20 Tips From a Yale Graduate to her First Year Self

  1. Saying things with academic jargon will make some people respect you more.
  2. It will also make what you say complete gibberish to everyone else—learn when to turn it on, but more importantly how to turn it off, and when to do so (I’ll give you a hint: almost always)
  3. Chances are, when someone doesn’t text you back, it doesn’t mean they hate you—they’re probably just busy.
  4. That being said, invest your time in the friends who do text back (or even better, text you first!).
  5. No one at Yale is as busy as they say they are (including you). You do have time to have dinner with your friend, even if you’re stressed. Sympathetic human interaction will probably make you feel better.
  6. …Unless you feel like you’re going to rip the head off the next person who says hi to you—then, most likely you need some alone time. LDub makes that difficult, but there are plenty of places to hide. Putting in headphones in the dining hall with no music is a great way to build an imaginary bubble around you.
  7. If you are beginning to launch into an existential crisis, check your watch: if it’s after 11:00pm, chances are you’re just tired and it will feel better in the morning. Go to sleep—don’t stay up trying to draft a new life plan for 3 more hours.
  8. Don’t join everything.
  9. …But, if you do, run all of them so the meeting times don’t conflict.
  10. …But, really—don’t do it.
  11. When choosing classes, ask yourself: “could I learn this from a book on my own later just as well?” If the answer is yes, take something else.
  12. I know humanities seminars have sexier titles than intro STEM classes, but stick with science—it’s worth it. STEM skills build on each other and those classes will end up opening doors for you.
  13. The dining halls have unlimited vegetables and ice cream. These food groups are both expensive—eat more of them while you are on a meal plan.
  14. If you’re hurt, go to the doctor. Yes, I know Yale Health looks like Darth Vader’s summer home and you’ve heard horror stories, but take advantage of that free health care while you have it.
  15. I know you can vote now, but you’re not a grown-up and you don’t have to always take care of yourself. It’s okay to ask for help (even grown-ups need help!).
  16. You’re not going to be chosen for everything or win everything. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t amazing—it just means that other people are amazing too! Dealing with failure is hard, but it’s important to learn how. Let yourself hurt, but then move on: while the world is full of incredible people, there are plenty of opportunities to go around, and you’ll find ones that want you too.
  17. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take more risks and protect time and space for silliness.
  18. Try to take care of yourself—you’re no good to anyone (least of all yourself) if you’re worn down.
  19. …But also, forgive yourself when you don’t.
  20. You are good enough to be here. You are smart enough, passionate enough, kind enough, driven enough. You are enough.

Laura Goetz

Laura is a senior double-major in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In addition to her work for Broad Recognition, Laura is a CCE, a board member Yale Sappho (queer womyn's group), and plays snare drum in the YPMB. She works in two labs and spends all free time on research. Laura loves sunrise runs, peanut butter, poetry, fun facts, and studying how gender and sexuality impact health.

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