Greetings from the Ivy League
Yale University has for centuries educated students who would go on to become famous Americans, from President George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford, Hillary Clinton, journalist Anderson Cooper and actors Jodi Foster and James Franco.
And now, joining the list, is 2015 Kings High School graduate Alexa Murray (pictured in red, second from left).
What few may know is that Murray is actually one of Kings’ first graduates to go to an Ivy League school. Transitioning from a small, close-knit environment to any major university is a challenge for Kings students. But jumping from Kings to Yale could be particularly daunting.
In a recent discussion with The Knight Times from her new digs at Yale, Murray seems undaunted.
“Adjusting to college life isn’t that hard; they don’t just throw you in there,” Murray said. “The freshman class is also subdivided into small, 10-12 person groups called “frocos” that are led by upperclassmen. All of this is devised to give students that small-college feel within the larger Yale College and help with the transition.”
Murray went on to explain that the student body is divided into what are called Residential Colleges. The Residential College that one winds up in determines where a student lives and each residential college offers its own social and academic events to keep students involved and helps the student to become comfortable.
Murray said the opportunities at Yale are vast.
“The extracurriculars here range in scope, from the political to the academic to the performing arts, but for many “Yalies” (extra-curriculars) actually form the center of their social lives,” she said. “I’m joining Drop Team, which does engineering experiments: Cerebral Addikts, a break dancing team; and Danceworks, a multi-genre dance team. With every type of group, though, there’s a range of options, from time-intensive commitments to casual meetings and from advanced to beginner levels.”
It seems that there is plenty at Yale besides studying for the students to do.
But hearing “Ivy League” gives many people visions of impossible academic challenges, overwhelming pressure at one of the country’s most esteemed colleges. How did Murray even choose which classes to take?
“We just finished something called ‘shopping period.’ Shopping period means that for the first two and a half weeks of school students can attend a lot of different classes — some even choose to do ten — before finalizing their schedule. This lets people figure out which level of a class is right for them and explore different interests before narrowing them down for the term.”
Ivy League schools are known to be aesthetically beautiful. From what Murray has shared, Yale is no exception.
“I’m in Branford, which is known for having the prettiest courtyard on campus,” she said. “The first thing anyone will notice on campus is how beautiful it is. I essentially sleep, eat, and do my laundry in castles and walk to class on pristine, tree-lined stone pathways. Fall weather is wonderful, sunny most days and around 70 degrees. People ride around on bikes and scooters; students play Frisbee and Spikeball on the green; the Caroliners play songs on the bells often throughout the day.”
Murray has dreamed about attending an Ivy League school since she was a child, but admitted she did experience some doubts last year at Kings when she started her application process. Regardless, she made it, and is now one of the few Kings students ever to transition from a Knight to a Bulldog, and she isn’t looking back.