Connect with the World
As you contemplate the various disciplines where you might concentrate your studies, it makes sense to ask yourself "what difference will your studies in that department make?" In other words, what do you see as the most important social, scientific, or aesthetic problems facing the world (or your local community) right now? Which of these problems might you help to understand and resolve? Where do you think you might make a positive contribution, either locally, regionally, or globally?
It may be easy to see how engineers, scientists, and economists tackle real-world problems, but don't overlook the contributions made by philosophers, artists, journalists, architects, novelists, professors, and so forth. Disciplines as diverse as philosophy, religion, and comparative literature can help you reflect on the major ethical questions of our day: anthropology and the foreign language and literature departments can help you navigate interconnected global cultures; not only politics and economics but sociology and psychology can teach you how to mobilize markets and social groups to effect change; and art history, English, and other humanities departments can help you interpret and create the cultural, commercial, and political messages that affect our behavior.
Princeton has many offices that can assist you in exploring this potential of your major to connect you with the world. If you are interested in coordinating civic service with your studies, you can find opportunities through the Community-Based Learning Initiative and EPICS: Engineering Projects in Community Service, which encourage you to apply your studies directly to community issues through coursework and independent research. Beyond coursework, there are service-learning opportunities available through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, Princeton Project 55, or Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). Finally, for those interested in connecting to the world abroad, you will find resources at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), the Study Abroad Program, and the International Internship Program.