Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

A weeklong electronic journal.
Oct. 11 1997 3:30 AM

Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

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       Thursday is the cruelest day.
       After spending three hours and 45 minutes discussing great works, I remembered that all my work is always due on Friday. My schedule is such that I can't get any real work done between classes, so I'm out of commission from 9 to 3:45.
       When I returned from class, my friend Jeff Kaplow and I went shopping for party supplies. Saturday is Yom Kippur, and it's also his birthday. We're planning a big party for Saturday night to celebrate and break the fast.
       Today I paid for yesterday's napping and general laziness. This week's humanities paper was for my history and politics class. The assignment was to trace a logic chain through four Platonic dialogues, and I wrote about Socrates valuing justice and goodness more than wealth, reputation, and his own life. I spent a couple of hours in the library fleshing out my ideas and a couple more doing the actual writing. Near the end, I became upset by the failure of the Orioles bullpen (I checked the O's progress periodically on the Web).
       Around midnight, the paper was done, and I went upstairs to my friend Lauren's birthday party. I grabbed some pizza and soda, but I couldn't stay long because my weekly math problem-sets are also due on Friday mornings. This week's set has been giving me trouble for days (it's mostly about the derivatives of multivariable functions).
       Joanna, my girlfriend, spent today in New York working (she has no classes on Tuesdays or Thursdays), so I couldn't see her. She's a junior majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, and I've been spending a lot of time with her recently (friends have remarked that they haven't seen me in a while). It's a difficult balance: I love being with Joanna, but I don't want to lose touch with my freshman friends.
       Dan Sharfman, whom I've known since my Jewish Day School middle-school years, came over a little after 1 to collaborate on the math problem-set. He left a little after 3, and we agreed to make a good-faith effort to finish the problems in class today. We also made plans to go out for dinner tonight. (Yale food isn't good enough for the last meal before a fast day.)
       I'm looking forward to the weekend, which begins at 12:20, the end of my last class. In a perfect world I would catch up on some needed sleep, but I'm sure that I'll stay up late enough on Friday and Saturday nights to counteract any sleeping-in done on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben Trachtenberg is a freshman at Yale University.

(Note: Earlier this semester, the "Yale Five" announced that, in defiance of school policy, they were refusing to live in the campus dormitories because living in co-ed quarters violated their Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Last week, an MIT freshman died of alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party after having consumed about 16 drinks. Have our nation's elite colleges become hotbeds of binge drinking and sexual abandon? SLATE's diarists this week tell us what life at these top schools is really like.)