Y’all, today the weather finally turned cold cold cold (it snowed a bit this morning). The arrival of winter weather basically marks the end of my final fall at Yale.
If you can ever visit Yale, visit in the fall. I’ve visited Versailles in the summer and D.C. when the cherry blossoms are blooming. I’ve seen New York City at Christmastime and the windswept Irish countryside in July. But I’ve never seen anywhere as beautiful as Yale in the fall.
So as fall fades into winter, I wanted to share with you the splendor of Yale in fall. I hope the brilliant colors of this campus brighten your day today just as much as they brighten mine every day.
Lots of love!
Southern Belle at Yale
No really. Everyone loves Yale. Just read what the Princeton Review has to say:
Listening to Yale students wax rhapsodic about their school, one can be forgiven for wondering whether they aren’t actually describing the platonic form of the university.
Now maybe they do go a tad bit too far. I’ll be the first to admit that Yale isn’t the 100% perfect “platonic form of the university”. But heck — it’s certainly the closest thing we’ve got to it here on earth.
To me, Yale students’ deep and abiding love for our university is what makes it better than its peer schools. Yale students love being at Yale, and Yale students love telling you how much they love being at Yale. It’s contagious.
So, even Princeton Review agrees: Everybody loves Yale. And that’s why I feel so incredibly fortunate to have spent three years there and feel so bittersweet as I look to my last year in New Haven.
But for this year (and for always) — Boola boola, y’all!
Southern Belle at Yale
PS Compare Princeton Review’s Yale summary to what they have to say about Harvard. According to Princeton Review, Harvard is an “amazing irresistible hell” plagued by overwhelming competition where it’s hard to get to know your professors and the administration is out of touch. Pretty clear Yale is far superior, huh?
I love Yale. I really really really do.
I love listening to the bells in Harkness Tower play twice each day. I love the way Old Campus looks as the seasons change: vividly green at the start of the school year, a sea of oranges and reds in fall, snow-covered in winter, and full of students tossing frisbees and tanning come the end of the school year. I love studying in Calhoun library and late-night buffalo chicken burritos at the Calhoun buttery. I love being surrounded with so much beauty and so much history.
And I love being around my fellow students. Yes, we have a lot of fun, but also we engage in learning together–both in and out of the classroom. Without a doubt, I have learned more from my peers at Yale than I have from my professors. And my days are packed with my peers: taking part in class discussions, grabbing lunch, studying together in Bass, debating over dinner in Calhoun, stopping by froyo on the walk down High Street, having three or four extracurricular meetings back to back each night, and then finishing out the day at Viva’s or in Bass or with a box of Insomnia Cookies in the living room of the Pi Phi house.
But it is so tiring. The constant going. The constant schoolwork. The never-ending to do list. The feeling of running on a treadmill–working furiously but not really getting anywhere.
And it’s draining, too. The constantly being surrounded by people who so disagree with me. The constantly having to defend what I think. The professors who make snide comments about folks like me.
I have found, though, that God is faithful to give me time to recharge.
During the school year, He gives me times at home, during which He envelops me with the love of my family and community. He reminds me what I so appreciate about home and the way my parents raised me.
But more than that, the summers are a time when He fills me up with what I need to face another school year.
The summer after freshman year, Camp Desoto was just what I needed. The constant reminder of God’s love, the beautiful innocence of the eleven-year-old girls in my cabin, and the wise words from my fellow counselors encouraged me. Not that it was always easy. Speaking truth in love and patience when correcting the behavior of campers was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But that lesson too was one that I desperately needed.
The summer after sophomore year, I was at home for almost two weeks before going abroad. The extended period at home gave me time to go to several Sundays at First Baptist Jackson and time to see extended family. And then I went to Cambridge, where church after church bore witness to the majesty of God and the devotion of centuries of men.
This summer has been no different. Being at The Heritage Foundation and living in their intern housing has been a great encouragement to me. Hearing about my fellow interns’ experiences on their own campuses has energized me to return to mine and fight the good fight anew.
This summer has not been without its worry. Being in D.C. and working full-time has made the real world seem so much more real. With that has come worry about the future, worry about a job, worry about law school, worry about life after Yale.
But I rest confident in God’s faithfulness. God has always given me immeasurably more than I could ever ask for or imagine. Yale is a great example of that. I could never have imagined that I would attend Yale. I never could have imagined how much I would learn and grow there and how much I would love Yale and the people there.
I work hard and pray without ceasing for my future, but I am filled with peace knowing that God is faithful.
When I was a little girl, my mother would often sing “Amazing Grace” to me at bedtime. One of the sweetest memories in my life is of lying in my little twin bed with my mother as she sang me to sleep. I want to end this blog post with a verse of that song. God has brought me safe thus far. He has been faithful. I rest confident that He will be faithful in leading me in accordance to His plan for my life.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
In this blog, I want to make two points about writing: (1) to apologize profusely about my lack of writing for this blog and (2) to tell you about the writing I’ve been doing related to my internship at The Heritage Foundation this summer.
First, let me say that I’m so sorry that I have been so bad at updating this blog. I honestly had no idea of how much would be going on this summer. In addition to my 9 to 5:30 internship, I have been attending a plethora of political and Yale-related events as well as spending time with the tons of Yale and Heritage intern friends who are in D.C. for the summer.
Speaking of folks in D.C., my parents came to D.C. this past Saturday and are leaving tomorrow. While my parents have been here, though, my mother has been telling me that I must do a better job with my blog, so I promised her I would. Look for me to update much more frequently during the four weeks I have left in the District.
While I haven’t been writing on this blog, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing at all. I have indeed been writing a good bit through my internship at The Heritage Foundation.
I have had the incredible opportunity to write pieces for Heritage’s blog, which is something not all the interns get to do. So far, I’ve written two pieces: one about Common Core implementation in North Carolina (Common Core is a super interesting topic; you should read more of what Heritage’s blog has to say about it.) and one about how the rapper Pitbull is in favor of charter schools. The Pitbull blog got covered on the conservative website Townhall and was on the website’s home page on Sunday, which was cool.
I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in an op-ed writing workshop with one of Heritage’s writers. Twelve interns were chosen for the workshop in which we write an op-ed each week. In addition to feedback on our writing, we learn pointers on how to write good op-eds and how to get them published.
I have found the op-ed writing workshop incredibly interesting and helpful, not just because it has made me write a good bit but also because I’ve gotten to read the really interesting pieces the other students in the workshop have written. I am considering writing more often for the Yale Daily News in the fall.
I have really enjoyed writing more this summer–even though I’ve failed miserably at writing more often for this blog. And I’ve enjoyed this summer in general. I look forward to sharing more details about my summer with you over the next few weeks.
Until the next blog, I’ll leave you with the motto that is on the walls of the elevators in The Heritage Foundation:
Southern Belle at Yale
Yesterday marked two weeks that I’ve been in D.C. I’ll be here all summer, interning at The Heritage Foundation. Look forward to updates about every two weeks about what’s going on with Southern Belle in D.C.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! I love writing letters and will respond if you write me one. My address in D.C. is below:
208 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Look for an update coming really soon!
Southern Belle at Yale
It’s the worst time of year again: finals period. The misery of sitting in front of a laptop from 6 in the morning until midnight everyday, typing papers and reading lecture notes, is unspeakable. Finals period always makes me feel miserable, brain-dead, and (most of all) completely inadequate.
But yet, in this most miserable time of year, I find meaning and hope and am reminded of the amazing ways God has blessed me. In the feelings of inadequacy that inevitably infect my mind when I have fifteen pages to write before 5 p.m. tomorrow, I somehow find gratitude. It is precisely because I am so pathetically inadequate–which becomes painfully clear this time of year–that the miracle of God’s grace is so incredible.
In this finals period, I have found particular meaning and hope in the Leeland song you’ll find below “Carried to the Table”. As the song so beautifully expresses, through the miracle of God’s grace and despite my inadequacy, I’ve been carried to the table of the Lord and seated where I do not belong. “Even in my weakness”–which becomes so heartrendingly apparent to me during finals period–”the Savior called my name.”
One thing I’ve realized over the past couple years at Yale is that the secular elite consider the good things that happen in life to be the result of nothing more than luck. In a sense, they do understand the truth: We are certainly all inadequate and undeserving of the things we’re given in this life.
However, they’re missing the most important part. Luck is some impersonal force; good things that come from luck make a person feel guilty and undeserving. Luck leaves you as no more than some sort of cosmic-lottery winner.
The reality is that the good things in our life are not the result of luck but rather they are blessings sent to us from God. Such blessings make an individual feel gratitude and a sense of purpose. There is a responsibility and sense of meaning that comes with viewing the good things in life as blessings. The miracle of God’s grace is that He works through our inadequacy, He heals our brokenness, and He speaks through our pain. The fact that God gives us blessings we do not deserve ought not make us guilty; it ought to make us incredibly grateful.
Even in the worst of days at Yale–days filled with work, with feelings of inadequacy, with unhappiness–I am consumed by an overwhelming gratitude. God truly has blessed me more than I could have ever asked for or imagined.
Despite my inadequacy, despite my repeatedly failing Him, He has summoned me into His courts and carried me to the table of the Lord. Seated there at His table, where I do not belong, I no longer see my brokenness, only my gratitude to Him for all the blessings He has given me.
I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
—-Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
I cried today when I heard the news of Baroness Thatcher’s death. More than her success in politics, her unapologetic defense of her beliefs has made her a role model for me. The Iron Lady, the breaker of glass ceilings, has inspired millions of conservative girls like me. May we make her proud as she watches down on us from Heaven.