It’s been 4 months since we’ve met. Since I last saw you in June, I haven’t secured a job yet, I didn’t travel much, and I’ve watched as much Netflix as I had in all past years combined. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve moved on. I’ve moved on to a new chapter called the real world and I’m anxiously awaiting the adventures that lie ahead of me. But, that isn’t to say, I still haven’t forgotten about you. We had a great 4 year run together, albeit one seemingly faster than the speed of light. Words can’t describe how incredible our run was, but in the spirit of writing and blogging, I’m going to share a few words about what I miss from our days together.
I miss those feelings of school pride and school spirit. I miss calling myself a Princeton Tiger, but even more, I miss sharing my tiger pride with my fellow classmates. From everything from football tailgates to sporting my orange and black hoodie in the airport, I always felt immense joy in having you as a part of me, a part of my identity. Call me crazy, but I really, really loved the feeling of stepping foot on campus after returning from a holiday break in my hometown; it was an uplifting feeling each time. For 4 years, I was never leaving home, just going from one home to another.
I miss meeting new people and making new friends. As hard as it was leaving my hometown friends for you all the way across the country, it was thrilling to meet someone new each and every day. I instantly made new friends and became close with a few, but there was always someone new to meet. A person from somewhere else in the world and with a different story to tell. I never thought I’d meet someone as quirky and laidback as me, but you randomly assigned him as my roommate freshman year. So maybe not so random. The friends I made are also my hometown friends, since you are one of my homes.
I miss the sort of constrained freedom that I had. Sure, I had obligations and responsibilities, exams to pass, and rules to adhere to, but I also had the ability to choose my own classes, set my own schedule, and find routines that worked for me. There were plenty of stressful moments, but there were also plenty of “laxed” times. How about senior year second semester? Yeah, that was a very chill semester, having afternoon classes only a few days a week. You were my first opportunity to be on my own, and the perfect balance between work, play, and flexibility.
I miss my teammates aka my second family. As I left home for another home in you, I left my family for a new family in my Princeton Men’s Tennis teammates and coaches. It was comforting knowing I had a band of brothers who always supported me, had my back, and shared the same passion for tennis as I had. We went through the same ups and downs, celebrations and disappointments, and workouts and practices together. Yet, they, too, were from all over the world and from different backgrounds. So in a sense I gained a new family, made new friends, and learned the importance of teamwork, all in one.
But most of all, I miss you, college. You helped make me the person I am today. You were another home to me. You gave me another family to lean on. You were the sight of so many unforgettable moments, long-lasting memories, and lifelong friendships. You pushed me, challenged me, excited me, inspired me, and changed me. Clearly, I’m one of those heavily nostalgic post-grads, but heck, there’s nothing wrong with that, right? So, thank you college, for everything.
Michael, The Great Class of 2013