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Tune Every Heart and Every Voice June 3, 2010

Posted by Sarah in Uncategorized.
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Well, after shouting and singing myself hoarse in a sea of orange and black, I got myself a nice diploma in Latin I don’t quite understand, saying I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree. It’s an interesting moment. I have to be an adult now, and I’m perhaps not as terrified as I should be.

Princeton does a very nice graduation setup, though it’s almost sadistic in a certain way: first they give you Reunions, to remind you how much you miss your friends who’ve already graduated, and then they give you three days of graduation pomp, so you can reflect at length on how much you’re going to miss your friends from the class of 2010. I’ve met some really amazingly bright and kind people in college. I seriously feel like Sam waving goodbye to Frodo as he sails into the CGI sunset. Luckily, some of my friends are fearsomely good at staying in touch, and, unlike hobbits, we have e-mail and Amtrak.

I come out of college chiefly with gratitude — if I have interesting future prospects today, it’s mostly thanks to the professors who have helped me — and a pretty intense case of the nostalgia I thought I was immune to. I came in, as a lonely, stubborn freshman, determined that I hated Princeton because it was not like home; now, I’ve become a little Princeton myself, and I’ve seen its good side, which can be very good.

There’s a line in Joyce that I always liked: “The way to Tara is via Holyhead.” Tara was the ancient seat of the kings of Ireland; Holyhead is the main port from which ships left Ireland. In other words, to be an Irish writer, you have to leave Ireland. I’ve taken it as something of a motto. To be who you are, you have to embrace the unfamiliar; you draw strength from remaining yourself away from home. Princeton was my Holyhead.

So I’m happy, though I miss everybody like hell. I’m happy to see my family again, and to do some fun math, and to start a new part of life. I’ll probably keep coming back, in full orange regalia, every five years or so; none of us can really help it. The alumni fundraising people, at least, reassure us that we can never really leave (for better or for worse.) So farewell, for now, to Old Nassau; I’m off to spend another four-ish years acquiring a new fancy robe and silly hat.