Princeton Preview is the setting for many beautiful moments: arriving on campus and feeling as though all the hard work of high school has paid off, glimpsing the promise held by the next four years, looking on at the awkward sober dance as suburban Jewish boys discover the joys of Asian girls for the first time. With this year’s Preview Weekend rapidly approaching, I have organized my fond recollections of the five most memorable types of people I met as a prefrosh for the benefit of posterity:
1. The Kid Who is Full of Questions— With whom you will have the following (one sided) exchange: “What other schools are you considering? Let me tell you what schools I’m considering, I almost went eight for eight you know plus MIT and Oxford, all the big ones, HYPSBCDPMO I like to call it, I got waitlisted at Cornell isn’t that hilarious? I bet it was yield protection, everyone on College Confidential said I was overqualified. I mean I may not be a URM but I’ve got hooks. What was your SAT score? I got a 2380 when I took it in eighth grade, the math curve screwed me, then I got a 2400 junior year, then I took it again just to prove I could do it twice! Also because I enjoy standardized testing, because I have no soul. I just don’t know if it’s worth compromising the prestige of Harvard to come here. It’s HYP for a reason right? I mean, no one abroad has ever heard of Princeton. It might as well be Wesleyan. Where did you say you were deciding between? Here and BROWN? Hahahahahahahaha.” Luckily, most of these people have already decided on Harvard.
2. The Kid Who Wants to Rage— Everybody remembers this kid from their Princeton Preview weekend. The one who is INFURIATED that the street is closed. The one who has already started shopping for clothes for theme nights. The one who wants to talk about the injustice of the Greek life ban. The one who asks people on College Confidential for advice on how to get into Ivy Club. The one who is just full of stories about how he blacked out at MIT preview weekend even though it makes no sense that he would black out and still remember enough to talk to you about it for this long. You know, that kid. Like Biggie, this kid just wants to know where the party at, but importantly, will not actually drink anything all weekend long because let’s be real, Shirley T. can be scary. All this talk of raging and sexiling future roommates every night may seem a bit much, but do not despair, because once enrolled here, you will almost certainly never see this person. He will become a recluse or, possibly, a member of Tower Club, and in either case cry himself to sleep every night.
3. The Doogie Howser Look-Alike Who May Actually Be Twelve Years Old But it is Impossible to Tell because He Does not Utter a Word for the Entirety of the Weekend, and Also Maybe Has a Rolling Backpack—Honestly, isn’t wanting to know what this person’s voice sounds like reason enough to come here?
4. The Kid Who Wants to Tell You About His Hardships— As if terrified that if he does not constantly recount the storyline of his admissions essay to you he will forget it, this person will urgently and repeatedly inform you of how much he has overcome to get here. It is almost always an admirable, impressive story, but it puts the listener in the same awkward position as when you ask an acquaintance “how are you?” when you see them in the laundry room and they burst into hysterical tears and tell you that their boyfriend is cheating on them with some slut from Princeton Day School. It is kind of the emotional equivalent of that girl who thinks it is cool and bro-y to talk about her poop and fails to understand that some things should stay within the four walls of the bathroom.
5. The Kid Unapologetically Envisioning his Future Career in Finance—Once you spot this kid, already well equipped with his Sperries and Barbour jacket, it will be easy to envision his future self word vomiting to you about how understimulating his summer at Goldman was now that he is faced with his Bain offer while you contemplate stabbing yourself in the face. For now, he is content to say things like “ I see myself as someone with an i-banking type personality; I just don’t have the hustle for Sales and Trading” or “People say there’s a downturn but let’s be real, private equity is alive and well,” or “I love Adderall.” Ask him why he wants to work in finance, and he will offer you some iteration of what one very caffeinated four year old on Toddlers and Tiaras once said best: “A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo child.”