10 Yale Life Hacks

Dear Class of 2024, congratulations!!!!! I’m so thrilled to welcome you baby bulldogs to the pack. I wanted to give you my tips for navigating your first year at Yale. With this list, y’all will be way ahead and 10x more prepared than first-year Cassandra.

1) Walking distances. It takes about 11 minutes to walk from Ezra Stiles college to Timothy Dwight college (one axis of campus) and 16 minutes to walk from Old Campus up Science Hill (the other axis of campus). AND I’m a slow walker. This campus is easily traversable, but make sure you account for walking time in between meetings. If you’re traveling by scooter, you can reduce expected travel time by one third!

2) Durfee’s is your go-to snack stop with all your needs. This is where you’re gonna exchange your unused lunch meal swipes for snacks to keep you fueled throughout your day–you can only redeem your points between 11:30am (the start of lunch) and 5:00pm (the start of dinner). PS–you can enter from the inside of Old Campus through Entryway C of Durfee.

3) You get a shirt if you participate in your residential college’s Intramural sports (IM’s). We love that free merch! Plus, every residential college has their own assortment of merchandise for fairly cheap–T-shirts are $5 and waterbottles are $5, plus if you’re lucky like me, they might offer adorable stuffed animals of your res college’s mascot. I love Stiles merchandise because our colors, yellow and black, are very Hufflepuff-esque.

4) Thursdays are CHICKEN TENDER DAYS!!! That’s right, all colleges serve chicken tenders on Thursdays during lunch. Lines get LONG for these perfectly fried pieces of heaven, so make sure you show up on the dot. And respect the tender etiquette! If you grab more than half a plate, be prepared to receive intense side eye from everyone in line behind you. With an assortment of sauces, including barbecue, honey mustard, duck sauce, and hot sauce, you do not want to miss out.

5) Slifka, the Center for Jewish Life at Yale, also has a mini dining hall where they serve kosher lunch and dinner every day, PLUS, every other Sunday, they host a bagle brunch. That’s right–grab all the bagels you want, throw them into the giant toaster, and build your own bagel sandwich with their offerings of smoked salmon, onions, lox, and more.

6) Every residential college hosts at least one or two formal dances a year! You do NOT have to belong to a certain residential college to attend their formal! The dances are so much fun and honestly a highlight of my life. Click here to read my rankings of all the dances I’ve been to.

7) Yale offers subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office, and the New York Times! Literally cannot live without them, so make sure you take advantage ASAP!

8) Join the Yale Free & For Sale page on Facebook. I’ve gotten some excellent pieces of furniture off this site, not to mention like all my textbooks. If you’re in Directed Studies, monitor this group throughout the summer so you don’t miss out on awesome deals on the 100 books you’re gonna read!

9) You can reserve your college’s dance room! Each residential college allows both individuals and clubs to make reservations for the room for up to three hours a week! Whether you want to rehearse deep slam poetry in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and stare into your reflection, or freestyle jam out to Taylor Swift in private, the room is all yours for the booking.

10) The Chaplain’s office is always stocked with free ice cream bars and candy. It’s located on Old Campus, across the laundry rooms in Bingham’s basement. So drop off your laundry load and cool off with an ice cream sandwich in the Office, which also has a comfortable working space!

That’s it for now, folks! You are now ready to take on your first ever semester of college. Boola boola, 2024!