First days at Yale

Interviews with first-year students.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Andrew Bean ’17, Glen Ellyn, IL, Davenport College

What will you miss from home?

I think I’m mostly going to miss the people. It’s going to be different making new friends, since I’ve had the same kids in my class for 13 years.

What do you want to learn here?

I’m planning to major in chemical engineering. For an engineering person, the advantage of going to Yale is not about engineering, because that’s not really what a liberal arts school does. [The advantage is] interacting with all the people who go into other fields. It means that I’ll be able to do more with engineering.


It changes what I focus on and who it matters to. Because it’s one thing to figure out something that’s very interesting but not particularly practical—and a whole other thing to have a friend who needs a problem solved because it can help 3,000 people.

How are your parents doing?

Well, I’m trying to help my mother. She’s starting to feel very motherly, so I’m letting her unpack and organize things, just to give her one last chance.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Anya Markowitz ’17, Santa Fe, NM, Silliman College

What do you want to learn here?

I’m hoping to be a theater studies major; I want to start there. The theater environment at Yale is so incredible. There are so many opportunities, and in all disciplines, and just the ability to grow and expand. That comes out as very formulaic, but really it’s the basic goal, because there are just untold opportunities. So, hopefully, having the bravery to try everything I can.

Are people friendly?

People have been absolutely lovely to me so far. They “get” how overwhelming it is to just be presented with all the stuff at once, like, “Hi, welcome to Yale! Here’s your life.”

Is your room small?

It’s small, [but] there’s a nice amount of space, and we unbunked the beds. I work at a camp in Maine, and I just came back a week ago. After living in a tent, it’s like the Ritz.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Grace Paine ’17, Charlottesville, VA, Saybrook College

You just got back from FOOT [a freshman backpacking trip]. Tell me about it.

I did the six-day Catskills. I definitely, definitely recommend that any future freshmen do one, because it shows you how amazing the people are that you’re going to meet. I loved my group. We got to know each other really well: if you’re camping together for five nights, you get to know one another on a very intimate level. It was a nice introduction to the Yale community before the overwhelming but exciting events that are Camp Yale.

And what are you looking for?

Oh, man. Well, I don’t think my reflection is quite done on that one. I’m interested in political science, definitely that realm, possibly the major Global Affairs. But we’ll see. Keeping an open mind—very open to what this next four years will bring.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Anand Gupta ’19PhD (left), Palo Alto, CA, Political Science and Hari Narayan Ramesh ’19PhD, Wayland, MA, Political Science

What aspect of political science will you be studying?

Ramesh: South Asian politics and political theory—particularly large philosophical questions at the basis of political life and political institutions.

What are some examples?

Ramesh: What is justice? What is democracy? What does a good society look like? In what ways can we critique existing political norms and practices?

Gupta: I study things like money in politics, lobbying—forces that work on shaping policy in the United States.

What’s your impression of New Haven?

Gupta: I think you can see it one of two ways. One is as a big city with the benefits of a big city but also the benefits of a small city. The other is as a place with the bad things of a big city and without the advantages of a small city.

What’s the verdict, so far?

Gupta: Honestly, the positive one. You have all these great restaurants and all kinds of lively places, and people, and activities, but you also have a small-town feel.

Anand, what will you miss about California?

Gupta: Oh, goodness. My girlfriend, the weather, and the fresh produce.

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