When I visited Princeton last week, I wanted to love it. I had read about the senior thesis, the Woodrow Wilson School, and the Bridge Year Program. It was the perfect school for me. Or so I thought.
So then I visited. I confirmed that:
1. It is the most beautiful campus I've ever seen: the buildings look like they came straight out of Harry Potter and the dorms have hardwood floors.
2. They have some of the most accomplished professors in the world.
3. The cafeteria food is ridiculously good: it serves entrees like pad thai, sushi, and curry chicken.
And yet for whatever reason, it just didn't "click" with me the way Dartmouth did. But still, I thought. It was Princeton. It was going to be hard to turn down professors like Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and Paul Krugman. Really, really hard.
But partway through my visit, I found this quote on my friend's blog:
"If logic is telling you one thing, and yet you're torn, it's because your gut is telling you the opposite."
It was then that my decision became blindingly clear. Everyone seeks out something different in a school, and for some people, Princeton is the perfect place to be. Academically, Princeton is pretty much second to none. Its facilities are great, and the campus as a whole "runs like butter," in the words of my friend. In fact, I can certainly see myself applying there for graduate school. But for an undergrad experience, I couldn't be more excited to go to Dartmouth. I want to learn lots and be surrounded by people who love learning. I want to be at a school where people are passionate, involved, open-minded, interesting, and interested. As weird as it sounds, I want to be in the middle of a forest surrounded by active and outdoorsy people who ski before class and kayak in their free time. I want to study abroad with the D-Plan and build a bonfire during Homecoming weekend.
Sometimes I wish I would have fallen in love with Princeton the way I did with Dartmouth. But then I remember the fascinating people I met during my Dartmouth visit and the borderline insane vibrancy on campus. I know I made the right decision for me.
I called my parents while in New Jersey to let them know I would not be attending Princeton University next year. So my dad picked me up from the airport holding this sign. Big thanks to my parents for always being so supportive =)
Countdown to photo contest: 4 days.