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    Profile: Jack Ching at Princeton



    Posts : 31
    Join date : 2009-08-31

    Profile: Jack Ching at Princeton

    Post  katetrinh on Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:57 pm


    The landscape of Princeton in the fall is just as breathtaking as I had imagined - leaves fluttering to the ground, ivies turning subtle shades of red and yellow on the gothic buildings looming impressively in the distance – a scene you might have seen on the intro to the TV series House, M.D. Yet, as I hurried uphill across campus to turn in a problem set in the engineering building, I only noticed the seconds ticking by – reminding me yet again of how unnervingly punctual all Princeton students are by nature. This is Princeton.

    After almost three months, the experience of going to school in such a picturesque campus is still a bit surreal and everywhere I look reveals a little bit more of the history of this magnificent university. Since the Revolutionary Era, Nassau Hall has stood at the northern end of campus, with two bronze tiger statues flanking the steps to this iconic building; now, it remains a popular tourist photo-op. Firestone Library, named for the tire tycoon, stands covered with a shroud of mystery around its six labyrinthine floors packed full of knowledge. The University Chapel is another sight to behold, but it was not until I felt the weight of the silence beneath its soaring ceiling pressing against my eardrums did I feel the enormity of this edifice. Much of the rest of upper campus shares the same kind of gothic “Hogwarts-esque” architecture, with engravings and gargoyles peering around archways – which can appear quite frightening under the light of a full moon. Don’t worry if you never get a chance to visit, every part of campus is as beautiful as it appears in photos and postcards.

    While I may spend most of my rarely idle afternoons staring at lampposts that look as though they came straight from Narnia, Princeton is still a university first, and a tourist attraction second. The academic atmosphere here focuses on the undergraduates, as we have the graduate students beat with numbers alone, and the residential college system caters mainly to first and second year students. Nearly all of the classes here, including the first year intro courses, are taught by professors, and it is not rare to be learning material from a textbook the course professor authored. My microeconomics class, possibly the largest class at Princeton, still only enrolls less than 300 students and is taught by Harvey Rosen, ex-Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. It amazes me how, with such impressive experience, he is still willing to guide us bewildered freshman through basic economics, and to stay after lecture, re-explaining the concepts to those of us who (accidentally) dozed off. For me, this is the real Princeton experience – learning from a professor who cares enough to make the concepts come alive with humor.

    Outside of academics, the diversity of Princeton students naturally leads to a huge spectrum of extracurricular activities. From the plethora of a cappella groups (nothing resembling Glee, sadly), to the unexpected belly dancing group or improv comedy group, to the hundreds more student interest and cultural groups, they make sure the bulletin boards and lampposts around campus are always a-flutter with the never-ending supply of flyers clamoring for attention. For me, the Triangle Club is still the most quintessentially Princetonian of them all, renowned for being the oldest collegiate musical comedy troupe that tours every year with an entirely original student-composed musical. Playing in the pit orchestra for Triangle is awe-inspiring knowing Triangle alumni includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Brook Shields, and even Ellie Kemper, who plays Erin on The Office. I do not believe there is any place outside of Princeton that can offer this kind of an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in their experiences.

    No other university can even begin to compare itself to Princeton, where we enjoy a unique and intimate community of students that revels in ostentatiously overusing orange and black, especially when it is not Halloween. Boasting the best location on the east coast, Princeton is only a convenient hour and a half to both Philadelphia and New York City by train – so taking off a weekend for a concert or just to explore the city is never out of the question. Perhaps most importantly of all, Princeton is the perfect school for me, and I honestly cannot imagine loving college life as much anywhere else.
    While there is no place like home, I have found a very close second at Princeton.

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