Appreciating beauty, from a bowl of blended fruit to the Big Dipper on a walk back to my dorm at night, has allowed me to escape from the constant pressures of a success-oriented culture. It has taught me that there is more to life than charging towards achievement after achievement, that I should take time to smell the flowers, or order the açaí bowl.
Last October, a group of four students entered the University’s first ever iteration of the Hult Prize competition, an international startup challenge with a focus on solving pressing social issues, an hour before the deadline, because the competition simply needed another team. They ended up doing so well that this year they will fly to Kenya to implement their plan.
For the Princeton students rushing by on their way to brunch, or the tourists hurrying to the cathedral, if there is something to gain from pausing to observe a seemingly miscellaneous group of people carve pumpkins together on a Saturday afternoon, it might just be a tiny bit more faith in human nature.
If you’re a freshman reading this, my first (and only?) piece of advice is to not destroy yourself in the process of seeking validation, social or otherwise.
For me, this spring break somehow manifested itself as an unexpected exploration of the concept of the “strong female character” through the centuries.
Went downtown with a friend. Witnessed: people group hugging on top of potted plants, people on poles, people on traffic lights. Fireworks thrown inches away from where we stood. The ubiquitous aroma of weed and alcohol. People throwing bottles. Young children standing with their parents. People hanging out of cars. Honking, endless honking. Many happy, crazy people.
In my first article for The Street, “Lost,” I wrote about getting and feeling lost on an early autumn campus shrouded in mystery, its trees still holding onto their leaves, everything full of promise. Now, as winter approaches, everything becomes familiar, shrouded in memory instead. “In the beginning, I got lost all the time,” Lucy Zhang ’21 in Mathey said to me recently over lunch. “Now, I can’t get lost even if I try to.”
What unfolded over the next three and a half hours was a funny, devastating, and at times monotonous work of art: Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Flick, brought to life by director Daniel Krane ’18 and the entirely student-run production team and cast.
There’s a stigma attached to getting lost here. Nobody wants to admit they don’t know where they’re going. When the automated voice of Google Maps breaks the tranquility of the morning air as students shuffle past me to class, I frantically reduce the volume. But it’s too late. They know. I’ve been caught.