In 40 rhyming stanzas with accompanying hand-drawn illustrations, Ari Satok ’14’s The Great Princeton Adventure tells the story of four years at Princeton. While the poem is dedicated to the Great Class of 2014, undergraduates and alumni of all ages are likely to relate to it.
It is “warm and funny, but also perceptive and honest” about the Princeton experience, said Natasha Japanwala ’14. Indeed, The Great Princeton Adventure “captures that four years at Princeton is a real roller-coaster ride,” Japanwala added. The poem can be found online at www.thegreatprincetonadventure.com.
Satok’s poem comments on aspects of Princeton from academics to athletics, from internships to The Street. He references performance groups and religious organizations, late-night conversations and mental health. One segment reads:
But although grades may stay deflated / Our spirits would not /And so we picked ourselves up/ And in the process were taught / All the myriad lessons / That Princeton can teach / In the class, on the field / Even on Myrtle Beach
Satok said the poem sought to evoke the “sense of nostalgia that brought [alumni] back to their Princeton experiences, even if some things have changed.”
While the primary motivation for the project was to make people smile, Satok hopes that it will spark conversations about “some of the not-so-glamorous aspects of the Princeton experience.” The illustrations offer an additional layer to the story, he said.
More than 40 students helped to color Satok’s illustrations. One theme apparent to Gideon Grossman ’14 was that of striving to fit in and be accepted. “The essence of the project was bringing students together to color the illustrations. So it was on two levels generating the same message,” Grossman said, of everyone being a part of the Princeton experience.
Satok, a sociology major, is the co-founder of a group called Voices of Change that seeks to give expression to the stories of ordinary individuals. He used a Martin A. Dale ’53 Award after sophomore year to pursue freelance journalism in London during the 2012 Olympics. This summer he will use a Ferris journalism grant to write about wealth and poverty in New York City, having offered words of encouragement to his graduating classmates:
Wherever you go/ As you head on your way / Know you’re off to Great Places (as Dr. Seuss once said) / You’re off and away!