Spires and Gargoyles – “In the Nation’s Service”

Something magical happens when you sashay through Fitz-Randolph gate and enter the suburban paradise that is Princeton’s campus.

Eisgruber sits in his office waving and fanning all the money from the university’s endowment to generate the perfect breeze. The squirrels are plump from the food tributes they are offered daily in exchange for the right to use their pictures in admissions brochures. The grass is always greener, the admissions rate always lower, and the special snowflakes always the most special.

College is a special time. It’s for finding out who you are and what you’re passionate about. There’s certainly no need to alarm yourself with actual, real-life Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest racist, misogynistic, or otherwise alarming speeches or, for that matter, the gradual breakdown of American political discourse.

You’ll be so busy waiting for your Nobel prize-winning professor to answer your email about office hours that you won’t even have time to think about how people out in the real world refuse to acknowledge America’s history of legal oppression and racism.

There will always be some meddling ne’er-do-wells on this campus and in this country trying to force you to reflect on the kind of world we have created and the one that will be left behind when we’re gone. But you’re taking five classes this semester and none of them are pdf-able. You’re applying for internships for next summer and it’s uncertain if you’ll get the one you want. The global retreat of democracy can wait. You didn’t get an A on your first paper and need time to deal with the subsequent feeling of inadequacy! You have your own problems, damn it!

To tell you the truth, this place can seem like it’s on a different planet, at times more fun and interesting than you thought was possible and at times more difficult. Just don’t forget that no matter how hard Princeton tries to separate itself from the rest of the world, it’s still stuck firmly to Earth. Lose yourself in the bubble. Then find yourself again. Just remember that sometimes more important things lie beyond Princeton’s gates.

And I’m not talking about Goldman Sachs.



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