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Caught in the Yale-NUS Crossfire

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I am an NSF who enlisted in April 2021. In February of this year, I applied to a college that I had only dreamt of entering - Yale-NUS. I have always just cruised through life without much thought - mostly just going with the flow and wherever my scores could take me. However, Yale-NUS was the first institution which actually got me excited, a life goal that finally sparked some sort of motivation in my otherwise dull life path so far.

As someone who is and has always been an "artsy" person, Yale-NUS just seemed like the perfect place for me to be creative, to be part of a community that is both full of like-minded people, and at the same time chock-full of unique and vibrant students from all walks of life. I applied with a slim hope, after all, I wasn't the best student, nor was I the most involved in my Junior College. A few essay drafts and an interview later, I received that acceptance letter. In the middle of my army bunk, still uncomfortably damp from my first post-outfield shower, I was swamped with notifications from other YNC applicants telling me the results have been sent out. Lo and behold, I was one of the lucky few to be selected, and it seemed like my count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.

Fast forward a couple of months of introducing myself as a prospective YNC undergrad, thinking about what major I want to declare, and soul-searching, a friend of mine who had already matriculated texted me about a town hall event regarding YNC happening soon. I didn't think much of it, probably just some information about Covid-19 measures, or maybe a new event was going to be announced. Oh how foolish I was.

In a few short months, I had my university dreams baited and switched. It's hurts tenfold more knowing that I could have been in that batch of 2021, that I could have just had the slightest taste of what Yale-NUS had to offer. But alas, some things are not meant to be.

I would say I'm not necessarily angry - I understand why NUS did what they did - but at the same time everyday is just the numb sting of confusion. I feel like I'm lost, and the constant reading of reddit posts, Octant Articles, and other news sources is just a way to cope with
the wistful hope that maybe, just maybe, they may retract or reverse their decision. Again, how foolish, right? So much planning was put into a decision of such magnitude, the dissolution of a college is no small feat. At the same time, as much as I may feel some sort of irritation with the lack of top-down communication throughout their planning stages, I also find NUS being stuck in this dilemma. Do they tell students that they plan to break things off with Yale, potentially causing an uproar of rumors and backlash from the get go? Or do they act as if everything were normal, discussing things in private and risking a huge wave of shock when they announce their final verdict? Either way, NUS and Yale-NUS would be facing backlash from the wider community, and evidently they saw the latter option as the better one. Maybe they had some hope that things would get better and they wouldn't have to pull out? Who knows. One thing is for sure: Yale-NUS is no more.

Going forward, I too am stuck in a dilemma - the YNC crossfire, if you will. Do I reapply elsewhere, highlighting my outright distaste for the New College (what an utterly ridiculous name, even if it is just a placeholder), and go on with my life in an overseas institution? Or do I stick to the New College, putting aside my prejudices against the NUS administration and work on shaping the community to be it's own, unique entity (or even a shapeless imitation of what I thought Yale-NUS culture would be like)?

At the end of the day, the road ahead will not be an easy one for any of us. I feel sorry for the people who were like me: starry-eyed and full of dreams and aspirations of what they'd do at YNC. But we can only hope that when a door closes (even if it slams right in your face), another will open, maybe with the same, emphatic force that the door was shut with.