A Busy Start to Sophomore Year
I can’t believe I’m already over a month into my sophomore year! The bright college years really are the shortest, gladdest years of life.
I’m finally (mostly) moved out of the lonely stand-alone single I was in at the beginning of the year because of my broken foot. Some of my clothes are still down there because I’m super slow at moving everything, but I am now living in my fifth-floor suite with Vivienne.
Shopping period (Yale’s process by which you can try out classes in order to decide which ones you’re going to take) is long over. I didn’t really shop that many classes, though, because navigating shopping period with a broken foot is not easy (or fun either). I am taking first-year Spanish, human biology for non-majors, first-order logic, intro statistics with political science applications, and an English lecture on John Milton. First-order logic is taught by Kenneth Winkler whom I had for DS philosophy first semester last year, and the Milton lecture is taught by John Rogers whom I had for DS literature second semester last year. I really enjoyed their classes last year, and I am really enjoying their classes so far this year. (By the way, if you haven’t read Milton’s poem “Lycidas”, stop right now and read it. It’s incredible.)
The first week or so of school was just full of getting moved in, seeing friends again, going to the orthopaedist about my foot, and deciding what classes I’d take. (Oh and Hurricane Irene as well, about which the Yale administration ridiculously overreacted.)
On September 11th, Yale held a candlelight vigil to remember the horrendous events of ten years earlier. The administration’s input into the service was extremely politically correct and not too related to actually remembering the events of September 11, 2001. There was no Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem sung, no mention of the firefighters and policemen who gave their lives trying to save people from the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and hardly a mention of the brave men and women fighting overseas right now to make sure such an attack doesn’t happen again.
I was standing with some of my friends from the Tory Party, and we were all disappointed in the memorial service. So when the vigil officially ended, Briana, Shelby, and I decided to sing the National Anthem. Many other students near us joined in to add something to the otherwise ridiculously lacking service. Our singing of the National Anthem was included in both news articles and opinion pieces in the Yale Daily News afterward. (You can read about the vigil here http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/sep/12/911-remembered-at-candlelight-vigil/ and here http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/sep/12/zelinsky-true-to-the-core/ ).
On Tuesday, September 13th, (after I got the cast off my foot at the orthopaedist that morning!!!) I had dinner with Marc Theissen, a former head speechwriter for both President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, before he spoke at the Yale Political Union. He is somewhat of an expert on the “enhanced interrogation techniques”, which include waterboarding, that caused such a controversy during the Bush administration. Did you know only three people were ever waterboarded? Also, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the so-called “mastermind of 9/11″ who was one of those three people who was waterboarded) thanked his interrogators for waterboarding him because it gave him a way to stand up for Allah. More interesting to me, though, is that after his waterboarding, KSM became a sort of Al Qaeda consultant, giving the CIA information about how Al Qaeda operated. He would give lectures to CIA operatives using a blackboard and giving them pop quizzes to make sure they were paying attention!
The Friday night of that week, Mike Huckabee came to speak at Yale as part of the William F. Buckley, Jr., Program, an organization which seeks to encourage intellectual diversity by bringing conservative speakers to Yale’s liberal campus. Earlier this year, I was chosen as a William F. Buckley Fellow, so I’m involved in the Buckley program (I’m actually right now trying to get Haley Barbour to come speak at Yale with the Buckley Program next semester).
Huckabee spoke about “Restoring America’s Huckabee spoke on “Restoring American Values”, about the importance of morality in our country. It was quite a wonderful speech–I think even the liberals in the room were impressed by his ability to express his socially conservative views in a non-inflammatory way. The production staff from his Fox News television show were there to film the speech, and I made friends with his cameramen and producer, who invited me and some of my friends to come to New York City to see them film the show at Fox Studios later this semester. I’m definitely excited about that. After the speech, I got to talk to Mr. Huckabee about Amendment 26 to the Mississippi constitution (Huckabee had spoken at First Baptist Jackson at the Amendment 26 campaign kick-off the week before), my buddy Phil Bryant (who is in many ways leading the fight for Amendment 26), and being Southern Baptist at Yale (Huckabee, after all, was a Southern Baptist minister before entering politics). I was even quoted in the Yale Daily News article about the Huckabee event (which you can read here http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/sep/19/huckabee-talks-morality-government/ ).
After the Huckabee event, I went with some other members of the Yale College Republicans to Shabbat dinner at Eliezer (a Jewish society which is actually right next door to the Pi Phi house that you can read more about here http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2057526,00.html ) where a student visiting from Cambridge spoke about his role in the zionist movement. They were quite surprised that a Southern Baptist girl like me from Mississippi would be so pro-Israel! I thought they would know that all evangelical Republicans were extremely pro-Israel, but apparently they haven’t met many evangelical Republicans.
The next day was Yale’s first football game of the season. Calhoun College Council and Pi Phi both had tailgates, so I went out to that. It was a great start to my first weekend off crutches, and to top it off, Yale beat Georgetown!! Yale tailgates are different in so many ways from tailgates at southern schools: for some reason they involve u-hauls and ridiculous costumes, but Natalie (a Pi Phi from Atlanta who is also on Calhoun College Council with me) and I represented southern tailgating by wearing our dresses.
Wednesday, I had an opinion piece “For an Open Abortion Dialogue” published in the Yale Daily News. It received a great deal of attention both on campus and online. You can read the piece here: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/sep/21/henry-open-abortion-dialogue/ .
The next day (Thursday) former Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler spoke at the YPU about why Palestine should not receive unilateral statehood, but I had to leave early for a Pi Phi philanthropy event.
That event was none other than Pi Beta Phi Presents Highlight II, by far the best party so far this semester. It was a fundraiser for the TAKE foundation, which provides women and girls with self-defense training, and it was a black-light party with highlighters that glowed under the black lights. It was tons of fun and for a totally awesome cause.
That Sunday, my friend Elaina and I went to Quinnipiac University for the state board meeting of the Connecticut College Republicans. The state chairman of the Connecticut Republican party spoke at the meeting. We’re trying to make Yale College Republicans actually exist this year (something that has not been true for quite some time).
The following Wednesday, Prof. Chris Tolefson, an ethics professor at the University of South Carolina who is currently a fellow at Princeton, spoke, as part of the Buckley Program, about the Pro-Life Movement. I had dinner with him afterwards, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to talk with him.
This weekend was super fun: Friday, Pi Phi had a mixer with SigEp, and Saturday was the Tory Party Patrick Henry Dinner.
The Tory Party Ladies’ Caucus all got our nails done that morning before Patrick Henry Dinner, and then Elaina and I got ready together that night. PHD is a semi-formal dinner at Mory’s (a private club for Yale students, alumni, and faculty), complete with the very old Yale Mory’s tradition of toasting. Several Tory Party alumni came back for the event, and there was a super fun after party at the off-campus apartment of an alumnus who is in law school now. The most exciting part–getting to spend time with the freshmen who have been coming to the Tory Party and introduce them to our Tory family.
In addition to these special events, I’ve had College Republicans meetings, Pi Phi chapter meetings, Calhoun College Council meetings, and Tory debates. I’ve spent many a night studying and eating a buffalo chicken wrap in the Calhoun buttery, and I’ve had many a meal to catch up with friends about their summers. Yale is really THE most incredible place in the world.
Oh and seeing everything all over facebook about the insanity that is Ole Miss sorority recruitment makes me really excited about Pi Phi recruitment, even though it’s not for several months.
With lots of love,
Southern Belle at Yale
PS I’ve been writing a little bit for Light and Truth Online (Yale’s online conservative forum). You can read the pieces I’ve written here: http://lightandtruthonline.com/author/southernbelleatyale/