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Today marks the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death. I was six years old, but the faces of the first responders rushing up the stairs to my parents’ bedroom have never grown fuzzy in my mind. I never got the chance to thank those men, but now, more than ever, I wish I had.
I am the seventh person in my family to attend Princeton. The surprise that comes across many faces when they hear this from a black woman cuts down my embarrassment a bit. But not nearly all of it. I have benefited from a system that perpetuates tokenism and the myth of American exceptionalism. That’s an embarrassing fact.
The winter is the most dangerous time of the year — not just for chapped lips, bitter finger tips, and icy ground, but for a University student’s pride. Whether it’s applying to internships and spring classes or approaching someone on the Street to initiate cuffing season, rejection looms in the air. Hearing “the applicant pool was more competitive than ever” and “it’s not you, it’s me” hit similar soft spots.
At this point last year, I had reopened the infamous Common App portal. Until the end of fall break, I was convinced I’d be transferring.
I slid the word “empowerment” into a conversation I was having with a friend this summer about feminism. She rolled her eyes and groaned, “What does that even mean?” After getting tossed into a few too many headlines, buzzwords have a way of losing their kick. But we should still care about this one.
Despite reports of bikes and jackets being stolen on campus and the occasional flashing event on the towpath, Princeton feels like the safest place on earth. So safe that laptops and phones are left alone at Frist Campus Center for hours, and 5-foot-2-inch girls like me don’t even think twice about going for a run at night. But should we?
I’ve been lucky to have an adviser who not only responds to my emails but also sets aside WASE appointments for his advisees and has made an effort to learn what I want out of my academic career. Most first-years cannot say that they feel they even know a faculty member, never mind have one that knows their name, hopes, wants, and dreams. Yes, Princeton prides itself on the focus on undergraduates, but I was not expecting that promise to be so fulfilled. I thought of anything I heard on a college tour as a campaign promise.
The Princeton University Board Plan Review Committee has been reviewing dining hall options for the past two years, and this week released a memo detailing possible changes for both under and upperclassmen. This proposal replaced the current options available with a mandatory “Unlimited” package for first-years and sophomores, and a mandatory “Community” meal plan for juniors and seniors not involved in the eating club system. This plan is less considerate of the diverse needs and wants of students than the current system and is out of step with undergraduate life.
Going to Reunions my junior year of high school catapulted Princeton to the top of my college list. From catching a glimpse of the P-rade to seeing 85-year-old men raise their walkers in laughter around the crack of dawn, the internationally known affair impressed me with its enduring and effusive spirit.
When my friend group eats at a restaurant, one of my friends almost always asks to be seated by an outlet. I’ll admit that I have tanked an Uber driver’s rating because she did not provide a charger in the car. Members of my family have paid nearly the cost of a second phone for a charging cases. Some of us have become so dependent on our phones that panic ensues whenever their battery level falls to a measly 50 percent. We’ve come to tend to their batteries like they are our babies.
Then you should check your bias. When my straight guy friends say, “I don’t want to see 'Call Me by Your Name.' I’m all for gay rights, but seeing two guys together makes me uncomfortable,” they are revealing a societal bias that’s pervasive and problematic.
Holiday party small talk can be summed up in three questions: Do you love college? Do you know your major yet? And how long are you home for?
About a week ago, I had a conversation with a friend about the movie “Baby Driver.” My friend refused to see it because, according to him, “Kevin Spacey is in it and it turns out he’s a terrible man.” My friend is right: Kevin Spacey is a terrible man. But he’s still one of my favorite actors. The fact that he abused teenage boys, then reacted to their testimonies by coming out as homosexual deeply angers me. Yet none of this removes “American Beauty” from my Top 10 Movies List.
“I feel so removed from everything.” “There is nothing here.” “I’m so stuck in the Orange Bubble.” I often hear these grumbles while walking to class or sitting in Frist. We are removed, and as lovely as Nassau Street is, there is not much here in Princeton. But I don’t think Princeton students should have to be stuck in any bubble. Taking trips to New York City could be a way to pop it.
At a rally in Huntsville, Ala., last month, President Trump urged NFL team owners to fire players who choose to kneel during the national anthem. The next day, more than 200 players protested during the anthem by joining arms or kneeling.