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Find your own Princetonian Paradise: what they left off the campus map

How big was the moon last night? I was taking this astrophysics class up until last week — when I dropped it — and one day we were talking about the lunar cycle and the moon. So my professor, a man who screams astrophysics and undoubtedly has some sort of bumper sticker on his car that mentions it, asked the class of 180 students how big the moon was last night. Not the specific lunar name, just how big it was. And not one single person in the class could answer him.

Now, silence in class is not new to me — I have been a part of some of the most uncomfortable silences to ever have existed at Princeton, spurred by discussion on everything from welfare policy to the role of the father in Arthurian literature, but this man was only asking the size of the moon. There was no trick to it, it wasn't hiding behind some kind of Armageddon-like meteor, it was just up in the sky. Up. A cardinal direction. And yet somehow, we had no idea. While others in the class patiently waited for the answer, I was doomed to spend the rest of the lecture reflecting and dwelling — the moon is 2,160 miles in diameter and is 4.6 billion years old, and I missed it.

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Somehow in my busy life on this campus, in the midst of days where I can write a 20-page paper in one night, or I can find the shortest distance between two buildings whether it involves swimming or digging, I managed to completely miss the most obvious of things. What else had I been missing for the past two-and-a-half years?

As it turns out, a lot. So I'd like to clue you in on a few things on this campus that aren't necessarily important, and may not have their own orbital around the Earth, but things you probably haven't noticed yet, or more likely have stopped noticing. Like the statue behind the chapel — I forget its actual name. It's so distracting that you may not have noticed the beautifully hidden Hibben Garden entrance behind it, perfect for romantic embraces or dropping incriminating evidence.

Or the Cotsen Children's Library, immediately to your right in the Firestone lobby, with a giant interactive book that will recite "Jabberwocky" to you while you sit in bean bag chairs and color. Your gaze might have fallen on it while the guards frisk you for stolen periodicals, but have you ever gone there?

Another little secret — there are chestnut trees on the west side of Patton Hall. Real chestnuts, the kind that acted as currency when you were young and the kind that they roast on open fires while Jack Frost bites you. Perfect for picking or throwing, if that's your pleasure.

And did you know that there's a rock climbing wall in Jadwin? If you're like me, then you picture all wall climbing as being similar to how it was on "American Gladiators," where the gladiators tried to rip people off by grabbing their ankles and then pulling, but at Jadwin, Nitro stays out of sight. (Check the Outdoor Action Webpage for hours.)

If you're more the outdoorsy athletic type, then 1903 courtyard was practically designed for whiffle ball. And if you're more my athletic level, then there's a playground right off the Tow Path near Obal Gardens Canoes. By the way, those boats are for rent if you have the time.

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Are you such a procrastinator that you are willing to leave your room to avoid work? Downstairs in Chancellor Green is a game room. As in, arcade games, air hockey, pinball, everything short of Skee-ball (side note: what a great game). The best part about the game room is that the kind of people that go down there are the kind that want to be down there — those who are not doing their work and willingly accept that, so they can fritter away their time more efficiently.

So there you have it. Try to be the first to go to every place mentioned in this article. Say "hi" to the hundreds of other people doing the same as you. Think of it as a contest. Or if you actually do your work, then just look around more now and then. Just don't forget to look up. Jen Adams is a psychology major from Ogdensburg, N.Y. She can be reached at jladams@princeton.edu.

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