Princeton students on campus

No two people have the same path to Princeton. If you’d told me four years ago that I’d be halfway through my third year at the University, I would’ve told you to get lost—I certainly thought there was no path to Princeton for me during my junior year of high school. Like many of you, I worked hard both in school and outside of it, but I didn’t come from a community that regularly sent students to highly selective colleges, let alone Princeton.

My favorite high school teacher asked me in the middle of junior year where I was thinking of applying to school. I listed off a few in-state schools—which were great options for me—however, she wanted me to cast a wider net. Now, I won’t claim that my decision to apply to Princeton was that simple, but with her guidance, she opened my eyes to schools that I hadn't dreamed of. 

I stumbled upon this very blog one Friday afternoon as I dutifully began to widen my college search. I realized, after going through pages and pages of it, that I could see myself at Princeton. Excited, I told my dad we needed to go visit—and we did. We packed up the Camry at 5:30 a.m. the following morning and made the four-hour trek to Central Jersey. 

We hopped on an Orange Key tour not long after arriving, and I remember being particularly awed by one building: Little Hall, a dormitory that is a part of Mathey residential college. We only passed by it briefly, but our guide told us it was, ironically, the largest undergraduate dorm on campus. It looked like a castle, and I couldn’t imagine how cool it must be to live there as a student. Imagine my overjoyed shock when I was randomly assigned to live there my first year! My dad talked our entire drive home about how impressed he’d been with Princeton.

Just a few short months later, I was submitting my application the day before the deadline. I remember going to pick up my cat—orange and white, like a tiger—to hug him for good luck. The wait was agonizing. I must’ve logged onto my admission portal a hundred times before the release date, hoping someone would accidentally upload my decision early. In the week leading up to release day, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep—I ultimately ended up with the flu because of it. On the day decisions were released, I told my parents I wanted to open it alone. They acquiesced, and I went around a corner to sit and open my online letter.

I can’t tell you what the moment is like, clicking the link to see a tiger appear. Literally, I can’t because I briefly blacked out from the shock (and probably the flu). I can tell you though, what it’s like to jump around on the couch and scream with your family just minutes after. I still sometimes can’t believe it happened to me—I’ll be walking to class, or to my eating club, and wonder just how my life brought me here. 

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