me and friends at ice cream social

There’s a hack for literally anything these days, thanks to TikTok. But did you know that Princeton has its own set of life hacks? Here are my top 7 hacks to #thrive at Princeton and never miss out on free food or an elite study spot. 

  • The Creative Writing Department (CWR): It has its very own Keurig on the 6th floor of New South. Technically it’s supposed to be for CWR students and faculty, but POV: you’re about to go to your writing seminar on the A floor of New South and you’re running on 5 hours of sleep. A hot brew of Vermont Country Blend is just an elevator ride away…
  • Lewis Center for the Arts (LCA): Hot take, but also a life-changing hack, LCA is the most insta-worthy spot on campus for your 'gram. Nassau Hall and Blair Arch are mainstream, but LCA’s architecture is unparalleled for photo backdrops. Try the outdoor staircase that faces WaWa (a local convenience store) -- it won’t disappoint. 

photo in front of the lewis center for the arts

Photoshoot at LCA is always a go-to! 

  • Murray Dodge: free cookies, enough said. This semi-underground café is your go-to spot for a sweet treat, any time of day. When you get that 10-minute break during your 3-hour seminar in McCosh, head over to Murray Dodge where cookies are warm, fresh and delish.
  • B Floor of Firestone Library: walk straight off the elevator, past the rows of computers, past the desks on your left and then you’ll see a glass door on your right. Open the door and never look back. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but for real-- this two-table room on the B Floor is amazing, especially when you and your friends get it all to yourselves. The overlook deck in the Trustee Room is soooo overrated.  

B Floor study room

Not the best picture, but here’s what the room on B Floor looks like

  • Shopping for lawnparties and formals do’s and don’ts: DO buy that cute top for your spring fashion, DON’T buy that outfit for lawnparties (a bi-annual concert for students), formals or semis. Because there are only a few trendy clothing stores nearby, odds are if you buy an outfit at one of these places for an upcoming campus event, you’ll see that same outfit on five other students. Instead, trade clothes with your roomies and friends, or head over to Quakerbridge Mall (<10 minutes away) for more options. 

semi formals

I’m wearing my friend’s dress in this photo at my eating club’s semi formal!

  • Dance tryouts: They are a must, whether you’re the next Maddie Ziegler or you’re still trying to figure out the Renegade TikTok dance. Each semester, dance groups on campus hold tryouts and anyone can come. My friend and I tried out just for fun, and we got to learn a combo, perform it (embarrassingly, but points for effort), and have a dance sesh afterwards with everyone there. It is probably one of my best memories at Princeton, so 10/10 would recommend. And in case you’re wondering: no, we did not make the team.
  • Forbes dining hall: It may only bask in glory on Sunday brunch (chocolate fountain, yes please!), but it also comes alive at night. Whether or not you’ll actually get work done here is debatable, but it’s definitely a fun late-night study spot to meet up with friends. And WaWa is across the street, so you can treat yourself to mac & cheese whenever you want.

With these insider tips, you’ll be a pro the minute you step foot on campus. Good luck!

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