Learning in and out the Classroom

In high school, I found it so frustrating that it seemed like I was living two different lives: one in the classroom and the other in my extracurricular activities. These two rarely interacted and more often it felt as if they were fighting for my time. However, at Yale, finally these two are coming together. With the seemingly endless possibilities of clubs, I have found ways to support my academic interests outside the classroom. My studies have extended beyond the classroom, most importantly, because of the friends I have met here. Unlike in high school, learning doesn’t end once I step outside of the classroom.

In the spirit of trying new things, a standard Yale mantra, I decided to try writing for the Yale Politic. Honestly, I had not a clue what that entailed. However, even as a freshman, they made it so easy to get involved. With a long list of provided topics, I picked a topic I knew a little about from a High School class: Haitian development. Quickly, my section editor reached out to me for coffee to discuss the process. At first, I was kind of overwhelmed. 1500 words and I needed to find interviews. As an 18 year old, who actually would want to speak to me for an article? Yet, with a couple of emails and good fortune, I had three interviews lined up in a weekend. The best part is that my Gateway to Global Affairs class was talking about one the main facets of my article with the former president of Doctors without Borders. With the Yale Global Fellows Program, I was able to personally meet and interact with the head of a specific department of United Nations Development Program in Haiti. Through my research outside of class for the article, I found so much information that I could apply to my class. Likewise, the foundations of humanitarian aid that I learned in my class set the foundation for my article. Honestly, it has been so exciting that I could spend time on my extra curriculars and not actually be wasting time I could spend on homework.

Another way that I’ve been learning outside the classroom is just through everyday conversations with friends. Friends have become some of my greatest teachers. At very few places do I think that I could have some of the most intellectually challenging and stimulating debates with someone, but then the next moment were blabbing about nonsense. During a late night study break, my friend and I decided to star gaze on Cross Campus. With Sterling shining in the background, we sat for an hour talking about if “English is dead.” Other friends joined us and added their knowledge. One girl explained to me the complexity and rapid evolution of English linguistics, while another boy explained the richness and beauty of Shakespeare. Even though I’m not really a humanities person, being able to talk with my friends in a safe and non-judgmental environment made it so easy to voice my opinion. The ability and willingness for Yale students to engage were crucial factors in my decision to come to Yale and now why I love this place so much.