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Princeton Hits Puberty

So the Princeton ant colony is up and running again. Beneath those green plastic barns and farm houses, there lies an intricate system of pathways and tunnels, with thousands of little tiger-striped ants on their way to the new student center. (Notice how all roads on campus suddenly lead to Frist?)

It's interesting to see exactly how we creatures of 253-year habit are adjusting to the changes around campus. It's not even the architectural and geographical changes that are playing with our minds, it's the psychological implications. The very building in which Einstein used to think and do brilliant stuff is now the address that people use to receive their porn. Hundreds of Woody Woo students are now left without carrels to sleep in. And with the addition of the late-night convenience store in Frist, students can have their drunken late-night brawls right here on campus, instead of stumbling all the way to the Wa.


What are the residents of an Ivy League institution to do when their campus begins to experience growing pains? Undergraduates are soon to find out — Princeton Puberty has officially hit.

The biggest changes, if you'll remember from your teenage years, happen on the inside.

Though the improved U-Store is shiny and new, it is also about as cozy and personal as a Sears warehouse. Gone are the pastel-friendly children's book section and the Princeton tykes section on that Malkovich-like half-floor, instead replaced by big open spaces with similar displays for each item.

When I arrive on the first or second floor, both of which are packed with racks and racks of dorm room necessities and alumni and parent pleasers that give the rest of us a little shudder, I notice a distinct lack of . . . well, anything distinct. (Apologies to those who are at this moment stitching their Princeton needlepoint bed sham using their Princeton commemorative thimble.)

Privacy is also in short supply. If someone wants to try on an orange-and-black Speedo — located in the second floor's exercise "department" — any other patron can look across the room and become privy to that fetish.

Our bookstore has now become an equal opportunity retailer, where every item is given the same chance of being purchased and taken to a new home. A noble cause, but favoritism amongst yaffa blocks and designer trash cans never struck me as a devastating issue. Perhaps U-Storian communism is next on the list of University improvements.


Meanwhile, there is an empty hole in my soul where the anticipation of Frist has been building up since my sophomore year. I wish I could channel all of that pent-up excitement into cash so that I could eat there. I'm a little confused about the decor of the downstairs dining area — the plethora of props such as wheelbarrows and bales of hay bring out my builtin instinct to bob for apples. I think I might have eaten part of the display yesterday.

The fact that two guys can make my lunch using nothing but two big sticks and a Mongolian grill revolutionizes dining in my mind. But the idea that all the people I have ever known or wronged can all collectively gather in one building makes me a bit nervous.

The social ramifications of the new Frist Campus Center — specifically, putting the mailboxes of every single upperclassman in one small area — could be potentially disastrous. Suppose the Whig-Cliosophic society decides to take its debates out of the mock courtroom and into the mailroom? What if the strain of working the combination locks on the boxes causes the previously harmless rivalry between mechanical and civil engineers to escalate into a full-blown riot? There are just some groups that we keep separate for a reason.

I guess from the outside, it's all pretty much the same, aside from the gaping holes in the side of Little. And compared to some of the major changes throughout the history of Princeton, such as the admission of women and the opening of Lot 23a, things don't seem all that different.

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I doubt that when the oldest living alumnus "marches" in the P-rade this year he'll be too upset about the new location of the Clinique counter. But for those of us actually involved in the teenage angst of the University, this is going to take some getting used to. Jen Adams is a psychology major from Ogdensburg, N.Y. She can be reached at