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What do lampposts, the Dillon Cardio Room and squirrels have in common? They all could use a little love.


Could you imagine if our lampposts were industrial? Like the ones you see on highways? What would that do to the overall imagery of our picturesque campus? It would be similar to New South poking its flat concrete head from behind the beautiful masonry of Whitman and saying, “Think you’re in Hogwarts? Think again, dumbass.” The quaint lampposts lining our pathways are crucial cogs in the great machinery of Princeton aesthetics. They also serve many practical functions. For one, if ever you feel an overpowering urge to reenact the first meeting of Lucy Pevensie and Mr. Tumnus, all you have to do is grab a red scarf, run to a lamppost, and bam, you’re in Narnia. Most importantly, lampposts are arguably the most effective means of advertising around school. The network of campus-wide communication facilitated by our lampposts isn’t limited to mere event promotion. Sometimes these messages can have a personal flair. Case in point: girlfriends advertising their boyfriends’ birthdays, and the unnecessarily confrontational signs that materialized over reading period, “Waiting til the last minute to write your paper? That’s like signing up for the plague.” #self-righteouslampposts? I dig it.

Princeton U-Store selection

It is likely that no other university’s store will provide you with a coupon to Brooks Brothers after you purchase something from them. Alas, you “[go] to Princeton, bitch.” At some point in your life in the Orange Bubble, you’ve most likely wondered, “What’s J.Crew/Ralph Lauren/Talbots doing in my college town?” Or perhaps even, “Why in the world is there a Clinique counter and a Vera Bradley corner in the University convenience store?” You may even realize that the closest things we have to fast food are Panera, Qdoba and Cheeburger Cheeburger, which are either too costly or healthy to count as legitimate fast food. Where’s my McDonald’s and Burger King at? All of these high-end stores are actually there because Princeton is looking out for us. Amid all the insane academic and extracurricular competition, it’s often tempting to resort to compulsive stress shopping and/or stress eating. Want to buy some clothes after a horrendous midterm? Your only options for a sweater are $55 and above. Want a new wallet to celebrate Dean’s Date? Go ahead, if you want to pay Kate Spade prices. Want to stuff your face with a Big Mac after a disappointing night out on the Street? The nearest McDonald’s is a 20-minute bus ride away. So if anything, you should really thank this town for looking out for your wallet and body.

Dillon Cardio Room

For a long time, I hated working out at Dillon primarily because of what a public activity it is. Not only is the gym massive and eternally filled with people who have much bigger biceps than me, but every single passerby can also witness your athletic incompetence through the whole wall of glass windows. Theoretically, at a gym, only the people really near you have to know that you’re only eight minutes into a level one run on the treadmill and already have a heart rate of 180. Instead, the whole world can see your physical ineptitude (not that anyone cares, but it’s the thought that counts when it comes to self-consciousness). Then I discovered a much more humane alternative — the Dillon Cardio Room. Tucked snugly between the locker rooms, the vending machines and the terrifying Stephens Fitness Center, this little wonder has everything from TVs and magazines to stationary bikes and ellipticals. The room is about a third of the size of Stephens, meaning there are far fewer to witness your inadequacy. Above all, THE WALLS ARE OPAQUE. In short, if you’re uncomfortable exposing your lack of physical acumen to 30-plus people on a regular basis, then the Dillon Cardio Room is your salvation.

Communal bathrooms

I never understood why people want private baths. Sure, it’s convenient. But you know what else is convenient? Not having to remove a melange of you and your roommates’ hairballs from the shower drain. Not having to clean bits of food and strands of hair from the sink. Not having to replace your own paper towels and toilet paper. Perhaps the most important perk, not having to clean the toilet bowl. Do you really want to clean out that (obligatory pun alert) shit? I think not.


Sometimes, on dreary nights, I feel as if squirrels are my only friends — my true kin and my only confidantes. Even your best friend might make mistakes and let something confidential slip, but your squirrel friends never will. Squirrels don’t gossip or judge. They simply look at you with their shiny, beady eyes and make you feel like Snow White or Amy Adams. If you only have one motto in life, it should be this: Squirrels are friends, not food.