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The academics. All of the professors are leaders in their respective fields, but also very willing to share their time with ...
The academics. All of the professors are leaders in their respective fields, but also very willing to share their time with students. There are plentiful opportunities and resources to do independent work, and the guidance to be very successful and thrive.
When you first arrive at Princeton, it's easy to feel out of place if you don't fit in with the dominant culture oriented toward Thursday/Saturday parties and nights out at the eating clubs. However, as you develop academic and extracurricular interests, then you find a group of people you can identify with. I think there is something for everyone at Princeton, you just have to look for it. At the same time, the school is small enough that you're forced to interact with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Overall, I think the dining halls are an excellent place to meet new people, because there is always at least one person at your table who you probably didn't know before sitting down. The biggest form of segregation is between underclassmen (in the dining halls) and upperclassmen (in the eating clubs).
Yes, they describe at least half of the student population, though there are also just lots of really smart people at Princeton who don't fit into these stereotypes.
Academics get better every year. You start out as a number in big lecture classes freshmen year, but as you advance, the classes get smaller and smaller. By the time you are a senior, you are on a first name basis with all of your professors, at least in your department. My advisor has invited me to his house several times for dinner, and I've reciprocated with invitations to eating clubs and the dining hall. Every day I have very intellectual conversations with other undergrads, grad students, and faculty. Of course, these are things that one has to seek out, and its easy to just mix in with the crowd, especially in some of the bigger departments. This is definitely a school for smart people. Most classes are very challenging. If you aren't willing to work hard, or you don't feel you have what it takes, then you probably shouldn't be here. That being said, people aren't really that cutthroat (except the pre-meds) as compared to some other schools.
I've been involved with a lot of groups on campus, including: Princeton Water Watch, Engineers Without Borders, Brown Co-op, and Princeton Bhangra. The biggest challenge is just finding the time to actually make a commitment to these groups, especially as a senior writing a thesis. Because everyone is so busy, the groups on campus can sometimes be somewhat superficial, though this is certainly not true for all groups. Athletic events are fairly unpopular unless one of the teams is doing extremely well (for example, the football team in 2006). Cultural events are better attended, as everyone always seems to know someone on the cast of a show. I would say the partying here is no different than at other schools, except that the times for partying are pretty limited (Thursday and Saturday night) due to academic demands. There isn't a ton to do hear besides going to parties, though I personally don't enjoy partying, and I always seem to find something interesting to do. Dating isn't widespread but it is very possible. Just don't be shy about asking people out and you'll find plenty of opportunities.
Career-oriented, grade-grubbing, preppy, cynical, wealthy, elitist
Princeton is the perfect size; it's small enough that you always recognize people in your classes, but big enough that you ne...
Princeton is the perfect size; it's small enough that you always recognize people in your classes, but big enough that you never feel suffocated. there is always the possibility of meeting someone new. As a college town it has a good selection of restaurants and it feels very safe, etc. my only complaint is that retail options are overpriced and geared more towards the upper-middle class borough and not towards students. students at princeton have a lot of school pride, but those who are most vocal about it generally seem to be basing their pride on either individual intelligence or on national rankings and the outsiders' view. in other words, it often surfaces as an elitist, comparative pride rather than a passion for the environment or sports teams. the strangest thing about princeton is the eating clubs, but they have their definite positive sides - they give princeton a community social scene. everybody always knows where there are parties. as far as princeton's administration goes, i've always been impressed that RA's at princeton haven't been portrayed as police forces in the dorms. princeton works very hard to make students feel like the university cares about their welfare above and beyond anything else.
i think there are strong networks at princeton among ethnic and racial minorities. while these networks strengthen people's sense of belonging at princeton, they are most necessary because of the unfortunate sense that a certain group (those referenced by the stereotypes) control princeton, especially with regard to eating clubs and job searches. i think that low-income students feel most out of place at princeton just because life here seems generally expensive. students are absolutely politically active, and i cannot complain about the balance. i think there is a great division of left and right side politics and both are equally vocal.
i think every stereotype is based on fact to a certain extent. princeton is one of the most racially diverse of the ivy leagues, and the large endowment enables students from less privileged backgrounds to enroll. however, it still seems on campus that the people who stand out in the social scene or in student government tend to be those who fulfill the stereotype - legacy students wearing j. crew/polo who aspire to investment banking careers.
students study so much at princeton. i've often felt like that was the reason that "night life" here starts so much later than at other schools. people will go out at 12 or later because they'll be in the library or their rooms up until 11 trying to pack in weekend work. i think that princeton students are competitive only because they feel they've competed so hard already to get in that they can't give up now. i've avoided caring about other people's grades by never mentioning mine or asking theirs, and i find that i'm not the only person doing that. if i have a problem with the quality of my work or the way my work is being received i go straight to the TA or professor; i don't just complain about it to my friends. on that note, while some classes are really big, i think professors absolutely want to know names. they appreciate when students get in touch with them, even if it is just a grading question. i also love that every professor teaches at least one precept so he/she gets to know a few students more closely over that semester. in many ways the education here is geared toward getting a job, but i'm not sure we can blame princeton for that. in today's world people are just always concerned about money and the future. princeton attempts to combat this with their core curriculum, so that even engineers will encounter a couple of humanities classes over the course of their college career.
Guest speakers at princeton are so popular. when i first came here it made me really happy to see that students here are intellectually interested beyond the limits of their classes and assigned readings. people don't treat learning as obligatory, but instead they actually crave it. i love that. i met most of my friends by virtue of where i lived freshman year, and i would say that's true of most people at princeton unless they play a varsity sport or are really active in theater or something. the residential colleges promote these relationships by cutting freshmen into smaller groups as they begin to adapt to college life. the university does not sanction frats/sororities and they even send out a letter to parents disparaging them. unfortunately i think the administration is totally deluded. even though frats/sororities don't have houses and aren't officially acknowledged by the school, they are still completely at the surface. moreover, they worsen that feeling that a "certain group" rules the school and that wealthy students continue to have more advantages.
preppy, wealthy, white, snobby, "cool nerds"
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