The imposing Harkness Tower, looms above us daily, a pillar of excellence and a stark reminder of the special place we had the joy of calling home for four "bright college years". Over the course of those 8 semesters, we learned, we loved, we failed, we excelled - but most of all, we challenged ourselves daily, in a continuous effort to be better.
I would be remiss not to remark that the brilliant professors, rigorous coursework and unique internship opportunities offered at Yale did not constitute a big part of that transformation. In my mind, however, those will only come second to the kind, empathetic, intelligent, and (yes) flawed people I found myself surrounded with during my precious Yale journey.
Over the course of those four years, I had the privilege of getting to know some of the most special humans I have ever encountered. People who, when initially crossing my path, I considered to be too cool/intelligent/funny/special to spend their time around me. Gradually, however, those people made Yale home. And, gradually, each and every one of them allowed me to see their not-so-perfect side; and to encourage me to embrace my own imperfections.
I learned to open my heart wide open - even though that always carried the risk of having it get broken. I learned to approach others without expectations, and to allow them to blossom and impress me with their wonderful colors and brilliant hues. I learned to always speak my mind, with courage but with caution - willing to allow others to question or challenge my views. And I learned that, while being there for others is important, it is not always possible, nor is it always the right thing to do.
Yes, at Yale I learned how to be better. More importantly, however, I accepted the fact that, while I can always improve, I will never be perfect. And I learned that being imperfect is a crown to wear proudly on my head, not a secret to be hiding away in some dark corner of my being, masked behind a constantly smiling facade.