Finding your Space at Princeton: The AccessAbility Center

One of my favorite things about Princeton is the opportunity to meet with students from diverse backgrounds and engage with different facets of your identity. Coming into Princeton, I knew I wanted to find a space where I felt comfortable engaging in my identity as an individual with a disability, which is how I found Princeton’s AccessAbility Center. Now working as one of the center’s fellows, I get to advocate and celebrate the disabled community at Princeton in a space where I feel at home.

Founded in 2017, the AccessAbility Center (AccessAbility Center | Office of Disability Services ( is a physical space in the Frist Campus Center designed to raise awareness for students with disabilities. Unlike the Office of Disability Services (ODS) (Office of Disability Services ( that focuses on the logistics of accommodations, the AccessAbility Center is a student-run space designed to build community around disability through study breaks, student spotlights, and education programs hosted by the fellows. The fellows are a group of approximately six undergraduate students selected based on their passion and ideas for disability advocacy on campus who determine what events the center holds. When we aren’t hosting events at the center, students can take advantage of the quiet study room, adjustable desks, and comfortable seating areas designed to accommodate a wide range of individuals.

Students sit a circle of chairs listening to a speaker at the AccessAbility Center
Student Spotlight event

When I was searching for schools, I knew I wanted a place where disability was not only accommodated but also celebrated as I navigated having a chronic illness in college. I am glad to say I have found that place through the AccessAbility Center. Through our student spotlights, we invite students who are connected to disability (whether it is through research, lived experience, or witnessed experience) an opportunity to share with other community members openly. Providing the opportunity for disability to become more visible on campus has been one of my greatest joys and was something I did not experience before coming to Princeton. I even met one of my closest friends while attending a student spotlight focused on concussions, allowing us to connect over our shared experience of brain injury.

Beyond our center-run events, we also collaborate with other peer groups on campus like the Peer Health Advisors and Residential College Advisors to discuss how we can adapt their programming to include all of the students at Princeton, regardless of ability. We also just rolled out our Allies for Access training program which has enabled members of the broader Princeton community the opportunity to hear directly from students about how they can best support campus members living with a disability. Advocating for the identity of disability to become more visible on campus is one of the reasons why I am so proud to work in the AccessAbility Center.

The five other fellows (Meet Our Fellows | Office of Disability Services ( with whom I have the pleasure of working have made me feel at home at Princeton and supported me every step of the way. As I finish my second year as a fellow, I feel incredibly grateful to have found a community and place on campus where disability is celebrated, and I cannot wait to see how it continues to grow during the remainder of my time at Princeton and beyond.

PLASA’s Inaugural Latine History Series

On campus, I am a part of the leadership team for the Princeton Latin American Student Association (PLASA). PLASA is the largest of the many Latine student organizations on campus. The leadership team consists of eight different committees and elected officers who work together to host a wide variety of events for Latine students. These events range from professional development workshops to informal brunches and other exciting social events.


Although a large focus for PLASA has traditionally revolved around programming during Latine Heritage Month at the start of the fall semester, PLASA recently organized the inaugural Latine History Series. This series aimed to increase the number of events hosted during the spring semester, as well as to commemorate the work of Latine activists who have paved the way for current generations of student leaders.


The theme for this year was Women in Activism, and we organized three weekends of events. The first weekend centered around the role that storytelling plays within activism, particularly the power of sharing personal narratives within activist spaces. As the Chair of the Hermanitas Committee, my committee and I were largely responsible for planning and executing this weekend’s events. On Friday night, we hosted “Tiempo de Cuentos,” an intimate event that brought together students to share their own creative works related to the series’ theme. We listened to each other read poems and short stories while enjoying light snacks. The following day, we hosted “Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?: A Performance by Irma Herrera and Panel Discussion.” We welcomed Irma Herrera and her one-woman show, coordinated a panel discussion between her and other local activists, and hosted a reception immediately after. It was lovely to be in community with so many other students and engage in discussions about our collective experiences with Latinidad.


PLASA Co-President and Hermanitas Chair pose with guest performer, Irma Herrera.
After the event, PLASA's Co-President and I posed for a picture with Irma Herrera. Her performance meant a lot to all that attended.


The second weekend consisted of a panel discussion and reception with Latine alumni whose careers center on advocacy and activism. During the last weekend, PLASA welcomed American labor leader and civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta, to give a guest lecture. Some of us even had the opportunity to attend a small reception with her before the lecture.


Hermanitas Chair poses with labor leader and civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta.


Although there were many logistics to consider when planning the series, it was also extremely fun to work as a team and explore the behind the scenes involved in carrying out these kinds of events. For the Hermanitas Committee, this involved applying for funding from the University, purchasing food and ordering catering services, coordinating with campus theater staff, reaching out to networks of local activists, and working closely with our guest to secure her travel and lodging. This is a testament to the sort of resources and support available to student leaders interested in hosting all kinds of functions.


The Latine History Series represents only some of many opportunities to come into community with other Latine students. Joining the PLASA leadership team and getting to help create events for the broader campus community has been one of the most rewarding experiences during my time at Princeton and has greatly contributed to my sense of belonging on campus. I look forward to continuing to work with this team in the upcoming year and welcoming new first-year Latines to campus in the fall.

A Love Letter to Maruichi

During my freshman year at Princeton, I would often find myself craving Asian snacks. Coming from Sydney, a multicultural city, I could easily find an Asian supermarket, quickly pop in, and find shelves filled with classic Asian snacks like Pocky and Hello Panda, and drinks like Ramune and Calpico. However, at Princeton, beyond the snacks that I stuffed into my luggage before coming here, the closest I could get to satisfying my wish for snacks would be Late Meal sushi or the bubble tea places scattered about the town. The only way I could get my hands on Asian snacks was via a drive to a mart far from campus – a journey that I would not have been able to go on at midnight, which is when my cravings often hit. 


This all changed last semester, the start of my sophomore year, when I came back to Princeton and heard whispers about a new Japanese food mart that opened on Nassau Street, the main street that students frequent to grab a quick bite. When I rushed to see this new store, I was greeted with a white, clean storefront with a big plaque that hung above the main entrance that had the words “Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli” in white against a black background. Going into the store, it was instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia. The first thing I saw was a shelf stacked with Asian snacks – from sweets like Kit Kats and Meiji chocolate to savory items like instant ramen and Shrimp chips – I was shocked at how much variety there was. Near the entrance, there were also specialty items such as matcha powder, matcha whisks and bowls, and fancy tins of tea. There was also a fridge section filled with drinks such as my favorite: Oi Ocha, a slightly bitter but soothing green tea. 


As I walked further into the store, I saw more grocery-like items: vegetables, fruit, frozen goods like gyoza wrappers, and condiments like Kewpie Mayo. However, the most impressive section had to be a stand that sells fresh onigiri (rice balls), and a counter with sushi, sashimi, and daily-made bento boxes. I distinctly remember a hectic day last semester where I was running out of time for lunch, grabbed a gyudon (beef bowl) from Maruichi, and sat on the bench outside, enjoying the savory and sweet flavors of the bowl. As well, the onigiri costs only $3 and the variety is unmatched – ranging from tuna mayo to spicy chicken to a rice ball called “bakudan” which contains a mix of vegetables and salmon. At 8:30pm, 30 minutes before the store closes, the onigiri and bento boxes become half-off – a great steal for yummy food. 


Beyond the food offerings, the staff at Maruichi are so friendly and helpful. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with them – a recent example being when I saw a poster of fluffy Japanese pancakes hung up at the cashier. I was able to talk to an employee about the poster and found out that Maruichi actually opened a breakfast cafe called “J.S. Foodies” which serves Japanese soufflé pancakes and other breakfast items. Having tried the soft, not too heavy, fruit pancake there, I can testify that both Maruichi’s deli and cafe have delectable food. 


I can confidently say that Maruichi is my favorite place on Nassau Street. Whenever I find myself wanting a pick-me-up, I go to Maruichi and grab an onigiri. Even when I have nothing else to do, I find myself gravitating towards Maruichi, simply browsing its shelves and being in the store even if I end up buying nothing. Thank you Maruichi for opening your doors at Princeton! Future tigers who crave Asian snacks just like me, Princeton has a place just for you.


Fluffy Japanese Pancakes

Amor Fati: Embracing my Path Through Princeton


Amor Fati. It means “love of one’s fate” in Latin. 


While a phrase I’ve studied well through stoicism, I’ve unexpectedly come across this phrase again through a conversation with a friend. It’s made me reflective about my time here at Princeton, and my “love of fate” thus far.


So where am I on my Princeton journey? I’m currently writing this blog post at 11:18pm on May 1st, 2024 - it’s the start of reading week which means a tremendous amount of work for most students here. My days recently have been void of classes yet filled with the slow and often frustrating pace of studying. It’s the end of my sophomore year, and the only word I can use to describe this year would be: unpredictable. 


This year has been filled with struggles I never encountered during my freshman year. My COS (Computer Science) classes have gotten harder. I’ve started to have more anxiety. Socially too, friends and groups have shifted. And that’s not something I expected - however it is part of fate that things change.


All of this is to say that my sophomore year has been overwhelming, and quite the contrast to the blooming, beautiful first year when I arrived at Princeton. I thrived my first year - socially and academically. Initially, this dichotomy between my freshman and sophomore year worried me. I wondered: “Am I not enjoying my time here?” “Am I getting the most out of Princeton?” 


I share this because I’m sure many students feel this way. But my perspective changed when I remembered the words of an alum that I heard during my orientation two years ago.


“Everyone moves through Princeton at their own pace, and on their own path.”


It is normal for things to change. And it’s normal for your path at Princeton to look vastly different from your friends, or even the path that you had the year before. It’s important to remember that Princeton will be unpredictable. You will likely face challenges you didn’t even conceive of facing. And that’s okay! I don’t actually believe in “fate”, but I believe in it as a general concept of the things given to you outside of your control. I find myself grateful for the fate I’ve been given at Princeton - whether the experience was positive or negative. And that is Amor Fati. A true love of one’s fate - a love for the good and the bad that happens. Because from each of these experiences, I’m given an opportunity to grow. And with this, I hope any incoming students can take something from my perspective. That the challenges you will face are valid and unexpected. But you must embrace it all, and simply go along on this wild ride.

Access to Top Leaders

Access to the top can mean a variety of things; in this case, it means being able to speak with industry leaders. 


Princeton is home to a wide variety of opportunities, from study abroad and internships to performances and art shows. It is truly hard, if not impossible, to find a resource or opportunity that Princeton does not support. There are always super cool opportunities taking place each week. My favorite way to stay updated is via Princeton University’s instagram account where they make a story post at the start of the week informing everyone about campus events. Outside of these, I have found student organized events to be my favorite. 


This past semester I was granted the opportunity to become the Vice President of Professional Development for the club Scholars of Finance. The club focuses on promoting education and ethical practices within the finance industry. My role is to plan, promote, and execute events for the ‘Speaker Series.’ The focus of these events is to bring leaders in the finance industry to give talks available to the club and Princeton community. Just this year, we have hosted CEO’s and other C-suite executives from firms like Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs, among others. These opportunities are hosted in a small to medium group setting and allow for direct access to these speakers. Being able to talk with successful individuals about your career aspirations and what advice they may have is truly invaluable. 


When I first came to Princeton, I could never have imagined the opportunity to connect with these types of leaders. Something I found out very quickly was that this is a regular thing here. The ability to network and connect with these individuals is truly unparalleled. Their overall willingness to help you out is also something that was unexpected. My original perspective was that a CEO would not respond to me or make the time to meet. Boy was I wrong. While certain people may be hard to reach out to/ get in touch with, generally speaking, people will make an effort to connect with you if you approach them. My advice is to not be afraid and be respectful. You never know how far a simple conversation can take you! 


In addition to clubs, the Center for Career Development hosts numerous networking/ information events with leading companies across many industries. I have personally gone to a lot of the finance/consulting ones, which have been super helpful in my career aspirations. While this happens at other schools, I wholeheartedly believe that Princeton does it best. Between club speaker events and the Center for Career Development, Princeton builds connections for students of all interests. 

Partying on a Lawn?: A Favorite Princeton Tradition

If you ask a handful of Princeton students what their favorite Princeton memory is, the odds that at least a few of them will say “Lawnparties” is incredibly high. Now, what is Lawnparties you ask? A party on a lawn? Well, yes, but it’s much more than that! A beloved Princeton tradition, Lawnparties is a once-a-semester event filled with food, fun, and music. Let me take you through what it looks like:

The day starts off with students lining up in McCosh Courtyard in the morning to get their wristbands, a necessity for accessing all the events of the day. People will also be getting brunch with their friends at one of the dining halls or on Nassau Street (they also have bagels at the wristbanding tent!).

From there, students usually make their way over to the SPIA fountain area, which has become the go-to site for Lawnparties photoshoots every year. Friends and clubs will take group pictures together and sometimes even jump in the fountain! We also have awesome professional photographers that make their rounds on campus throughout the day, capturing all the fun and posting them for us to access later (check them out here!). And because of all these photo ops, it’s worth mentioning that students do tend to get a little dressed up—sundresses, nice shirts, etc.—but everyone ultimately wears what they’re comfortable in!

Afterwards, everyone starts heading to 'the Street,' which is our nickname for Prospect Ave and the home to our 11 eating clubs. There, students enjoy celebrations at all the different clubs and free delicious food from various food trucks. In past years, we’ve had everything from Nomad Pizza (a local favorite!), Taco Bell, Rita’s Italian Ice, and even an empanada truck. The day can get pretty long, so students are always grabbing a bite to eat and fueling up. There’s also water stations all over the Street so that people can stay hydrated.

Then, towards mid-afternoon, students will begin walking over to the main stage at Frist North Lawn to watch the opening acts. One thing that I love about Lawnparties is that we almost always have at least one student opener each semester, so it’s a great way for student artists to promote themselves and gain experience performing in front of a bigger crowd. And, vice versa, the community also gets to check out all their talented peers and cheer them on!

Finally, after the opening acts, what we’ve all been waiting for: the headliner comes on! Every year, the headliner announcement is highly anticipated. Our USG Social Committee works hard to get us well-known, well-loved performers. Since I’ve been at Princeton, we’ve gotten to watch the following artists perform live for us on campus: A$AP Ferg, Flo Milli, Hippo Campus, Waka Flocka, and, most recently, Loud Luxury! I was especially excited about the last of these, who headlined our Lawnparties on September 10th earlier this year—“Body” by Loud Luxury is definitely one of my go-to party songs. The fact that we essentially get to have all these amazing, famous artists give us a private concert for just our community is honestly really cool and really special; I look forward to it every year!

It should be noted that the past three semesters, it has actually rained on the day of the event. Now, of course, it’s always nicer to have Lawnparties on a day with great weather. It makes for better pictures, parties, and just overall better energy. But in my experience, Princeton students have really chosen to embrace it. The parade of rain ponchos over everyone’s Lawnparties fits is always a sight to see, and a concert in the pouring rain can be legendary. All this to say, it’s a rain or shine event, and the weather has never stopped students from having a good time!

I only have three more Lawnparties left while I’m at Princeton, so I’m trying to savor every last moment of them. I can’t wait to see who our headliner will be in the Spring (when we'll hopefully have some better weather)!


Crowd of students facing concert stage
Loud Luxury performance during Lawnparties Fall '23!

A Weekend in My Life Featuring Easter Festivities

Happy Spring! It’s hard to believe it’s already April, but that also means we are entering one of my favorite times of the year at Princeton, when the flowers are in full bloom. I had a busy Easter weekend, but I appreciated the opportunity to celebrate with friends, soak in the beautiful weather, and enjoy a change of pace from my schoolwork. On Good Friday, I attended a service organized by students in Princeton Christian Fellowship (PCF), Manna Christian Fellowship, and Christian Union Nova which I had been looking forward to all week. The service included beautiful strings and vocal performances, worship songs, a message from a Manna staff member, and a time of prayer. Following the service, we enjoyed apple cider donuts and fellowship in Murray Dodge, the home of the Office of Religious Life. I caught up with some friends about their week, met a few new faces, and even ran into a friend from the Class of 2023 who made a surprise visit from Boston.

On Saturday morning, I had the luxury of sleeping in until I was woken by the sunlight. I went for a 7 mile run, my longest run yet, as part of training for my first half-marathon. I am really happy with how it went and am excited to continue running longer distances in the coming weeks! Afterwards, I headed to my co-op, 2D, which has become one of my favorite places at Princeton. Co-ops are groups of students who take turns cooking one meal each week. To be honest, I think I am eating as well as I might ever eat in my life! I am constantly surprised by the diversity of delicious food which the other students prepare, from dal to mapo tofu, and focaccia to cardamom buns. 


Girl carrying a mug standing in front of a counter. A large heart-shaped cake frosted with pink icing is on the counter.


My cookshift is Saturday brunch, and I usually like to make a tofu stir fry in our wok, which is large enough to cover four burners. After a delicious meal of mushrooms, spicy tofu, salad made with hydroponic lettuce and vegetables from the Forbes garden, squash soup, and cornbread, I headed back to my room to do some schoolwork.

A few hours later, I got ready for my dear friend Mirae’s bridal shower. Mirae was actually my Community Action orientation leader and one of the first people I met at Princeton. She and her then-boyfriend, now fiancé, helped one of my first-year roommates and I carry a free couch we found a mile off campus all the way to our room, even though she had only met me the day before. The bridal shower was beautifully executed by her friends in Princeton Christian Fellowship and beyond, and I was also able to catch up with another good friend from the Class of 2022 who came down from New York City.


A table of cookies, cake, a charcuterie board, and a vase of flowers


Gifts and cards with “for the bride to be” and “Mirae” written on top


Two girls conferring about how to act out a charades clue and two rows of audience members
(Photo credits to Katherine Roegner) 


After the bridal shower, I headed to the International Food Fest organized by our Class Government, which featured food from around the world and was a great chance to catch up with a friend who I studied abroad with last semester and discuss a book we both recently finished.


Blooming magnolia trees by a bench and walkway in front of the economics and international building


My friend and I went back to my room, where I did a reading for my Psychotherapy class before heading over to Richardson Auditorium to watch my first Naacho show. Naacho is Princeton’s premier South Asian dance company. I had always wanted to attend one of their shows, and this year a first-year student from my hometown was performing, so I had an extra reason to go. I was blown away by the dancers’ infectious energy and excitement, the intricate and clean formations, and the diversity of styles they showcased, and I cannot wait to attend another one of their shows next year. Being in Triple 8 has shown me just how much work goes into putting together a show, especially the week leading up to it, so I had a lot of respect for the dancers and choreographers who spent many late nights rehearsing and poured their hearts into the performance. I have never seen so many dancers evidently having so much fun on stage, and the audience was hooked.


Balcony view of dancers on a large stage under blue light in front of an enthusiastic audience


Balcony view of dancers on a large stage under red light in front of an enthusiastic audience


After a packed day, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. The following morning was Easter Sunday. I was happy to see the sun was out again, and I headed to the U-Store to catch the bus to Stone Hill Church. Usually, we have approximately 10-15 students on the bus, but this week the bus was completely full, and so was the church sanctuary, which was such a blessing to see! The service was filled with joyous music from our worship team, brass band, and choir, and our senior pastor shared an engaging message which had the entire congregation laughing. After the service, students headed to various Easter brunches generously hosted by PCF staff members and local families. I attended brunch with my “adopted family” from Stone Hill. It was very special to eat an incredible home-cooked meal prepared with love and enjoy the warmth of a home together with other students.


A concrete and stone sign stating “Stone Hill Church of Princeton”


Over thirty students in front of Stone Hill Church


Other students and myself sitting at a table for Easter brunch


After returning to campus, my friend Grace and I remarked how beautiful the magnolia trees were and took advantage of the sunny weather to take a few photos.


My friend Grace and I standing in the middle of a walkway lined by blooming magnolia trees


A photo of myself reaching up to touch a branch of a blooming magnolia tree


Myself leaning against a magnolia tree in front of upperclass dorms


Next, I headed to Dillon Gym for a Triple 8 rehearsal for a spring choreography video (stay tuned for our video releases this summer!), after which I finally sat down to do some work. The events and celebrations of the weekend were very meaningful and brought me a lot of joy, but I certainly had a lot to catch up on. I spent the rest of the evening working with a friend in Firestone Library and Murray-Dodge Cafe, where we grabbed free cookies to fuel our brains.


The basement of Murray-Dodge holds Murray-Dodge cafe, home of free cookies, coffee, tea, and chalkboard art


What a weekend! Most of my weekends are not nearly this busy, and I did have some catching up to do the following week, but I wanted to share this special weekend in the life and prove that it is possible to relax and have fun even in the midst of a crazy semester. Thank you to all those who organized these events!

Live, Love, Brown Co-Op

At Princeton, all first- and second-year students are enrolled in the unlimited dining plan. This plan gives students unlimited swipes to enter into any of the dining halls on campus, as well as a daily allotted $9 allowance for “late meal” at Frist Campus Center. As upperclassmen, however, students may choose to sign up for a meal plan, join an eating club or go independent, meaning students are responsible for cooking their own meals. As an independent student, you may also join one of several dining co-operatives (“co-ops” for short) on campus.

Each of Princeton’s five co-ops has its own menu specialties. For example, 2D is all-vegetarian and International Food Co-Op specializes in—you guessed it—international cuisines. Although various dorm halls have public kitchens for all students to use, each co-op has its own private kitchen and dining space that every member has 24/7 access to. Every co-op varies in its structure and duties, but members can generally expect to have one cook-shift per week during which they cook alongside two to four other students, as well as one chore per week.

I joined Brown Co-Op this year, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made while at Princeton. The co-op serves dinner every night of the week and brunch on the weekends. At each meal, there are both meat and vegetarian options, various sides, and typically some sort of dessert. Another huge plus is that there are always leftovers available for lunch the next day. I help cook dinners on Sundays, help with the clean-up after our cook-shift, and am responsible for unloading and putting away our grocery deliveries every Wednesday morning. Our pantry and several fridges are always stocked with fresh produce, dairy products, breads, and really anything you might need for an impromptu meal at two in the morning.

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of baking every Friday night with my friend, Anki. Every Friday after dinner, we’ll assemble all of the ingredients and materials necessary for whatever recipe we have decided on. One time, this involved us going on a hunt for walnuts and dark chocolate bars, ultimately finding them at the nearby CVS. Our baking ritual gives us a space to unwind from our stressful weeks.

Joining a co-op can offer students greater flexibility in their schedules, and can be a much more budget-friendly option when compared to other dining alternatives. For me and my own dietary needs, going independent was the best option as I knew I’d have more control over what exactly I was eating at each meal. With how busy Princeton life can be, though, the co-op provides the best of both worlds, as we all share many of the responsibilities associated with cooking and cleaning. I love making myself breakfast and lunch each day—cooking provides me with a grounded moment of normalcy amongst the rest of my busy schedule, and it’s something I always look forward to. Best of all, Brown has given me a warm community of people brought together by our mutual love for food and cooking, and I would not want to have it any other way.


Group photo of students baking.
One night, Anki and I brought in a few of our friends as guests into the co-op to bake cookies—all 30 of these cookies were gone within 24 hours.

An Honest Reflection of Junior Fall

By the end of sophomore year, I felt confident as a Princeton student. I’d already been through several semesters and I had gotten used to Princeton’s social and academic environments. But as junior fall approached, I felt increasingly nervous. I didn’t know what to expect out of Junior Independent Work, I was nervous to be taking mostly department courses for the first time, and I was worried I had taken on too many new leadership positions.

When junior year finally started, a lot of my nerves persisted. Although I was taking the standard four courses as an A.B. degree student, my workload quickly piled up in a way that it simply hadn’t before (which was saying a lot). I’d enrolled into each of my classes with great enthusiasm, but as the semester progressed, I felt let down by certain aspects of a few of the courses, whether it was the way class discussions were organized or the general selection of readings each week. On top of dealing with a variety of personal matters and other extracurricular responsibilities, I often felt extremely overwhelmed.

Now that the semester has ended, though, I’d still refrain from dismissing junior fall as a “bad” semester.

Writing my Politics Research Prospectus was, as anticipated, a different kind of challenge. For a while, I struggled to find a topic because I was afraid to pick the “wrong” one, but I quickly learned this simply was not possible. Although I struggled with not receiving frequent feedback on my project, in the end, my research prospectus became the highlight of my fall semester. I decided to study migrant caravans through the lens of social movement theory, and I am beyond excited to continue developing my research during the spring.

I also took one of my favorite classes in the Politics department last semester, POL360 Social Movements and Revolutions. In terms of structure, it was a pretty standard Politics class: a midterm, a research paper, and a final. However, Professor Beissinger was an engaging and knowledgeable lecturer, and his selection of readings was always great. I had never looked at social movements from a theory-based perspective before, and it was actually this class which helped inspire my independent work topic. I’m looking forward to studying contentious politics more during the rest of my time at Princeton.

And of course, my semester was far from devoid of good memories and times with friends. I love the communities that I have found within my co-op and extracurriculars. Among some of the highlights of the semester are celebrating my 21st birthday, taking a day trip to NYC funded by our student government, and eating from way too many cheese boards with my friends. I discovered I love cappuccinos, and I continued to be amazed by my peers.

Even amidst the chaos of deadlines and responsibilities, I was pleasantly reminded that Princeton can always surprise you—and that’s a good thing.

Six Princeton students stand smiling in front of Nassau Hall.

The Last First Day

A chilly morning in late January, with gray but otherwise clear skies, marked the first day of classes of the spring semester. For the class of 2024, this first day was particularly special, as it was our LFDOC (last first day of classes). There is always a photographer on McCosh walk at the beginning of each semester to take FDOC photos, but our class government organized a special session with a unique poster to celebrate the particularly significant LFDOC.

This is indeed my last first day of undergraduate classes, but it's not quite the end, since I will continue to have first days of classes as a graduate student. Even when I'm no longer a student, though, there will continue to be first days: a first day at a new job, followed by a first day in a new position, and then a first day at a new institution or company. There are first days outside of career as well, like your first day in a new apartment or first day in a new city. While the LFDOC marks the end of the student era of your life, there will continue to be first days, in one form or another, throughout life.

To me, it is reassuring to know that there will continually be opportunities for fresh starts throughout my professional and personal lives. A new beginning signals a chance to break out of a particular rhythm, shake up your routine, and learn new habits. It's a chance to meet new people, learn new strategies and information, and expand your horizons of what you're capable of. Some aspects of a new role will be improvements from before, maybe a better schedule or more independence, while others will be less welcome, like a longer commute or a difficult boss. The novelty of the new challenges, though, is exciting in and of itself, and you may surprise yourself in your ability to handle the elements that are more difficult than those in your previous position. There is always hope for the future when you know that things can change over time, and that there can always be another first day.

Huzzah for the LFDOC, and here's to an auspicious start to the last semester!

Two students dressed in winter gear holding LFDOC banner