Two years ago, I had decided on Princeton. I remember tremulously clicking on the “confirm” button on the admission website, and then feeling a surge of feelings: excitement, apprehension, doubt, relief and curiosity. By this point, the propaganda flooding through the mailbox only increased in volume, and I read a huge amount of it. I remember briefly glancing over the Bridge Year Program brochure and longingly admiring the moral fortitude of whoever would dedicate themselves for nine months to the endeavor of “service” before coming back to start Princeton a year "late." Into the recycling bin it went; I was onto perusing the front page of the Daily Princetonian.
In the following weeks, all thought of Bridge Year was smothered by graduation practices and wondering what residential college I would be placed into and whether or not I wanted to start taekwondo or aikido in the fall. And then one day after coming back home after my first graduation rehearsal, my dad was waiting for me with the Bridge Year brochure in his hand.
“Have you seen this?” he asked, clearly expecting no for an answer.
“Yeah, I saw it. It looks interesting, but I’m not going to apply for it," I replied, drawing my dad's eyebrows up a good few inches and unleashing furious disbelief.
“What? That's ridiculous! Why not?”
“Well, I don’t really want to do service, and I don’t really want to start a year behind at Princeton. Plus, there will be other opportunities to travel at Princeton and not be set back a year.”
My dad couldn’t even believe what he was hearing.
“You’re being stupid. I can’t believe you would pass up this opportunity. If I were you, I would have applied weeks ago.”
I was being stupid. With a week left on the application, I managed to round up a couple recommendation letters and painfully write a couple more essays, which I sent off right in time. And the next September, instead of beginning my freshman year at Princeton, I embarked on the most amazing experience of my life.
If my dad hadn’t seen that brochure, I almost certainly wouldn’t have gone on Bridge Year. I’m so grateful that fortune and my dad's persistence shook me out of my stubborn misconceptions and led me to apply for the program. I seriously cannot imagine having gone to Princeton without Bridge Year.
So the moral is: For those of you who are coming to Princeton Preview, come to the Bridge Year Program panel. I and a few other alumni, plus the program directors, will be talking about our experiences and fielding questions from you, the admitted students (and parents!). Even, or especially, if you’re 100 percent sure that Bridge Year is not for you, come, come, come! If you can’t make it to the panel, Bridge Year will also have a table in the activities fair in Dillon Gym from 5:30-6:30 p.m., where you can talk one-on-one with alumni from all four years of the program. Finally, feel free to contact me at any time with questions!