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Photo Credit: Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

Starting college is at times stressful, but its also tremendously exciting. For what it’s worth, our editors have some advice to share on navigating campus life!

“You should never sacrifice your health or well-being for the sake of academic achievement. Even at a place like Princeton, which is besieged by intellectual intensity, taking care of yourself should always be your number-one priority. Also, be patient and kind to yourself. Princeton – and life as a college student in general — is extraordinarily challenging, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, at the end of the day, life is to be enjoyed.”

– Samuel Aftel 20, Managing Editor  

“Be generous — to other people, but most of all to yourself. Remember that you are more than enough, that you deserve to find the niche that makes you happiest. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to dream big. It took a long time, and a stream of activities, for me to find those people, but getting there is absolutely worth it.”

– Ariel Chen 20, Managing Editor  

“Remember that the C-Store does cost money. Learn where Murray Dodge is, and do one thing each day just because you want to.”

Rachel Kennedy 21, Associate Opinion Editor

“I came into Princeton as a dead-set Woodrow Wilson School major and with barely any coding knowledge. After taking COS 126, I fell in love with computer science. I was worried that my relative inexperience would disadvantage me. But this spring I declared COS as my major, and I’ve couldn’t be happier with my choice.” 

– Dora Zhao ’21, Head Prospect Editor  

“Try everything, especially things you’ve never done before. Your favorite activity or class might end up being something you’ve never even considered!”

– Elizabeth Parker 21, Co-Chief Copy Editor

“Investigate the history of the campus and the town. Your inquiry can take any form — for example, visit the Princeton Cemetery, or research the name of your dorm. What you find may intrigue, surprise, dismay, enchant, or impassion you — in any case, the experience will make you more cognizant, critical, and conscientious of where you’ll spend the next four years.”

– Jon Ort 21, Managing Editor

“No assignment is worth your sanity! An hour of extra sleep will always improve your performance (and perspective) much more than an hour of semi-conscious cramming.”

Charlotte Adamo 21, Head Design Editor 

“Don’t worry if you’re finding it difficult to make friends or be happy because it’s more common than you might imagine when you see everyone around you going to the Street. Reach out to your RCAs [Residential College Advisers] for absolutely anything you need!”

Christian Flores 21, Associate Copy Editor 

“Don’t be afraid to get out there and try new things! Some of my favorite activities and classes have pertained to things that were way out of my comfort zone. Keep an open mind as you look for extracurriculars to join and new classes to fill your schedule!”

– Chris Murphy 20, Editor-in-Chief

“Be kind to yourself. Princeton gets infinitely harder when you don’t cut yourself some slack.”

Noa Wollstein 21, Associate Prospect Editor 

“Take classes that interest you and have nothing to do with your major! Form friendships with people you care about instead of scrambling to know people based on their social positions.”

– Cy Watsky 21, Head Opinion Editor

“Staying up into the the ungodly hours of the night for no particularly good reason was pretty cool in, like, third grade, but it’s no longer all that great — speaking from experience, falling asleep in the middle of an 8-person precept isn’t a cute look (and isn’t particularly good for your grades, either). Princeton has a lot to offer, so make sure you’re well-rested enough to experience it to the fullest!”

– Lydia Choi 21, Co-Chief Copy Editor

“When you’re figuring out where you’re going, never forget where you came from. And YOLO, above all.” 

– Sarah Warman Hirschfield 20, Head Video Editor 

“My biggest piece of advice is that first-years should not hold back from participating in whatever excites them from the start – it’s not worth waiting for things to get easier, because your spare time will only decrease. Go out for the activities that you are interested in on day one and pare down from there.”

– Madeleine Marr ’21, Editorial Assistant of the Opinion section 

“I encourage you to explore all areas that interest you, find what you love, and go for it. I came to Princeton as a physics major, and now I am an English major and intend to become a public defender. Princeton offers a wide variety of courses and opportunities, and your first year is a great time to try what is unfamiliar, what makes you curious or inspired.”

Katja Stroke-Adolphe 20, Associate News Editor

“Make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep is foundational to everything you do.”

Jack Graham 20, Head Sports Editor

“One thing that I’ve come to truly appreciate about Princeton is the extensive support network available to students. And it’s not just for academics. There are so many resources available for those who need it when it comes to emotional support or mental health. I highly recommend taking advantage of these not only during your first year as you make the major transition from high school to Princeton life but also throughout your time here.”

Harsimran Makkad 22, Associate Design Editor 

“There are so many great classes offered at Princeton. Definitely use freshman year to explore different and exciting subjects!”

– Tom Salotti 21, Associate Sports Editor


The parents of our editors also chimed in with advice for other parents and students.

“Brush your teeth.”

– Parent of Sam Shapiro 21, Head Features Editor

“It's not all about academics. Really take the time to enjoy the people who come into your life during college. They aren’t your competitors — they’re gifts over the next four years that you'll take with you throughout your life.”

– Father of Claire Silberman 22, Associate News Editor

“Make sure your kid packs a lot of Airborne and trust the system.”

– Parents of Marie-Rose Sheinerman 22, Assistant News Editor

“One of the outstanding aspects of a Princeton undergraduate education is that students can explore options, change their minds about their majors and their future, and find a wealth of relevant courses in a wide variety of disciplines taught by impassioned, experienced professors. Not knowing is not scary; it’s good. The fast track from Pre-K to Princeton propelled by parents who want the best for their children should stop on Day One of freshman year. Let your student wonder, ponder, imagine, and reimagine who she is and may become. Lay low, stand by, support, and listen.”

– Father of Katja Stroke-Adolphe 20, Associate News Editor

“I got a B in freshman calculus, and it wasn’t the end of the world.”

– Mother of Charlotte Adamo 21, Head Design Editor

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