Friday, April 11, 2008

My Prefrosh Experience

All of the happy high schoolers running around campus today reminds me of my prefrosh experience three years ago. I flew in from Michigan with my mom - due to a delayed flight, we ended up getting to campus around 7 pm, after the opening festivities, and too late to meet up with my host. Exhausted, we hoped to find Frist and find out who my host was, and in the process, stopped a girl to ask for directions.

Her name was Amber, and she remains one of the nicest people I've met on this campus. She was on her way to Frist as well, and as we told her about our predicament, she shared with us that she had wanted a prefrosh, but she and her roommate both thought the other one would protest, and she really regretted the missed opportunity. As we reached Frist together, they told me I'd have to come back the next day, as they had no way of knowing who I had been matched with - and Amber told my mom and I that she and her roommate, Francine (another wonderful human being), would take me in.

We stayed in a double on the Forbes Island - it was the second or third floor, I don't remember which, and the cinder block walls didn't phase me - I loved it. That's not to say the weekend wasn't without its share of trials - their RCA obligingly brought me out to the Fields Center to meet other freshmen - except I don't dance, so I stood there awkwardly, unable to tell which people were prefrosh (and therefore safe to talk to sans embarrassment). I spotted another high schooler by his tell-tale white prefrosh folder, and although we hung out and he helped me get back to Forbes, I wandered around for over an hour trying to get back into the island, prox in hand and no clue about where to go. Finally getting up the courage to interrupt the students slaving over a problem set, when I asked them for directions, they were all too willing to make sure I got back to Amber and Francine's room - and all crisis was averted.

The next day, attending the prefrosh barbeque, I was at a loss, since I hadn't met many other people, but a frosh who had snuck into the event to take advantage of the free food (I think he was running low on meals for the week) took me to Witherspoon to check out up-campus. We first stopped by his quad, where people were drinking whiskey and watching the movie Gettysburg at 8 in the evening - this threw me off a little, but smiled and nodded and realized that this was the Princeton way. We took a tour of some more Rocky rooms, and he dropped me off at Amber's Bible study in Murray Dodge. There, they decided to play Catch Phrase, and when I guessed the phase "hammer dulcimer," someone said "I know why you got into Princeton!" and I felt like I might really belong here.

I've hosted 6 freshmen since then; 2 for the Humanities Symposium, and 2 each for the past two years. As much of a pain as prefrosh weekend can be (and as much as I hate the new name), there are moments when I think about how great it can be to show someone the wonders the next four years can hold, and it's a little easier to be patient with the hordes of high schoolers clogging the sidewalks.


Lillian Zhou '11 said...

I never got to go because I was ED, but from what you say it sounds awesome. I didn't want to host a freshman without knowing what I was getting into, but reading your post makes me think again about next year.

Maria Salciccioli '09 said...

Aww do it next week! There's still time!