I Transferred to Yale and Here’s My Biggest Takeaway (The Final Version)

A collage featuring photos of a girl in cap and gown, in Yale merch, and the Yale campus

Two and a half years ago, in August 2021, I embarked on a life-changing journey as a community college transfer student to Yale. Nervous, scared, yet brimming with excitement, I had no idea of the incredible experiences that awaited me. As I reflect on this transformative period, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities that have shaped my path at Yale.

From landing a cherished job at the Yale University Art Gallery to a summer immersed in meaningful work at the University of Michigan with the CDC, and a term abroad at the University of Oxford, my time here has been nothing short of extraordinary (and for that, I’m immensely privileged and grateful). The past couple of years have gifted me the chance to travel the world, engage with inspiring professors who fuel my passion for higher education, forge lifelong friendships, and, most significantly, grow as a person.

In many ways, the essence of who I am remains rooted in the individual who nervously stepped onto Yale’s campus, first at Ezra Stiles College and later at Pauli Murray (LiMur forever!). However, the experiences and challenges I’ve encountered along the way have sculpted a version of myself that is much more confident, much more humble, and much more appreciative of the life I am fortunate enough to be living.

A smiling girl standing in front a sign that says Ezra Stiles College

The beauty of Yale lies not just in its academic excellence but in the diverse tapestry of individuals it brings together. I vividly remember the nervousness of stepping into Ezra Stiles College (my first college before transferring to Pauli Murray), unsure of what the future held. Little did I know that the friendships I would form within this campus would become the bedrock of my Yale experience. To Olivia, Ana, Kayla, Anette, Grace, Jenesis, Abbie, and Hannah: Thank you for your unwavering friendship and for making Yale a special place. 

From concerts at Toad’s to Trumbull dinners to art gallery conversations to exploring Connecticut, my friends have been my anchors. It’s funny how the people you meet during the most ordinary moments (or through Instagram DMs) become extraordinary chapters in your life story. As I look back, I appreciate the lessons each connection has taught me, even if some of them were just for a season.

A collage of various pictures of a group of friends

Yale has been a crucible of growth, teaching me humility and gratitude in equal measure. The world-class education and the opportunities presented were not just accolades to add to my resume but the beginning sparks of my growth as a person. The challenges I faced – the sleepless nights before paper deadlines, the moments of self-doubt, and the bittersweet goodbyes – all contributed to the sculpting of a more resilient and self-assured version of myself. These experiences beyond the textbooks have broadened my horizons in ways I never imagined.

As I get ready to say goodbye to Yale, the memories of my time here remain at the forefront of every thought. The nervous newcomer has evolved into someone ready to face the new chapter of life with more confidence, more compassion, and an unwavering appreciation for the unexpected nature of life.

The biggest takeaway from my transfer to Yale? It’s not just the knowledge gained from textbooks but the lessons learned from the life you’ll end up living.

So, here’s to the friendships formed, the challenges overcome, and the person I’ve become.

A girl in a cap and gown and butterfly headband

Editor’s note: Thank you to Paulina for her wonderful, wonderful work highlighting her experiences at Yale. We at the Yale Admissions Office are grateful for the time she has spent writing in-depth, reflective, and welcoming blogs. Wishing you the best, Paulina!