25 Things Yale Students Talk About Instead of Grades (Part I)

College Dining Hall Dinner Table with students

In the Yale dining halls, students talk about anything and everything. Politics, books, film, love, relationships, sex, music, friendship, philosophy—nothing is off limits. Well…with one notable exception. Grades! Just about the only thing that Yalies deem taboo to talk about is grades.

I don’t fully know why we don’t talk about grades—it feels like an unspoken agreement. It could be because we realize that grades are no longer the end all be all—that actually learning the material is more important than a silly letter. It could be because conversations about grades seem too competitive, and, in my experience, Yale students value collaboration over competition. Or it could be we are busy talking about much more important issues like…

Dining Hall
A classic scene at the Ezra Stiles Dining Hall. Not Chicken Tender Thursday, but I’m sure counting down the days.

1. What are people’s weekend plans?—I’m partial to Pmethod (Performance, Party, Post-Party Movie Night)

2. What are the best performance groups on campus?—Tangled Up in Blue, Shades, and RB are always fan favorites

3. Thoughts on the upcoming election?

4. Can anything be a-political?

5. Why are politics important?

6. What is the origin of politics?

7. How many more days until Chicken Tender Thursday?

8. What would you do if you had the remote from Click

9. Favorite art pieces on display at the YUAG (Yale University Art Gallery)?

10. Is art objective or is it up for interpretation?

11. Who decides if something is art, the artist or the viewer?

12. Growing trends of individualized, online entertainment creators—Okay, that was just a fancy way of saying, “YouTubers.”

13. How we could become our own YouTubers. 

    Drone over church
    Our brief attempt at gaining YouTube stardom involved a sick drone flight over Broadway Street.

    14. How YouTube is too hard of an industry to leap into.

    15. How TikTok would be an easier industry to leap into.

    16. How we should become famous TikTokers, instead.

    17. How TikTok is too hard of an industry to leap into.

    18. Favorite books—Mine is On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

    19. Favorite binge-worthy TV series—Mine is a show called Kidding starring Jim Carey. I successfully got one other Yalie, my friend Grace, to watch it with me!

    20. Best Tinder openers.

    21. Worst Tinder openers.

    22. First Kiss stories.

    23. Worst Kiss stories.

    24. Best late-night sandwich spot, GHeav or Popeyes?

    25. Best ice cream joint, Arethusa, Ashley’s, or Milkcraft?

      Two ice cream cones
      My friend Simon described Milk Craft (featured above) as the “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” of Ice Cream, and I have to say he might be right!