Let’s Gnome It!

He is as short as dwarf, but isn’t quite a dwarf,

He has a long felted hat, but isn’t one of Harry Potter’s wizarding friends,

He wears red and green, and has a large bushy beard, but isn’t the typical definition of Christmas, 

I will say though, that I love his slanted belt, gold buckle and all,

He is…


I was full of energy, excitement and anticipation when I reported as a freshman at the beginning of my first fall semester. I had barely set foot at Yale, when I was practically attacked by a mass of sophomores and juniors from Davenport College. They donned cheeky t-shirts that said “Let’s Gnome It!” and had wide grins of joy and enthusiasm spread across their faces. Without further ado, two of them grabbed the two suitcases I had hauled all the way to Yale, and began the long and tedious journey to the 4th floor of Welch Hall, the Davenport College Freshman Hall.

To be honest, I was initially overwhelmed! There just seemed to be too many people talking to me about how great Davenport was, and how it was undoubtedly the best of the 12 residential colleges we have at Yale. The entire idea of the gnome also puzzled me. How could a short odd-looking creature be our college mascot? Shouldn’t we have a fiercer symbol for our college if it is so great?

All these thoughts were rushing through my mind when the last of the “Gnome Help” retired from my room. I ultimately concluded that Yale was a crazy place, and that students in Davenport College were even crazier! 

But, when school actually started, I began to see the true significance of these crazy people, as well as that of my “crazy” college. 

Because I was coming from a high school that had barely 200 students, coming to Yale was a big jump for me. There were suddenly over 5000 new faces everywhere I looked, continuously teasing my brain as I tried to remember their names if I had met them before. It all seemed like a blur to me for the first few days, and I was sure that I would never get to know even a 1/100 of these people.

I quickly learned, though, that that is the point of residential colleges. It all started with my suitemates, who I get to know better as the days rushed by. It then extrapolated to the newly familiar faces I have become accustomed to encountering while walking down the Welch staircase. And finally, I got to know people that I had just happened to sit next to at one random dinner in the Davenport Dining hall. 

The gnome is an all-encompassing symbol for the spirit that is Davenport, for the friends you are forced to make, and the acquaintances you smile at each time you see. It represents a family in a place that one might undeniably get lost in. It represents home.