Pauli Murray First-Year Counselors

Guadalupe De La Rosa

Freshman year was a time of learning to ask for help. I remember struggling in physics and feeling as if I were drowning in work, barely able to keep myself up. I realized that I couldn’t do everything by myself and that asking for help from my professor or dean wasn’t frowned upon. I learned to form study groups with my friends, go to study halls, and talk to my professors. When I felt as if I were really drowning in work, I would try to reach out and get extensions or just ask for help in understanding the material. Sometimes I would go to upperclassmen at La Casa and ask them for help or ask them for tips to get through a certain class. Freshman year was all about reaching out to other people and seeing how we could work together.

Chelsea Guo

One of my favorite memories from my first year at Yale was having a girls’ night in with a few friends. We bonded over chinese food, played Settlers of Catan, tried to learn the choreography to Ariana Grande’s song Problem, and talked about everything from boys to majors to life in general.

Paul Lee

My suite and our “sister suite” organized a Secret Santa holiday celebration during reading week of fall semester freshman year, including a gift swap, screening of A Charlie Brown Christmas, holiday sing-alongs, as well as hot chocolate, paper snowflake decorations, and even a small Christmas shrubbery! No matter how busy we’ve been, we’ve made this an annual tradition, and it was definitely my favorite memory dressing up as Santa Claus and enjoying the thoughtful gifts that my friends and I had prepared.

Ben Martin

During my first year, I injured my ankle playing soccer and had to be on crutches for several weeks. It wasn’t really a specific memory, but I remember being so grateful for the kindness of people around me. The dining hall staff always offered to get my food for me, my friends hung out with me when I couldn’t dance at Freshman Screw, etc.

Mikaela Rabb

Even though I’m totally embarrassed by it now, I will never forget performing “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child for the Cultural Connection talent show. My friends and I spent way too long trying to choreograph something, but of course it involved making it rain. Though we may have lacked talent, it was hilarious performing in front of people I had just met a few days ago. In our own way, we made my childhood dreams come true by having a Destiny’s Child reunion (almost).

Christian Rice

I was surprised by the community of students I joined. Everyone I met was unique; their stories were so different than mine and yet we always found common ground, whether it was through ideas or sharing a common interest (like playing the ukulele!). The people who I thought were the most different than I ended up becoming my best friends. The Yale community is woven by these serendipitous connections and what a wonderful surprise it was to experience this community during my first year.

Nicole Sanchez Astupuma

The most important lesson was self-discipline and being honest with myself about my limits. I always took pride in resisting peer pressure but at Yale, I found myself saying yes and running around everywhere because I wanted to do everything everywhere. As a first generation, low-income queer Latinx, I was used to milking opportunities. I had an intense fear of missing out (FOMO) – every social, extracurricular, and academic interaction could lead to the next big passion or life goal discovery! My FroCo Divyansh Aggarwal set me and others in our groups straight early on: “You will not be able to experience 99% of Yale, so make that 1% count”. His words stuck – while I should explore during my first year, I could not stick with everything like in high school. I could only realistically dedicate myself to a couple of extracurriculars since I took three federal work-study jobs to finance my education and support my family at home. I learned to focus on what I was really interested in and not be distracted by every little opportunity, be it parties or job openings. Naturally I still experience some FOMO, but I am glad it is much more manageable now.

Max Sauberman

In my first year at Yale, my a cappella group (the Spizzwinks) happened to be celebrating its 100th year, and a reunion was planned for the spring. The reunion spanned an entire weekend, as 250 alumni of the group returned to campus to celebrate the group, meet and socialize with members across generations, and participate in a huge concert.

I never would’ve predicted how meaningful it would be to participate in an event that included Yalies of all ages - all of whom shared such a fundamental experience with me! It was a great moment, singing my solo onstage during my freshman year, looking into the crowd of hundreds of Yale students and alumni, most of whom I had never met, yet whom I could instantly connect to through our common experience at Yale and with the group.

Yondeen Sherpa

My favorite memory in my first year was the night of the snowstorm. It was supposed to be a historic one and since I hadn’t experienced any, I was pretty excited. Everyone was making a huge deal and we even got rations and stuff so we decided to spend the night at la casa with all my friends. The snowstorm turned out to be nothing but the night was everything. We sang, jammed, went up to the roof and did all kinds of stupid stuff that we were too old for. It was the first time I felt like I found my place at Yale.

Solon Snider

My favorite memory from freshman year is the sheer excitement of the first few days of camp Yale, where I met the friends who are now my closest friends in the world. I remember sitting on the hammock in the TD courtyard my third night of Yale and talking about all the exciting new adventures to come, and realizing that Yale was finally real.

Nat Wyatt

My first year at Yale I learned that sometimes you need to turn your brain off and do something that makes you happy that isn’t academic, whether that’s going to a friend’s a cappella performance or watching your favorite Netflix show. Purposeful relaxation is a good thing!