12.09.2015

"So This is Yale" Moments

Yes, it was all I expected it would be
As an undergraduate, I attended a university located in the same city as Yale University. To this day I can recall a t-shirt I saw for sale in the Yale Co-op . It featured Charles Schutltz's Peanuts characters staring up at a big Gothic building on the Yale campus and included the caption "So This is Yale."

The shirt conveyed the sense that these cartoon characters were in awe at seeing the illustrious university for the first time. When we hear about something for a long time, we listen to the myths and take in stories of grandeur and amazement.  There is much anticipation for the moment when we experience it for ourselves.  I have come to think of these experiences as "So This is Yale" moments and have had my fair share of them over the years.

Like the tiny Peanuts characters on the t-shirt, some of these moments have been awe inspiring, everything the reputation and hype have made them out to be and sometimes more. Skiing The Blaze, seeing the big sequoia trees in California, the moment Machu Piccu  came into view at sunrise, and listening to Paul Simon perform live were all "So this is Yale" moments for me with each of them meeting or exceeding my expectations.  Other times such moments were a disappointment and left me wondering why they have developed such a stellar reputation and avid following. Visiting Paris, seeing the popular jam band Widespread Panic, and reading Anna Karenina all were not what I hoped they would be.

In recent year's, I've traveled to some off -the-beaten-path destinations in Eastern Europe so while I had a few notions about what I'd find when I arrived, these are not locations I'd been hearing people rave about for years. The hype around them was minimal and I visited with few preconceived ideas. While I prefer this sort of travel and continue to seek out what I feel are undiscovered places and experiences,  I do not discount "So This is Yale" moments. I know that the world is filled with an abundance of places, experiences, bands, books and more that will live up to their hype and leave me full of wonder. I'm not sure what my next "So This is Yale" moment will be but I'm always scheming something and I have a few ideas. Stay tuned.

Have you had any "So This is Yale" moments? Did the experience live up to the hype? If not, why do you think it fell short and why do you think it has earned such a stellar reputation? Share your stories in the comments section of this post.