Before leaving home, my phone history with my parents was sparse, to say the least. Now that I’m thousands of miles away, of course I’m texting my parents more. But as a high schooler, I would never have guessed just how often I would find myself, in college, reaching for the phone to contact my mom.
Since being sent to live with my family in March I have been trying to keep myself alive. I am gay and have been forced to live with my religiously conservative and homophobic family. I fear for my safety. But, the University cannot help me.
In a normal semester, students may have been able to sow the first seeds of a budding friendship by turning to a peer in an orientation hall or large lecture class to exchange a few words. Now, side conversations have become relegated to the Zoom chat, where a quick private message about an assignment might just spark the beginnings of a new connection.
I had decided to sublet an apartment a mere five-minute walk away from the University of Chicago (UChicago) campus for the fall and live with a stranger, rather than stay at home in New York, a decision that often warranted some explaining. The short answer is that I wanted to spend time near my older sister, who’s currently living in Chicago.
Jamaica always seems to call me home — despite the fact that I haven’t actually been home since I had to flee two years ago.
Through illustration and prose, Wendy Ho reflects on the value of National Coming Out Day in 2020.
Growing up, writing was my haven. My friends teased me for carrying a marble notebook wherever I went, pages brimming with mediocre poems my 12-year-old mind thought Shakespearean. Words, I discovered, have the power to forge rivers, oceans, mountains. They immortalize the rise and fall of civilizations, etch our names in rock and dust.
It sounds strange when I explain it. Why Boston? Why these girls, who I barely knew before we signed the lease? I still have trouble picturing the series of events that led me here; the days after Princeton announced that fall semester would be online are a blur.
This summer I was fortunate to be supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service to return home and assist Dr. Erika Kitzmiller with her research project, “Youth Inequality, Mobility, and Opportunity in Red and Blue America.” I took this valuable experience as an opportunity to explore the dissonance I felt while reading Vance’s memoir and reflect on my own experience growing up in Appalachia.
The future I see in front of me for the next couple months is the white wall that stands behind my desk as I write these words. It looks like my friends and classmates and professors confined to Zoom boxes. It looks like more time hundreds of miles away from the place I’d grown to love as my other home. This is all so different from the future I so wish lay ahead instead.
I thought I’d been careful, and indeed I had been — degrees more so than most, if not all, of my friends and family. Then came the email: my SARS-CoV-2 test, which I’d taken as a precaution before seeing my grandparents, and not at all because I was symptomatic, was positive.
Fall semester classes used to kick off on a Wednesday. A wake-up slap after the four-day fever dream known as Frosh Week. Yet it's a Monday — which should usher in some sense of normalcy, since Monday is the start of the typical work week. But come on, it's Princeton. We fly in the face of everything “normal.”
This is a peek into my experience with dealing with medical and mental health issues in Princeton’s highly competitive environment. The biographical story form is used to represent my first-person perspective and is an attempt to convey the pressures, emotional struggles, and stresses the situation brought along with it.
Hannah Reynolds, a rising junior in the anthropology department, offers a few words of comfort and wisdom to incoming first-year students.
Maintaining relationships, participating in activities with friends and family — even if they are virtual — and consciously making the effort to enjoy little bits of every day have become the cornerstone of my everyday life.