Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Need More Data about Me

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Need More Data about Me

Article excerpt

On Monday, I got an email: "2015-2016 YCPS is available online." YCPS stands for Yale College Programs of Study, otherwise known as the bluebook. It is our course catalog that contains 2,000 course titles and descriptions for 81 majors.

On the Facebook group "Overheard at Yale," a post popped up: "Overheard across the country: 'Omg is the bluebook out'" The post has 580 likes (and counting), but it is the comments that are revealing: "well . guess i'm not getting any work done today!"; "Six semesters in and it still feels like Christmas morning the day the bluebook comes out"; "I graduated and the bluebook still excites me to a certain extent"; "I had a research proposal to write today. But instead, I'm bluebooking. Priorities??"

I scanned through all 2,000 courses that night despite some egregious errors in the listings of professors (apparently Timothy Geithner, former U.S. treasury secretary, is teaching Normative Ethics, a philosophy course). I copied and pasted courses, titles and times into an Excel sheet. I was part of the collective rejoice. We are all nerds.

After the initial excitement, different thoughts entered: Don't take too many courses. What are you really passionate about? How will you learn from last semester? I've come to look at Yale as an intellectual buffet on the scale of the Start-of-Term Feast at Hogwarts. The challenge is pacing yourself and being selective about what you put on your plate, because you're going to be eating for four months straight.

I don't know what I'm really doing, but I've learned to embrace the uncertainty. I know I like journalism and feel an inexplicable desire to learn about China and my roots, but that's pretty much it. I was looking at a class on refugee law and policy, which led me to Google the professor, which led me to her op-ed in the Yale Daily News, titled "The Hardest Thing."

She writes, "Many students mistakenly think about their professional careers the same way they have thought about their academic careers. …

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