Tag Archives: Princeton

Tradition, Transition, Reflection

The past month has been a time of both celebration and reflection, of both reunions and goodbyes with close friends, and of closure to my college days and busy preparation for the adventures ahead.  Though these are all quite predictable aspects of the graduation (or Commencement, as Princeton prefers to call it) experience, it has been an intense period of time nonetheless, filled with both nostalgia and anticipation.

Three cheers for Old Nassau...

class of 2010 and 2009 beer jackets

It all began, as Shirley Tilghman referred to it in one of her many Commencement weekend speeches, with the “hoopla of Reunions“–the truly indescribable orange and black blur of a weekend (tents, fences, bands, beer, costumes, P-Rade!, children, golf carts, fireworks, chaos).  This year’s oldest returning alumnus was once again Malcolm Warnock, class of 1925 (his 85th Reunion!), who reigned stoically over the P-Rade, followed by the usual bagpipes, dogs/babies dressed as tigers, old alums sharing beers with young alums, tiger-striped cars, and witty signage.  Finally, the class of 2010 rushed Poe Field to take our places as the newest Tiger alums, while all of the older classes cheered a Locomotive in our honor (Hip! Hip! Rah! Rah! Rah! Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! Sis! Sis! Sis! Boom! Boom! Boom! Ah! 2010! 2010! 2010!).  The past four years, along with this final incredible weekend, brainwashed convinced me enough that I fully plan to return to Old Nassau until I am Malcolm’s age.

Twenty-Ten! Twenty-Ten! Twenty-Ten!

the 2010 senior class rushes Poe Field at the end of the P-Rade

The superb ridiculousness of Reunions was naturally followed by “the pomp and circumstance of Commencement” (another Shirley T. phrase).  Jeff Bezos ’86, CEO of Amazon.com, told us to reflect on the difference between cleverness and kindness, as we gathered in the chapel on Baccalaureate Sunday (And by the way, Jeff–just bought a Kindle to travel with next year and it’s pretty awesome.  Thanks).  Charlie Gibson ’65 and some of our remarkably hilarious classmates gave knee-slapping yet inspiring speeches on Class Day.  And lastly, on Commencement Day, we gathered in front of Nassau Hall, sweating in our caps and gowns, to finally hear that handful of Latin words that meant we were graduates, later dispersing to collect our coveted diplomas, pose with friends and family, and exchange hugs and tears as we left campus one by one.

Blue Ridge Mountains, near Crozet

porch of King Family Vineyards in Crozet

I returned home to Virginia, to enjoy a tiny bit of rest and to begin gearing up for my year with Princeton-in-Asia, which is set to begin this summer.

sunrise at Little River Farm

Though much of the past few weeks in Charlottesville have been spent shopping for appropriate clothing (and other essentials) for the subcontinent and doing lots of research to figure out exactly what these are, I’ve found some time to rediscover my hometown as well.  Snippets of Cville life in June: wine tasting at King Family Vineyards, old friends, new restaurants, and an unexpectedly dramatic storm.

Lincoln looks out on the Capitol.

A weekend trip to DC was also in order to apply for my work visa to India (this is a yet-to-be-resolved saga in itself, which will perhaps be the subject of some future post), and I extended the trip to visit with friends, who have slowly been amassing in “the District” to join the ranks of “the Real World” (the one involving post-grad jobs, rather than the reality show).  Among the highlights of the weekend: a visit to the National Zoo, a visit to a friend’s Northern Virginia farm, and a late-night excursion to the monuments.


Before I know it, these last few days in the US will pass, along with this period of transition, which has brought me from the FitzRandolph Gate, back home, and soon, halfway across the world.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under DC, New Jersey, Princeton, Virginia

Let it Snow

snowy tundra of Princeton

Princeton had reason to celebrate in the most recent of this winter’s wild East coast snowstorms.  For the first time in the last seven years (and only the 4th time in the last 16 years), we had a snow day.  Classes were canceled all day on Wednesday, and all of the university students became excited school children again.  Dining halls lost countless trays to would-be sledders, who attacked the few hills on campus, mostly on the golf course and outside of Whitman college.  I even saw some brave folk trying to ski down the steps of Blair Arch.

tiger at Princeton Stadium

Absurd snow sculptures popped up all around campus, so many that our student government decided to hold a contest…some of the highlights being a squirrel, a Pacman, a Loch Ness monster, a snow Godzilla destroying a snow Tokyo, and 8-foot snowmen.  And that’s not even to mention all of the snow structures, from forts to igloos.  I even know a few hardy souls (who will remain unnamed, as igloo-building is apparently against University rules) who camped out in their high-capacity igloo two nights in a row.

sledders tackling "Mount Whitman" in the background

cap and gown cap cap and gown

Cap & Gown club

Lockhart Hall

Leave a comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Though Princeton is generally beautiful this time of year, midterms and the recent rainy weather has got me ready to leave campus…just in time for fall break!  This semester, I’m taking an Art History and Classics course on the ancient history of Sicily, and the many civilizations that left their cultural and architectural marks on the island.  As part of the class, I’ll be traveling to Sicily for fall break with the 15 or so other undergraduate and graduate students and our two professors, and we’ll tour the island, focusing on sites of archeological and artistic interest.  Tomorrow, only minutes after finishing a midterm, I’ll be leaving for Newark Airport with the rest of the class, and we won’t stop until we reach Cefalu, a city in the north of Sicily which is our final destination for Friday evening.  Assuming I am able to get regular internet access while we’re traveling, check back for frequent posts and photos from Sicily.

1 Comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton

Futurism

Some experiences transport you far without taking you anywhere.  Last night I found myself far from the Princeton campus in…Italy?  The future? My Italian professor was hosting a futurist conference for the weekend, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of futurism, and 40 or so Italians (including one of my favorite professors from my Italian summer class in 2008) descended upon Princeton’s campus for the weekend of talks and performances.  I was invited to the dinner on Saturday night, along with the rest of my Italian class, and it was certainly surreal.  We gathered in the Chancellor Green rotunda, a hexagonal room with stained glass windows, and one of my favorites on campus.  The evening began with student performances–cacaphonic dialogues and a destruction of place settings which turned into spontaneous ballroom dancing (this was all just as confusing as it sounds).

impressive meat sculpture

impressive meat sculpture

dessert table: aerocookies and fragolamammelle

dessert table: aerocookies and fragolamammelle

When dinner began we found all of our food arranged in artistic, amusing, and presumably futuristic manner.  Appetizers included crackers, olives, fig, gelatin, peppers, and meat carved into letters.  Next the main course: veggie pastries (surrounded on the table with computer parts, pills filled with cinnamon, and pop rocks), rice, risotto, “rice oranges”, and a meat sculpture.  Dessert: rice pudding, cream puffs with purple filling, airplane cookies, and fragolamamelle (yes, pink breasts…made of cheesecake and actually delicious).

futurist appetizer plate

futurist appetizer plate

Following dinner, Italian mimes (brought in for a silent performance of a cookbook, which I regretfully missed, the evening before) engaged the audience in one last “futuristic performance.”  Blindfolded, we wore capes of various materials, and had to locate the other person in the room wearing the same type of fabric and begin dancing.  Luckily, I understood the Italian or I probably would have been completely lost by this part.

The performances and ballroom dancing over, the presence of an iPod caused the black tie dinner party to degenerate into a 1980s wedding reception, as the guests of all ages excitedly danced the night away to “YMCA,” “Dancing Queen,” “Brown-Eyed Girl,” and other classics.   After all this, I’m still slightly unclear as to what futurism actually is…aside from a somewhat surreal Italian artistic movement.  But I got to dance to “Build Me Up Buttercup” in an academic building, so it was a Saturday night well-spent.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton

Princeton: Back to School

The new school year has been slowly getting underway here in Princeton, with all of that it entails–school spirit, reunions with friends after the summer, festivities, and free giveaways galore.  The days before class got started were packed with one event after another, designed to convince eager new freshman that Princeton is the best place around, and to remind already-nostalgic seniors what they’ll soon be missing.  Below, some snapshots of orientation week at Princeton:

the Princeton Marching Band: never conventional

the Princeton Marching Band: never conventional

Blair arch with the Pre-Rade barbeque crowd

Blair arch with the Pre-Rade barbeque crowd

the Princeton mascot cheers during the first home football game

the Princeton mascot cheers during the first home football game

1 Comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton

In Praise of Old Nassau: Reunions ’09

crowds swarm at the P-Rade

crowds swarm at the P-Rade

This year was my first year to make it to the legendary Princeton Reunions, and they completely lived up to the hype.  The festivities kicked off Thursday night, with parties and bands under all the tents.  We were staying in Pyne, which shares its courtyard with the 5th reunion, always the rowdiest and latest-partying tent, where the music and revelry sounds late into the night…and into the next morning.

Malcolm, class of 1925 reigns over the P-Rade

Malcolm, class of 1925 reigns over the P-Rade

Saturday I attended the annual alumni rugby match, because Josh was playing for the current team, which each year challenges the returning alums for a friendly game.  For the first time in a few years the current team fell to the alums (mostly because the champion 2004 team was back for the 5th reunion).  During the day was the highly-anticipated P-Rade, which lasted from 2-5 (which can give you an idea of how many alums there were on campus).  The P-Rade was led by the 25th, but afterward alums (and their families) marched in descending age, beginning with the oldest alumnus, Malcolm, class of 1925, who had the honor of carrying the silver cane and riding in a golf cart.  Most of the oldest guys ride alongside a current student in a cart, but a surprising number of guys from the 1930’s classes proudly walked the whole way, joining in the Princeton Locomotive cheer and stopping only to clink beer cans in a toast with students on the sidelines.  The P-Rade was a whirlwind of Princeton spirit and ridiculousness, from the class of ‘59’s “Tipsy Tiger Trolley”  and ‘69’s “Magical Mystery Mobile” (blaring “Yellow Submarine” of course) to various decked-out vehicles, costumes, signs, banners, and music.  A particularly touching section was the class of ’44, who back for their 65th, honored the 89% of their class who served in WWII with army jeeps, signs, a military band, uniforms, and large faceboards of classmates who died in battle.  Lastly, the class of 2009 stormed onto Poe Field for the grand finale.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton

Spring in Princeton

in bloom

in bloom

After being holed up in various study spaces on campus (I must have been to every library at least once) over the past two weeks, I’m finally free…which means I’m a senior now I suppose, scary!  Princeton has been a gorgeous place to be this spring, as usual, and I’ve had some of these pictures sitting around for awhile, from a walk I took with my mom to the grad college when the trees were still in bloom.

I actually only walked over here for the first time ever this spring.

I actually only walked over here for the first time ever this spring.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Jersey, Princeton