I always knew college would be the place I made lifelong friends — but I never thought I’d meet those friends before college even started. A few weeks before Princeton Preview, I found a new friend, Nate, on the Class of 2017 Facebook group, after we bonded over shared music tastes. We planned to get together during Preview, and there we met up with others Nate had been in touch with.
Nate, Emily, Nina, and I spent the whole day combing the campus, taking advantage of every activity: ballroom dance class at Dillon, Shabbat dinner, the art museum. At the end of the evening, we found our way to the Whitman College common room, where the piano could provide all the entertainment we needed. Hour after hour passed without a thought about the necessity or possibility of sleep. We dreamed of the people we’d become in college, contemplated the world we’d leave behind, declared that in that room we understood each other better than anyone back home. When Nina pulled out a camera at 5 a.m., we recorded our high jinks for posterity. And when the clock struck 7, we said our slow goodbyes.
In the end, we couldn’t stay together. Nate went to school in North Carolina while we came to Princeton. Nina lost track of that video file, and we forgot what we said. In that room, we left a piece of our youth, unadulterated by the challenges of the next four years. But we found friends in one another, and after all, isn’t that what really matters?
More Favorite Places
Photographs by Ricardo Barros