Escape. It’s a paradoxical word. On one hand, there is a hint of anxiety. On the other, there is a sense of satisfaction. It assumes that at one point you were constrained but now, free. I think this is a fair expression of how I felt when I landed in Boston last weekend. It was an escape: an escape from Princeton.
First, I want to emphasize that I love Princeton. I love the isolation, the deflation, and especially my residential college, Forbes. It’s an incredible place to be, or to have been. You understand.
My point is that whether or not you are in love with Princeton or secretly miserable, I believe that it is healthy to escape once in a while. The most difficult part I find about Princeton is indeed, the infamous Orange Bubble. When you are going about taking five classes, dancing away at T.I., and miraculously finishing your problem sets, the outside world fades from your peripheral vision. All you can think about is the Orgo midterm coming up in three weeks. Or you worry about how you will get your hands on those passes. For me, all I can think about is the weird but oddly intriguing philosophical puzzles Professor Gideon throws at us in class.
The ubiquitous and omnipotent presence of the Bubble really hit me during this year’s Presidential Election. Born in South Korea, I usually do not involve myself too heavily in elections. However, due to the fact that Trump’s tenets and beliefs directly affect so many immigrants such as myself, I could not help but to be immersed in this year’s election. At Princeton, almost everyone supported Clinton. Every time I asked a friend, “So who do you reckon will win this?” I always received a similar answer: “Clinton, of course!” Of course my friends and I were all wrong. Clinton lost. Trump won. I was shocked, and the Bubble was shattered.
I believe that people in Princeton generally share similar beliefs, passions, and outlooks on life. We are a diverse community, but more unified in thought than I think most people believe. Thus, studying, eating, and living in Princeton fundamentally limits you to a certain set of ideologies and beliefs that you mistakenly accept as a universal belief. I mean, who in Princeton would have thought that there were so many Americans out there that agreed with Trump?
This is precisely why I believe that stepping outside the Bubble from time to time is so important. As students at Princeton, we have a responsibility to be aware of the world around us. After all, it is engraved in our mission statement. So let’s give it a try. Let’s expand our boundaries.
My friends sometimes give me a hard time for traveling so much during the weekends. There are pros and cons to escaping Princeton. You probably will have to procrastinate less, sleep less, and spend less during the week. However, I believe that escaping is still worth it. You get to meet new people, see new things, and experience new feelings. There’s also the benefit of actually missing classes and problem sets towards the end of trip! Imagine that.
I say all of this to introduce my dreams and plans for these blog posts. Similar to a travel magazine, I want to write about the numerous places I went to and will go to during the school year. I hope to help you guys see all the places you can escape to for a weekend. Hopefully, one of my destinations will appeal to you and motivate you to take a step outside the Bubble. Or, you can always just Netflix and chill.