I am back on campus after the break of Intersession. It is the one awkwardly placed vacation each year where the well-to-do students go skiing with their families, the kids from the eastern seaboard go home, and everyone else is stuck in a purgatory where they take a jumble of classes about random topics that are provided by the student government’s Wintersession program.
The college calendar runs by semester, so the campus feels the same as it did back in September. Clubs are trying to recruit new members, pick-ups are loudly abducting students in the middle of the night, and acapella groups are out singing. There is one primary difference though.
Throughout the fall semester, the eating clubs were courting sophomores in the hopes of attracting them to apply. They offer a number of open house events where students can go in to try the food for free (I intend to take full advantage of these) and meet club members. When everyone returns from Intersession, Bicker Week begins. During this time, sophomores select which eating clubs that they want to join through a convoluted online system. From what I understand, it goes like this:
- Students who want to join an eating club, but do not want to bicker, can rank their top three sign-in eating clubs: Terrace, Quadrangle, Colonial, Cloister, and Charter. This will enter them into a weighted lottery for these clubs based upon their preferences.
- People who want to Bicker can do so for up to two clubs: Ivy, Cannon Dial Elm, Tower Cottage, Tiger Inn, and Cap & Gown. Bicker is similar to Rush for fraternities.
- If someone gets “hosed” — the term for rejected — from his or her Bicker eating club(s), then he or she can choose sign-in clubs. This process has been significantly improved from the past so that everyone who wants to be in an eating club has the opportunity to be in one.
- Once admitted, sophomores become part time members. They can go to all club events and parties but have a limited number of meal passes that does not cover three square meals per day.
St. Archibald’s bicker occurred in the middle of Bicker Week, and it helped garner attention to their cause. I intend to bicker an eating club (probably Ivy) for the sole purpose of being able to report on the experience. If accepted, I am not sure if it is worth paying the fees in order to get an insider’s perspective of a club.
- Sunday— I arrived back to a quiet campus. Even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, I decided to read in the evening instead of watching it.
- Monday— Classes began on this day. Mondays and Wednesdays will be especially busy for me as I will have at least 3 1/2 hours straight of class. I think that physics will be the most difficult class of the semester.
- Tuesday— St. Archibald’s League held its bicker.
- Wednesday— I went to see Hamlet at the McCarter Theater. It was excellent. The troupe performed it “theater-in the round” style by walking through and around the audience. They wore modern clothes instead of costumes but kept some of the older elements like swords. My $40 ticket was paid for by Whitman College.
- Thursday— A storm came in overnight and blanketed the campus in powdery white snow. Rather than stay indoors, I bundled up and walked all over campus to take pictures. Some of my photos are blurry because my lens got foggy or I could not clear away all of the snowflakes on it.
- Friday— My third “Prince” article was published. Also, I was selected for the Bahamas carbonate summer internship through the Princeton Environmental Institute. I thought that I would be working on a professor’s project, but it is actually quite different. I will be an assistant to a sophomore who is beginning work on her senior thesis. This research project will eventually transform into an ongoing study that will attract graduate students to Princeton. In the simplest terms, we are studying chemicals in rocks at the Bahamas to see how they record sea levels from the past. We meet once a week to discuss scientific papers and trip logistics. I am also swimming to get in shape.
- Saturday— I went home for the weekend to attend Nentego Lodge’s banquet. It is my last Scouting-related duty as the outgoing Lodge Chief. I probably will not be at another Scouting event for quite some time.
- Tuesday— I got sick and had a fever. Despite my illness, I stilled dragged myself to class because missing them would have been worse. I also had to write an essay this week. This is definitely reflected in my feverishly circuitous logic and sentence structures.
- Wednesday— Yale University decided to change the name of its residential college “Calhoun College” in response to student protests. It was similar to how the Black Justice League organized people to protest Woodrow Wilson. John C. Calhoun was a senator in the mid-1800s who believed in white supremacy and vigorously fought to defend slavery. At the same time, he was a marvelous political philosopher who greatly contributed to constitutional theory and was one of the greatest orators in the nation’s history — along with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. In response to this change, I wrote an article about how we cannot judge our past leaders with our present morals because they lived in a different — dare I say barbaric — time. As part of newspaper policy, my editor got a columnist to write a response to my opinion. It was rather vitriolic. She misinterpret my words “activist hysteria”; I never had the intention of attacking their new name or the act of protesting itself, though I can see how my words are misleading (perhaps I should have said “activists’ hysteria”). Nevertheless, it was the exact kind of response that I expected. I admit that she had a few valid points. We’re all still friends in the opinion section even if we write against each other. No hard feelings.
- Thursday— I am getting back into the routine of going to the graduate school for dinner with a friend. They had an excellent Italian pasta dish. Then, I went to try out for the debate team again. I have not received word on their decision. My guess is that I probably was not accepted. Afterwards, I went to see the Islands episode of Planet Earth II for the Princeton Conservation Society. There was a big crowd. I would recommend watching it 8/10.
- Saturday— Just a regular day of studying over the weekend as usual.
The semester is starting up again and I am studying a lot. It will probably only get busier.