The beauty of Jersey: Princeton

Yesterday I took an evening trip to Princeton, which is only about an hour away. I had never been there before. In fact, when I applied for colleges, I only applied to two universities and didn’t go on any college visits, so I haven’t seen that many campuses in general. Princeton University was absolutely completely gorgeous. For starters, it had a lot of greenery and plant life, something few and far between in Jersey.

The front entrance from Nassau Street

Is it cliche to say it’s an ivy league?

They had a stunning rose garden near what I think was the president’s house. There were fountains around ever corner. The sculptures and campus art were really interesting and intriguing. And for one of the only times this summer, I was surrounded by college students. While walking around, I saw all these old inscriptions and engravings since the university and some buildings have been around since 1756. (Fun fact: The university was actually founded in 1746 right here in Elizabeth! Too bad the city has done down hill since then.)

On the front steps of a building! I thought it was a lion but I recently learned it was a Princeton Tiger

The campus just had this air of timelessness and greatness. And somewhat strangely, even though it was the first Ivy League I had ever visited, I was not very impressed. It was just way too similar to UNC Chapel Hill.

To be fair, I know absolutely nothing about Princeton, didn’t go into any buildings and didn’t really see that much of campus, so I don’t have a full sense of what it’s like. But while exploring probably the prettiest part of Jersey, I have never been prouder to be a Tar Heel. UNC has almost been around as long as Princeton (UNC was founded in 1795), it shares the same kind of ageless excellence. One graduate from each school has been president of the US (James Madison from Princeton and James Polk from UNC) and both share an impressive alumni list of many men and women who have greatly impacted history. Needless to say, the old plaques and impressive student lists were nothing new to me, so I wasn’t open-mouthed. The universities are very similar, and from what I saw they were pretty different as well. Nassau Street (equivalent to the Franklin Street of Chapel Hill) that the area hosted an expensive private university- there was even a Rolex store!- which gave me a sense of consumerism and wealth. The clothing on almost everyone I saw there had a huge, expensive name brand logos. And all that makes sense, since one year there costs about $53,000. That’s just not how it is back home.

I always knew that UNC is one of the best schools the nation has to offer, ranked #12 in the Top 50 Colleges and Universities by The Best Colleges. It’s also ranked #7 in the nation’s public universities according to Forbes. But after actually going to a place that has almost always out-raked UNC overall, and seeing that it was extremely similar, solidified that UNC rolls with the best. It’s at weird moments like these when I have this weird urge to go back to UNC and keep studying, to help extend the legacy of greatness. I get a flash of burning desire to do something important so the school can continue to expand the minds of thousands of youngsters from all over the nation. Especially with so many former Tar Heel women currently in the Olympic spotlight, it feels great to be a Tar Heel gal.

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