PTON Cribs: A Look into Different Princeton Rooms


 

One of the biggest questions I remember asking myself after I got into Princeton was: what is my room going to look like? I think it's a valid question especially since you may spend a lot of time in your room, and potentially with roommates. While first years are placed into their rooms by their Residential College’s Dean of Student Life (DSL), the rest of Princetonians have the option to select their roommates and room in a process called Room Draw. A small caveat worth mentioning is that rising sophomores must draw into their residential college again, and rising juniors and seniors have some more options. For some context, I am a member of Butler College and have been in a single, quad, and next year a quingle. 

Singles: As the name suggests, a single is a room where only one person occupies it. Each building’s singles differ in the size and layout but generally are similar. Some buildings have two singles that share a bathroom (called Jack & Jill), which is pretty cool. Singles are highly coveted by all class years. I was placed in a single freshman year in Bloomberg, so feel free to reach out and ask more questions! 

Thomas Danz's freshman year single in Bulter's Bloomberg Hall. On the left, there is a desk setup immediately followed by a shelving unit with a TV on top. The right side has his bed and a Princeton flag. There is also a couch and carpet in the background.

Doubles: Doubles are where two roommates share a single room, which is larger than a single. Depending on the building some doubles come with a common room and a bedroom, which a lot of students convert into two singles. 

Triples: Triples are similar to doubles but the room also varies by building. I believe most triples consist of a common room and two bedrooms. Think of a double and a single that have a common room in between them. Like doubles, most students convert the common room into a bedroom so all three roommates effectively get a single. 

Quads: Quads consist of two doubles with a common room in between them. A lot of quads also have a bathroom, which is really nice. I am in a quad this year in Butler’s 1967 Hall and it's a blast. I would recommend trying to get a quad your freshman year so that you can have some built in roommate friends! 

Quingles: Perhaps the most unique rooms at Princeton, a quingle is the child of a quad and a single (get it, quad + single = quingle). Quingles are four singles connected together via a private hallway, which usually also has a bathroom. Some quingles have a common room on top of that. These are the biggest rooms at Princeton and are also highly sought after. Next year my roommates and I will be in a quingle in Bloomberg, which I’m super excited about. 

Independent/ Co-op: Rising Sophomores and Juniors have the options to draw into independent rooms. This just means that they will not be on the dining hall meal plan. One of the most desired independent buildings is called Spelman. Spelman rooms are like a quingle but also have a kitchen so that students can cook their own meals. There are also some students who opt to room in a Co-op where students take turns cooking dinner. I'm not very knowledgeable about these rooms so that's all I can say on them. 

Other: Outside of these rooms, there are some unique rooms that have different layouts/ number of students living in the room. To my knowledge these deviations are primarily in Upperclassmen buildings, so it’s nothing to worry about for first years. 

Overall, Princeton has a lot of housing options and a lot of different buildings. No matter where you end up as a first year, your room will be amazing. Starting from scratch and designing your own room is a lot of fun. If you have any questions please reach out to me and I’ll answer your questions to the best of my ability. You can also look at the housing website linked here.


Coming Back Home, Princeton That Is!


Princeton is a magical place. Yes, it is academically challenging and a break is nice, but there is something special about being back on campus after a long time away.

Princeton’s winter break is long--about a whole month off. Many of my friends from back home only have a few weeks to relax, and they return to school much sooner than I do. This is partially due to our academic calendars not aligning, but regardless by the end of break I feel like I’ve been away from Princeton forever. Now don’t get me wrong, this break is well deserved, but you truly start to miss the best old place of all.

Coming back to campus after winter break is a wonderful experience. In college, campus becomes your home – or rather, home away from home. The longer you are away, the more you miss it. Seeing your Princeton friends again and catching up is super exciting and fun! Hearing about their adventures like traveling to Iceland, interning for a senator, or just catching up on sleep, you never know what you are going to hear.

Another exciting aspect about coming back to campus is preparing for the new semester’s classes. By the time I get back, I have almost forgotten what classes I’ve signed up to take in the spring semester. Looking over what I chose again strangely brings me joy. Princeton has such a diverse and wide variety of classes, so there is something exciting for everyone. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment with how busy you may be at school, so the new year and new semester after a nice break allows for a period of reflection. Looking back at the fall semester and evaluating what went well and what didn’t go so well is super important. Setting up a game plan for the spring is both fun and rewarding. I personally look forward to trying to write out my notes instead of typing them – we’ll see which works best!

In all, coming back to Princeton after the winter break is a wonderful experience. The longer you are out of the Orange Bubble, the more you miss it (no wonder Reunions are such a hit). From catching up with friends, enjoying the architecture/ campus, to planning for the semester and picking out that first day outfit, it feels good to be back home – Princeton that is!


The Truth About Living in Upperclassmen Housing


During the semi-chaotic, lowkey stressful process known as Room Draw that occurs towards the end of every spring semester, students (usually in groups) enter a lottery-like system to determine in what order they’ll pick their new rooms. Although first-years and sophomores are guaranteed dorms within their respective residential colleges, this is not necessarily the case for juniors and seniors. Once Princeton students approach their third year, they’re given the option to enter their residential college lottery—of which there are only a certain amount of spots allotted for juniors and seniors—and/or enter the upperclassmen lottery and live in parts of campus that are specifically designated for just upperclassmen. (Note: Most draw groups do end up entering both lotteries to see all their options!) 

Well, despite our love for our New College West home, my group was sadly unable to snag one of those junior spots in our res college draw, so we ended up drawing rooms in upperclassmen housing instead. Currently, I’m living with one of my best friends in 1901-Laughlin Hall, a dorm located in the northwest part of campus, among several buildings infamous for being not the most updated.

I’ll be honest—I was worried. I had heard the stories and rumors about living in this stretch of old buildings… cockroaches, lots of noise. Pretty much nothing you’re looking for in an ideal living space and a stark contrast to many of the air-conditioned, elevator-equipped newer dorms. But I decided to remain positive and open to all that my new dorm had to offer.  

I soon discovered that this network of dorms was not without its own charms. After living in it for nearly four months now, I can honestly say that its bad reputation is at least in part over-exaggerated. Sure, you see your decent amount of bugs and experience a fair share of noise on the weekends, but here are some pros (or at least things to take into consideration):

  1. People aren’t lying when they say the summer heat only lasts for the first two or so weeks of the fall semester. After that, the heat really wasn’t that much of a bother. Just be sure to pack a fan or two, and I’d recommend trying to go for a room on one of the lower floors to help, too.
  2. You can live with your friends from other residential colleges! One major reason that students actually choose to draw into upperclassmen dorms is because they can finally room with friends who belong to different res colleges, which isn’t possible for the first two years.  
  3. You’re much closer to Nassau Street and many of the classrooms. This is a game changer for many students, particularly those whose original res colleges were far (sorry Forbes, NCW, and Yeh). It practically cuts the walking distance in half, so you can sleep in for a little longer in the mornings instead of rushing uphill to class! (Bonus: they are also equidistant from Dillon Gym and the U-Store, both of which students tend to frequent, as well.)
  4. Speaking of comparisons to other res colleges, the architecture of these buildings is also a huge selling point. If you’re looking for that classic collegiate gothic style that Princeton is often known for, this is the place to be!
  5. Lastly, in a similar vein to #2, because it only houses juniors and seniors, you’ll be surrounded by familiar faces. We love all first-years and sophomores, but it’s nice to have a little slice of campus for just our fellow upperclassmen.

So if you do end up living in the older upperclassmen dorms, bring your fans and bug spray—but also enjoy it! The vibes in this part of campus are honestly unmatched, and you’re sure to bond with your friends and fellow upperclassmen that live there.


The Joy of Having Roommates


To say I lucked out with my first year dorm is an understatement. As the proud owner of a single in Whitman college, I felt like I had it all — A/C during the unbearably humid September days, gothic architecture in a new building, and (my personal favorite) a jack-and-jill bathroom. Yet, as my first year at Princeton flew by, I was confronted with the very sobering reality that my 100 square foot home would not be mine for much longer.

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Whitman College at sunset

Having drawn for a quad, I knew that during my sophomore year I would have to conquer a challenge that I had never faced before: living with other people. For me, the biggest worry was that I would no longer get any time to myself. Where would I go if I wanted to call my parents? Where would I go if I wanted to hide from the rest of the world? Where would I go if I wanted to cry? These questions plagued my mind in the weeks leading up to move-in day. However, after living with three other girls for 6 months, I have come to realize that I enjoy living with roommates a lot more than I thought I would.

My roommates keep me accountable. When I wake up in the morning to the comforter neatly tucked into the bed next to mine, I feel like the least I can do is make my bed and tidy my shelf. (Though, when my roommate goes home for the weekend I catch myself slacking occasionally). In the evenings, my common room is silent, save for the sound of keys clacking and pages turning. Being surrounded by such a productive environment, I feel inclined to work a little harder myself. So, I begrudgingly pick up my notebook and begin my problem set.

I’d like to think that I also hold my roommates accountable. One time, my direct roommate told me that the reason why she gets up promptly in the morning is because she feels bad that I have to hear her alarm every five minutes. Funnily enough, despite my complaints at the beginning of the year, those alarms are now the primary reason why I am never late to my morning classes.

DEspite those examples, we also keep each other accountable for more than just school and work. When I see the last of the lamps turn off in the common room, I know that it is also my time to retire to bed, no matter how much work I wish I could have gotten done. When it’s 2 am and we somehow find ourselves in the U-Store, I know it’s my duty to stop my roommate from buying a Monster energy drink.

One night, I accidentally fell asleep while doing my readings in bed. The next morning, I woke up disoriented and in a panic. I patted around my bed for my laptop, only to find that it was no longer there. Confused, I stumbled out into the common room to find my laptop and my iPad on top of my desk, both plugged into their respective chargers. On my desk there was a bright green sticky note with the words: “Bozo! Devices charged for you.”

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Bulletin board with notes

In some ways, living with roommates is different to living alone — on most days, I wake up an alarm that is not my own and I am extra mindful of being quiet at night. However, in the grand scheme of things, not much has changed. I still call my parents at my desk and I still hide under the covers when I don’t want to see anyone. Sure, perhaps I don’t get as much alone time as I used to, but my roommate is there to drag me out of bed to a multitude of fun adventures from eating club parties to board game nights with friends — and that seems like a much sweeter deal to me.
 

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Two girls holding a banner that says "First Day"

A Glimpse Inside a Res College Office


This past September, I started working at the front desk of the New College West Office — the one-stop shop where you can get answers to any of your “Westie” questions. It’s also home to many of the valuable people and resources that are available to help students throughout their Princeton journeys. Besides getting to earn a little extra money, this job has given me unique insight into the behind-the-scenes operations of my residential college and how one office helps keep the whole community running.

If you’re not a Westie, don’t fear! Each residential college at Princeton has an office just like ours. This is where you can find your college’s specific leaders, such as your Director of Student Life (or DSL for short), Dean of Studies, Residential Life Coordinator, and the Head of College. They all serve different purposes, but ultimately are there to support your needs, both academically and otherwise.

To find out more about your college’s team of awesome staff, click one of the links below! :

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten to see people come into the office for a variety of reasons. For example, at certain times during the week, the deans will have Drop-In Advising Hours, where any students can walk-in and meet with their respective dean to discuss academic concerns, like picking classes or managing workloads. I’ve also experienced students coming in to propose a community-building or club event that they want to see happen. And more often than not, we have students simply pop in the office just to grab some free chocolate or say hi!

My favorite part of working at the NCW office has to be our weekly res college tradition: Coffee in the Commons! Every Friday, as a study break, we help organize an event where students can gather and enjoy free coffee, tea, and some sort of treat or pastry. Most of the residential colleges do some variation of this event (like Yeh College’s “FriYEH” or the weekly “Teahive” for Butler College Bees), but Coffee in the Commons will always hold a special place in my heart. Most recently, we did a Mardi Gras-themed Coffee in the Commons, complete with king cake and donuts!

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Three Mardi Gras king cakes on counter top
King Cakes at Coffee in the Commons, Mardi-Gras Themed!
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Boxes of donuts on counter top
Donuts at Coffee in the Commons!

The colleges and their offices are truly another community within the Princeton community. I would highly recommend stopping by to meet the friendly staff members and mentors that will guide and support you throughout your four years here (and, while you’re at it, maybe consider applying for a job there, too!).


Building Community in the Residential Colleges


One of the topics that incoming students most frequently have questions about is residential life at Princeton. While Princeton prides itself on its superior academic program, residential life is an important component of the student experience here.

I am a Residential College Adviser, or RCA, at Butler College, one of seven residential colleges. My role is to foster and build community among students, as part of a team of Butler College staff, RCAs and other peer leaders within the residential college. One of the ways we do this is by putting on a variety of events for all students in the Butler community, to connect, have fun and take a break from studying. 

 

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A tree with green, yellow, and red leaves against a backdrop of brick buildings and blue sky.
Outside Butler College

My favorite event is the Butler Teahive, a weekly study break that the Butler College staff organizes for all students. At 3:00 p.m. every Friday, one of the rooms in the Butler basement is transformed into a social hub where students connect with each other over a cup of tea and a selection of delicious desserts and berries from a rotating cast of local bakeries and restaurants. I’ve gotten excellent academic advice from the Butler college staff in a low-pressure environment, I get to see some friends and even make new ones, and there’s always plenty of delicious treats for everyone. 

In addition to the weekly events put on by Butler College staff, the student-run Butler College Council, and RCAs like me, there are also one-time events held regularly. Resident Graduate Students (RGS) or Butler College Council often plan these fun, community building events that try their best to include every type of student. If you’re itching to burst out of the so-called ‘Orange Bubble’ you can join your residential college for a Broadway show or a Six Flags trip. Those with an artistic bent might enjoy the many arts and crafts nights, from paint and sip (with boba) to karaoke night. Or if you prefer a laid-back kind of vibe, there’s always game nights and watch parties (most recently for the World Cup). 

 

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A colorful poster advertising "Community Wall Night" at Butler College.
One of the many RGS-organized community events.

I’ve spoken about my experience at Butler College, the residence college I work for and have lived in for all of my time at Princeton. But all seven operate in the same way and offer the same amount of programming and community building that we at Butler do. No matter which college you end up in, you’ll have plenty to do and many friends to meet!


Staying Connected With Your Residential College as an Upperclassman


Before Princeton changed its residential college system and transformed all of its residential colleges into four-year colleges, the tradition was for juniors and seniors to move out of the hallowed halls they had called home for the past two years. Room draw for the 2022-2023 academic year was the first year this change was implemented, and while my draw group and I had hoped to stay in a residential college for our final two years at Princeton, we ultimately drew a room in junior and senior housing.

There are a lot of moments where I reminisce about my time at Forbes College, the far but cozy residential college known for its community and Sunday brunch (though I would argue Saturday brunches are better!)

I miss not having to walk in the cold during the winter to get to the dining hall, rolling out of bed on the weekends and walking six feet to the most popular weekend brunch spot, watching movies in the Forbes theater and sitting in the backyard and doing work while watching the sun set over the golf course with the graduate tower in the distance. 

Forbes felt like a home, and I missed that community aspect of my dorm as I migrated further up campus for my junior year. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to share my living space with people outside of Forbes (a perk of junior and senior housing) and the shorter commute to my classes, but every now and then I do find myself thinking of my old residential college.

Just my luck, at the end of September, Forbes held an Oktoberfest event for juniors and seniors –– where we were invited to the home of the Head of Forbes College, Maria Garlock, to have dinner and mingle with our fellow Forbesians. Once again, I found myself trekking across the lawn in front of the Lewis Center for the Arts and crossing the familiar crosswalk where familiar pillars welcomed me. 

The event was held in the string light adorned backyard, where my roommates and I indulged on pretzels and currywurst and the like. Throughout the hour-long duration we were there, I saw many faces both familiar and unfamiliar, and realized the durability of the Forbes community. Some of the seniors there hadn’t lived in Forbes for over a year but were still present and chatting with the deans and staff.

Little events like this made me feel like an integral part of the community. My roommates and I (one of my current roommates was also a Forbesian) had a great time reminiscing about our time in Forbes, concluding that we should come more often for weekend brunches. 

I realized then that it really isn’t that difficult to stay connected with your residential college as a junior or senior. Read your email, make the walk on weekends to use your dining hall swipes and never forget the memories you made there as a first-year or sophomore. And maybe you’ll be lucky enough in your room draw to keep living there as an junior or senior. 


Did You Say Free Food?


The other day, I was writing my Spanish homework in my room when my roommate, Jose, who was taking a nap, woke up suddenly. He then looked at the screen of his phone and quickly got up from his bed, letting out a sigh that denoted his distress:

Late meal is almost over, he said nervously as he rushed out of the room.

Confused, I stared at him from over my computer. I never understood his obsession with late meal. Late meal is a term used to describe an option offered by Campus Dining to students enrolled in the meal plan. Essentially, each student has access to two $8 credits: one for late lunch and another for late dinner. Technically, it’s meant for students who miss regular dining hours in the cafeterias because of classes or meetings. Late meal prevents them from starving. However, the way my roommate religiously got late meal seemed unusual (or so I thought) and left me deeply puzzled. For some context, Frist (where late meal is served) is located around 12 minutes away from Forbes (our Res College). Yet, he would sometimes purposely skip dining hall meals to go to Frist, braving the cold winter night. Worse: sometimes he would first eat at Forbes, and later, go for doubles at late meal! Seriously, why so much dedication? That day, I decided to elucidate that mystery and ask him point-blank what was up with him after he had gotten his meal.

Jose came back one hour later. I didn't even let him unwrap his chicken quesadilla and fries: I instantly bombarded him with the question that had been tormenting me to the point that I had been unable to focus on my assignment.

Why do you go through so much trouble for late meal? I asked.

He stared back at me, deeply offended by my question. "How dare you?" his face flushed with indignation. He asked as though he was too obfuscated to even utter a word.  My question seemed to have troubled him to his core. It was 50 degrees inside yet he was sweating profusely. He stared at me a little longer, trying to figure out if I was serious and whether I deserved an answer. He took off his coat while I stood still, waiting impatiently for his answer. Finally, he enlightened me on the foundation of his obsession.

That night, he unraveled the mystery of his love for late meal. At that time, everything seemed to come together. It all made sense. 

Jose first confided in me that he was often not hungry during the usual opening hours of the cafeterias so he preferred to wait until late meal, when he was sure he would be starving. Additionally, the consistency of Frist's menu assured him he would like what he ordered. He also had more choices. Whether he got a quesadilla, a burger, sushi, chicken tenders, fries or onion rings… he knew he would never be disappointed. He would sometimes be pleasantly surprised with a new addition to the menu: spring rolls, dumplings or pizza. Some days, when he just wanted to snack or grab something to take home for the night to help him push through his intense two o'clock reading sessions, he would only grab a bag of chips, chocolate chip cookies and a muffin. If that day he felt like eating healthily, he would grab a box of green grapes and one fresh banana. As long as the total was under 8 dollars: he could have them all. For free! Finally, and perhaps the main reason for his obsession, was that late meal was a unique opportunity to socialize.  Frist is already the center of student life at Princeton.  On a normal day, you find student groups promoting their dance shows, aspiring engineers working on P-sets together, Philosophy majors conversing about the meaning of life or Econ majors playing table tennis or billiards... etc. Add food to the combo and you have the exciting, vibrant and engaging environment of late meal. For Jose, late meal is one of the best things about Princeton!

 

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Students hanging out in Frist South Lawn after lunch late meal.


After that conversation, I never again saw late meal the same way. My life truly changed. Forever. And my eating schedule as well!


7 Princeton Traditions in my First On-Campus Semester


I studied remotely for my first year, so my sophomore fall semester was my first time living on campus. One of the best parts of being in person is being able to partake in Princeton's numerous traditions that aim to build community in the Orange Bubble, so here are seven of my favorites that I've had the chance to experience:

1. Pre-Rade

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Student cheerleaders in orange and black at the Pre-rade

The Pre-rade is a parade in which an incoming class is officially welcomed to Princeton by running through Fitzrandolph gates. Alumni, upperclassmen and the student band cheer for you as you sprint through the black iron gates in front of Nassau Hall. The Class of 2024 didn't have a Pre-rade last year due to the pandemic, so ours was held this year just before the Class of 2025 Pre-rade. Students never walk through Fitzrandolph gates again until commencement, because legend has it you won't graduate in four years if you do! I don't know if I believe this, but I'm not going to be the one to find out.

2. Chalkboards

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chalkboard with equations for Mechanics of Solids

I have yet to see a single dry-erase whiteboard on the Princeton campus. Instead, every classroom or office I've seen has a traditional black chalkboard. I'm not entirely sure what the logic is behind this. You're forced to write more slowly on a chalkboard, I've found, so maybe this forces professors to slow down when teaching and helps students pinpoint mistakes in their reasoning when working through equations. Whatever the purpose, writing on a chalkboard feels old-fashioned and classic in a way that reminds me of Einstein working at Princeton (even when I'm only writing out a homework problem instead of refining the theories of quantum physics).

3. Forbes Garden and Sunday Brunch

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harvested cherry tomatoes in pots from the Forbes garden

My residential college, Forbes, is home to both the Princeton Garden Project, where student garden managers organize workdays where students can help weed and harvest, and to their famous weekly Sunday brunch, complete with a chocolate fountain. I enjoyed checking out the garden this semester and seeing the vegetables and fruits they were growing, and the Sunday brunch never failed to impress. 

4. Bonfire

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Harvard and Yale-decorated wooden crates and house on Cannon Green

When the Princeton football team defeats both Harvard and Yale in the same season, the tradition is to host a celebratory bonfire on Cannon Green. Each class year had a specified time throughout the day when they could place crates on the structure to be burned, and in the evening students cheered as the Yale and Harvard-decorated structure went up in flames.

5. Outdoor Action

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students on a hike at the Mountain Lakes Preserve

Outdoor Action is best-known for organizing the pre-orientation camping trip for first years, but they also offer hikes and other sporting activities to all students throughout the year. On "OA Day" Saturday this semester, I decided to join a hike at the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve (about a mile off campus). The scenery was lovely and I was able to meet some new people.

6. Newspapers

The Daily Princetonian is always available online, but I really enjoy reading a copy of the physical newspaper. Having a print copy allows me to see stories that wouldn't otherwise catch my eye online, and it's nice to get a break from the screen. Each Friday afternoon copies of the Daily Princetonian and the Nassau Weekly, the literary magazine, are distributed to the residential colleges. I always look forward to picking up my copies and catching up with news and discussion of the Orange Bubble at the end of the week.

7. Applause after the final lecture

At the conclusion of the final lecture on the last day of classes, the students erupt into a hearty round of applause in gratitude for all the knowledge the professor has imparted throughout the semester. This occurred in a way on Zoom last year in the form of "thank you!" messages and "clapping hands" emojis flooding the chat, but it was so much more meaningful in person.

These were the Princeton traditions I got to experience this fall, and I'm looking forward to what sophomore spring will bring!


Accommodation and Advocation


Having been recently diagnosed with a disability, ulcerative colitis, one of the main fears I had living on campus was the accommodation system. I had only gone through the process during virtual learning, so witnessing how my illness would affect me on campus was a bit scary. I feared that I would not be getting the accommodations I needed. Considering the cyclical nature of my illness, I feared that the Office of Disability Services would not see my accommodations as necessary. Although I got most of my accommodations, my need for a private bathroom was not met, yet I’ve managed without it for now. 

The fact that I didn’t have certain accommodations that I felt were necessary made me worried about how accessible the campus would be. But, I find that generally, the staff and members of the University are quite understanding of disabilities. For one, my professors have been incredibly helpful in honoring my accommodations. Additionally, the Office of Disability Services is generally very responsive and helpful to meet the varying needs of students with accommodations. Despite the fact that I moved hundreds of miles away from home, with access to my needs more limited, I still flourish. Really, accommodations is about finding out how to work within a system, even if the resources you need are all not there. 

 

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Izabela Konopka sitting on a tree trunk

One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give to incoming first-year students is to make sure your accommodations prepare for the worst case scenario, rather than your present condition. College is a large transition. You can not predict its effect on your disability. Additionally, as long as you have the proper documentation and good reasoning, you should be able to get those accommodations. Another piece of advice I would give is to not be afraid to advocate for yourself. There are many staff who help you advocate for what you need to succeed at Princeton, like our Residential College Staff. Reaching out to them can be instrumental in ensuring you get the resources you need, and knowing that persistence is key. 

Princeton has helped me advocate for myself more, intertwining with my interest in politics. Princeton gives a plethora of resources for those with varying disabilities — you just need to take advantage of those resources.