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Let’s be honest. Princeton’s your second home, yet when your classmates at UCs gush about the beaches or your NYU friends send you sketchy Snapchats of the Sprouse twins, you can’t help but get a little annoyed at the apparent dearth of prospects in New Jersey.

Sadly, people just don’t seem to appreciate how important it is to have a state like New Jersey, a place so utterly mediocre that it makes everywhere else look good. You may not have thought much of your home state before coming here, but Jersey has a way of making lame states look cool and cool states look cooler. With only a few overused selling points (i.e. Six Flags, Chris Christie), it makes an easy target for even the most pathetic of opponents.

Ashamed of your capital city? You can’t get any dumpier than Trenton. Embarrassed by your team’s losing streak? At least you have sports teams. Tired of people making “Sister Wives” jokes every time you mention you’re from Utah? Bring up “Jersey Shore.” At least no one’s asking whether you’re friends with The Situation or majoring in “GTL.” Nevadans, don’t worry — we all know Atlantic City is just a poor man’s Vegas. And Kansas kids, if you think you’ll snap if one more person smugly comments, “You’re not in Kansas anymore,” you can always retort that at least Dorothy actually wanted to go back home. I don’t know about you, but I would choose the Land of Oz over Jersey, any day. 

But honestly, where would we be without New Jersey? Well, for starters, we wouldn’t be able to travel between Pennsylvania and New York without distractions. We often take it for granted that we need somewhere to pass through on our way to bigger and better things. If it weren’t for the glorious N.J. Turnpike, we’d all find ourselves wanting for a speedy way to Philly or the Big Apple. New Jersey is really just being considerate by being so boring. Unlike other states, which offer “scenic views” for drivers, New Jersey doesn’t want to distract you from your destination by encouraging any more than the bare minimum of rest stops.

And while we’re on the subject of travel, let’s talk about Newark. You probably thought you’d seen the worst of it with LAX and LaGuardia, but Newark Liberty International takes the tedium of flying to a nightmarish level. What you may not realize is that Newark makes you so cranky that you never feel the usual twinge of departure sadness. Better yet, you can now claim to have flown into and out of the worst airport in the country. As the car theft capital of the nation, Newark is also the backbone of our recovering economy. It’s thanks to countless hardworking hot-wirers stealing people’s cars in Newark that the American auto industry has even survived to this day. We all owe them so much for incentivizing people to buy new cars and thus generating demand for new vehicles.

If, like me, you’re actually from the good ol’ Garden State, chances are you’ve been living with a chip on your shoulder for ages. But without New Jersey, there would be no Bon Jovi. Hell, there would be no “Livin’ on a Prayer,” which we all know was inspired by the sheer misery of living here for so long. Without New Jersey, the world would also never have been exposed to the groundbreaking musical genius of the Jonas Brothers. Those braces-wearing, gum-snapping, squealing girls who come storming through Twist every Friday afternoon? They need heroes, too.

Shopaholics, where else could you find enough strip malls to circle the earth three times if laid end to end*? Sure, we only have about five different department stores, but at least you’ll never be more than 10 miles from a Target or a Home Depot.

Where my toxic-waste lovers at? Yeah, thought so. Well, you can thank New Jersey for taking care of that nasty business. With 108 toxic waste dumps, New Jersey has more than any other state. We also probably have the most toxic waste pollution, but that’s just the sacrifice that New Jersey makes for the rest of the nation.

Sometimes it may seem as if a fat squirrel dive-bombing you from the trees is the extent of excitement available to you, unless of course you want to leave Princeton for a One Direction or TSwift concert in Camden (only the second most violent city in America).

No, really though, New Jersey’s great. Except for Camden, Trenton, Newark … you know what? Just stay in Princeton. In a way, you owe some of your closest friendships to New Jersey. When your friends at Columbia complain about the lack of campus life due to the pull of the City, you can smile smugly to yourself, knowing that no one will ever feel the same need to venture outside the Orange Bubble. Why would they, when a single trip to Nassau Street costs you an arm, a leg and your firstborn child? Rest assured your friends will never leave you, if only because they have nowhere else to run. Where could they go, when to the north lie miles and miles of suburbia, to the west, acres upon acres of farmland, to the east, Snooki, and to the south, empty, radioactive swampland?

*All facts in this article are 103 percent true and not made up by the writer at all.

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