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!

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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-Kaitlyn H. Evans

Cover Image Credit: Madison Carter Photography

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It's All Yours

Run with passion.

There are so many pressures that we feel as we enter the stages of even thinking about college. All throughout high school, we hear those words. “Get ready for college," “start applying," “start touring." Everywhere you turn you’re encouraged to seek a college education and put in classes that are labeled as “advanced." This is so that by the time we get to college we basically are supposed to know what we are doing for the rest of our lives.

Wrong. Never believe this.

People spend their whole lives searching for their calling and what they are truly meant to do and sometimes don’t find it until way later in life.

And that is okay.

Go to college as undeclared and search for what drives you and pushes you to be passionate. Or, change your major four times because at the end of the day college is about finding the career path that will make your life abundantly happy and go for it. Life isn’t about following a set of rules that society has always said are “right," it’s about the things that make us who we are and that isn’t always what is considered “normal” because we are all unique.

This year I changed my major for the second time, and it took a lot for me to actually go through with it. Changing majors for the second time meant changing career paths completely, and that was scary. Leaving what I had planned to do for the rest of my life (and had interned and apprenticed for, for the past three years) was not easy. It meant taking a leap of faith out of my comfort zone and into a field that I wasn’t as familiar with.

It meant wanting to see my dreams through and come true.

And I did it. I had to. For my sanity and for settling the possibility of a what if in my life, I had to.

Now, I am happy and successfully chasing my dreams. I am nowhere near reaching my goals yet but the passion I have for it will carry me and will keep me from burning out.

All this to say, don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do what society has pinned as “right”. There is no “right time” to finish college or to get engaged/married, or to change careers even. Life is different and exquisitely beautiful for everyone because we are all different. It would be so incredibly boring if we were all the same.

That’s all for now loves.

As Always,

Xoxo

BG

Cover Image Credit: B.G.

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