Hey, you! I’m Rachel. I’m in Morse College. I’m from Buffalo, New York. I may be a senior, but the only thing that really separates me from you is that I finally found the haircut that suits my face shape. You see, this is my first editorial for The Yale Record (the oldest humor magazine in the world!), and I’m just as nervous as Moses was the day he packed up God’s Subaru Outback and set out for the promised land: New Haven, Connecticut. Sure, I may have a ton of great friends, a humor magazine to run into the ground by the end of the year, and a haircut that suits my face shape. But despite my glamorous exterior, I’m still just a wobbly little baby deer person terrified by the thought of doing anything new.

Here are some of the ways that writing my very first editorial for The Yale Record has been exactly like your first few days of freshman year:

Today, I woke up hungover and then threw up outside of Woolsey Hall in front of a large number of my peers and their parents. I blamed my little outburst on first-editorial jitters, and not the seven beers I shotgunned in the Record office to get my “creative juices flowing.”
Next, I went for a walk to clear my head and cried in front of both Blue States and both Willoughby’s’ (is that the correct plural???). I then called my mom and played a sound clip of “people having a fun, yet productive, time” to convince her that I was having a fun, yet productive, time writing my very first editorial for The Yale Record. Once I was sure my mom was convinced I was doing that and not eating peanut butter straight from the jar while sobbing quietly, I started shouting the words “Hey you! I’m Rachel. I’m in Morse College. I’m from Buffalo, New York,” at every human being I encountered.

I then told my SAT score to a lot of people who didn’t ask what my SAT score was. I felt bad about myself because theirs were higher than mine, and wondered if I had been admitted to Yale and given the title “Editor in Chief of The Yale Record” and the task of writing this editorial in one hugely embarrassing series of clerical errors by the Yale Admissions Office. I began to panic that there was another R. Lackner who had been robbed of the opportunity to attend this institution and write this editorial. His or her (and, let’s be honest: considering the historical gender biases in both this institution and the comedic world, it’s most likely his) very first editorial would probably have been much more charming than mine, with the perfect level of snark and self-deprecation to convince people to continue reading this issue and maybe even come to a Record meeting in LC 209 at 9 pm on Monday nights. I worried that this R. Lackner would have found a smoother way than I just did to incorporate the time and location of Record meetings, as well as the fact that there will be pizza.

There will be pizza.

Then I cried in front of Maison Mathis, which costs $9.58 with tax and comes with a side salad.

Does any of this sound familiar? You might be thinking “Wow. Freshman year/writing your very first editorial for The Yale Record sounds like a hoot and a half. Let me at it.” Or you might be thinking “Egads! I never want to do any of that.” Maybe you, like me, are still anxious thinking about the plural of Willoughby’s. These are all perfectly normal feelings to have.

And the good news is that those feelings of uncertainty and anxiety don’t ever completely go away. And YES, that is the good news. It means that we’re all in the same boat. We’re all a bunch of wobbly little baby deer people sailing around in this boat called Yale University in this ocean called LIFE. You will soon get your sea legs and stop feeling queasy from the lethal combo of seasickness and Dubra, but you and me and even Peter Salovey are all still little baby deer people wobbling and bobbling around.

And those weird, uncomfortable feelings you’re feeling in your precious lil heart? These feelings are propelling that boat. Befriend them, knit them tiny beanies, and put them in your pocket so you can take them out every so often to give a gentle kiss on the forehead as thanks for doing their job.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay not to know what you’re doing. Don’t pretend you have it all together, because then you’ll make me feel bad and I don’t have the self-esteem for that. Embrace those feelings of discomfort and anxiety. Find a haircut that suits your face shape and some friends who suit your heart shape and some academic interests that fit your head shape, but don’t expect them all to come at once. And while you’re at it, stop by LC 209 at 9 pm on Monday nights.

There will be pizza.

—R. Lackner