Web Exclusives:On the Campus...

June 4, 2002:
Senior class activities
Burning off steam and looking ahead

By Kristin Roper '03

During the Class of 2003's last Reading Period, students vacated their carrels, abandoned laptops, and turned their eyes to Dean's Date celebrations rather than Dean's Date papers. Senior class officers, with "senioritis" in mind, offered students a series of mini-courses and lectures that met once during May.

Over the four years, most of my classes met in McCosh, McCormick, and the E-Quad. During the mini-course I took in May, I found myself in the garage of MacMillan, standing around a 1988 Chrysler. I was in Car Maintenance 101. With 12 seniors in attendance, mechanic Steve talked about buying a used car, changing a flat tire, jump starting a battery, and changing oil.

Steve liked us. "The class yesterday didn't know where the oil cap was, or where the dipstick was," he said. I stood on the edge of the group, and felt like a freshman again. (What is a dipstick, anyway?)

Megan Aghazadian '03 and Brian Pick '03 took salsa-dancing. After learning two impressive routines, the two plan to dazzle the crowd at the graduation. "Megan and I can't wait to bust out our fancy salsa routine at senior prom," said Pick. "Of course, that's contingent upon two things: one, remembering all the steps, and two, finding each other in massive Jadwin Gym as soon as some great salsa music begins. Oh, and given my likelihood of stepping on her feet, I hope Megan will be wearing closed-toed shoes."

In the battle of good vs. evil, the Class of 2003 found its ranks balanced. One afternoon during Reading Period, class officers organized a Capture the Flag game in which 150 students played. Divided into two teams, red (evil) and blue (good), seniors ran for three hours all over campus, scheming to capture the other team's flag.

Princeton's Capture the Flag is no elementary school gym class activity. It's been updated to accommodate the intellectual and technological sophistication that a Princeton education offers. Each team organized into platoons, offense or defense, and had a specific area of campus to protect. Using cell phones, platoon leaders warned each other of incoming attacks and reported vulnerabilities of the opposing team. Patrolling my zone, I heard platoon leader Chris Schrader '03 answer his phone and bark, "Oh, I can't talk to you now, Mom!" He hung up without further explanation.

Josephine Decker '03 warned her platoon of imminent danger: "Okay guys, our platoon just got transferred to a very dangerous area on the frontlines." Five minutes later, platoon member Nancy Ippolito '03 shouted, "They're everywhere. It's like we're the worst defensive squad ever."

Deep inside campus, activity was considerably quieter. Rajinda "Raji" Jayasinghe '03 guarded the area near Firestone Library and busied himself playing with his walkie-talkie. "I've been creating pressure, although I haven't caught anyone yet," Jayasinghe said.

In jail (one located in the arch near McCosh Courtyard, the other in the arch near Joline Hall), seniors whined to pass the time. I asked a group from the enemy camp how long they had been in jail. The replies came in a flurry: 10 minutes, it feels like an hour and a half, I have to go to the bathroom, they should have made Frist the jail, and can I have some water?

Despite spirited efforts on both sides of Elm Drive, the dividing line between territories, the game ended after three hours in a draw. There are talks of a rematch during Reunions, and perhaps even a challenge to another class.

Now seniors must turn their attention to the skills they will learn via experience: apartment hunting, cooking, and waking up with the sun.