For many, myself included, getting into Yale was a dream come true. But the reality of going to college isn’t always as smooth as students hope. People don’t go into university knowing that they’re going to have an accident, a chronic illness diagnosis, or that a global pandemic will alter the world as they know it. But when it happens to you, it can become increasingly hard, if not impossible to do your work.

Situations like these and their timing are unpredictable because life is unpredictable. But the fact that students are human and will need flexibility during their time in school is entirely predictable. Whether because of specific university policies, failure to communicate these policies to students, or negligence, many feel they have no choice but to enroll or remain enrolled, even when it might not be in their best interest. 

I wrote about Yale’s leave of absence/withdrawal policy. I talked to students about their experiences then retraced their steps in search of answers to their lingering questions.

This project started as a journalism class assignment. Two things still haunt me about it. The first is that this story could have been written almost anywhere. In the process of reporting the piece, I spoke to students all across the country who were experiencing similar problems. As a researcher told me, this isn’t just a Yale or an Ivy League problem, it’s much bigger than that.

The other thing is the stark difference between taking a gap/leave of absence (which I did during the pandemic) and a withdrawal. This has been reported before. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

Read the full article at the YDN

It’s the first article on the Investigations Desk which I now co-edit. Or check out this interview with the YDN Podcast desk in which I talk about the process of reporting the piece:

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