BTFO Day 3: We Ain’t Skeered

Notable quotes and anecdotes

To start, I am going to explain the tagline “Ain’t Skeered,” as it was the first chronological event of today.  On my walk to school, I round the corner of the block I live on and start walking up the Deadly Hill next to the Albertus Magnus college.  Every time I have to do this walk, though, there is a bright red Cadillac parked along my route, and it is always facing down the hill.  On the back, there is a normal license plate, while on the front, there is a delightful treat.  Atop a black cardboard fragment carefully nestled inside of inside the license plate enclosure, someone had carefully and delicately inscribed the wise and meaningful prose: “Ain’t Skeered.”  Besides being the most exotic rendering of “We aren’t scared” I have ever encountered, there are additional aspects worth considering.  Now, while it would be slightly presumptuous to claim we know all about the motivation of the author when he or she immortalized this bit of human learning into Cardboard Form, we can nevertheless conclude that few fake vanity license plates have ever captured the human spirit in such a meaningful and concise way.  Sarcasm aside, I can’t help but smile and take an odd sort of hope from it every day when I walk by it, and so it is the first photo in the gallery below.  It is followed by a shot of the picturesque Aquinas Building on the Albertus Magnus campus, which is unbelievably gorgeous as the sun is rising.

Those vital parts of my morning walk to campus aside, today was Day 3 of the grueling orientation schedule, which I didn’t quite make it to the beginning of (there are daily optional events starting at 7:30am, which I have never, and will never, be physically able to make it to), and I missed a couple of other optional events in favor of a bit more sleep.  Unfortunate as it is, I still just have so many emails, letters, forms and requirements to take care of (to not even begin to mention the level of house organizing and cleaning still ahead) that I ended up getting work done well past 3 in the morning. Again.  As such, I made it to the first event on my schedule for the day: an event called ‘Academic Culture at Yale.’  This event was led by Dean Townes and Lisa (the woman who works as the Registrar for YDS), both of whom are very nice.  That said, Dean Townes is a very important woman and dresses in a such a way that makes her seem prim and proper, and very formal (not to mention her title and importance to the campus), but from the first moment she speaks, she is the most delightfully down-to-earth, approachable person in the world.  Her appointment as one of the leaders of this event was therefore likely intentional, as the following anecdote will illustrate.  She explained to us that Yale graduate programs do not use GPA or letter grades, but instead use a graduated system of performance, with tier titles such as “Honors” or “High Pass” or “Fail,” and then each of those tiers being able to be modified with a “Plus” or “Minus.” The tension in the student population was noticeably growing as she explained all of this, and then she said something to the effect of “now since the majority of you all are VERY Type A personality, it is worth taking the time to explain these various tiers in terms of common language.  If I, as you professor, am sitting in my easy chair and grading your paper and I find myself leaning back and saying DAYYYYYYYYYYUM, then you know you got an Honors Plus rating.” At this entertaining explanation, the room perceptibly shifted, as every seated student exhaled the breath they didn’t realize they were holding, and were even able to laugh.  I look forward to working with her and conversations in the future.

As it is very late when I reach this part of my story, I will quickly summarize the rest of my day: lunch was excellent (boy do they go out of their way to stuff us full of delicious food this week); and I followed it with several sessions pertaining to my MDiv program.  Finally, our small groups met and then we walked down the hill to downtown New Haven, where we ate a delicious Thai place with several YDS faculty.  It was an entertaining, filling, and informative meal, and some of us followed it up with a zig-zagging walking tour across the city towards YDS on the hill, which is where most of the below photos came from.  All in all, another tiring but entirely satisfactory day here at Yale Div.  I look forward to whatever adventures tomorrow brings, and just remember: We Ain’t Skeered.

Photos from today: BTFO, Walking around New Haven

I have a wide variety of photos from taken, starting from the walk to school from my house (the Ain’t Skeered Caddy is always parked a block from me); take a look!

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