Graduate Cultural Center Mentors!

As much as Yale offers a fountain of resources for undergraduates specifically, aside from reaching out to the occasional TA who offered some advice or guidance, I’ve spent much of my time here wondering what overlap graduate students have, or have had, with us as undergraduates. I’d heard of some interaction in the past between Heritage Theater Ensemble, Yale’s Black theater and arts collective, with Folks, the Black affinity group at the Yale School of Drama — but overall, I wasn’t aware of that much direct academic and creative engagement between graduate and undergraduate students.

That is until the AfAm House’s new graduate/professional-to-undergraduate mentorship program kicked off this year, matching several Black undergraduates with Black mentors from the Yale Law School, the Yale School of Environment, the Yale School of Public Health, several other schools, and doctoral students from several departments, among many others — and in my case, after I filled out a short survey detailing my interests and activities on campus, a cohort of three other students and I were paired with a student mentor at the Yale School of Drama!

The flier for the first mentorship event!

Some of the other mentorship events this semester!

During our first conversation in the AfAm House in January, we talked about waiting (or not waiting!) to apply for grad school, what our experiences of the pandemic had been like, how to navigate grad school once you’re there, what YSD is like as a Black student, and some of our various theater and post-grad interests! In a room full of bubbling conversation and Yalies sat in semi-circles discussing the futures yet to come as well as the futures already passed, it felt comforting and helpful to know there was actually an expanse of people considering (as well as pursuing and living!), well, pretty much any and every kind of professional path that I might imagine for myself. And even as a spring-semester senior (the mentorship pods included Black Yalies from every class year!), beyond a sort of last-step check-in, I knew this sea of guides, mentors, and just-as-uncertain-as-me undergrads would be around for all those who’d follow after me, too.