Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

A weeklong electronic journal.
Oct. 8 1997 3:30 AM

Ben Trachtenberg, Yale

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       Yesterday was a page from a Yale brochure: busy, busy, busy, but very satisfying.
       Having recently returned from a weekend observing Rosh Hashanah at home in Washington, D.C., I started the day a little behind. I trekked up Science Hill for a 9:30 math class, and during class tried to finish the homework that deep religious convictions had prevented me from completing by Friday.
       At the class's end, the homework was in, if not complete, and it was time to eat. (Yale, being realistic, allows students to eat breakfast until 11:00 a.m.) I read the paper and ate with friends, which is good; it is easy to get so wrapped up in classes and activities that you and your friends need to make appointments to see each other. According to the Yale Daily News joke issue, the departing staff's last hurrah, the "Yale Five" (the now-misnamed Orthodox Jewish students who have threatened to sue Yale rather than live in the dens of iniquity we call dorms--one of the five students just got married, thereby qualifying for a housing exemption) ran naked across the Old Campus to protest the University's housing policy.
       Amused and edified, I walked to my next class, a history lecture on Plato's Republic. There I resolved to work harder at keeping up with my reading.
       Having a few moments to kill, I read the New York Times (my daily lifeline to the outside world), then memorized information that I would be expected to recite at the evening's fraternity meeting. Checking my e-mail, another amazing time-killer, I learned that Dinesh D'Souza was speaking at a Master's Tea (an informal event where students chat with an interesting speaker) at 4:00. Since I was covering D'Souza's speech at the Yale Political Union at 7:30 p.m. for the Daily News, I went to the tea to get some background.
       Skipping out of the Q&A, I grabbed some dinner with friends from Lawrance (my dorm and home to an empty room rented, but not lived in, by an Orthodox student) and ran to the Sigma Chi pledge class meeting. After shakily, but accurately, reciting the " Jordan Standard" (Isaac Jordan was the founder of Sigma Chi), I sped across campus to the D'Souza debate.
       The debate lasted too long, so I wrote my article in haste, rushed it over to the News, and barely made deadline. From there I went to visit my girlfriend for a few hours. When I came back, it was 2:00 a.m., and it was time to read Plato.

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.)