Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Michelle Greenfield ’18

Phoenix, Arizona • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology View Profile

West Coast Struggles

My parents have two favorite texts that I have sent them during my time at Princeton. Coincidentally, I sent them on the same day. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a cold Sunday in November. I was walking to the dining hall by my room for breakfast, and I was quite hungry. I tried to open the door, but alas, it was locked. I couldn’t figure out why it would be locked since it was 10 a.m., and that’s when the dining hall opened. Then, I remembered, daylight saving time. The clocks had changed that morning, and what was formerly 10 a.m. now was 9 a.m., which meant that I had to wait an entire hour before I could eat breakfast. I couldn’t believe it.

See, I’m from Arizona, and Arizona is the one state that doesn’t have daylight saving time. That’s right, we never change our clocks. While we oscillate from Mountain Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time, that’s really only important when it comes to what time a television program will be airing. Otherwise, I go on with my life as if nothing changed, because it didn’t. That was, until I got to Princeton. I knew the clocks changed, but I didn’t really understand when they did. (Apparently, they change at 2 a.m. Who knew?)

The second part of this story comes from a note I mentioned at the beginning; it was really cold that morning. I had to put on a heavy coat and a scarf. This was a new phenomenon for me. Before this fateful morning, it had been fall break, and I was away with a class traveling in a much warmer place. But when I came back, it was so cold that I knew it was time for my first real winter. I had never really worn gloves and scarves for warmth, so this was definitely a new life experience for me. 

Therefore, the text I sent my parents that day was as follows: “I’ve learned two important lessons in college so far. The first, daylight saving time is real. And second, scarves are not just a fashion accessory.”

So for all of you west-coast students, have no fear. Moving to the east coast is a change, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Invest in a warm coat, and buy some warmer scarves (rather than the cute flimsy ones I’m sure you all have), and you’ll be good to go. And for my Arizona brethren, have someone sit you down and explain daylight saving time to you so that you can take advantage of the extra hour of sleep and not be turned away from the dining hall—like me.