Becoming aware of these small Princeton quirks wasn’t the only thing I learned as a first-year. Rather, it was a year of learning through mistakes and adjusting expectations of my abilities.
Would you give an honest answer — one where you were able to separate your frustrations and share some of the special moments you have had here — or has the stress and anxiety wrapped up in assignments, tests, and grades all but erased the excitement you first felt when you saw that orange “Congratulations!” on your acceptance notification?
While facing challenges in the realm of study you want to pursue can be discouraging, those challenges are actually necessary in helping you to evaluate just how serious you are about your intended area of study. I’ve come to realize that if you’re not willing to put in the effort and directly address the areas you are struggling in, you probably shouldn’t be pursuing the path you started on.
To be confident in your independence is to understand that your existence and success is not dependent on other people.
So yes, to answer many first-years’ question: part of us does not belong at Princeton. That doesn’t mean we will never belong at Princeton. It just means we need to recognize that college requires a new approach to problem solving and time management.
Purely based on the multitude of almost identical candidate statements, it’s hard to distinguish what makes each individual unique. I ultimately found myself asking: “Why should I vote for you?”
The majority — if not all — Princeton students are used to flourishing in a scholastic setting. Thus, when we first receive grades or feedback lower than expected, it can be both a bit of a shock and an opportunity to reevaluate priorities.
I propose a challenge to the reader: the next time you go on vacation to a different country, don’t forget to seek out its rich history and interesting heritage. Treat it like you’re doing research.
As a society, we can’t pursue progress if we don’t seek out thoughts, theories, and ideas from unexpected sources. We need variety in our opinions in order to escape the echo chamber and initiate innovation, whether that leads to reaffirming our beliefs or completely changing our perspectives.