How I Fell In Love With Princeton, Again.

How I Fell In Love With Princeton, Again.

Come on, please tell me I'm not the only one with this experience!
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Princeton University

I just love how those words roll off the tongue. Those two words carry everything you associate with the campus - grandeur, mysterious beauty and charm, and (of course) magic.

When you walk Princeton's campus for the first time, you're immediately overwhelmed by its grandiose atmosphere. The historical significance of Nassau Hall bears down on you, the immensity of Blair Arch captives your imagination, and the imperial University Chapel beckons you to take a peek inside its great nave. There is something about this campus that takes you beyond the physical and bestows in you a more metaphysical, transcendental, indescribable experience. I recognized that (most likely without understanding it or describing it in those terms) when I first toured the campus at age 10.

I'm from our beloved Garden State. At some point during a Jersey child's educational experience, he or she must learn the history of this great state. For me, that was in fourth grade. All I remember was opening up my textbook to a two-page spread of the magnificent Blair Arch. In a text-box were the words "Princeton University. Founded 1746" followed by a brief overview of its history. I was trying so hard not to scream, "This looks like Hogwarts!" I sure was thinking that, though. Naturally, as every fourth grader does, I conducted more "research" on this Hogwarts-like education institution, dragged my parents on an Orange Key tour, and told everyone I knew that that's where I wanted to go to college. That was the first time I fell in love with Princeton. Princeton University.

...

Right now, you're probably thinking that I was a weird child. Well, sir/ma'am, let me get this straight... I indeed was.

Fast forward about nine years later, and I just completed my first semester at Princeton. Amid all the course load and extra-curricular obligations, I tried my absolute best to try to stop and appreciate my being here. Of course, I'm appreciative! But when that English essay is nagging at the back of your mind, it's unlikely that you'd consider yourself in a state of unperturbed bliss. You can really try to convince yourself of that, but that depends on your ability at self-deception.

During intersession (the week-long period in-between semesters), I had plenty of time for self-reflection: What went well during my first semester? What didn't go so well? Which of my expectations of Princeton were satisfied or surpassed? Which were not? How will I go forward from here? These were the main questions I tried to answer during this stress-free work-free week.

February 6th, 2017 - The first day of the new semester. I stepped on campus feeling fresh, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle any newfound challenges before me. Out with the old, in with the new, as they always say, right? Right! So that was my mindset. What I was not prepared for, however, was that I would fall madly in love with Princeton all over again. I fell in love again, that's for sure, but this time was different.

As I walked across campus that first day, I was suddenly filled with immense school pride. I had never been prouder to call myself a Tiger. Having just bought an orange Princeton notebook from the U-Store that morning, this pride for the orange and the black was only amplified. As I passed Blair Arch, the subject of that two-page spread from oh so long ago, I couldn't help but smile at it in gratitude. Thank you for giving me a chance. As I walked past students on their way to class, as I saw the glistening Neuroscience Institute from across Poe Field, as I met up with my wonderful second-to-none friends, I was truly in a state of unperturbed bliss. The songs of Old Nassau resonated in my core seeking escape.

Everything made so much sense. Nassau. Firestone. East Pyne. Frist. Robertson. Whitman. Rocky. Mathey. Forbes. Wilson. Butler. It all fit together so perfectly. I not only rediscovered my fourth-grade love for this breathtaking one-of-a-kind institution, I also recognized the harmony of this campus - the individual songs of the 190 buildings and 500 acres coalesce to tell the single tale of Princeton University. The tale of Princeton is now my tale. It's the tale of my roommates. Of each person in my HIS 210 lecture hall. Of my writing seminar professor. It's the tale of Nassau and Blair Arch and Firestone and the Chapel. It is the tale of Mazzo Green, and Lake Carnegie, and the tree outside my door. It's the tale of President Eisgruber, Michelle Obama, Jodi Piccoult. Of John Witherspoon, Aaron Burr Jr. and Sr., and Harvey S. Firestone. It is the tale of the United States of America. It is the tale that gives meaning to my love for this incredible place.

So if I walk through the main lobby of Frist,

or happen to pass students building a snowman,

or if I stop to admire Nassau Hall from across Cannon Green,

I can be absolutely sure of one thing:

I will never stop loving Princeton, the best old place of all.


Cover Image Credit: Austin Chow

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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50 ways to demonstrate self-love Today

It's the little things that count.

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Today, and every day, it's important to incorporate self-love into our lives. Each day, we can do something little that adds up to something big to benefit ourselves and our mental health. Loving yourself comes in many forms and activities.

1. Remind yourself that you, and your feelings, are valid.

2. Be true to yourself.

3. Do not let others take away your uniqueness.

4. List 10 things that you love about yourself.

5. Read your favorite book.

6. Take a walk alone and reflect on what makes you happy.

7. Do yoga.

8. Watch a movie that makes you laugh (or cry).

9. Paint your nails.

10. Buy your favorite drink from your favorite coffee shop.

11. Take a nap.

12. Eat your favorite food.

13. Start exercising.

14. Write down how you are feeling.

15. Identify a challenge in your life, and develop a plan to overcome it.

16. Get a massage or a facial.

17. Talk on the phone with someone you love.

18. Cry if you need to.

19. Pet a dog.

20. Go get your hair done.

21. Buy a new outfit that you feel confident wearing.

22. Log off of social media for one day.

23. Drink lots of water.

24. Talk about your life journey with someone else.

25. Color a picture.

26. Try a new hobby.

27. Go outside, and find five beautiful things to take pictures of.

28. Think about what has made you grateful today.

29. Let go of something that is bothering you.

30. Look up inspiring quotes.

31. Engage in uplifting self-talk.

32. Light your favorite candle.

33. Go on a drive to a place where you feel at peace.

34. Think about how much you have grown.

35. Take note of your accomplishments for the day.

36. Recognize your feelings and know that you are allowed to feel.

37. Take the leap of faith to get the help or assistance that you need.

38. Be kind to others.

39. Write a letter to your younger or future self, and read it over.

40. Start a gratitude journal.

41. Put on your favorite face mask.

42. Clean out your closet or room of clothes you no longer wear.

43. Understand how important self-love is.

44. Write small, encouraging notes to yourself on post-its, and put them around your room or home.

45. Take a bubble bath.

46. Smile at yourself.

47. Try meditating for 10 minutes in the morning.

48. Do something that is truly relaxing to you.

49. Go to a park.

50. Do what makes you the happiest.

Every single person is worthy is self-love. The ways of engaging in self-love are infinite, so you are able to find what works best for you. Do not doubt yourself! When you start to love yourself, it seems like life makes a lot more sense.

Cover Image Credit:

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