Late last night Joanna Mendelson ’17 led her younger brother and sister into the very dorm room where she routinely questions her own abilities and self-worth. Setting the tone for her family’s two-day visit, Mendelson began the tour by referring to the space where she once threw up after opening her grades on SCORE as a “second home.”
“This is the main hangout area,” Joanna remarked of the sagging black futon where she can nightly be found, curled in a ball, acutely aware that, based on how things are going academically, she’s dumb and always has been. “Very cozy.”
Passing a rack of crusty shot glasses and the mirror where Joanna will for hours hold the gaze of a reflection she now sees as talentless, the tour then entered her bedroom.
“It’s really nice that Princeton provides you with furniture,” she noted, gesturing to the bed where she lie awakes each night, wondering how she ever deceived herself into thinking she was capable of success. “Feel how silky the covers are!” she encouraged, smiling as her siblings caressed the sheets she often has no will to get out of.
Reports indicate Mendelson took this next moment to cheerfully explain the residential college system and how it’s ‘basically just like Hogwarts,’ while her brother ran his fingers absent-mindedly along the top of a desk whose surface is usually damp with tears.
“Next stop, the library!” Mendelson continued, her tone slightly musical, as she led her family to the beautiful Gothic building where she once tore a page from Thomas Jefferson’s diary in frustration that her Linguistics essay wasn’t marked above average.
— CJS ’16