The idea of finding a resonant location on campus was introduced to me before I even got there, as a necessary rite of passage. My father went to the Naval Academy; without the funds to go anywhere else, the Academy would pay him, and he, in turn would serve.
The Academy is not an easy place to be. When it was particularly difficult, my father found himself returning to one spot — the statue of Tecumseh that reigns in front of Bancroft Hall. Before I started at Princeton, he advised me to find a Tecumseh of my own.
I found it, almost immediately, in the Chapel. I am religious but deeply private. Going to church in droves with the rest of the world has always left me irritable and empty, but being in an empty church alone is something else, and the Chapel has that something else in spades.
I ended up there at all sorts of unlikely hours by myself throughout my four years. I went not just for prayer, respite, and relief (and of course, silence), but also to feel something ancient and unnamed, which only seems to inhabit places like these. In the Chapel, it never failed me.
In the PAW article, Hayley Roth ’17 described the Chapel as a “slumbering beast,” which I’m so pleased someone else noticed. She’s right: The Chapel is an old, ornate monster — my favorite kind.