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 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.
I think the reason I haven’t posted to my blog as much this year is because blog posts are a way of marking time. Each blog post means that time at Yale has passed, things have happened, and I need to tell you about them.
But I don’t want time to pass. I don’t want to things to happen. Because every time something happens, that’s one less time it’s gonna happen again in my time at Yale. The Yale alma mater “Bright College Years” was right when it said these four years are “the shortest gladdest years of life”, with emphasis on the “shortest” part.
I’ve run into several people this week in Jackson who have asked me why I haven’t been posting as often. I would have told you all this in person, but I tear up every time I think about the fact that I’m going to be a senior next year, and I hate crying in public. So accept my written apologies for not posting. I’ll vow once again (how many times have I vowed this by now??) to do a better job of updating this blog regularly from now on.
I think of all the semesters yet, this one has been the semester when I’ve taken the most interesting classes. I am taking Classics of Ethics, Politics, and Economics; Constitutional Law; Introduction to Ethics; and Understanding Politics and Politicians.
Classics of EPE is a requirement for my major. It’s a lot like the directed studies political philosophy classes I took freshman year but with fewer papers, no lecture, and some different writers.
Constitutional Law is taught by Akhil Amar, who’s a professor at the law school and is supposedly really famous, though I’d never heard of him before I came to Yale. I find the course material absolutely fascinating, though I’m not the biggest fan of Amar’s lectures. I much prefer my section (in almost all lecture classes you have to take a discussion section with a TA in which you talk about the material learned in lecture in a smaller group). My TA is really cool (he worked in the GW Bush White House as a speechwriter, helped GW Bush write Decision Points, and is clerking for Chief Justice Roberts next year), and section is really interesting. Taking Con Law has made me more certain than ever that I want to go to law school, which is good.
Intro to Ethics is taught by Shelley Kagan, another supposedly famous professor I’d never heard of before I came to Yale. Ethics is another absolutely fascinating course in terms of the course material, but the grading is notoriously hard, which makes it less interesting and more stressful than it would be otherwise. If I had a single prayer request this semester, it would be for you to pray for my ethics grade. I’m going to need all the prayers I can get, y’all.
Understanding Politics and Politicians is a college seminar, which means it’s a course that lies outside of the usual structure of Yale academics and is taught by somebody who’s not on the Yale faculty. The course is co-taught by Dr. David Berg, a psychology professor, and Howard Dean, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and sometime presidential candidate. The class is only 18 students, and it’s been a great experience so far.
That’s an update on the academics of this semester. In addition to these classes, I’m also getting ready for the LSAT, which I’ll be taking in June.
The last thing I’ll include in this blog post is about my summer plans. I will be working in the domestic policy department at the Heritage Foundation in DC, working specifically on education policy. I am really excited about the opportunities available to me not only at Heritage but also in DC in general for this summer. I will definitely keep y’all updated on this blog about my summer.
Loving spending a bit of time in Mississippi! All you Mississippians savor it every day!!!
Southern Belle at Yale
As this new semester begins, I’m still trying to finish up on what went on last semester. Halloween last semester was really fun! I know everybody loves pictures, so here’re some pictures from Halloween!
Wednesday, October 21–the actual day of Halloween–everybody went to the weekly dance party at Toad’s. I dressed up as Elmo (and one of my friends dressed as the Cookie Monster!). Here’re a couple pictures from that night:
The next night, SigEp had their annual Spook’d Party at an off-campus location. I dressed as Marilyn Monroe!
Then Friday night, the girls living in the house all dressed as Toddler’s in Tiaras for SAE’s Halloween party. Getting dressed for that was just sooooo much fun, and going with the other girls in the house was fabulous.
Anyway, so that’s just a short post from last semester with some pictures! I’ll have a couple more updates about last semester over the next few days before I move on to this semester. I promise one of my goals for this semester is to keep updating this blog regularly, unlike the disaster that was my blog updating last semester!
Southern Belle at Yale
Here’s an update on Pi Phi events last semester! Living in the house, my life was consumed with Pi Phi love (and it was fabulous, y’all). With recruitment coming up this month, I have to say up front that picking Pi Phi was the best decision I’ve made at Yale.
Pi Phi’s biggest annual philanthropy event is Highlight, a black-light dance party at Toad’s. This year’s Highlight was the biggest ever. We sold out of highlighters (highlighters are the tickets to the event) well in advance of the event, and hundreds of people just bought entrance at the door. We raised a ton of money for Pi Phi’s literacy philanthropy, and it was really fun!
Of course Pi Phi showed up in force to all the tailgates last semester, despite the fact that the tailgates are definitely not what they used to be since the administration’s changes have taken place. The crowds are a lot smaller, but the tailgates are still lots of fun (and definitely better than Harvard’s, since that’s obviously all that matters).
Pi Phi had a “Boxer Rebellion”-themed mixer with the heavyweight crew team (Don’t ask me what that theme means. I have no idea. The boys insisted on that theme.) It was great to mix with a group we hadn’t mixed with before.
A bunch of Pi Phi girls went to see the rugby team’s last game of their season (vs. Harvard, of course). I had never seen rugby before (surprise, surprise I don’t think they play rugby in Mississippi), but it was a fascinating mix of football, wrestling, and cheerleading. It was incredible to watch, and–unlike the football team–the rugby team beat Harvard! That night, Pi Phi had a mixer with the rugby team, which was great as well.
At the Princeton-Yale football game tailgate, Pi Phi had a philanthropy fundraising effort called “Pie a Pi Phi”. For a small fee, anyone at the tailgate could put a pie in the face of the Pi Phi of their choice. It was a mess, but it was for a good cause, right?
Pi Phi had a mixer titled “The Great Fratsby” with SigEp (it was obviously 1920s, Great Gatsby themed). Everybody dressed in 1920s attire. The mixer was the night of a big snow storm, which was something else. But with the snow storm I didn’t even consider wearing a fur to the mixer, which I would have done otherwise.
Then we had one final mixer with SAE. And, of course, Pi Phi had the usual semi-formal and formal, which were fabulous as always. Here’s a picture of my best friend Cathy and me dressed up for each event (semi-formal on the left, formal on the right).
For any freshmen and sophomore girls out there thinking about going through recruitment, I want to tell you that I would say you should 100%. If you don’t like it, that’s totally fine. You can drop out of recruitment–no big deal! But you might just find many of your best friends for the rest of college. I sure did. Anyway, check out the website on the promo pic below for more information about sorority recruitment at Yale!!!
With Unending Pi Phi Love,
Southern Belle at Yale
Another thing that has kept me busy this semester is serving as one of my residential college’s Student Activities Committee chairs. My friend Marissa and I co-chaired Calhoun’s SAC, planning all the events that took place within the college.
The biggest event of the first semester in Calhoun College is the annual Trolley Night. It’s a big Mardis-Gras-themed dance in the Calhoun dining hall. We have a special Cajun dinner in the dining hall that night and then the dance. Marissa and I had so much fun planning it! Buying decorations, booking a DJ, coordinating the lighting design, and ordering a ton of beads was too fun! We couldn’t have done it, though, without Calhoun’s Master’s wife Aisling who is always so sweet to help with event planning in the college.
Thanks to the help from Aisling and so many members of Calhoun College Council who helped Marissa and me, Trolley Night was a big success! There was a good crowd, and people seemed to have a great time. It will be interesting to see what happens next year with Trolley Night since the biggest dance at Yale–80′s themed Safety Dance which is sponsored by Silliman College and held in Commons dining hall–has been canceled for next year. Will Trolley Night take Safety Dance’s place as the biggest dance each year? We’ll see…
Marissa and I also planned two big tailgates for Calhoun at the football games this fall. This year was the first year of the administration’s new tailgating rules (which were–and still are, to be honest–pretty ambiguous) so navigating that was half the battle. We held a Calhoun tailgate at the first home game of the year and one at the Princeton-Yale game, the final home game of the year. The first one was your standard Yale tailgate (snacks, candy, some food, etc), but the Princeton-Yale one was nothing short of fabulous. We hired the burrito cart from a local Mexican restaurant to come out and provide food for Calhoun students. We also had dozens and dozens of donuts and tons of coffee and hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts. Everyone thought that Calhoun’s burrito cart was the highlight of the tailgate!
The last big event of first semester is the annual Fall Fest. We had pumpkins for carving, cookies for decorations, mugs and ceramic pumpkins for painting, and tons of other activities (including the ever-popular cider pong tournament!). Fall Fest was also a success–we actually had to kick people out when it was over! They didn’t want to leave!
At the end of the semester, some freshmen boys (Austin, here’s your shout-out on my blog you’ve been wanting) wanted to plan a Calhoun talent show, so Marissa and I helped them with that a bit .
This coming semester, the big event is Calhoun Formal. I can’t wait to let y’all know how that goes!
Posting this from the Reagan Airport in DC on my way back to school! Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas break–I sure did!
Southern Belle at Yale
You might think the title of this blog post is kind of melodramatic. “Rebirth of the Yale College Republicans”? Please. But seriously, y’all. The Yale College Republicans has been born again this year, and I’m so proud of that fact.
One of the main things that has kept me so busy this past semester has been serving as chairman of the Yale College Republicans during a semester that has not only been busy for politics in general (with the presidential election and all), but also that has been particularly busy for Republicans at Yale as the Yale GOP has experienced quite the rebirth this year. In the past, the Yale College Republicans has technically existed on paper but has not been consistently active or really made much effort to identify and involve people in Republican politics on campus. However, this semester, I (with the help of some very wonderful people) have been successful in establishing the Yale College Republicans as an established organization and one of the most active political action groups on campus.
We began by creating an emailing list of every Republican we could think of and reaching out to known Republicans to ask if they knew other Republicans. A friend of mine said that it’s easier to come out as gay at Yale than as a Republican, and to be honest I think that’s probably true. So identifying Republicans on campus is half the battle.
After we had established a membership list, we began planning activities. For one of the first organized political activism activities of the Yale GOP, a group of Yale College Republicans went to Massachusetts to campaign for Senator Scott Brown’s reelection, which you can read about in the Yale Daily News here.
We also hosted phone banking for Linda McMahon (a senate candidate in Connecticut) and Mitt Romney. We organized canvassing efforts for Linda McMahon in New Haven at large as well as at Yale.
Along with the Yale College Democrats and the 12 residential college masters, we hosted voter-registration drives in residential college butteries for Yale students to register to vote. One of the things I have loved most about the re-birth of the Yale College Republicans is that there is now a bit of balance to the all-powerful Dems. haha
But that is not to say that there is any animosity between the Yale GOP and the Yale Dems. Another thing I’ve enjoyed about re-establishing YCR has been getting to know the leadership of the Yale Dems. The Dems’ President Zak Newman and I have had some wonderful discussions this semester. We even participated in two debates about the election (one at a boarding school in Cheshire, Connecticut, and one at the University of St. Joseph in Hartford). There are lots of liberal groups on campus that are less than tolerant–to say the least–but I have found the members of the Yale Democrats to be wonderful, curious, engaging people.
On election day, the Yale GOP collectively contacted every registered Republican and every voter unaffiliated with a party at Yale in a get-out-the-vote effort. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy in my life as I was during the couple days leading up to the election day this year. I think I talked to every reporter at the Yale Daily News twice as well as running from place to place making sure our last-minute election plans were going off without a hitch. Here’re a few of the YDN articles I was quoted in during the days leading up to and following the election. Here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The Yale Daily News has been, in general, very good about covering our events and activities. When they were putting out an all-election-coverage issue, I was asked to write a piece for their Weekend section about an issue at hand in the presidential election. You can read it here. And the weekend before the election, they ran a cover story in Weekend which discussed the activities of various political groups on campus, including the Yale GOP. You can read that article here.
Election night, we hosted a returns-watching party in Silliflicks, which is a movie theatre in the basement of Silliman College. Although the night certainly did not go as we all had hoped it would (Scott Brown, Linda McMahon, and Mitt Romney all lost), it could have been worse haha.
A couple weeks after the election, we hosted CT State Representative Gail Lavielle to discuss the future for the Republican party both in Connecticut and in the country at large. I am hopeful that our relationship with Rep. Lavielle will continue and that we will be able to organize a trip up to Hartford to the state capitol this coming semester to see her and the other Republicans in the CT Legislature in action.
At the end of the semester, the Yale College Republicans hosted Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) to speak about free-market approaches to environmentalism. Congressman Inglis stuck around to talk with the students at the talk for quite awhile. It was a great event. You can read the article about it in the Yale Daily News here.
Our rebirth has not gone unnoticed. Yalies on both sides of the aisle have been astonished by how quickly the Yale College Republicans has morphed into a real organization and added to the increasingly prominent conservative movement on campus. The Politic, a Yale publication about–you guessed it!–politics, wrote a cover story in its last issue of the semester about the rise of the Right at Yale. I’m quoted in it a couple times, as are several other Yale GOP members. You can read it here.
Moving forward, I hope that we will be able to host additional talks in the coming semester, plan a trip to Hartford, and take part in some lobbying efforts similar to what the Dems do. I’ll keep y’all updated on how it goes!
Fighting the Good Fight!
Southern Belle at Yale
P.S. I made a video for The Yale Herald‘s Bullblog on election day. It is my rather pathetic attempt at humor, but you may find it enjoyable. Here’s a link to that if you’d like to watch it.