Sunday, June 7, 2009

"The Other Side of Nassau"

If you haven't figured it out already, the title "Stuck in the Bubble" refers to the infamous "Orange Bubble" that insulates Princeton University from the surrounding world. It's more real than you could ever imagine. With my internship this summer, I've made slight progress escaping this bubble, but I'm still very much a part of it, especially since I'm working for the university.

I realized that there's another title for the blog that might have worked just as well: The Other Side of Nassau Street.

Nassau Street acts as campus's northern border, drawing a distinct line between Nassau Hall, Firestone Library, and the stores and shops that line the Nassau. But it's just as much of a symbolic barrier as it is a physical one. Since Princeton guarantees housing and 99.999999% of students live on campus, it's possible to survive without ever crossing Nassau (though it's not recommended). Sure, CVS, Princeton Record Exchange, Starbucks, Small World and Bank of America are there, but to cross Nassau Street is to leave the comfort of Princeton's protection, entering the uncharted territory of places that don't accept charges to your student account (but Subway does!).

For most Princeton undergrads, the college experience happens below Nassau Street in dorms, classrooms, on Prospect Street, in theatres and labs etc. Trips to Nassau Street are for running errands, getting coffee, binding your thesis, and getting frozen yogurt. This was definitely the case for me.

Now that my undergrad career is finished, my life has moved to the other side of Nassau Street: that's where I'll be working, living, eating and shopping. It's a complete seismic shift of place, all revolving around a straight line of pavement that separates the Princeton education experience from the real world, even though it's just a short walk away.

When I recently commented that I didn't know what I'd do with this blog after I leave the Princeton bubble, a family member commented that life is just about moving from bubble to bubble; we just get "stuck" in different ones. If that's the case, maybe accepting the fact that we're always "stuck in the bubble" is just a way to recognize that there's more to life than what's immediately around us, even if it's just across the street.


  1. Don't you also not graduate if you walk through the gate that takes you to Nassau? That's a pretty serious deterrent.

  2. True...even then, you're still walking AWAY from the university towards Nassau Street.

  3. yo what's the deal w/ the page changing from black to white? black was so much cooler