)

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Yale through the Seasons

At last, spring has arrived! Flowers are blooming, and fresh green leaves are sprouting on tree branches that were bare just yesterday. More poetic descriptions, complaints about tree pollen allergies, etc. go here. With the sudden disappearance of winter (ok sudden for me because I’m not used to having seasons at all), people are going out on the lawn, throwing frisbees and having picnics like there’s no tomorrow.

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Asian American Studies Series: Literature on Migration in Asian America and East Asia

In the next couple of weeks, the APA Blog will host a series of posts written by students about their experiences in Asian American courses at Yale. This is an effort by the Asian American Studies Task Force to encourage enrollment in Asian American courses and to promote the development of an Asian American Studies program at Yale in future years.

I used to be really into being Asian American. Not that I’m not anymore, but I used to run the Asian American Culture Club in High School and was on the board of the Asian American Students Alliance at Yale for two years. It was a part of my identity that I spent a lot of time thinking about and engaging with in my extracurricular life, but it wasn’t something that I ever thought I would explore in a classroom. I’m an English Major and although I had grown up reading Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri, works that fall into the canon of “Asian American Literature” seemed unlikely to ever end up on any Yale syllabus. If they did, I assumed they would be tied so heavily to questions of ethnicity and socio-historical context that it would never satisfy my English Major-trained obsession with close reading and literary theory.

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Monastery Hopping with Yale's Religious Studies Dept.

Last weekend, I went on somewhat of a monastery-hopping trip funded by the Religious Studies department. It was a chance to explore some of the things I’m learning in my freshman seminar, Buddhist Saints and Sinners, a course which allows students to infer Buddhist doctrine by reading stories about the Buddha’s life and his past lives, his family members, and also the biographies of several eccentric saints. While the class is awesome enough as it is, the chance to see Buddhist theory in practice (and on Yale’s money!) was an added bonus.

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Relax... You're Here

Living in the moment

The best advice I can give, Pre-Frosh, is to live in the moment. Seize the day.

Now you may groan and say “I know this, and I’m already doing it.” If you are at Yale, you are likely the kind of person who is good at juggling a million activities at once, and when you get here, you will no doubt try to fill your plate with as much as Yale has to offer.

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On Residential Colleges

Look — it’s Ezra Stiles, the best of Yale’s 12 residential colleges!

Towards the end of summer, all incoming freshmen are waiting with anticipation for the monumental decision that defines a huge part of the next four years at Yale: their residential college assignments. I know I was worried. Would I be living with my friends from Bulldog Days, be placed in my host’s college, what if I had an insane roommate — or worse yet, be placed in Morse?!

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12 things I’ve learned since receiving my Yale acceptance letter*

* Of course, it didn’t actually begin with a letter. It began with huge flash image of a bulldog (with a party hat and noisemaker, if I remember correctly), and a triumphant chorus of the Yale fight song. I honestly thought the whole thing was some elaborate hack for a full 30 seconds. Good job, technology.

It’s been approximately a year since that fateful day, and I feel like I’ve come a long way since then. So I thought I’d share twelve bits of random advice/words of wisdom/uninsightful insights I’ve accumulated in these past twelve months, in vaguely chronological order.

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Day in the Life of a Yalie...

A beautiful spring day…

Hey, all the prefrosh out there! My name is Miriam Cho, and I’m a freshman in JE (quite obviously the BEST residential college at Yale!) I’m going to give a breakdown of what a day might look like at Yale (although my days are by no means the standard). Enjoy!

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Oh Contraire: Yale Classes Question the Norm

In my short time here at Yale, I have noticed a theme of teaching employed in all my classes, which encompass a range of disciplines: they all focus on the counterintuitive, the “contrary to popular belief.”

Then I had an epiphany: perhaps educating is not the transmission of mundane information and established fact.  To learn is to acquire a new frame of mind, to question your long-held beliefs and to come to a better understanding of yourself and the world. Here are some examples:

ENGL120 Reading and Writing the Modern Essay – Less is actually more.

The best kind of writing is not filled with elaborate rhetorical devices or lofty, lengthy sentences. Clear and concise is more powerful and effective.

PSYCH110 Introduction to Psychology – Seeing is not believing.

We are only aware of a fraction of what we see: your brain picks up many images, but you only perceive the ones you are consciously aware of.  In other words, when I look at a Where’s Waldo? image, I see Waldo; I just can’t tell you where he is in the crowd until my brain becomes conscious of his location.

CGSC 281/PHIL181 Philosophy of Human Nature – Happiness is a myth.

A person who was denied tenure, lost a loved one, or became paralyzed in an accident is just as happy as or happier than someone who was given a promotion or someone who just won the lottery!

ECON115 Intro to Microeconomics – We all pay the price.

It doesn’t matter who is taxed! Suppliers and consumers share the burden.

The list goes on. What have you learned at Yale so far?

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