In a rather political, passionate, and pessimistic blog post last week, I boldly proclaimed my dreams for what I wanted to write on this blog. I am happy to report back with my first project: Boston.
Boston is one of my favorite cities in the United States. I confess, it would have been pretty special to spend my college years there (even in Harvard). It really is an ideal city to study in, due to the priority the city places upon its academic institutions. It actually feels like a city designed for college students.
Before I continue with my praise for Boston, I want to clarify a few things. First, Boston is quite far. It really does feel like a trip, sort of like walking from the Friend Center to Forbes. It’s not a trip you can sleep off, because you’ll most likely end up waking up in the middle of the trip. It really is that long. Second, getting to Boston is not cheap. You really only have two options if you want to visit Boston from Princeton. You can spend anywhere between $100 to $300 for a round trip Amtrak ticket, in which case you can travel to Boston in about 4 to 5 hours. If you, like me, prefer to save your money for the Wawa and midnight U-Store runs, you can take a bus from companies such as Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan. This option, which will cost you about $60 for a round trip between Boston and Princeton, will save you a lot of money but will take 6 to 7 hours. It really comes down to whether or not you prioritize time or money.
The money and the time required to pull off a trip to Boston means that it isn’t a trip you can make often. Furthermore, it is probably inefficient to spend a single night there. I’d recommend leaving for Boston after your Friday morning classes and coming back on a Sunday night. Yep, you’ll have to be super diligent and get things done in advance to make this trip happen!
At this point you are probably asking, is it worth it? For me, the answer is a definite yes. As soon as you get off the train or bus station, most of the people you see are college students. The city has an incredibly young demographic and is quite diverse. What does this mean? First of all, there is an endless choice of restaurants affordable to college students. For example, I was able to get an amazing pho for less than $10 near the train station as soon as I arrived. Second, there really are a lot of events going on. For example, the weekend that I visited M.I.T, the school was hosting a citywide soccer tournament for the numerous colleges in Boston. It was amazing to see hundreds of students coming out to play and support their schools. Definitely not a scene you can find in Princeton. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the parties are incredibly lit. College students in Boston certainly know how to party, and it is so unique because it is common to see students from up to ten different campuses and universities present in one party. I personally attended a party and ended up meeting more people than I would meet in a semester in Princeton! It was an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with students from schools I would normally never have a chance to visit.
Personally, I think this is what makes Boston so special. It’s a town full of college students who are in many ways both similar and different from you. It is never hard to strike up a random conversation with a student studying at a café, partying at Harvard, or strolling through the beautiful streets of Boston. It is one of the best places to learn how college life is for students who do not attend Princeton, and for me, that was an incredibly eye-opening experience.
I admit that it is difficult to spend an entire weekend away from campus and from problem sets, but if the opportunity ever arises, I would definitely check out Boston. It is an incredible city full of new opportunities, in which you are almost guaranteed to find a new friend.
Maybe before heading home for the winter, you can drop by Boston and say hi to all the poor college students who have finals before winter break. Yep, it’s one of those Princeton privileges.