My Junior Year Recap

July 1, 2021
Naomi Hess

After ten long and difficult months away from the Orange Bubble, I was so fortunate to be able to return to campus for the spring semester of my junior year. It was an unprecedented semester with plenty of challenges, but amidst the difficulties of an in-person yet socially distanced experience, I’m grateful for the moments of hope, laughter and joy that made me fall in love with Princeton all over again.

My classes last semester were Law, Institutions, and Public Policy; Global Feminisms: Feminist Movements in the Middle East and Beyond; Microeconomics for Public Policy; and Women, Gender, and Public Policy. Though it was another semester of Zoom classes, I thought my professors did a good job using the online platform for the most part. I was able to take away something new from each class.

  • Law, Institutions, and Public Policy: I had never really engaged with law before, so that class gave me a bit of a hard time, but I know it’s important to think critically about the institutional structures of our legal system. 
  • Global Feminisms: This seminar showed me the diversity in the movement for women’s rights around the world. 
  • Microeconomics for Public Policy: I appreciated how this class was reflective of current events as we used what we learned to understand policy issues like the impact of the child tax credit and the effect of school closures due to COVID-19. 
  • Women, Gender, and Public Policy: This was a required class for my second junior paper. I interviewed female classmates at Princeton about how Donald Trump inspired them to become more politically involved during the 2020 election.

I look back fondly at the many memories I made this past semester. I attended lots of outdoors socially distanced group hangouts, like a picnic dinner in front of Nassau Hall on the last day of class, a karaoke night on Poe Field and a listening party with my friends from The Daily Princetonian for the release of Taylor Swift’s re-recorded version of her album Fearless. Moments of spontaneous interactions with friends were possible once again, instead of having to put so much effort into planning time together like was necessary for the fully online semester. I got to return to my favorite places on campus, like the comfiest chair ever in Chancellor Green, the beautiful study spaces in Firestone Library, and the Hogwarts-like Rocky/Mathey College dining hall. I finished my finals early and had three glorious days of total freedom, so I spent those days making some last memories with my friends for the year. I prioritized seeing my senior friends, who I will miss dearly. Those days of pure joy reminded me of the beauty of Princeton and reinforced how lucky I am to have met such incredible people. Overall, I’m so grateful I was able to make the most of the semester while also staying safe and healthy.