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Fall Break in Greece


During fall break, I had the opportunity to travel to Greece with the Humanities Sequence. After dedicating much time and energy during our first year at Princeton to the rigorous reading schedule and thought-provoking discussions of the HUM Sequence, my peers and I were ecstatic to pursue our individual research questions during our sequence sponsored fall break trip to Athens.

Upon arriving in Greece, I was struck by the extraordinary view of the Acropolis from my hotel room balcony. Our days were filled with guided tours, museum trips and excursions. While we spent most of the break in Athens, we were lucky enough to venture out to visit the Archeological Site of Delphi and to swim in the Aegean Sea at Nafplio.

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Two girls sitting on the shore of the Aegean Sea

During my research day in Greece, I visited the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum. I came to Greece hoping to study the Parthenon Marbles and to get a sense of Greek opinion on the marbles’ ownership debate. I cannot fully describe the sense of awe that flooded me when I finally arrived at the Parthenon. As a Classics student studying Greek, I found myself trying to translate every ruin I saw. This trip held extreme significance for me, and I was moved by the museums, ruins, sites and the homes of the authors whom I have dedicated myself to studying at Princeton.

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Girl in a selfie in front of The Parthenon

On the flight back to campus, I remember reflecting on the entire experience. I was overwhelmed by an extreme sense of gratitude––for the opportunity to travel to Greece, for the hospitality of the Greek people and mostly for the community fostered by the HUM sequence. The HUM sequence has been a defining element of my experience at Princeton, and I highly recommend that anyone who has an interest in the humanities or literature consider it. While abroad, I grew closer to my classmates and professors. Later this week we will all come together and present our projects from the trip.


Building A Home Away From Home


 

The summer before college, I did a lot of preparing. Through dinners with family and gatherings with friends, the stinging pain of saying goodbye eventually softened to a dull ache.

As August slipped away, my suitcase began to fill while my bedroom began to empty. In my spare time, I read the pre-read. I dug through my drawers and pulled out my passport, which hadn’t seen the light of day for the past two years. When I boarded the plane to Newark, I knew that everything that was within my control had been taken care of. Yet, even with all this preparation, the most daunting question still lingered in my mind — how am I going to make friends?

Unsurprisingly, my first semester at Princeton was absolute social chaos. Between the heavy workload and extracurricular meetings, it was hard to carve out time to create community. I often had meals with people, only to never see them again. I talked to people at events, only to forget their names within a week. More than anything, nobody seemed to measure up to the friends I had at home. And of course they didn’t — I was trying to mold these strangers into best friends within days without realizing that this “ideal” friend group I was so eager to recreate had taken years of care to cultivate.

So, I did what any reasonable introvert would do — I spent the rest of the semester lonely. Oddly enough, it was during this time of loneliness that I started to find friendship. Winter break left me stranded on campus in a climate I longed to leave. And so I did. I gathered the courage to text that friend I only hung out with twice, and a week later, we were somehow in Los Angeles. For Christmas, I caught COVID, and we traded our itinerary for eating takeout on opposite ends of our hotel room. It was during this time that I really felt at peace. Stuck with nothing to do, I learned to appreciate someone’s simple company on its own. And although I spent that week lamenting our abandoned plans and pretending I didn’t have a banging headache, it was then that I finally began to see others without trying to shape them into someone I knew from home.

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Selfie of two woman and Shrek character, in front of a fantasy backdrop, with an outdoor restaurant visible on the left
Universal Studios during Winter Break 2021.

Spring found me spending my lunches in WuCox (a campus dining hall) at a table of engineering students (scary, I know). My one friend had extended into a whole group of friends. Even though we studied vastly different subjects, we found joy in doing the simple things in each others’ company. We grinded problem sets together and spent late nights rewriting our Writing Seminar papers in JRR (the Julius Romo Rabinowitz Building, which connects to the Louis A. Simpson International Building, home to the Davis International Center) — all the wonderfully chaotic first-year experiences. Outside of schoolwork, we screamed in support at each others’ performances (my friends are crazy cool dancers) and played card games over the weekends.

 

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Seven people stand on a stage, in front of blue lit backdrop
Watching the Princeton University Ballet x eXpressions collaboration show.

When Spring Break rolled around, and the seasonal depression started to ease, I found myself on another trip, but this time with six others (and no COVID!). We spent that week visiting art museums, making a mess in the kitchen of our Airbnb, and eating copious amounts of Chinese food. As we walked through the streets of Philadelphia at night, I realized that I had come a long way since the fall semester. And while Princeton isn’t quite the same as home, I’ve started to carve out a special space for it in my heart.

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Six students jump in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Jumpshot outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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Six students stand in a kitchen with white walls, grey cabinets behind them and a white refrigerator to their right
Baking contest with friends over Spring Break 2022.

To Find a Home


As an international student from Haiti, I have always been aware of my national identity, especially when traveling abroad. The first time I visited the United States, I realized how my Haitianness was not just a label, but had tangible and observable consequences for how I integrated spaces, how I was perceived and what kind of learning, unlearning and resistance I would have to perform. When I decided to commit to Princeton in April 2021, this awareness was front and center in my mind. Would I find my belonging without compromising who I was at my core? I wanted college to be a space for growth, but I didn't want that growth to come at the expense of my authentic self. I wasn't averse to challenging myself and being uncomfortable, but at what cost? I knew there were many affinity groups on campus that intersected with my national identity that would help me protect and nourish what I thought to be my identity. What I didn't know whether or where I would find a home. I carried these questions and doubts with me on the plane.

In the fall of my first year, I attended an event organized by the African Students Association (PASA). It was an event of delicious food, traditional board games, music and fantastic atmosphere! There were people from diverse backgrounds: first-generation immigrants, international students from the African continent or the diaspora, black students of all backgrounds, generational African-American students, and all those beautiful and complex intersectional identities. I immediately felt at home! I understood the humor, people laughed at my jokes, the music was engaging, the energy electrifying and the food seasoned. I felt seen and welcomed as part of a larger community. At that moment, my national identity made space for my other identities to be. I became part of something greater: a cultural community.

I experienced the same feeling over and over again. It was not just happening at PASA events. It happened at the movie nights organized by the Davis International Center. It happened again at study breaks with other first-generation low-income students. And again at the weekly dinners of the Society of African Internationals (SAIP). And again at the game nights organized by the Black Student Union (BSU). Over time, I came to see community, identity and belonging as dynamic concepts that can only be spoken of in plural. So far at Princeton, I have learned to see myself as more than Haitian. I have been encouraged to recognize and explore other aspects of myself. Other identities that make me who I am. I stopped chasing this single community where I would feel at home and instead welcomed the idea of ​​belonging through multiple communities and spaces. Thanks to a variety of student groups, only some of which I have officially joined (I am now the Vice-President of PASA), I was able to feel at home. Today, my Haitianness remains an extremely important part of who I am and of what drives me. Yet, I have found peace and joy in knowing and accepting that I am much more than that, however proud I am to be Haitian.

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Two friends in front of a lake in Seattle

What You Have to Gain Is Wonderful


By the time I submitted my final college application, I was exhausted. I was excited about  college (and excited about Princeton, once I was admitted and later enrolled), but the thought of  another four years of physics equations and research papers made me apprehensive. I started spending a lot of time on the Novogratz Bridge Year website, looking at photos of smiling participants and reading about a year of trekking and service and living abroad.  

When deciding whether or not I wanted to apply to Princeton’s Novogratz Bridge Year program, one of my major hang-ups was about my high school friends. I adored them, and they were all about to go to college — to choose a major, attend dorm parties and bond with roommates— and I wasn’t sure if I could do something so different from them. It would mean that I graduated a year later from them and that I wouldn’t be able to come home for breaks. At some level, it meant that I wouldn’t be able to relate to them and they wouldn’t be able to relate to me.  

I was so worried about this that I almost didn’t apply to the program in Senegal. When I did, and I was accepted, my excitement was tempered slightly by these fears. I spent the summer before I left buying a bug hut, googling Senegalese music, and trying not to feel left out as my friends picked out their classes. I don’t know if my 18-year-old self would be surprised by this or not, but those fears pretty much all came true. I kept missing the group FaceTimes because I was in a different time zone; I cried when I saw photos of all my friends together at Thanksgiving; I had a hard time connecting with them when I came home the following summer.  

 

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A beach in Senegal

I don’t mean to say that I lost my high school friends — I am still incredibly close with many of  them, and I love now being able to trade stories about our professors and our college friends. In  some ways, my friendships with them are stronger than they ever were. Maybe if I hadn’t gone away, we wouldn’t be friends at all now. But choosing to take a gap year separated me from them  in ways that I still haven’t fully moved past. This separation very likely might have happened  anyway, as we all went to different schools and studied different things. But it felt unique to me,  as perhaps it does to everyone. At the very least, I was the first one to separate, and I didn’t get to  ease into it over the course of the semester or the year. Once I left, I was gone.  

Despite this loss — and it does still feel in many ways like a loss, as grateful as I am for my  continued friendships — I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. Before I left for Senegal I was so focused on what I stood to lose that I had a hard time picturing what I had to gain. That makes sense: what you might lose is real and tangible, while what you might gain is abstract and largely unknown. It wasn’t until I was there that I realized that the choice I had made was worth it.

Now, I wouldn’t trade any of it: picking up my little homestay brother from school, or making  pancakes on top of a mountain for my friend’s birthday, or running along the beach and through  the waves, or drinking cold bissap after finishing some hot ceebujen, or reading in the backseat of long and dusty bus rides, or carving watermelons for Halloween with my homestay family, or  eating beignets and oranges on the side of the road with my friends, or hiking past baobab trees, or returning to hold my godchildren for the first time. I wouldn’t trade a single one of those things.  

 

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Kate making faces with 4 children and adult

I spent that year living a life very different than the one I had grown used to. I worked at an  organization called Empire des Enfants, a shelter for boys who had been living and begging on  the streets, and learned how I could live a life of service even when I wasn’t “doing service.” I  spent my days taking the bus to work and then coming home for lunch before heading off to  language class. On the weekends, I swam to beautiful islands with my group and watched tv with  my little brothers. Slowly, I was able to make new friends and form new communities. They  looked different than the ones I had before, but I began to feel at home in a new place. I promise  you, what you have to gain is wonderful.

 

Hola, me llamo Gil...


I have always been fascinated by languages. I grew up bilingual, speaking Haitian Creole and French. Then, at the age of twelve, I realized that it would be cool to actually understand the songs of Akon which I was a big fan of: that's how I decided to start learning English. Later, in high school (coincidentally around the time Akon had hit pause on his musical career), I decided to move on to new horizons and started studying Spanish, followed by German. I think languages are cool, especially at Princeton.

At Princeton, every A.B. student has to pass the language requirement (i.e. demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English) before they graduate. There are many ways to fulfill this requirement. I, for example, took a French Placement Test the summer before I came to Princeton, which allowed me to place out of the language requirement. That meant I did not have to take any language classes at Princeton. But I still did! Why? Because languages are cool! Rather than starting with a completely new language at Princeton (which I might still do later on), I decided to keep learning Spanish for a while. I took the Placement Test for Spanish a couple of days after the French one and got placed into Spanish 108 (for Advanced Learners). 

I took the class last semester and it was amazing! My instructor was extremely kind, supportive and knowledgeable. My experience in that class was nothing like what I had seen in language classes before. Not only did the course focus on the development of the students' oral and written expression, but it also did so by engaging with interesting and thought-provoking material that explored the cultures, histories and politics of Spanish-speaking communities in the United States as well as the larger Hispanic world. The regular writing and speaking exercises encouraged me to frequently engage with the language beyond a superficial level in order to become comfortable expressing complex ideas in Spanish. All this in an encouraging and low-stress environment. I ended up doing very well in the class thanks to the incredible support I received from my instructor and my peers.

This experience reassured me in my decision to pursue a Certificate in Spanish, so much so that I am taking another Spanish class this semester: Spanish 209. In this course, we learn to analyze films in Spanish, which is a great way to improve my writing and speaking skills. It's also a great excuse to watch TV on the weekend without feeling guilty! I am only a few weeks in and I already love it! In addition to the language courses, Princeton offers other opportunities to get better in languages such as speaker events, internships abroad, summer language courses abroad, etc…

I truly feel that Princeton is one of the best places to brush up your skills in many languages or acquire new ones. Plus, you will want to take a class in East Pyne (the building that hosts most of the language departments): it is absolutely stunning! If you don’t believe me, come see for yourself!

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East Pyne Hall

P.S.: If you have questions about any of the things mentioned above, do not hesitate to send me an email!


This Post Is Not Sponsored By The Writing Center


I still don't know exactly what my concentration will be. When I applied to Princeton, I thought I was going to concentrate in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). However, in the middle of my first semester, I started to have doubts. I began to seriously wonder if SPIA was the right path for me. A semester later and I am more unsure about my concentration than I have ever been. What contributes to my uncertainty is the fact that Princeton offers so many interesting opportunities that I am torn between so many departments, research and funding options. While I am still unsure about what my concentration will be, one thing is certain, I will write. A LOT!

I remember reading somewhere that Princeton is one of the universities that places emphasis on writing. This is one of the reasons why all students are required to produce a senior thesis before they graduate. This is also why all undergraduates are required to take a Writing Seminar, either in the fall or spring semester of their first year. Writing seminars are intended to introduce first-year students to academic writing. There are several seminars that students can rank before they are officially assigned to one. I attended mine, WRI 167/168: Justice Beyond Borders, in the fall. I remember one day, as we were discussing Kant's main claims in "Towards Perpetual Peace", a staff member walked into the room and introduced us to a wonderful resource: The Writing Center.

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Lounge of the Writing Center

Essentially, the Writing Center offers free 50-minute and sometimes 80-minute one-on-one appoinments to students in which consultants help them work on writing assignments, ranging from 3-page essays to 20-page research papers. Consultants are undergraduate students who are trained to provide guidance on writing assignments. Personally, I see the Writing Center as an accountability checker. I schedule my appointments days (even weeks) before the deadline for my essays. My thinking is this: if I have a writing consultation scheduled, then I need to have something written. There are even times when I don't have an essay to receive feedback on. Sometimes I only have rough outlines or just broad ideas. However, scheduling a consultation forces me to set time aside to at least think about my writing assignment and to get someone else’s perspective on my initial ideas.

The consultants that I work with always listen to me and ask questions that help refine my ideas and push them further. When there is really nothing to think about, they propose exercises that encourage reflection on specific parts of my essay. Wherever you are in the writing process, they've got you! That's the beauty of the Writing Center. In fact, the consultations I found most useful were the ones where I didn't even have a draft. It is important to note that while no two consultants are the same, at the end of every appointment, I always feel ready to embark on my next step in the writing process.

I see the Writing Center as a group of students who not only listen to me talk about my ideas, but also help to formulate them into words, and ultimately in a "coherent, sensitively argued and well-written essay" (by the way, these are the comments that one of my teachers made on an essay workshopped by the Writing Center. It really works guys!)

This is just my experince with The Writing Center and while others may have a different take, I can say that it has been a helpful tool for me and it may be helpful to you as well. And who knows, maybe I will be a Writing Consultant by the time you come to Princeton and I will consult your essay!


Far From Home


The last time I was in Haiti was in August 2019, before I moved to Germany to attend boarding school. Since then, either the health situation in the world or the socio-political situation in Haiti has prevented me from visiting my native land. This winter break was no exception. Following the surge of the Omicron variant around the world, which came in addition to the worrying political instability plaguing my country, I had to make the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone my trip to Haiti. After moping for a few days and complaining to my family, I had to take on the arduous but necessary mission of figuring out how I was going to spend my winter vacation in the United States.

One thing was sure, I was going to find someone, somewhere, to host me for the duration of the vacation. For one, Haitians are everywhere! For two, I know people… I think? Anyway, I was going to be fine! Asking family and friends to host me remained the last option on my list. After all, no one wants to be a visitor who abuses their host's hospitality. Four weeks is a lot of hellos, good nights, have you eaten already, when are you going back to Princeton again? Four weeks is a long time under the care of barely known strangers or distant relatives. For the most part, no one will tell you it's time to leave, but there is always an underlying discomfort that intensifies over time. Even when the host's hospitality doesn't seem to waver, after some time, one always ends up feeling uncomfortable. Out of place. Like a burden.

Fortunately, I did not have to burn my brain cells overthinking or interpreting the over-enthusiastic hellos or the not-genuine-enough smiles from any host. Sometime after Thanksgiving, Professor Hakim of the SIFP Office (Scholars Institute Fellows Program) shared an email from Dean Dolan regarding a request for continuous accommodation over the winter break. Essentially, students who could not return home during the holidays had the option of applying for continuous housing in order to be allowed on campus over the break. That was a breakthrough in my mission!

A few days after submitting a request in which I explained my situation, I received a confirmation from Princeton: I had qualified for continuous housing. Yay! After the immediate relief wore off, I felt bittersweet. I was grateful that I had a place to stay where I would be looked after. The testing program would continue throughout the break and food would be provided to me. Yet, despite having everything I needed to make it through, I was also very aware of the needs of the heart. The end of the year is a time most people spend with family and friends; I was staying on my college campus. I did not know how I would feel on Christmas Eve. Alone in my room. Or on New Year's Eve. Part of me was incredibly anxious.

The truth is, I really enjoyed my time on campus over the break. Don't get me wrong, there were some difficult times when I thought about where I could have been and what I could have been doing. However, I was constantly reminded that I had what I needed. I used the time away from distractions to reflect on my semester and my year in general. I realized that caught in the frenetic rhythm of my first semester, I did not spend enough time thinking about how I was doing, my goals or about the ways in which I was reconnecting with friends and family from back home. This downtime was incredibly helpful and rejuvenating. 

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Procter Hall: Graduate College Hall at Princeton University

I also explored the campus and the surrounding areas on my bike. I spent time with the many other international students (and a few domestic students) who were also staying on campus. We had a lot to think about, a lot to share and a lot to laugh about. On January 7th, we had our first snow! The campus was magnificent, shining beneath this thick immaculate white sheet which, when it fell upon the old buildings and the remaining greenery created a magnificent contrast. I fell asleep that day with the windows open, lulled by the sight of the flakes that landed majestically on the grass in the Forbes backyard, on the other side of my room. The next day, the intensified sunlight reflected on the snow woke me up. I got ready right away for a full tour of campus, as I did on my first day at Princeton back in July 2021. Indeed, it was as if I was discovering the campus for the first time. 

After the first snowfall, the campus slowly came back to life. Student-athletes, staff and faculty eased back to work. I started feeling the excitement about the Wintersessions I had signed up for and the winter internship I had secured through Princeton. I will probably write a blog post about them: Designing a Photo Exhibit (documenting the experience of black students attending the first-ever residential summer program at Princeton in 1964) and a discussion on forced migration. I am also very excited for the Spring semester!

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Student taking a selfie in the snow

P.S.: The Spiderman reference in the title was involuntary!


The Irreplaceable International Identity at Princeton


Stepping foot on Princeton’s campus for the first time as a first-year can be an intimidating process as you’re met with new lingo (What is a prox? Are P-sets different from precepts?), beautiful looming gothic architecture, and a myriad of brilliant people from all walks of life. 

For me and other international students, it was paired with the added challenge of attending university away from our home countries, and beginning our journey largely alone. 

Due to COVID-19, international students in the class of 2024 did not get the traditional International Orientation experience, a 3-day program where they are given the chance to acclimate to Princeton’s campus and the United States before the rest of the first years arrive. 

As a result, I was afraid that I was insufficiently prepared for what Princeton life entailed. I remember sitting in my dorm room on the first night, jetlagged from a 14-hour flight and feeling homesick already, wondering if and when this place would feel like home. 

It took only a few days for me to realize my worries were for naught, as not only was everyone incredibly friendly and welcoming, but I luckily had a strong international community at my disposal to help ease the transition. 

The hub of Princeton’s international community is the Davis International Center, where students can find resources ranging from a ‘Guide to Living in Princeton’ to information to help with Immigration. The Davis IC held weekly events all through the year such as Bingo Night, Cake Baking, and Immigration Sessions for work authorization. In addition to more administrative tasks, the Davis IC also has undergraduate student leaders who are there to help with programming for the international community at large. 

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International center leaders posing in front of the SPIA fountain with flags.png

The virtual International Orientation hosted by the Davis IC leaders early on in my first year led me to meet some of my first (and closest) friends at Princeton, and the weekly study breaks I had with my International Orientation group throughout the semester allowed me to connect with people from all across the globe. The community was close-knit and strong, in addition to being some of the most enthusiastic people I have had the pleasure of meeting. 

The international community helped me realize the emotions I felt as an international student were not isolating, and I welcomed the consistent presence of Princeton’s international community during an uncertain academic year. 

Towards the end of my first year, I applied to be an IC leader myself, as I wanted to contribute to taking the pressure off of future international students at Princeton by becoming their sounding board and support system. 

This year, the Davis IC continues to support its international students by hosting events such as International Education Week, with activities ranging from an opening gala with performances from student dance groups to international trivia night -- and they were all in person!

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Two international center leaders posing

Though the prospect of attending college in a country thousands of miles away is daunting, I can assure you that the Davis IC is more than equipped with the proper tools to help you. I am grateful for the abundance of resources at my disposal as an international student, and my fellow IC leaders who enhanced my sense of belonging here. 


Making Connections Through the Davis International Center


As a student who had East Asian roots as well as a rich international experience, I thought I was well prepared for life at Princeton as an international student. I had lived in Utah for 10 years prior to my acceptance to Princeton. I was proved quite wrong, as my transition to Princeton was very different from what I had expected. My sophomore year was the first time I had spent a prolonged period of time away from home and family. The COVID-19 pandemic had allowed me to study remotely from home during my first year, allowing me to grow closer to my family. So, when I first set foot on campus, I was actually at a loss. The campus seemed big, I was alone and I didn’t know who I could ask for help. It felt as if I shouldn’t ask for help. I was a sophomore, after all, not a first-year.  It was the Davis International Center (Davis IC) that provided a lot of support for getting acclimated to campus and that made Princeton a ‘home’ for me. I worked with the Davis IC and organized events for the incoming international first-year students, such as managing the check-in on international first-year arrivals on campus and setting up group events to strengthen bonds between the international student groups. 

 

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Seyi Jung sitting to the left of her friend on the soccer field

Through collaborations with other IC Leaders, I planned and organized social gatherings for the International Class of 2024, deciding food and activities for international students to enjoy while getting to meet and become friends with each other. Additional events that are hosted by Davis IC are the International Orientation World Cup and socials organized by class year. By actively planning and participating in these activities, I felt like a part of the community, at a place where I belonged and where I could welcome other people in. Internationality, the very thing that made us diverse and different, also became the thing that tied us together. The friendly environment encouraged questions and cooperation, and it was clearly understood that nobody was expected to work alone.  When I found myself alone at night in my dorm, it helped that I was used to phone calls and Zoom meetings thanks to the ‘virtual’ experience during the pandemic. This aided me in communications with my family, which also lessened the homesickness that I initially felt. South Korea is still my home, and my family is still there, but I am no longer afraid to be on my own.

 

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All of the Davis IC leaders standing by golf carts

Physical distance does not lessen the love one feels for their family; sometimes, it’s actually strengthened by such experiences. At Princeton, through the Davis IC and my classes, I found new connections, new people to call friends and to depend upon. I bonded with other international students who had various backgrounds yet shared a common experience of adjusting and living in a dual culture. And I was able to meet people who shared my interests and passions in the classes that I chose to take, especially in those related to my concentration. I wish I knew this before I came to Princeton. I wish I could say to my younger self to not be afraid; to be bolder, and to be more excited. The world may be big and I may feel small, but that only means there’s more for me to explore, and to discover.


Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help


Taking difficult courses in one of the world’s most prestigious universities, topped with moving to a new and different country seemed daunting at first. Coming from Poland, I didn’t know if my academic preparation was enough to thrive in a Princeton classroom and whether I’d fit well in the American college social life. As these thoughts began to fill my mind when I entered the walls of the beautiful Princeton campus, I remembered a piece of advice that has helped me succeed throughout my life: don’t be afraid to ask for help. I never would have thought that this piece of advice could make such a difference in my transition to college. 

As I progressed through my first fall semester, I quickly realized how many resources Princeton offers when you’re seeking advice. When I was choosing courses or became worried about my progress in them, I spoke to my wonderful academic adviser, Gene Grossman, a professor in the Department of Economics and Princeton School of Public and International Affairs who always knew exactly how to put me on the right track by both challenging me with exciting course choices and encouraging me to strike a work-life balance. Although he knew I was a prospective economics concentrator, he encouraged me to take Freshman Seminars which seemed to be very loosely connected with my concentration (one of which focused on the importance of failure in life, while the other on the constitutional debate over freedom of speech). These courses allowed me to discover areas of knowledge I never explored before and provided a healthy break from learning about economic consumption patterns and supply & demand. 

 

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Antek standing in front of Blair Arch with his Class of 2024 banner.

When I found my days getting disorganized and unproductive, I scheduled mentoring sessions with the McGraw Academic Life & Learning Consultants who helped me organize my academic life. When I feared I’d never secure a summer internship after my first year I spoke to the advisers at the Center for Career Development who helped me polish my resume and land an incredible summer opportunity. With their support, I had a wonderful experience working for Magma Partners during my first-year summer: a venture capital investment fund that focused on supporting fintech and insurtech startups in Latin America. 

Finally, when I worried about adjusting to life in the United States I found a robust community at the Davis International Center. The Davis IC helped me effectively transition to living in a new culture. It allowed me to surround myself with people who found the same things about the United States to be different from their home countries and Davis IC empowered us to adapt to them together. I can certainly say that although Princeton has been a challenging experience, I was able to navigate through it well, without being afraid of failure. I proudly wear orange and black as I know that here I’m always surrounded by the right people who will help me succeed no matter what obstacle I encounter.