A Day in the Life of a Remote Princeton Student

March 3, 2021
Patrice McGivney

Although all Princeton students were invited back to campus for the Spring 2021 semester, students also had the option to continue learning remotely.  I’m one of those students who chose to continue remotely — but I also was looking for a change of pace from the Fall 2020 semester.  Instead of staying at home in Colorado, I’m currently living in the Czech Republic with my grandparents.

I decided to make the move in order to spend more time with my extended family and to sharpen up my Czech language skills.  I study Slavic Languages & Literatures at Princeton, but there’s nothing quite like an in-person immersion to really ramp up the pace of learning.  Here’s what my typical school day looks like: 

8:30 a.m. - I usually wake up around this time.  Because of the time difference, all my classes are in the evening, so I don’t need to set alarms to wake up.  One of the perks of living off campus!  After I wake up, I get ready for the day and make myself tea and bread with jam for breakfast.  

9:30 a.m. - Time for work.  I check my email and then start working on assignments.  Today, I’m working on a problem set for my linguistics course.  Later, I’ll read a poem for my Russian course, so I’m prepared to ask questions and comment on the material during class.  If I finish early, I might get a head start on my readings for my history seminar — I do about 150 pages of reading a week for all of my courses.  

12:00 p.m. - Lunchtime!  During the week, my grandma usually cooks meals so I have time for my coursework.  On the weekends, I cook or we make something together.  She’s an excellent cook!  After the meal, I help clean up.  

1:00 p.m. - Now it’s time for our daily walk! It’s a cloudy day, but it’s not windy or cold.  We had snow here for a while, but it’s finally melted and we can see the beginnings of spring.  Today’s route takes us past the river, and we also get to see some animals.

A small river with rocky banks and grass nearby

2:30 p.m. - After our walk, we have our afternoon coffee or tea.  It’s nice enough to sit outside today while we sip. 

3:00 p.m. - Back to my desk to finish anything I need to do before classes.  Usually I have more emails around this time, as those on campus begin their day.  

4:00 p.m. - Classes start!  I’m on Zoom for my linguistics lecture and my Czech class. 

6:00 p.m. - A short break for dinner before the rest of my classes.  For me, lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day and dinner is something quick.  

6:30 p.m. - Back to Zoom for the rest of my classes.  My Russian class is first, and then I have another break before my linguistics precept.  

10:30 p.m. - Classes are finally over and it’s time for bed.  Tomorrow is another full day!

A sheep standing in a grassy field