Photos by Beverly Schaefer

As members of the Class of 2021 prepared for their first day of classes, PAW spoke with several about their experiences during orientation, their interests, and what they hope to accomplish during their time at Princeton. 

What’s been your favorite part of orientation? My Outdoor Action group was pretty diverse — there was one person from Saudi Arabia, one from Barcelona, one from Belgium, and one from Turkey. I really enjoyed getting to know them and working toward a common goal. What do you hope to do at Princeton? Finding out where everything is is my priority right now! And I guess decide if I want to be a doctor or work in artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is pretty much everywhere — everything is just advancing in the world, and that’s where I want to be.

Nsomma Alilonu ’21, Phoenix, Ariz.

What’s been the best part of orientation? Community Action — I was building houses in Trenton with Habitat for Humanity. I want to get involved with doing community service because I really liked my CA experience. What do you plan to study? I like economics, and I want to get certificates in finance and Spanish. My dream job is to work for ESPN or the NFL or some big sports company like that. I’m really interested in sports business and marketing.

Caroline Evnin ’21, Bedford, N.Y. 

What do you plan to study? I’m doing BSE — I’m a tech hound. I love new technology, and computers, and putting stuff together. I’m thinking of building a computer over Thanksgiving break. What’s the biggest difference between the U.S. and Australia? The slang — I’m trying to keep up with the slang.

Ollie Schwartz ’21, Sydney, Australia

What inspires you? My mom. She came from Japan knowing no English when she was only 16 years old. ... Her parents always made fun of her for liking art, and then she got into an art school and did really well and became a designer. What are your plans here? The entrepreneurship club looks super-interesting. I’m hoping to get experience, and maybe I’ll become an entrepreneur — who knows? I want to contribute back to society because I’ve been given a lot. I also want to excel academically.

Gabrielle Rich ’21, New York, N.Y. 

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What’s been your favorite part of being at Princeton so far? I play on the baseball team, so I’ve gotten to meet a lot of team and they’re pretty great. What do you hope to accomplish during the next four years? I want to make a lot of new friends, meet all sorts of interesting people, and I want to try to get a great job after college and set myself up for future success. I’m probably going to major in economics — I’m interested in how governments work and how they drive the economy.

Connor Udell ’21, Orlando, Fla.

How has orientation week been? Community Action was pretty fun — I did “Arts Trenton,” so for the first two days we went around to a homeless shelter, and we helped them with painting. We also helped clean out their warehouse. And on the last day, we went to Grounds for Sculpture, where my group helped build a bamboo fence around some of the exhibits so that the grass can grow. What inspires you? My family. My sister [Debbie Yun ’17] went to Princeton before me, and she definitely inspires me. … She inspires me to go out and try new things and to make sure that I get the most out of Princeton as I can.

Jena Yun ’21, Queens, N.Y. 

How has orientation week been so far? It was great. I did Outdoor Action. We went to Connecticut and hiked along the Appalachian Trail. ... We had no phones for four days, and the leaders did this thing where they didn’t tell us the time. They all changed their watches so we wouldn't know. Do you know what you might want to study here? Not at all. I just got back from the academic expo, which confused me even more about what I want to study because there are so many things! But I would say I'm interested in Woody Woo, so I think maybe that, or history, or politics.

Tom Salotti ’21, Arlington, Va.

Any idea what you may want to study here? I’m thinking about computer science. I really enjoy software and being able to tell the computer what to do. What are you excited about right now? I’ve been getting into art history, and I'm taking an art history freshman seminar, which I'm really excited about. I'm really happy that I'm still close to New York City so that I can go to museums and check things out and still stay in the art scene.

Kimora Kong ’21, Brooklyn, N.Y.

What do you hope to accomplish during your four years here? I hope to come away with friendships with people from all across the world — people different from me. I also want to leave with a lot of computer science knowledge, hopefully to the point where I can code to live. What inspires you? Since being here, it’s been really inspiring to see all of the other people here at Princeton. They’re all so devoted to different studies, and their aspirations kind of rub off on you and you feel like you're in a place where everyone is hungry for success and it motivates you to try hard. There weren't as many overachievers at my high school as there are here — there was a select few, but it’s nice coming to a place where everyone is so motivated.

Van Brantley ’21, Maplewood, N.J.

What’s been your favorite part of orientation? Definitely my OA trip. We went to Massachusetts. We did a lot of hiking … I’ve done one or two day-hikes before, but not 5 days. What inspires you? My parents. They both work, and they both raised five kids. They really pushed me to do well in school and they came from less fortunate backgrounds — they’ve done so much to help me get here.

Zach Holecek ’21, Chicago, Ill.