But I think the most downplayed of the three is diversity. When I heard diversity, my mind went to the most obvious forms, such as ethnic diversity, religious diversity and sexual diversity. Within the first month of my Princeton experience, though, I realized I had overlooked one of the most obvious forms of diversity I would find at college — intellectual diversity. What sets intellectual diversity apart is that for other forms of diversity, we can claim different backgrounds and orientations; intellectual diversity, though, stems from a few common backgrounds, only different blends and ratios among students.
The three main types of intellect I’ve encountered include the Einstein, the Underwater Basket Weaver and the Go-Getter.
The Einstein is what many of us thought we were, 100 percent of the time, until we arrived at Princeton and realized ’twas not so. This is simply natural genius. Some extensive microeconomic theory is presented in lecture and, while some fellow classmates’ minds may be lost in a haze of confusion, an Einstein will understand the theory almost immediately, use it to explain the potential bacon shortage and then discuss said application over a bacon cheeseburger at dinner.
Of the three, I’ve seen Underwater Basket Weavers the most. And in this instance, I am referring not to an easy class but to the actual talent of underwater basket weaving. If you have ever acquired and honed any type of specific skill — artistic, athletic, you name it — then you, my friend, are part Weaver. (Judging by the number of times a piano is being played everywhere I go, I’d say an overwhelming majority of the student population is made up of Underwater Basket Weavers.) And the more bizarre the talent, the better! If any of you can actually weave baskets underwater ... well, pictures or it didn’t happen.
The most important type, though, to make your stay here worthwhile, is the Go-Getter. If you weren’t part Go-Getter when you arrived on campus, you will undoubtedly become one soon enough. Go-Getters are exactly what their names says: They go get. “Time and tide wait for no man” is their mantra. They might skip a much-needed nap to go to a law school info session. They actually go to office hours, introduce themselves, put a name to a face and ask any questions they might have. To be a Go-Getter is to fully immerse yourself in your environment, making the most of it and all it has to offer. Sure, that might mean looking a little frazzled running to those appointments or meetings or losing a little sleep to do something productive. But at one point or another, we all have been Go-Getters — we wouldn’t be here otherwise.
It would be convenient to be able to sort every student into one of the categories. But to do that would be nearly impossible because we all, to some extent, have bits and pieces of each one in us. While the common framework brings us closer, the extent of each within our makeup sets us apart.
When talking to one of my hallmates about this, he struck a chord in saying, “Intellect is relative to the people around you.” I happily disagree. While our intellectual makeups differ, being more of one type doesn’t make someone any better or worse than another. We got here by different paths, and we’ll graduate by different paths. But the most essential part of that statement is this: We’ll graduate. However you do it is moot.
Lea Trusty is a freshman from Saint Rose, La. She can be reached at email@example.com.