Want to Join University Press Club? Come to Our Open Houses!

To our Freshman and Sophomore readers,

You might think that, here at The Ink, all we do is blog silly things and stay up all night with you on Dean’s Date. Yes, we do, but this is actually our side-job. We are members of one of the oldest and most venerable (if we do say so ourselves) journalism groups on campus–The University Press Club. If you want to be a real, paid freelance writer working with professional editors for local and national newspapers and magazines by day–and a renegade online blogger by night– this is the group for you.

For more information on our application and selection process (stuffily called “Candidates Period”), come to one of our Open Houses:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 1 – 4:30 pm, McCosh 64 OR
  • Thursday, Oct. 3 – 4:30 pm, McCosh 64

No prior experience is required to get in. We actually mean that (unlike those dance and acapella groups). Some of us never did journalism until Press Club. That’s why our candidates period is so freakin’ long– yeah, three months— because during that time we workshop with you to help you improve your reporting, writing, journalistic ethic-ing, and create a substantial portfolio for you to apply with.

If you’re a freshman or sophomore unable to attend an Open House (both are identical) but are still interested in applying, just email us at pressclb[at]princeton.edu (yes, no “u”). Feel free to shoot us any questions about the club and the application process.

See you there!

You can follow the University Press Club on Facebook and Twitter.


People You Meet in Every Precept

It’s hard to remember everyone’s names in your first discussion-based class at Princeton, and you’ll eventually resort to gesturing to them vaguely whenever you respond to their points (“I disagree with that one“). But with this handy guide from The Ink, you’ll at least remember the horrible stereotype they fit under. (Note: This applies to seminars as well.)

The Philosophy Bro
Took some intro PHI courses and thinks he’s an expert on Hegel. He loves Nietzsche, dude. Wears his sports gear to class.

The Overeager Freshman
Interrupts the professor to ask three-part questions. Tries to respond to everything. Prefaces statements with, “In my high school…” Will eventually chill out after a few weeks.

The Hipster Grad Student
Interrupts professor to ask three-part questions. Tries to respond to everything. Prefaces statements with, “In my undergrad (a small liberal arts college you’ve probably never heard of)…” Will never chill out– can’t afford to when placements are at stake!

The Problematizer
Studies Gender and Sexuality. Thinks everything is a gendered issue. Favorite words are “problematic,” “unpack”, and “privilege.” Will halt a class when triggered by a slight imprecise use of terminology.

The Mute
Never speaks. You can’t even imagine what their voice could sound like. Sits in the corner, on laptop or fiddling with notebook. You’re not sure why they haven’t dropped the course.

The Girl Who Says Fairly Intelligent Things But Infuriatingly Punctuates Everything With “Like”
“I think, like, Melville was, like, deploying homoeroticism to, like, destabilize authoritarian hegemony, like, you know?”

The Brit
Leverages accent to sound more intelligent than s/he actually is. Still less annoying than the former.

The BSE/Engineer Who Regrets Taking This Humanities Course For “Fun”
Does problem sets in class.

[caption id="attachment_14716" align="aligncenter" width="250"] Or sleeps.[/caption]

So You Think You Can Dance: Princeton Edition

Editor’s Note: I am excited to introduce the first in what (hopefully) will be an ongoing series, SYTYCD: Princeton, chronicling our writers’ experiences trying out for various dance groups on campus.

I’m pretty much one of the most coordinated people you’ve ever met.  If, that is, you’ve only met people like this:

I’ve also pretty much been dancing my entire life. Between the ballet lessons I took when I was five and the mandatory dance section we had in 8th grade PE (I was an expert at the Hukilau), I consider myself a seasoned dancer. So it was to everyone’s concerned surprise that I decided to audition for several of the million dance groups on campus.


eXpressions is probably the only dance group on campus where I have a better chance of getting in than a guy. Which are about as good as my odds are ever going to get.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="393"] Also known as “The Pink One”, because it’s all girls and we’re being gender normative and all the dance troupes have like gang colors, right?[/caption]

Walking into the hall, for a second, I thought I had landed into some alternate talent show competition. Girls lines the edges of the walls, chatting, filling out the audition form, and putting on their audition numbers. I noticed some milling around in full ballet outfits, leotard, tights and all. I, on the other hand, had decided it was a good idea to wear soccer shorts and my residential college tank. (For the record, the proper attire for a dance audition is spandex shorts, or leggings, and a tank top.)

The beginning of the audition (AKA the warmups) went well. At least, until we got to the splits section. Immediately all the girls around me slid down nonchalantly to the ground into a split. I, too, tried my best, ultimately sliding down to a comfortably uncomfortable position that made it possible for me to be roughly the same height as all the others if I ducked my head down low enough. 

When we got to the middle splits, however, my legs had started to revolt. Watching as everyone else around me lay flat against the ground, gracefully and peacefully, their butts and legs forming a perfectly straight line, I knew that I was about to be exposed as an impostor.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="566"] What everyone around me looked like[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] What I looked like[/caption]

The Things Across the Floor

By the time we started actually dancing, my stomach muscles and legs were all pretty much dead from overexertion. (Somewhere during the warm-ups, we also did an intensive set of ab workouts, wherein I discovered that flailing around was a good enough substitute to actual sit ups.)

The first part were simple ballet moves across the floor, moves that somehow always seemed to escape me. I’m pretty sure they were speaking in a secret foreign language during this part, throwing around words like “tombé pas de bourrée, glissade, jetté” with the same familiarity that I use the words “eat, sleep, and eat” in my daily vocabulary. Ultimately, my favorite part were the leaps, where I could mindlessly jump up into the air and hopefully land, albeit loudly, onto my feet. To make up for my lack of technique, I smiled the entire time.

[caption id="attachment_14687" align="aligncenter" width="515"] What I was supposed to look like[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14686" align="aligncenter" width="412"] What I actually looked like[/caption]

The Choreography

We then learned two choreographies – one lyrical and one hip-hop. During the lyrical section, I somehow managed to bruise the entire bottom of my legs and knees. I wondered how clean the ground was as I rubbed my body against the floor in graceful, artistic motions. I kicked my leg like a donkey and wondered why music had to go so fast.

After everyone else had sufficiently learned the routine (which meant that I could roughly do every third dance move), we performed in small groups. The worst part? The 8 second improv section at the beginning of the song. I felt an existential crisis coming on. WHAT IS BALLET? Did sweeping my arms and pointing my legs ostentatiously count? How many turns could I do before it was clear I knew no other moves? Luckily, by the time I had remembered that I was still doing a dance audition, the improv section was over.

The hip hop section went much worse. By then my brain was already fried from learning the first choreography and I was starting to get sleepy. Unfortunately, all the freshmen girls had left by then due to a mandatory frosh week event, which meant there was even more personalized attention for each of us.

Which just meant that more people probably saw this.

The End

To my great, utter surprise, I was not offered a spot on eXpressions. (To be accurate, I didn’t even get a callback.) For a few days, I fell into a mindless depression, crushed by the realization that my dreams of becoming a world class ballerina were pretty much over. I barely moved, because any movement would recall a sharp pain to my legs (which had still yet to recover from the splits). I barely laughed because my abs were too sore for such a rigorous workout.

Of course, this didn’t mean that I had given up all my dance dreams. Just because ballet wasn’t my thing, didn’t mean that there wasn’t hope for me in some other realm…

The Death of the Dinky

Update: For a quick recap of the Dinky controversy, check out the Ink’s previous coverage:

Around 4:30pm, the canopy overhanging the old Princeton train station (aka “The Dinky”) collapsed during construction for the new Arts and Transit neighborhood. According to officers and workers on the scene, no one was injured. Update: search concluded at 8:15pm and confirmed that no workers were hurt.  The area around the Dinky was already fenced off due to construction. Preliminary photos below, stay tuned for more:

R.I.P.Dinky. The last train departed on August 24th, but this may be the nail in the coffin.

Update: Official University statement here. Correction made to the time: 4:25pm. Described as: “the [200-ft] canopy at the former Princeton NJ TRANSIT train station tipped over into the track bed…As a result of the investigation the area of Alexander Street and University Place should be avoided for at least two to three hours. Please use alternate routes for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic…Train service to the new, temporary Princeton station up the tracks was not disrupted.”

Princeton Prof Makes Awesome Intro Syllabus

Creating a class syllabus is sort of a work of academic art. Some may fancy David Foster Wallace’s course handouts, but Professor Gayle Salamon, who teaches Intro to Gender Studies and a course in Queer Theory, has her own flair for explaining to newcomers the expectations on her assigned essays. An excerpt:

Questions that Professor S is Frequently Asked About Papers. With Answer Key.

Q: Professor S, when is the paper due?
A: It is due right before class starts.

Q: Can I email it to you?
A: Nope. I would like it printed on paper, stapled, sitting in a neat stack on my desk before class starts. (Elsewhere, she writes: “I am not kidding about that staple.” Having taken her class, she is truly not.)

Q: Can I talk to you about my paper?
A: Absolutely yes. Come to my office hour and we’ll chat.

Q: Can I send you a paragraph of my paper to read?
A: Absolutely.

Q: How about a whole page?
A: Sure.

Q: How about the whole paper so you can tell me if I’m on the right track?
A: No. But if you want to tell me what your argument is, I can give you feedback.

Q: But can’t I check in with you about an idea I came up with while drinking a Red Bull at 4 in the morning after working on my paper all night long the night before it is due?
A: I so don’t want to read that email…If you wait until the very last minute, you’re on your own pal.

Q: Should I turn in my first draft?
A: Sometimes you will. But I can guarantee you that your second draft will be better.

Q: Margins? Font size? How do you feel about Courier?
A: Double spaced, 12 pt font, one-inch margins. Courier is like a big Post-It note on the front page of your paper telling me that your paper is not long enough.

Continue reading…

Q&A with The Princeton Horse

Princeton Horse and President Tilghman at Graduation 2013


Disclaimer: this interview was translated from what would sound like incoherent neighing to an untrained ear. Any mistakes are the sole responsibility of the translator.

Age: 21 (horse years)
Hometown: Princeton
Major: English

What are the origins of Princeton Horse? 
With one parent from the steppes of east asia and one parent from the local fields, the Princeton horse actually grew up and studied in Princeton township right up until he was accepted to Phillips Exeter Academy and eventually the university. His great uncle was actually one of the first horses to attend not only Princeton, but also college anywhere in the US, and was one of the first presidents of Terrace (his pictures are featured prominently in the study upstairs). The horse actually had been attending classes as a normal student for years before he started a twitter account last year and is actually rather confused by the sudden spike attention every time he goes out.

With all the shout outs from Shirley and the diploma, it looked like Princeton Horse graduated last year. Is he back for graduate school? Remedial classes?
The horse and everyone else thought that he had graduated last year, obtaining a degree in English despite his continuing poor control of the language. Only when classes started up again this year was it found that the horse had actually failed his freshman writing seminar, mainly because all his papers were neighing without any meaningful analysis. He has to return to at least make up that credit. Our theory is that President Eisgruber realized that Princeton needed the horse and this whole grade thing is just a cover to make sure the horsing continues under the new administration.

Who is your mortal enemy? 
The Mathey Moose. Just look at the smug expression on that antlered freak.

Are the photos posted on Twitter candid shots or do you do photo shoots? Ever considered professional modeling?
Some of them are candid although the horse and his caretaker are hoping that our friend and follower Jane Randall ’13 who was on America’s next top model can get us the hookup with Tyra. The Princeton horse knows how to be fierce.

What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
Every full moon, the horse strips naked and neighs in the pale moonlight as he prances about Poe field. Just a horse thing, you wouldn’t understand.

Where is the best grass on campus?
The best grass on campus is definitely at Terrace… um the horse means outside on the back lawn, that grass is premium.

Will you ever reveal your true identity? 
neigh-ver. Like Batman or Spiderman, the horse must keep his real identity unknown to protect those he serves

Do you know all the words to Old Nassau?
neigh neigh, ne neigh nei neigh neigh neigh,
neigh nei, neigh neigh ne neigh…
pretty much the words to every song right?

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned at Princeton?
Sometimes you have to leave the herd and make your own path. Even if your parents are pressuring you to be a top race horseand your friends are all going out to stud, you have to buck the trend make your own choices. Don’t be afraid to make an ass of yourself, and never put the cart before the horse. Remember not to always rein it in by focusing on work; horsing around can be important too.

Are you a horse down there?
No comment. You’ll have to ask the Princeton Unicorn.

IN PRINT: Bad job market spurs undergrads to concentrate in pre-professional majors

It’s become an almost endless refrain repeated by the news and countless parents to college students across the country: good luck trying to find a job in this terrible economy.

Interviews with officials and concentration data from four New Jersey universities show that in order to improve their chances of finding jobs in today’s lackluster job market, many New Jersey college students have chosen to major in fields that they believe will maximize their potential at finding post-graduation jobs. For many students, this means picking to concentrate in pre-professional majors like engineering, business, and health instead of the humanities or social sciences. The idea behind this is that these are the majors that will teach you concrete skills in fields that will always need more workers.

After speaking with officials from several New Jersey universities, there does seem to be logic in this argument. After all, when you’re in a hospital, you definitely want a nurse who knows what she is doing taking care of you.  And you certainly don’t want someone who doesn’t know the basics of engineering designing a bridge or a skyscraper. Or imagine an accountant who doesn’t even know how to balance a checkbook?

Read more at the Asbury Park Press.

Welcome Back To The Top of College Rankings, Princeton

No better way to start the brand new semester than to come in at #1 in US News & World Report’s Big Important List of College Rankings That May Or May Not Mean Anything— and for once, we’re not tied with Harvard!

[caption id="attachment_14613" align="aligncenter" width="515"] Putting schools on top of other schools. Because if we couldn’t, our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men that gather together for no good purpose![/caption]

The methodology of the US News & World Report Rankings is something as follows (from Malcolm Gladwell’s 2011 analysis):

1. Undergraduate academic reputation, 22.5 per cent
2. Graduation and freshman retention rates, 20 per cent
3. Faculty resources, 20 per cent
4. Student selectivity, 15 per cent
5. Financial resources, 10 per cent
6. Graduation rate performance, 7.5 per cent
7. Alumni giving, 5 per cent

Notice that the biggest contributing factor is “reputation,” which Gladwell criticized as being nebulous and tautological, because it’s essentially ranking driven by name brands, which are in turn driven by rankings, which in turn are driven by monkeys or something. We’re okay with that though, if it suits us. Princeton number one, woo! First place, baby! Let’s totally forget that we were last in terms of racial integration among the Ivies. Oops. Shh. It should be noted that of the top 10 schools, Princeton’s tuition is (marginally) the lowest, and our financial aid is definitely the best.

In other news, surveys of Harvard’s incoming class of 2017 show that more Harvard freshman have cheated on their homework than have had sex. Or, as DS ’14 comments: “They’re probably over-reporting on the sex and under-reporting on the cheating, so it really REALLY sucks to go to Harvard.”

Welcome back Tigers!