My BSE Fall Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence

College is daunting. It’s normal for incoming first-years to feel uncertain about many things, especially course selection. I remember looking through every course on the course offerings page to determine the classes I would be taking in the fall, and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. I came into Princeton as a prospective COS (Computer Science) BSE student, so my class choices were inevitably influenced by my BSE degree requirements. BSE degree requirements include four semesters of math, two semesters of physics, one semester of chemistry, and every first-year is required to take one semester of writing seminar. Read on to learn about my experiences in the EGR sequence, starting with EGR 151.

  1. EGR 151: Foundations of Engineering: Mechanics, Energy, and Waves
Screenshot depicting course description of EGR 151. Link in caption leads to full version.
Course Description of EGR 151 for Fall 2023
Continue reading My BSE Fall Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence

An Interview with Cara Khalifeh, PPP Treasurer

The Princeton Perspective Project (PPP) is an initiative by Princeton students against the expectation of “effortless perfection.” Our seasonal series in partnership with PPP interviewed professors, undergraduate students, and graduate students to hear their thoughts on expectations, challenges, failures, and growth through it all. In this segment of our Seasonal Series, we hear from Cara Khalifeh, the Treasurer of the Princeton Perspective Project. 

Cara Khalifeh sitting on a red bench in central park with the NYC skyline in the background.
Cara Khalifeh ’24
Continue reading An Interview with Cara Khalifeh, PPP Treasurer

PPP from a Student’s Perspective: An Interview with Alexis Wu

I really enjoyed Alexis Wu’s introduction to our seasonal series with the Princeton Perspective Project (PPP) – if you haven’t read it already, you should definitely check it out. Alexis was kind enough to agree to an interview to answer some further questions about her experiences as a member of PPP. Read more below!

Colorful infographic with the statement "Don't let failure bring you down."
A promotional image from PPP’s ‘We All Face Rejection’ Campaign.
Continue reading PPP from a Student’s Perspective: An Interview with Alexis Wu

Reflections on Fear, “Failure,” & the Beauty of Organic Chemistry Part 1: Thank You ORGO LEGEND Tom Silldorff

Organic Chemistry TA and Princeton Senior Tom Silldorff poses in front of a chalkboard after a long night of tutoring at the NCW dining hall.
Princeton Senior and Orgo TA Tom Silldorff offers numerous tutoring sessions in Choi Dining Hall (Yeh/NCW) for all students in Organic Chemistry.

As part of our collaboration with the Princeton Perspectives Project (PPP), we’re exploring how the idealized notion of “effortless perfection”—the idea that a path to success must be free of failure—obscures the reality of both the research process and mastering a new subject. For many students, there are few better examples of this phenomenon than the Organic Chemistry course. Almost regardless of who is teaching or how it is taught, “Orgo” has earned near-universal notoriety for its complicated labs, unconventional approach, and the immense, complex breadth of material that students must learn to conceptualize and then apply. Orgo students must learn to think in an entirely new way, and this process can be uncomfortable. Challenges, mistakes, and “failure” are bound to occur along the way. Yet, often, it is through confronting these very challenges that students grow not only as future academics, engineers, or doctors—but as people. 

Continue reading Reflections on Fear, “Failure,” & the Beauty of Organic Chemistry Part 1: Thank You ORGO LEGEND Tom Silldorff

Struggling with Summer? Why You SHOULD Do the Unexpected

Icahn Lab summer silhouette
Summer may not always go as planned. How can you make the most of an unexpected experience?

“So, what are your plans this summer?”

With summer break a mere two months away, it seems talk of summer plans finds its way into more and more conversations. The question seems simple enough: it may just be someone’s attempt to sow common ground, find a housing buddy, or even vent their own frustrations in the summer internship search.

Continue reading Struggling with Summer? Why You SHOULD Do the Unexpected

Wintersession: A Fun Chance to Discover New Interests

The start of a new semester can be an adjustment, especially after a long and relaxing break. In the spring, I often end up feeling overwhelmed by internship applications, which Amaya recently wrote about. A few weeks ago, though, I found myself overwhelmed in a far more positive manner; I came back to campus early this year for Wintersession, and was amazed by the huge selection of opportunities both on and off campus. Wintersession is a recent Princeton initiative, giving students the chance to teach and participate in workshops, classes, and trips during the last two weeks of winter break. This past Wintersession, some of the offerings included a class on blacksmithing and a skiing trip. Free, short-term programs are the perfect chance to step out of your learning comfort zone. A particularly engaging class could spark your interest in an unfamiliar (or even underexplored!) topic, opening up new avenues for potential research. 

Entrance to Lewis Library
This Wintersession, I attended a class in the Maker Space located inside Lewis Library.
Continue reading Wintersession: A Fun Chance to Discover New Interests

Experiences in the ReMatch+ Program: An Interview with Kasey Shashaty ’23 – Part 2

Last spring, I interviewed Kasey Shashaty. In this second part of my interview, we discuss specific challenges in her transition between virtual and in-person research and reflections on how this experience in the PULSe Lab has influenced her perspective on research and her plans for the future. 

Woman is standing next to a research poster at a poster presentation session
Kasey presenting her research.

Kasey Shashaty got her jumpstart in research through the ReMatch+ program organized by the Office of Undergraduate Research. ReMatch+ is a summer mentorship program that pairs first-year and second-year students with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow as they work on a summer research project. Read on to learn more about her research experience!

Continue reading Experiences in the ReMatch+ Program: An Interview with Kasey Shashaty ’23 – Part 2

iFly and I Rest: Making the Most of Winter Break

Photo of hand holding a takeout container with mini donuts covered in chocolate and powdered sugar. A blue food truck is in the background.
The outdoor food festival takes place on Prospect at the end of Wintersession. From donuts to skiing to iFly, you should definitely check it all out!

Winter break is long and much-needed. It is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and reflect on the semester. In this post, I will give advice on how to make the most of the next few months, but I recognize that you know yourself best and should choose to spend your break in whatever way makes you happiest. Without further ado, here are my takeaways from the last 3 winter breaks:

Continue reading iFly and I Rest: Making the Most of Winter Break

Learning to Stay Productive During Reading Period

While reading Ryan’s recent post about dean’s date traditions and reading period excitement, I started thinking back to all of the things I wish I did differently during my first reading period. Today, I want to approach the same topic of reading period, but from a slightly less exciting (although necessary) angle: how to actually buckle down and stay productive when studying for finals. Unlike fall finals last year, reading period this December will be fully on campus, and for most of us, won’t require navigating studying from home. Here’s some of my advice for how to take full advantage of reading period for a strong end to the semester.

screenshot of a google calendar schedule
An example of what an “optimized” schedule might look like – you can take this to whatever degree works best for you.
Continue reading Learning to Stay Productive During Reading Period

No Experience Necessary: An Interview with Delaan Nedd ’25

Delaan Nedd '25 and the Bocarsly Lab

Delaan Nedd ’25 (second from the left in the top row) and the Bocarsly Lab. Photo from Bocarsly Lab News.

As we enter December, it seems like summer is far, far away, but it’s a good time to start thinking about summer plans if you haven’t already. If you’re interested in research, there are numerous summer research programs whose applications are currently open (the Office of Undergraduate Research has a great list here).

For students with no experience with research, just getting started can be daunting. I wanted to hear from students whose first hands-on exposure to research was through Princeton’s research programs, so I interviewed Delaan Nedd ‘25. Delaan spent this past summer in the Princeton Department of Chemistry’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Chemistry (SURF-C) program. SURF-C is a nine-week program for first and second-year undergraduate students to work on cutting-edge chemistry research alongside Princeton faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and other undergrads. What’s exciting is that the research Delaan contributed to during SURF-C was recently published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Dalton Transactions journal—check out the full paper here!

In this interview, we discuss his experience with on-campus summer research both in and out of the lab, as well as how the summer further informed his academic and career interests.

Continue reading No Experience Necessary: An Interview with Delaan Nedd ’25