It was just one week before that these same sophomores were sitting in my common room, nervously tugging at their hair and preparing themselves for bickering. Some were discussing which outfits to wear for bicker—in the case of some, this meant strategically picking shoes that could withstand intense moisture, snow, and beer spillage, yet still not appear sloppy. Some girls were flipping through bicker guides prepared for them by upperclassmen friends. I overheard two sophomore boys in Frist struggling to come up with five interests to write down on a pre-bicker survey.
Princeton’s degree of social exclusivity is abnormal. Whether compared to colleges whose social lives are dominated by bar culture, or colleges with extensive Greek life, Princeton stands out in the extent of its social hierarchy and in the lack of truly inclusive late-night social spaces.