Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Layton Hopper ’16

Mount Vernon, Indiana • Woodrow Wilson School View Profile

Smashing Pumpkins with Smashing Pumpkins

Okay, actually with Wilson College

The college experience, perhaps more so than any other, should be defined by a sense of freedom – the freedom to study what interests us, the freedom to transform ourselves into whomever we want to be, and, of course, the freedom to let loose like we’ve always wanted. I’m happy to say that it was this freedom that pervaded at Wilson College’s last study break.

It began when, at a Wilson College Council meeting, someone threw out the idea of having a “Smashing Pumpkins with Smashing Pumpkins” study break (which are weekly events hosted by each residential college offering free food and bonding for students in that college). Although it sounded like a crazy idea, that was of minimal concern. So, in late fall, as the trees were turning and the cold was setting in, the council came together to offer the ultimate means for blowing off post-midterm stress: beating over-ripened pumpkins into an oblivion that even Woodrow Wilson himself would be proud of. The council credit card was brought out to purchase 100+ pumpkins from a nearby orchard, and since no study break is complete without amazing food, we ordered 25 pies, 4 dozen pumpkin cupcakes, 10 gallons of cider and chai latte, and 3 bushels of apples for our fellow students.  

Apple cider set out for students.
Cider and pumpkins provided by nearby Terhune Orchards. Photo credit: Ben Koger ‘16

After setting up tarps, spreading out pumpkins, and making sure that the stereo was blasting some “Smashing Pumpkins” classics, we reverently placed softball bats in the hands of our fellow Wilsonites. What started as students swinging downward at grounded pumpkins in a type of pumpkin themed Whac-A-Mole, quickly evolved into a full-fledged game of Home Run Derby. We made fools of ourselves slipping over pumpkin guts in a scramble to demolish the fruit.

Student preparing to hit pumpkin
Sophomore Agustin M. winds up.

Student smashing pumpkin
Sophomore Agustin M. takes a swing. Photo credit: Ben Koger ‘16

To me, the study break serves as an excellent example of what I love about Princeton. While college is a time dedicated to preparing us for the real world, I appreciate that Princeton can also be a place that shelters us from it, providing an encouraging background for us to develop both personally and socially.  Where else, after a difficult week at work, is someone going to hand you a piece of pie, a slime covered softball bat, and complete control over the fate of a pumpkin?