At first glance, “a bunch of entitled millennials on a Facebook page wasting their time writing memes” seems like nothing new. But a Facebook group — Princeton Memes for Preppy AF Teens — has quickly become the most popular way to complain about classes, share witty observations about life on campus, and poke fun at Princeton-specific experiences.
The page, which has collected almost 8,000 members since its debut in March, was inspired by UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens, and students at many other colleges have followed suit with their own versions.
The Tab, a student news website, took a look at several schools’ meme pages in April. On Harvard’s page, it found, “the simultaneous self-deprecation and Yale-bashing is never not entertaining.” Princeton memes “tend to be clever, wholesome, and in general devoid of pettiness,” The Tab said.
The academic workload is a common theme. “The constant references to the Honor Code, the stack of work waiting for us on the weekend, or the fact that some of us have to put off papers until the day prior, all paint a picture of Princeton culture,” said Seth Lovelace ’20. “It is that moment of thinking ‘this is so true in my life’ that sparks the hilarity and familiarity.”
Some of the most-liked memes on the page are jokes about Princeton courses and departments, especially computer science (one, captioned “Partnering on COS assignments,” combines one side of Mona Lisa’s face with a scribbled sketch of the other side). Others take a humorous look at overly ambitious students in precept and encounters with black squirrels.
“We all need to laugh about ourselves to get through the stress that comes with being a student,” Han Tran ’15 said. He said the meme he posted (shown at lower right) reflects the tendency of Princeton students to be excessively “self-critical” after completing their theses and other big projects.
Because the group is open to the public, some members aren’t from Princeton. Fiona Erskine-Smith, a 44-year-old woman from Australia, developed a devoted following with her supportive comments on the page, especially during midterms. Student comments called for “a GoFundMe to fly her here during Reunions” and created a “Queen Fiona of House Erskine-Smith” meme based on a scene from Game of Thrones.
Bridge-Year students are a special target, with one popular meme suggesting they love to talk about themselves. Bilal Mubarack ’20, who posted the meme, said he feared that Bridge-Year students might be “vaguely offended” by the post, which has attracted more than 1,500 likes. “But this has given them the opportunity to talk about Bridge Year even more, so I’ve kind of played into their trap,” he said.