Opening Exercises

In a way, today was ceremoniously the first day of me being a freshman at Princeton. We began our activities with a class scavenger hunt. My zee group spent a few hours running around campus in search of various sights.

This then drained into the opening exercises. Students wore a different colored t-shirt depending upon the residential college that they live in. As a Whitmanite, I donned a light blue shirt. We arranged in lines and then filed into the chapel.


A club handed these out before convocation. Someone actually shouted “Bingo” during a speech.

It was beautiful inside. Light streamed in from the delicate stained glass windows. Arches soared above our heads. Echoes from the organ reverberated against the stone walls.

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Slowly, the faculty filed in. Then President Eisgruber welcomed everyone. Next, some students were given awards for outstanding academic work. Someone yelled “Bingo.” President Eisgruber delivered his full address. At Princeton, the pursuit of knowledge is a sacred endeavor. A few representatives from various religious read from their holy texts. Finally, everyone shuffled out for the festivities.

This marked the beginning of the Pre-rade. All of the students marched through FitzRandolph Gate to officially become freshmen. Legend has it that if a student walks through these gates before commencement he or she will never graduate. There were a lot of people cheering us on. The class ate barbecue near Blair Arch. Afterwards came another Princeton tradition: stepsing. Everyone stood under Blair Arch to sing a few tunes. Some of them were pop songs, like “Don’t Stop Believing.” Others were classic “sis-boom-bah” Princeton songs, such as The Princeton Fight Song. Even Yours Truly was sure to sing loudly for all to hear. However, the part that amazed me the most was the alumni. It is no secret that Princeton has some of the most loyal alumni in the world. Some came from as far back as 1956!

In the evening, we had a class assembly on the pre-read book Our Declaration. I found this to be fascinating. First, Danielle Allen, the author and a Princetonian herself, delivered a 20 minute message from her book. She was followed by two professors who delivered their own remarks on the book. Then, she took questions from the audience. In his usual fearless style, Yours Truly managed to get on the stage to ask an intelligent question phrased in a witty way to make the audience laugh. The RCAs were having a viewing party and happened to take a picture. My zee group had a discussion on the book later.

Later, I went to “Tiger’s Roar,” a show that featured all of the acapella groups. Side Note- During every college tour on which I went, the students always mentioned their quidditch team and thirty acapella groups and how they all differed. Regardless, they were all very good. I even saw a humorous song about Princeton’s financial aid.

Overall, it was an excellent day.