Sunday, April 6, 2008

Two Different Princetons

Somebody left this comment to my op-ed piece last Friday:

While I understand your call to optimism, I like many other students find it discouraging that most of what I am grateful for at Princeton has been in spite of, not because of, the university and its administration. Good roommates and interesting neighbors make up for my small, un-renovated room in upperclass housing (which subsidizes your whitman room, by the way). I love my eating club, and everyone in it. Despite a cramped 12-wk academic schedule, I know I'll still always find time for my club sports team, which gets virtually no funding and plays on poorly maintained fields that are too far away. And I learn more from my discussions with fellow classmates than I do in any class, where half the time I get papers and tests back with nary a comment other than the grade. Don't dismiss legitimate complaints as mere whining. If you really care about the character and future of Princeton, tossing money at it is about the last thing that's needed.
I don't think that I was "dismiss[ing] legitimate complaints as mere whining." (Cf. "Complaints and criticism have their place and are useful tools when used to try and change the system (even if we still have one-ply toilet paper in the dorms). But it's good to offer up praise when praise is due and take note of when things are good.")

But what really struck me about this comment is that the poster and I are talking about two completely different institutions. I have certainly learned more in class than from discussions with my friends (though I learn a lot from them too), and I can't say that I have any complaints with the level of feedback I've gotten on written work. I'm not a big sports person, but the activities I've been engaged in have usually been well funded.

Honestly, I have to admit that the things I really don't like about Princeton have largely been my fault. Still it makes me wonder how two people could have such different experiences.


08 said...

I overall have an extremely positive outlook on Pton, but I must say that the pitifully small funding allotted to club sports is absolutely DISGRACEFUL. the university seems to be unable to spend money fast enough on pretty much every activity/organization conceivable except for club sports, from the club sports administration, which is understaffed and overworked, to the teams themselves which receive allotments from the university which are only enough to cover a fraction of teams' expenses.

Alan said...

Absolutely. I was a grad student at Princeton, and one of the highlights of my experience there was playing club rugby. Knowing how popular club sports are and how central they are to campus life, for undergrads especially, it's a shame the university does so little to support them.