Finishing Strong: Dean’s Date Traditions and Reading Period Excitement

Photo taken by Whitman College Council; depicts two young individuals smiling at the camera holding the showbill for Harry Potter
Keep an eye on your inbox for once-in-a-lifetime events that you can enjoy during Reading Period, like Whitman College Broadway trips!

Can you believe it is almost time for finals? Our fall semester is coming to a close and it feels surreal. It is true that finals season, reading period, and Dean’s Date can be stressful. Furthermore, if you are a first year, it may not be obvious how the whole system works. In sum, our last day of class is December 8th. Then, reading period, a week without classes used to study for finals and prepare for Dean’s Date, begins on the 9th and ends on the 16th. The 16th is the infamous ~Dean’s Date~ or a fancy term we use to describe the day in which many of our written assignments and final projects are due. Finally, we go out like legends and finish our finals from the 17th to the 23rd. You can check the date of your finals on the University Registrar and reach out to your Academic Dean about rescheduling them if you have multiple finals on one day. The next few weeks may seem like a gloomy time on campus, but I want to use this post to share some moments of excitement and sneaky Princeton traditions that you can look forward to.

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Princeton from a Student’s Perspective: The Most Legendary Courses at Princeton University

Set of four images depicting Princeton students. Top left: two Princeton students decked out in Princeton gear, standing back to back and smiling at the camera. Top right: Four Princeton students wearing pink jackets and dotted scarves smile at camera. Bottom Left: Two students sit on the green, one holding flowers the other holding a small bunny figurine. Bottom right: Three Princeton students smile at camera in front of a Princeton flag

Thank you to the best friends in the world for sending in their favorite courses!

“Does anyone know a good English class?” “I need to fulfill my history requirement.” “I am looking for a chill, creative P/D/F course.” Everyone is searching for the best schedule possible and I know that many of you are open for suggestions. In my last post, I wrote about my favorite courses at Princeton as a SPIA major interested in law and service (see post here). But, I understand that every Princeton student is unique, so I have spoken with classmates and friends within other majors to better understand the full Princeton experience. Thus, without further ado, here are the most unforgettable courses that they have taken at Princeton.

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From Politics to Neuroscience: 5 Princeton Courses I’ll Never Forget

Photograph of Nassau Hall at night. Blueish-Green light is cast over the center of the building. The brick pathway leading up is wet and covered in fall leaves.
Rainy fall leaves will turn to snowy flakes before you know it; it’s never too early to plan some future courses!

“I have to wake up at 6:23 AM for course enrollment?!” Yes. You do. But you got this! It’s true that course enrollment is still a month away, but it is never too early to start drafting your schedule to avoid this “oh no” early-bird moment. Generally, I recommend taking courses that excite you, even if they are outside of your major, because before you know it you’ll be an old senior like me wishing you had time to take more. Everyone has a different taste in classes. I am a SPIA major who is passionate about service, social justice, and law, but I have tried to take unique and expansive research-based classes. Thus, without further ado, here are 5 of my most memorable classes at Princeton, in no particular order, and why they might be of interest to you:

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Submitted and Successful: 3 Final Steps Before Turning in Your First Paper

Photograph of Princeton University in the rain, with many students walking, biking, and scootering to class holding umbrellas or wearing rain jackets
These rainy, gloomy days are perfect for colorful umbrellas and cozy paper-writing sessions.

“Did I include a scholarly conversation? Where is the motive of my piece? Do I even have a thesis?!” The “Submit” button on Canvas can stir worrisome thoughts as it may seem permanent or stressful. The goal of this post is to walk you through a few final steps you can take to ensure that everything is in check and ready to go, so that you don’t feel like something is missing once turning in your assignment. These points are by no means the end all be all, but you may use them to help you feel more confident handing in your final product. Thus, without further ado, here are 3 final steps to follow before submitting your research paper.

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From Law to Coding: Writing my SPIA Quantitative Junior Paper

Photo depicts grand Princeton building at night time, with ivy climbing up brick that appears reddish in the lighting.
From courses at SPIA to starry nights at Nassau Hall, there are many opportunities to reflect on what type of research is meaningful to you

There are many reasons why I chose to major in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), ranging from the impact that we have through service and the focus on policy and law. One unique feature of SPIA is the ability for concentrators to take more qualitative courses such as SPI333: Law, Institutions, and Public Policy and quantitatively-based courses, such as POL346: Applied Quantitative Analysis. During the Fall of my junior year, I wrote a more qualitative junior paper on risk assessment tools in the pretrial adjudication system and analyzed whether or not they make more biased decisions than do humans (see here to read more about my experience). Headed into my junior spring, I was presented with the choice of writing another qualitative paper or joining a quantitative research lab. Thankfully, I felt confident in my coding abilities due to past courses I had taken which prepared me for this moment (see here to read about how I gained a quantitative background in R as a SPIA major). I chose the lab without hesitation and my spring semester independent research journey began.

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Navigating Princeton in COVID-19 Isolation

      Although things have been looking brighter on campus, with a decrease in COVID cases and happier weather, the threat of COVID-19 still remains and can be a daunting obstacle. I tested positive for COVID-19 last month, and I was lucky enough to get through it, but an extra stressor was definitely keeping up with my classes while being in isolation. Everyone’s experience is different, especially when it comes to symptoms and classes, but I hope that my advice can help you get through a tough time if it ever comes to it.

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A look into Princeton Independent Research: Presenting Proposals to Congressmember Bush

Our task force meeting Congressmember Bush last semester.
She was truly inspirational.

     When you are a first-year, you hear about the Senior Thesis, the Junior Paper, and independent research. While these may seem daunting and unexciting, they are actually some of the most unique and amazing parts of the Princeton experience. Most juniors do independent research within their respective majors. As a SPIA major, I took a Task Force in the fall, where I worked with a professor and team of SPIA students to achieve a policy mission, and I am now in a Research Seminar, where I am doing more quantitative research on a new policy issue. In this post, I would like to share my experiences in my task force last semester in order to help you gain an understanding of what independent research could look like, and how truly incredible it can be.

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What are First-Years Researching? An Interview With My Legendary Zees

My zees (Kyung and Jaehee) and I getting ready for Clash of the Colleges. Whales love research!!!!!

     On campus, I am a Residential College Adviser in Whitman College. It is by far the most meaningful part of my Princeton experience and I am thankful every day to have such amazing advisees (zees). In the fall, I decided to interview some of my zees on the incredible research that they have done on campus and how they became involved in this research. My freshmen show that research does not always mean working in a lab or on a senior thesis like many often assume. There are so many different ways to become involved with research on campus, whether it’s through writing a paper or joining an academic club. My hope is that seeing the research that my zees did last semester will inspire you to do your own and also show you what research on campus can look like for first years. So, without further ado, here is the research conducted by the most legendary zees of all time:

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Dear First Time Coders, You Can Do It

As a SPIA major, I was worried about coding for the first time. But, after taking POL345, I realized that I actually love statistics and computer science.

      “I can’t code,” I told my friends when I realized that I had to take a statistics course for my major that required coding. “I don’t understand it,” I told them. I had never coded before and the thought of creating algorithms on a computer sent shivers down my SPIA spine. I loved math in high school, and coding always seemed interesting to me, but rumors about Princeton math courses, as well as computer science courses, had me sprinting away from Fine Hall. But then, I realized I had to take a statistics course for SPIA. I had to face my fear of R, or the programming language that most SPIA statistics courses use for statistical computation. I didn’t think that I could do it, but I did. And, I ended up loving it. I faced my fears, learned how to code, and you can too.

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It’s Midterm Season: 6 Tips for Success on Midterms

East Pyne looks absolutely beautiful as students approach midterm season.

Midterms start this week. I know; I also had to read that twice because I could not believe it. Time is flying on campus and it has been amazing, but with everything going on it can be difficult to stay motivated and study for midterms. Nonetheless, I believe in myself and all of you reading this post! We will make it through midterms and we will succeed. Here are the tips and tricks that I am going to use to perform my best, and I hope that you can use them too:

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