Having grown up and been born in South Brunswick, New Jersey, I’ve always been quite close geographically to Princeton. (for those of you that don’t know, South Brunswick is just one town north of Princeton). When I was considering attending Princeton during my senior year of high school, the thought of all the amazing opportunities, resources and people quickly shot Princeton to the top of my college list, but there was always a small part of me that wanted to go live in a city faraway. Even now, I still wouldn’t mind being somewhere a little warmer.
When I received my acceptance and ultimately chose to attend Princeton, I was once again elated to be going to such a prestigious university, but I envied my friends who had to take an exciting plane ride to get to their schools, rather than a short 15-minute car ride. I was worried that I would be too comfortable, that I would be too close to home and, most importantly, that I wouldn’t get to have a totally new, immersive college experience.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Aided by the fact that all first-year students have to live on campus, I quickly realized that I was definitely not home anymore—my “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in South Brunswick anymore” moment, if you will. With the rush of making new friends, finding interesting, yet challenging classes and joining a handful of the many clubs on campus, I found myself quickly swept up in campus culture before I could even start to think about complaining how close I was to home. Then, in a few weeks, when many of my friends—some of whom came from as far as the Philippines—began to feel homesick, I was the one that all my friends were envious of.
While my home away from home is truly only a few minutes away from home, Princeton has become a very distinct second home. This new home is where I have a second family—a family that I got to choose and now spend many of my waking hours with—and a place for me to explore and continue to challenge myself. I’ve grown in ways at Princeton that I would have never dreamed of, and my being close to home has meant that I’ve been able to bring my friends over for Thanksgiving and take them to my childhood stomping grounds. Before I got to Princeton, whenever anyone asked me how I felt about going to school so close to home, I’d grumble a little, saying it was the lone complaint I had with Princeton. Now, one of the first perks of Princeton that I mention is how close I am to home. Princeton, my home (not so) far from home!