A Day in The Life (Short Film)

April 1, 2024
Nicole Tacconi '26

“I wish Princeton felt like this.”

A comment from my fellow classmate after my short film (shown above) was screened for my digital animation class.

I think it’s fair to say my animation has quite a calming undertone. I wanted to capture the monotonous yet beautiful moments of my days here at Princeton - the simplicity of studying in Firestone Library during the early mornings, my bike rides across campus, and the much needed coffee breaks at Coffee Club. 

While I love to honor these small moments, I think many students, like my classmate, often experience a very different day in the life of Princeton. What I see at Princeton, which is often a love for these small moments, is not what everyone sees. But what I’ve learned during my time here is that Princeton can be so many things - too much to sum up in a day. 

Incoming freshmen often want a description of what a “day in the life” looks like at Princeton. Of course I could generalize my experience as stressful and overwhelming while simultaneously everything I could ask for in a college experience. It’s hard to describe the beautiful stressors, challenging moments, and new experiences that go on here. Ultimately, Princeton is a very unique college experience inside the “orange bubble” - an almost alternative universe on campus where you're swept up and time passes in odd ways.

But there are so many nuances in an experience. The description above, and further my own animation, fall short of describing so many aspects of Princeton: days where you’re in Firestone from sun up till sun down studying, memory making late night chats with roommates, or even how campus comes alive in spring as students flock to Cannon Green for picnics and frisbee games.

Princeton is too large to sum up in one day or one animation. Further, I think it’s important for incoming students to realize that Princeton is not a “day in the life”. No experience is. Despite being in the same academic and physical environment, everyone experiences college differently - hence the disparity between how I view Princeton through my animation and my classmate’s reaction.
But with this comes an important lesson; the reason we experience things differently is partly due to how we choose to perceive life around us. Our own experiences are ultimately what we make of them. At the end of the day, Princeton is what you make of it. So how do I answer the question: “what is a day in the life like at Princeton University?” It’s up to you to tell that story - my only advice, remember the sky's the limit.