Ben Finkel: Yale University Football Commit Attended “Zoom University”

By Stella Santini, GHS Class of 2021

Second in a series on the college freshmen experience during the pandemic

This week we had the pleasure of speaking with White Plains High School 2020 graduate, Ben Finkel.

I asked two of Finkel’s closest friends, Jack Doss and Michael Grabel, of one word to describe their friend. 

Doss said, “He’s the most unique meaningful person ever.” While Grabel said, “He’s a wildcard.” 

I’d like to think that both of these answers give a strong, and lasting impression of Finkel in the best way possible.  

Finkel is what some might say, a “jack of all trades.” Having just finished his freshman year at Yale University as a football commit, he is impressive both in the classroom and on the field. 

Finkel grew up in Greenwich and then moved to White Plains for high school. He loved White Plains High School, and had a smooth and successful transition, but it was still a big change. 

“It’s different. It’s weird going from a big school where you know a lot of people to one where you know no one, but I definitely enjoyed my time there,” he said.

Ben Finkel. Contributed photo

Finkel said his dreams came true when he got committed to Yale University as a part of the football team and program. 

“College football has always been a big dream of mine, ever since I was little,” he said.

Though he was able to set foot on campus for his first semester, classes were completely remote. He was one of the many college students who attended “zoom university.” Although Finkel was in the dorm the majority of his time there, he still discovered small silver linings. 

“It was good to meet people and interact with new friends even if it was within my dorm… it made me even more excited for next year,” he said.

Unfortunately, Yale University didn’t have a football season, which as one can imagine, was definitely pretty tough on the players, especially the freshman. However, they had practiced during the first semester which got them acclimated to the system, and how the team operates. 

Ben Finkel. Contributed photo

“Sadly we didn’t have a season, but those practices prepared us for this fall,” he said, adding that he enjoyed the little time he had with the team. “The coaches are great, I love all the players, and it was great to bond a little bit as a team,” he said.

Finkel then decided to take a leave of absence in his second semester, which in other words, is a gap semester. He came back home and prepared for his busy summer in New Haven. 

He is now back at school in New Haven where he has a maintenance job on campus and is simultaneously taking summer courses to continue receiving credit. 

Although it’s been a tough year for all college students, Finkel is optimistic and satisfied with the time he had on campus.  

See also: Michael Grabel, GHS ’20, Indiana U ’24: I’ve still not stepped foot on campus.

May 5, 2021