In Response to: Life of the Mind

Your reporting on income diversity among undergraduates struck home. It's not only money that separates students from different classes. I grew up in a solidly working-class family. Early on in our freshman year, my mother and grandfather decided to visit the campus on Parents' Weekend. I had a one-room double. My family and I thought nothing of having my guests sleep in the room, with my grandfather in my bed and my mother and I sharing a sleeping bag on the floor. It not only saved them the cost of a hotel room but gave us all more time together. My upper-middle-class roommate was horrified, as was our RA.

As a sophomore, a classmate asked me to be her guest at the opera -- until she realized that I had nothing appropriate to wear, at which point she offered to "buy back" my ticket, rather than be seen with someone who was underdressed. A sophomore-year roommate of mine (I later learned) used to show my closet to her preppy friends so that they could laugh at my wardrobe.

I learned a huge amount at Princeton about many things, academic and otherwise, including the differences between the behaviors of working class people and those in the upper middle class.

Elizabeth A. Shollenberger ’78
White Plains, N.Y.