In Which I Drop the Red from The Red and the Blue

November 20, 2014

Friday was most notable for my trip to Yale. Taking out the ‘red’ from Penn’s Red and Blue to Yale’s dark azure, I rode a charter bus with the Glee Club for a good four hours before arriving in New Haven, Connecticut. When we arrived, two of our hosts from “The New Blue of Yale”, led us to a dorm where we would wait for a while for the rest of them to arrive. My first impression as we walked around the buildings and into the dorms was awe at the ornate architecture and wood paneling on the interiors. Antlers hung from the walls, alongside large paintings of former Yalies. Every building we walked into seemed to have its own Steinway piano and for a number of Glee clubbers this was too much to resist.


Pretty soon we sounded off in a chorus of “Bogoroditse Devo”, a choral favorite of hours, and moved on to other pieces, not stopping until a sizeable gaggle of girls from “The New Blue” (Yale’s top female acapella group). Zach, Tom Peterson, Rigel and myself were led to the suite belonging to one Elizabeth, who we were informed in advance was both very short, and would not be arriving home for a while. Thus we were let in by two of her suitemates Aga and Sai. We put down our belongings and chatted for a little, soon meeting Liz, but shortly after the other guys became tired of hanging around and decided to head out to a bar.

As it was a Friday night, I sat in the room reading (QED by Feynman) and had a chance to talk more with the others as they came to and fro from their studying. Liz herself made quite the impression, with a strong personality that gave her a much taller stature than she would have displayed otherwise. I learnt that she was an investigative journalist and photographer, currently researching a novel sport and throwing herself into learning about it, for a Yale paper. Additionally, she was a classical violinist who had only recently taken up singing. There was another surprise about her to come, but it wasn’t revealed until later.

Aga was a prize winning horse rider, and animal enthusiast. We bonded over the fact that she wished strongly to visit Australia. She was also very friendly and though she was studying, kept leaving her room to come out and talk. Sai was probably the least visible of those I met, with her head down in the books deep in study. However she was also probably the one with whom I was most excited to talk. Being a physicist/mechanical engineer was had plenty in common, and I managed to go on and on and on about Feynman as it was her book that I was reading. Right before she went back to her room to study she mentioned that the Yale accelerator would be open for one last day of tours the next morning, before it was to be decommissioned. Tours started at 10.30 and it would be my only chance. I thought I would be too tired the next day, so kind of discounted the opportunity and went to sleep.

Tuesday/Wednesday – Day 168/169

January 18, 2013

Tuesday I was invited to the Phi Psi date night and went urgently looking for a date. To my luck I ran into a good friend from Penn Singers, Lauren Nagy, whom I asked and who agreed to accompany me. Physics in the morning was difficult again. I’ll be most glad when I’m done with¬†electromagnetism but I think I may need to retake the course when I get home in order to be sure I’ve learnt the material well enough. After physics was my first singing lesson of the semester which was enjoyable as always. It provides me with an opportunity to have my improvement measured and the chance to improve further.

Following the singing lesson I attended the visit of the Australian Consul General to the University of Pennsylvania and heard him speak on how best to ‘bat for team Australia’. This inspired me to start a plan for an Australia student network across the Ivy League schools.

Then it was dinner and a quick change into a suit before Glee rehearsal. Unfortunately I could only linger for twenty minutes before dashing outside to run through the rain to the Phi Psi chapter house, where I met Lauren. There we socialized pleasantly with the other brothers, potential pledges and their dates before heading off in taxis to the venue. When we arrived at the venue, the first thing that struck us was the volume. The music was cranked way up high and it was difficult to talk to one another amidst the booming beats. Unfortunately this detracted from the experience as a whole and resulted in Lauren and I leaving a little earlier than we might otherwise have intended. As it turned out, this was my last event with the brothers. I was dropped from the process, which was completely understandable, and returned to life as before.

Wednesday I resumed compsci classes and unfortunately this meant returning to a very large workload. I was gifted by Professors Boon and Smith with two assignments, due the following week. With much else to do besides, the familiar stress levels from fall semester were returning. In the afternoon I set about completing various logistical tasks I had left, before Glee rehearsal at 5. After rehearsal I had a meeting with two of the other TAs for CIS121 in which we planned and wrote the homework for the week. Finally getting back to my room late I began work on the assignments and passed out somewhere around 2AM.

Shabbat/Sunday – Day 85/86

October 23, 2012

Today a good friend Vanessa came over and we talked for hours and hours. After Shabbat came out, played some piano, messed about on the computer a little and just generally took it easy.

The trees on Locust Walk have now changed their colours and it’s somewhat beautiful. I’m really enjoying walking down with so few other people round, and just enjoying the peace and fresh air.

Sunday I worked a little, got my Ruby and Physics work mostly out of the way, and saved the evening for social events. At around two-thirty, I left my room and went to the bookstore to browse their physics collection where about a half hour later I met Melody for coffee, a chat and a walk.

Following that it was to my room for a short break before catching an interview with my Glee Club Mentor, Jonathan Ho (also known as JHo) at Sitar, the delicious Indian buffet.

Getting back a few hours later, my last social event of the evening was to spend sometime at the Rodin front desk chatting to Caitlyn Garcia, a UPenn cheerleader, who was interested in coming to study abroad in Australia. We spent her entire shift discussing the differences and culture of Australia and what the different cities and options were. Unfortunately for her, the girl who was meant to take the shift after her never appeared so she had to spend a good forty minutes trying to figure out what she was meant to do!

After waiting around till it was all sorted, I walked her up to her room and then headed myself into deep slumber.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney