The afternoon that admission decision results were scheduled to be released, I requested permission to skip math class, sequestered myself in an isolated hallway and panicked for eight minutes until the application portal finally loaded my admission decision at 1:08 p.m. MT. Juggling my phone and laptop in the hopes that one would load faster than the other, I panicked for a half second at the absence of the orange tiger, which I had heard appeared on the masthead of all letters of acceptance, before jumping, beaming and possibly even squealing with joy as the orange tiger adorning my acceptance letter flashed across the screen.
In shock or perhaps disbelief, I refreshed (and took a screenshot) the page over and over again, double and triple-checking that my letter of acceptance was indeed still there. Hours later, my supportive and enthusiastic family members, adorned in excessive Princeton paraphernalia, orange face paint and glitter surprised me at the end of the school day with pompoms, balloons and streamers—all orange.
Four years later, that day feels a world away.