To arrive at Yale means to already be accomplished, but to be striving for more, for better, for greater. These are admirable traits, and characterised the way I approached extracurriculars, leadership roles, campus jobs and the eventual career search. Outside the classroom, I filled my days to the brim with these commitments, social engagements and trips to Blue State Coffee. But, color-coded Google calendar aside, what will always stay with me were the four years of unquantifiable joy that being an English major brought me.
Four Joy-Filled Years in Yale's English Department
The acceptance that I would never be the best in a room full of scholarly students dedicated to academia and research turned out to be a permission slip to embrace the hours of thoughtful discussion in the seminar rooms of LC, to find a comfortable chair in the L&B room and read until closing time, and to enjoy every second of studying English for the blissful sake of it. To allow myself to fall in love with so many textured forms of human expression, in classes ranging from "Love and Desire in the 19th Century" to "The Politics of Emotion", working hard at countless essays, but knowing that the fulfilment these classes brought me and the ways in which they expanded the perimeters of my thinking were more validating than good grades.
How humbling it was to spend four years in the company of inspiring classmates, engaging professors and more brilliant books than my heart could ever desire, and how refreshing it was to finally allow myself to evaluate just one aspect of my life using the metric of joy.
As someone who has not (yet) pursued further education since undergrad, I'll always be grateful that my last academic experience at Yale was fueled by enthusiasm and curiosity - rather than the need to excel for the sake of it. Now, working my first corporate job and writing more emails than essays, I count my Yale degree as an accomplishment, but also a reminder that finding joy in something does not always come from seeking to be the best.
- Veena McCoole, Morse College '19
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