Four years as a Penn student may have conditioned me to look at Princeton as a rival, but it's difficult to resist "fraternizing with the enemy" when it looks so good. I first stepped foot on the campus as a child, and while my memories from that trip are few...cobblestones cut with green shards (reflections from the Sprite in my hand); teal tigers (was the memory in my mind pure, or implanted through photos that showed me climbing them), I've since made up for the shortage. I visited Princeton twice, two years ago, and to say I was smitten is an understatement.
Last weekend marked my return to the university, and I hope these photos give you an idea of how much beauty comprises the campus. Every square, every corner is picturesque. It's difficult to walk straight when the desire to absorb it all threatens to upset your balance. Either you're craning your neck to catch another cathedral, or veering off course to greet the umpteenth ivy covered wall to beckon you. Another thing to note is the diversity to its buildings. It feels as though every turn of your head offers a distinctly new aesthetic: a white gothic cathedral (the University Chapel); a building with the singed appearance of a castle (Richardson Hall); tidy ivy; a plot made up of trees, vines, berries, and statues that together yield every color you could imagine (Pyne Hall).
Despite how overwhelming Princeton's beauty can feel, I miss it already. I was fortunate to attend an ivy league school with a beautiful campus, but both the novelty and the allure falter when you're a student there. Though I imagine Princeton reveals a different side to its residents, the foreboding facade held in place for outsiders is irresistible. I am the happiest outsider of all, drunk with novelty. Princeton remains distant and austere, and for that, I hold it sacred.