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,"
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.