Amor Fati: Embracing my Path Through Princeton

May 2, 2024
Nicole Tacconi


Amor Fati. It means “love of one’s fate” in Latin. 


While a phrase I’ve studied well through stoicism, I’ve unexpectedly come across this phrase again through a conversation with a friend. It’s made me reflective about my time here at Princeton, and my “love of fate” thus far.


So where am I on my Princeton journey? I’m currently writing this blog post at 11:18pm on May 1st, 2024 - it’s the start of reading week which means a tremendous amount of work for most students here. My days recently have been void of classes yet filled with the slow and often frustrating pace of studying. It’s the end of my sophomore year, and the only word I can use to describe this year would be: unpredictable. 


This year has been filled with struggles I never encountered during my freshman year. My COS (Computer Science) classes have gotten harder. I’ve started to have more anxiety. Socially too, friends and groups have shifted. And that’s not something I expected - however it is part of fate that things change.


All of this is to say that my sophomore year has been overwhelming, and quite the contrast to the blooming, beautiful first year when I arrived at Princeton. I thrived my first year - socially and academically. Initially, this dichotomy between my freshman and sophomore year worried me. I wondered: “Am I not enjoying my time here?” “Am I getting the most out of Princeton?” 


I share this because I’m sure many students feel this way. But my perspective changed when I remembered the words of an alum that I heard during my orientation two years ago.


“Everyone moves through Princeton at their own pace, and on their own path.”


It is normal for things to change. And it’s normal for your path at Princeton to look vastly different from your friends, or even the path that you had the year before. It’s important to remember that Princeton will be unpredictable. You will likely face challenges you didn’t even conceive of facing. And that’s okay! I don’t actually believe in “fate”, but I believe in it as a general concept of the things given to you outside of your control. I find myself grateful for the fate I’ve been given at Princeton - whether the experience was positive or negative. And that is Amor Fati. A true love of one’s fate - a love for the good and the bad that happens. Because from each of these experiences, I’m given an opportunity to grow. And with this, I hope any incoming students can take something from my perspective. That the challenges you will face are valid and unexpected. But you must embrace it all, and simply go along on this wild ride.