The wrong side of the tracks

23 January 2008

I’ve been known to talk a little trash about New Haven in the past. I remember reading “Campus Lightbulb Jokes” when I was a 15-year old high school student and I’ve never forgotten Yale’s version: 

How many Yale students does it take to change a lightbulb?
None. New Haven looks better in the dark.

Har, har! But for all the times I’ve called it ‘a pit’, I have been hoping recently that now my jokes are way out-of-date or that I’m being overly snobbish. Times must have changed, I haven’t been there in years, what do I know? Chris has been at Yale for two years and seems to have survived without much complaint, says there are some good bars and restaurants downtown.  They have a nice big Ikea, and the train station’s reasonably clean, right? Right.

So I went to New Haven. Visited the nursing school, talked with students, faculty, had my interview and made a ton of small talk. Everyone I met at Yale was friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately, everyone I met at Yale was also very quick to make sure that I wasn’t out walking around New Haven by myself. In fact, at 230 in the afternoon, when I was ready to leave the nursing school (which is across the highway from downtown/the rest of campus and surrounded by a very tall iron fence) to walk the quarter-mile to the aforementioned train station, the friendly security guard told me that I would be okay as long as I stayed on “this side” of the street.

I’ve lived in Boston for close to seven years, where I have been the victim of one mugging downtown and one act of larceny at my place of work. I lived west of Tenth Avenue in midtown Manhattan for a summer, in a neighborhood affectionately referred to as “Hell’s Kitchen”, and I had one very unpleasant experience on a crowded 1-9 train headed uptown. But I don’t think that I can say that I’ve ever lived in a place where I didn’t feel comfortable walking around at night.

Yale’s a great school with a great reputation. I really like their nursing school and I could definitely see myself enjoying being a student there. But I’ve spent the last two years in this beautiful town of Brookline, Mass., where the mailman can leave a package on my doorstep and it will still be there 12 hours later.  So I really need someone to explain to me why it’s going to cost me MORE to rent a studio in New Haven… especially if I can’t leave it after dark without a car or a call to the campus shuttle.



  1. If it’s any consolation, I had a lot of friends who went to Yale with the same concerns but they ended up being very happy there. 🙂

    Never fear, my friend, you will hear from schools soon. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog!

  2. I hope you saw that the UW letters are in the mail.

  3. yep, sure did. i had emailed patrick yesterday because i’m a little worried about not hearing before my prerequisite classes start next week. I don’t have money to drop on tution if I don’t need to!

    Patrick also explained to me that waitlisted candidates can email him to inquire about their place on the list, but that waitlist positions will not be in the letter. So… I guess we’ll find out soon enough! WA-folk first, of course, so good luck, CEV! Let me know what you hear!

  4. I just got a call from Patrick. I got in AACNP! Gad, I am so excited I hardly know which way to turn. With my personal situation this was the only program I could apply to, so it was all or nothing.

    Best of luck!

  5. […] No news is bad news… 24 January 2008 Well, serious congrats to cev for getting offered admission to UW in the ACNP track. Well done. I did *not* get a call from Patrick, which I can only assume means I wasn’t the […]

  6. Downtown New Haven may not be a leafy suburb filled exclusively with white people, but it is the place of choice for young people in Connecticut and it is expensive because of that — it is the most desirable place to live in Connecticut, if not the entire Northeast. New Haven has more 25-34 year olds than any other community in CT by a huge margin, and it also is the most bikeable major city in the Northeast, in terms of the % of the population that commutes to work via bicycle.

    There are now literally hundreds of New York Times-five-star-rated restaurants, bars, clubs, jazz halls, galleries, etc., lining the streets, with $3500/month luxury apartments above. Guess you missed them while you were visiting there… probably because graduate students tend to be from the leafy Princeton-like suburbs and have a skewed sense of reality. I guess it’s fortunate, because one of the advantages of New Haven over New York is that rents are a bit cheaper even though it has just as much (if not more) culture per capita.

    By the way, homeless people tend to gather in the most vibrant and safest parts of any metropolitan area — Midtown Manhattan, Harvard Square, downtown Austin, San Francisco, etc. are all examples of this. New Haven is the equivalent. Homeless people don’t want to have to wander the suburbs or outskirts of town where they would just get beat up. Just because you see a homeless person doesn’t mean a place is dangerous.

  7. […] comment was on this post from January, about my experience visiting the nursing school at Yale. The most important thing to […]

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