As a sophomore in the A.B. program at Princeton, it was time. This spring, my inbox has been flooding with emails detailing how and when I will declare my major and enter the newest stage of my Princeton career: being an upperclassman. And this month, I was indeed quite excited to officially pick my department. During my first two years here, I took a pretty wide variety of classes that helped me determine my interests more concretely, but I envisioned myself majoring in French even as I applied to Princeton. While I changed my mind (often multiple times) about many other academic endeavors (including, but not limited to, becoming an anthropologist and being pre-med), wanting to major in the French department here has always been a certainty for me.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to enter the program this month. During the first two weeks of April, all of the departments held open houses - usually, in typical Princeton fashion, involving a free lunch or at least fancy snacks - where we could go to find out more about the faculty and courses offered within each department. Then, current students from each department held an open house on a Saturday for the sophomores where we could ask our peers about their experiences and perspectives about each department.
And then? It was the week of truth. After meeting with our departmental representatives and getting two forms signed, we had seven days and one simple click of a button. Then we were welcomed into our newest campus families!
For me, officially becoming a French major generated a brief adrenaline rush and merited right off the bat a text to my parents and a Facebook status. But I know that it will now mean the opportunity to do independent work and to start focusing my class choices more closely around my interests. At my meeting, I was also assigned a junior paper advisor who will help me begin my research work as a student here. To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about beginning the second half of my Princeton career and the research work that it brings with it, but for now I am excited and am looking forward to benefitting from the support of my new department on campus.