It was just nine months ago when I sat in my bedroom at home in Arcadia to pack my life into a few suitcases to fly east and move into my dorm at Princeton. And last week leading up to my flight back to LA, I, once again, packed my life into suitcases and boxes- this time to move to a downtown Manhattan apartment.
These last nine months have gone by so quickly, and my experience here on the east coast in has been truly transformative. If you told me last August that I would start calling Princeton my home, I wouldn’t believe you. But as I packed, watched my friends leave campus, and left Princeton myself on a cloudy Thursday afternoon for Newark Airport, I realized that Princeton has truly become my home away from home.
Somewhere between surviving Hurricane Katia on a week-long backpacking trip and spending late nights/early mornings writing papers in the Rocky-Mathey library, Princeton has managed to lead me on an unbelievable adventure of intellectual growth and personal development.
But what I’ve realized is that, though my classes and extracurriculars have been a huge part of my experience at Princeton, the defining aspects are really the simple, small, everyday moments. They seem insignificant at the time, but in retrospect, trigger powerful memories and smiles.
So let’s talk about those moments.
I still remember the restless butterflies in my stomach when my mom drove onto campus on move-in day. I smile thinking about the laughter and deep bond that followed the discovery of a misplaced item of clothing the night before we left for OA. I still can’t believe a morning jog down to Lake Carnegie was the catalyst for a lifelong friendship.
It’s about those lazy afternoons spent lounging on Alexander Beach just because it was a beautiful day. It’s about those late-night talks that happen when you should be doing homework. It’s about running outside at 3am because it started snowing (you don’t understand how exciting snowfall is for Californians).
Thank you to the friends who brought me Starbucks before my all-nighters in the Buyers basement. Mock trial prep on Friday nights/Saturday mornings in various hotel lobbies was painful at the time, but hilarious now (New Haven La Quinta, anyone?). And who can forget lolling through finals period with caffeine and unjustified study breaks? Lolling is now my favorite pastime.
It’s fascinating that such small, seemingly insignificant moments can come to define an entire year. Looking back, these moments, both good and bad, come together to breathe life, energy, and depth into my journey to find a home away from home.
what programs/apps do you use to plan your schedule?
My calendar is based in Google Calendar. For my computer, it’s synced with iCal, and for my phone, it’s synced with the Android app “Business Calendar.” For tasks, I use the Mac app, “Producteev,” and I use Evernote for everything else (both computer and phone).
Hey I saw you at the political fair at Whig Hall during the second week of previews. How time consuming really is mock trial? and debate and international relations council? Can I be you?
Mock trial will definitely be time consuming- this activity is a team effort and you cannot let your team down. We practice regularly several times a week, and have a few competitions per semester where you will be busy the entire weekend. That said, it is extremely rewarding, and I think the time I have put into mock trial has definitely been worth it. I’ve made invaluable friendships and had very memorable experiences.
I am not in debate or IRC, so I wouldn’t be the best person to ask about those activities. However, based on my limited knowledge, those activities seem to be based on what you are able to commit to (so there are lots of people who are “in” those activities who don’t put much time into it, but there are also people who put a great deal of time into it). It all depends on how involved you want to be.
Hi there! I recently started an Interact club at my school, but I don't know what to do to get more people interested enough to actually come to the meetings. I've been following your blog for quite some time now, and I know that your Mock Trial team at your high school has grown tremendously. How can I do the same thing for my club?
I think the key is to get people involved and excited, and the easiest way to do that is make sure everybody is enjoying their experience. Going through the motions of just being in a club is boring- you want to make sure you are building a community of friends and are providing opportunities for them to have fun while doing community service. Good luck :)
It’s reading period, and I have been sitting in the same chair in Rocky-Mathey Library for the last four days losing a staring contest with Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, my papers aren’t going to write themselves, which means I have to make a serious commitment to sit and write for the ten days we have for reading period.
As aggravating as it is to write papers and study for exams, something I really enjoy about midterms and finals is this silently supportive camaraderie we share as we all live through the stresses and struggles of Dean’s Date papers and final exams. We each have this mutual understanding of the challenges ahead, and share congratulations and high fives for every finished draft or computer program. And who can forget the countless caffeine runs to Starbucks? Good thing it is frappy hour this week… (PS. thank you Jamie for the Starbucks sitting next to me right now.)
And as I sit here largely motionless for days on end, I’ve lost track of how quickly the rest of the world is moving. Getting texts from friends back home who have already finished their freshman year and moved out is so strange because it’s hard to believe that we are already done with an entire year of college. Before I know it, I’ll be flying back home too (it’s just under two weeks away!), and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in Arcadia to see family and friends.
I just have to survive the next two weeks. Okay, this was a really disjointed post. Back to writing my term papers I go…