What is a residential college, anyway?
What do I absolutely HAVE to do to prepare for the fall at Forbes?
It is recommended that you:
- Visit "Your Path to Princeton" - http://path.princeton.edu/. It's a lot of information to take in, but it will help you make a smooth transition to Princeton.
- Contact your roommate! Communication is the key to a good relationship with your roommate, so start early and get to know each other a little before you move in.
- Look at the Forbes website. It will answer a lot of your questions and give you a introduction to our staff and the building layout before you get here.
What should I bring? What should I leave at home?
No matter how minimalist you think you're being when you pack, if you're like most incoming freshmen, you will stuff more stuff than you ever thought you could stuff in your stuff sacks. The fact is that you'll never need a lot of what you thought was essential when you were packing. Besides, you're enrolling in college in New Jersey, Glorious Land of the Mall. You can purchase anything you forget in any one of the half-dozen ludicrously huge strip malls five miles from campus.
What to Bring
Unless you like living in a cave, you should bring several lamps. The University has banned halogen lamps, but any other light source should be fine. You'll also need a power strip or two. Most rooms have only two electrical outlets, which hasn't been enough since the early days of indoor plumbing. A fan is a necessity since most dorms aren't air-conditioned (window air conditioners are not permitted). A small vacuum or a Swiffer will come in handy after a few months, when the dust buffalo start migrating (they don't bite, but they do glomp).
Other must-haves: a small whiteboard to hang outside your room; desk supplies like scissors and staplers; a hammer and nails; a mini-fridge; a shower caddy; a mirror and as many space-saving devices as you can find. Also, these medical/health items.
Building a sweet common room is an incredibly difficult task that requires the careful coordination of all your roommates. The best plan is to Facebook your roommates before you arrive on campus to see what everyone is bringing from home, then try to coordinate the purchase of other items once you arrive on campus.
Your immediate concern will probably be furniture. Lucky for you, Princeton is only 10 minutes away from a Target, a Wal-Mart and a Bed, Bath & Beyond, all of which cater to new and returning Princeton students with ridiculous back-to-school specials on dorm room must-haves (think futon couch for $50).
If you want to add a little more character to your room, try the Salvation Army in Trenton, which also delivers. Closer to campus are Design Within Reach (30 Nassau Street), Nassau Interiors (162 Nassau Street) and Skillman Furniture (212 Alexander Drive), which sell higher-quality goods at higher prices.
There are good deals to be had on campus as well. The student-run Tiger Rentals Agency provides the loft beds, micro-fridges, TVs and other appliances at fair prices, and returning upperclassmen often sell their old stuff for close to nothing on TigerTrade.
People come from very different financial and cultural backgrounds, and one of the most common first-week fights in larger suites is over the amount people should chip in for shared furniture, and how nice that furniture should be. Be sensitive before assuming "everybody who sits on the couch should have helped pay for it." Find out what your roommates want before buying something, and be prepared to compromise.
Given the number of papers you’ll have to write, the amount of research you’ll have to do and the tendency of the University to dispense 50 e-mails an hour, having your own computer is handy. As for the age-old laptop-vs-desktop debate: go for the laptop. The portability factor lets you take your work away from loud suitemates, and most places on campus offer reliable wireless Internet access. If you’re worried about it getting stolen (or a nosy roommate), the Office of Information Technology sells laptop locks at its store in the Frist Campus Center. Plus, if you type quicker than you write, like me, it’s a good option for taking notes in lecture.
Mac-vs-PC is just a matter of preference here -- all work on the network, so stick to what you're used to. If you are buying a new laptop, consider going through the Student Computing Initiative, which not only gets you a computer at a decent price, but also gets you one with everything you need to get on the network, Princeton's standard software suite pre-installed and free walk-in tech support at the Frist Campus Center (you’ll need this if you’re planning to hold onto your system all four years).
Yes, Princeton often looks like the setting for a J. Crew catalog. But no, you don't have to buy the uniform. People wear a little bit of everything here. Most students wear jeans and a sweatshirt to class, though people dress both up and down from that standard. The weather in Jersey varies greatly from season to season (and from day to day, really). The early fall and late spring are usually hot and muggy, and winter can get very cold. Expect at least three months of subfreezing weather and a couple of snowstorms.
Remember that you're going to have to do your own laundry. The machines on campus are free, but still, who wants to visit them weekly? Leave behind anything that's not wrinkle free or has the deadly words "Hand Wash Only” on it. Beyond that -- if you're cunning, you'll bring enough of the so-called "limiting factors" (socks and underthingies) to eke out three full weeks of laundry-free life.
One final note on clothes. The freshman class has a couple of semiformal dances during the year, so you might want to bring a few nicer outfits. Princeton kids are also crazy about theme parties. You might want to pack a few ensembles suitable for ‘80s nights, pirate parties, luaus and combinations of the three themes.
How does move-in work?
How will my roommate and I divy up our space and agree on basic room rules?
Roommates at Princeton are assigned randomly, and sharing a room the size of a closet with someone you've never met before is bound to have its stressful moments. And let's face it, we can all be tough to live with sometimes. But if you and your roommate are having serious trouble getting along, there are plenty of resources available. Talk to your RCA, college master or even the people in the Counseling Center at McCosh Health Center. Should your roommate situation become completely unbearable, there is a small chance you can change rooms -- but the University strongly discourages this, and generally won't allow it until convinced you've done everything possible to make things work. Helping with this is one of the primary tasks of the RCAs, so involve them early and often.
What is an RCA?
Residential College Advisers (Forbes RCAs) are a great resource; they are around to offer a helping hand if you have a problem, cheer you up with a bubbly conversation if you feel down and accompany you to the required frosh events. They also sponsor weekly study breaks, and many organize trips to local and city cultural events.
Each RCA is responsible for a group of 15 or so freshmen and sophomores who live in close proximity to each other and constitute a “zee” group (as in, adviSEE). Zee group life initially revolves around introductions to University life and guided discussions on relevant topics (things like race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class and culture shock). Later in the year the groups tend to draw together over more esoteric issues, such as "eating lots of free pizza" or "sitting in front of the RCA's big-screen TV."
How can I get involved and make friends quickly?
There are lots of different ways to get involved at Princeton, from the residential college council, to intramural sports, to recognized student organizations, to volunteer activities through the Pace Center. You should take a look at your options before the fall, and decide on a few to check out in September. You should also talk to your Residential College Advisor (RCA) about fun things to do on campus once you get here—upperclassmen are always an invaluable source of information.
What orientation events do I really have to attend?
• Saturday: Master’s dinner and welcome, RCA meeting
• Sunday: Opening Exercises, Assembly, First Precept
• Monday: College meeting
• Tuesday: Reflections on Diversity
• Wednesday: Sex on a Saturday Night
• Thursday: Alcohol and the Social Scene
Who are the "college staff"?
Forbes College staff are the Master, Dean, Director of Studies, Director of Student Life, College Administrator and College Secretary. Their offices are located in directly under the dining hall. You don't have to wait until you have a question or a problem, stop in in and say hello!
What are my basic responsibilites as a new member of the Princeton community?
Community Standards: Overview
Princeton University is a community governed by a set of standards intended to enhance the educational and residential experience of students. The commonly accepted rules, policies and expectations by which we are governed are outlined in the publication, Rights, Rules, Responsibilities. In this reference guide you will find policies that articulate both the value we place on individual rights, freedoms and identities as well as our commitment to the preservation and maintenance of a community conducive to our common purposes: teaching and learning. The University expects that each member of our community will conduct himself or herself in a manner that reflects these values and central purposes.
Among the most important values of a University community are those involving academic integrity. While Rights, Rules, Responsibilities outlines the Honor Code and other academic regulations, students should consult Academic Integrity at Princeton for specific guidance about proper attribution of words and ideas. The Residential Living Policies Guide is also a helpful source outlining rules and policies.
How will I choose my classes? Do I need to know what I want to take now?
How do I become a member of the FCC?
An email will be sent out soliciting applications from Freshmen in the fall term.