Though I have become well accustomed to the University (the life, work and environment) by this time in my studies, there remains a short list of things that continue to stand out and surprise me again and again about this place. Some of those things are mundane; others, peculiar or regrettable, yet most noteworthy are those wonderful moments I have had on campus that remind me of the joys of being here.
With that description, you may think I’m referring to the outstanding opportunities that are accessible at Princeton. Indeed, it seems as if students here are always participating in events led by influential officials, prize-winners and others; attending spectacular plays, concerts, and productions; or most excitingly, venturing into other cities and countries as part of a class, performing group, or other University-sponsored program.
Certainly, those opportunities represent a very special aspect of Princeton. But the things I mentioned earlier, those wonderful moments that define my experience here, are quite ordinary. They’re the chance meetings with friends in Murray-Dodge Café as we wait together for fresh cookies; the last few stories and laughs shared with my roommate in our dorm as we set our alarms and prepare for tomorrow; the resolution I feel when I get up after finishing a book or essay to pace the quiet floors of Firestone Library. These things are all so plain, yet I have found an extraordinary appreciation for them, and they are some of the best things I’ve experienced here at Princeton.
It’s important to say that this isn’t just some way of looking at things with rose-tinted glasses, a strategy for convincing myself that “everything is awesome.” I’ve had the chance to appreciate standout events (like moderated conversations with Gustavo Dudamel and Joyce Carol Oates or trips to see Broadway plays and hear Supreme Court oral arguments), but those are only a few moments of my time as a student. The rest of that time is spent doing normal, everyday things, and it is a simple appreciation for those things that really makes my Princeton experience noteworthy.