On-campus activism is highly needed and noble, but only a synthesis of on-campus and off-campus activism can destroy deep-seated inequality, exclusion, and hardship.
As students, we must make active choices to make Princeton a more socially inclusive and less lonely place. Every day, we must prioritize a friend, or simply a human being.
While walking to Firestone in the late hours of a recent November night, I was interrupted by a friend who remarked that I looked incredibly fatigued. My friend tried to persuade me to get a good night’s sleep and start fresh the next morning, in lieu of a late night in the bookstands. After some hesitation, I agreed, and returned to my dorm for a rarely satisfying sleep.
When we stay in the library until 2 a.m. to finish that problem set or to read that scholarly text, we are not doing so simply because we cannot get enough of differential equations or the wisdom of Nietzsche. The future employers and others that we must impress to achieve professional happiness appreciate a strong academic record. In other words, there is a profound thirst for future possibility among Princetonians.
The philosophy that Princetonians need is one of self-compassion; to love and accept themselves, flaws and all, and to recognize that failure is an inevitable and necessary aspect of the Princeton experience. The difference may seem trivial, but these are two fundamentally different approaches to building resilience.