“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” ― Eartha Kitt

I graduated, three days ago. Wow. It’s so surreal and it hasn’t entirely kicked in just yet. I mentioned previously that my sister and my best friend flew into New Jersey to celebrate my birthday prior to graduation shenanigans. Before I get sentimental about graduation and Princeton, I want to describe the whirlwind of events.

May 29th of 2014: I turned 22! In order to celebrate, I threw a picnic and we had (wait for it) Chipotle. Many thanks to Her Campus and Chipotle for the (wait for it) free catering order. About twenty of my closest friends at Princeton came to celebrate. We ate burritos, cakes (courtesy of my friends Jasmine, Adam, and Regina), cupcakes (courtesy of my friend Sophie), brownies (baked by my amazing friend Lisa), and chips (courtesy of Maria). Just a quick plug: if you are holding an impromptu event, Splash is the best way to send out online invitations. Here, take a quick look at the page for my birthday shindig.

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Pretty cool, right? After the picnic, my sister, my friend, and I prepared for reunions. Reunions are an epic event at Princeton every year. I feel confident enough to say that Princeton reunions are far bigger events than reunions at other universities. Historically, the alcohol consumption exceeds that of any other event in America save for the Indy 500 — crazy, right? As you can imagine, it’s three nights of revelry. Reunion tents are organized for specific years and play music (generally) that is iconic for that period of time. A few examples of some of the tents that I frequented: 5th reunion (my home tent), 25th reunion, 30th reunion, and the 35th reunion.

On the first night of reunions, there was a (wait for it) surprise Flo Rida concert at the 25th tent. It was epic. I can’t imagine a more splendid birthday. I really enjoyed myself!

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

May 30th of 2014: It was extremely hard to wake up early after the last night of festivities, but my sister, friend, and I rallied. I started the day at 10:30 AM to participate in a psychology experiment — it was strange, I’ll leave it at that–and then we had lunch at one of my favorite spots in Princeton: Tico’s. We followed up lunch with a DiSiac performance (epic!), a mixer for students with a certificate in Global Health and Policy, and then a MOL/EEB picnic. Reunions continued! We explored all seventeen of the reunion tents today but had the most fun at the 35th (where we celebrated my friend Lisa’s 22nd) and the 5th. No surprise concerts today.

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

May 31st of 2014: I won’t complain about how difficult it was to awake but…. Today was the P-rade. Alumni from the classes 1935 – 2013 walked the parade line before we, the class of 2014, ran through the parade and were formally inducted into the Alumni Association of Princeton University.

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

Photo from the Alumni Association of Princeton University

It was an extremely touching moment and soon after, I met with my parents and little brother (who had just arrived from Louisiana). We followed the P-rade with dinner (yum!) at Cannon Dial Elm. My favorite part: the waffles from Nina’s Waffles. We explored the tents for the final night of reunions. It was absolutely amazing.  On to the graduation events.

June 1st 0f 2014: Baccalaureate! In between the revelrous events of reunions and Class Day, Baccalaureate is a time of reflections. Prayers, scriptures, and readings from various faiths were shared by religious student leaders in the Class of 2014. We were addressed by Christopher Lu, Deputy Secretary of Labor, who told us that education is inherited, not a gift (that’s a really important distinction). He tried to answer the question of how one should balance doing well and doing good, but what I most appreciate was his definition of public service: “Public service is to reach beyond your circle of friends and to help people you have never met.” This really stuck with me, and I’ll come back to this when I share with you why I’m pursuing a dual MD/MPH degree rather than an MD or a MPH.

Later, the seniors were involved in the Step Sing. An amazing tradition in which the seniors pile onto the steps of Blair Arch and sing classic Princeton songs, throwback songs, and our favorite songs from the past years. So for example: “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Happy,” “Bye Bye Bye,” and “Roar.” It was such an amazing moment. At the end of the arch sing, balloons were released from the windows of Blair and we, the great class of 2014, danced to “Turn Down for What.”

 June 2nd of 2014: Class day! We were addressed by Al Gore and many members of the Class of 2014 but rather than describe my favorite speech, I’d like it to allow all of you to be able to hear it. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Later that night was senior Prom. An amazing night with music, dancing, and food.

June 3rd of 2014: Commencement! Today was the day. We walked in through the Fitz-Randolph Gates, as after we were addressed by (the then-president of Princeton) Shirley Tilghman September of 2010. That day, we were informed that students are not allowed to walk out of the Fitz-Randolph Gates until they graduate; there are many versions of the superstition, but the one I often heard was that those who walk out of the Gates before graduation either die (geez) or do not graduate in four years (eek). After the commencement ceremony, we walked out of the Gates as a class and it was an extremely moving moment.

So that’s it. I’m a Princeton graduate now…it’s hard to believe that I made it through all four years at Princeton, but of course, the end of my time at Princeton does not education. In fact, I’m already in classes again–let me explain! I’m enrolled in five classes for the summer (for my MPH): Survey of Environmental Health, Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health, Introduction to Health Systems, Management, and Policy, Epidemiological Methods, and Comparative Health Systems.

Survey of Environmental Health (Online): June 2nd – June 27th

Introduction to Health Systems, Management, and Policy, Epidemiological Methods, and Comparative Health Systems (Online): June 2nd – July 25th

Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health (Online): June 30th – July 25th

Epidemiological Methods: June 30th – July 25th

Comparative Health Systems: June 30th – July 18th

That may seem like a lot, but after a thesis, I feel like I can tackle anything. Of course, I could not stay on top of my workload without the assistance of Wunderlist. It’s a wonderful task-manager application (perfect for your laptop and smartphone).

You input your tasks or goals on Wunderlist and these can be separated into specific lists. I have two lists. The first of which is titled “Goals” and the other is titled “Stilettos + Stethoscopes” and involves all my responsibilities to upkeep the blog.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.47.00 PM

You can separate the tasks by their due dates or their importance.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.46.50 PM

Basically, Wunderlist has been keeping this chick sane. What do you use to keep organize? What do you think of the Class Day speech above? Are you MD/MPH or thinking about pursuing some sort of dual degree? Please let me know in the comments, I love hearing from all of you!

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4 thoughts on ““I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” ― Eartha Kitt

  1. I LOVE Wunderlist. 🙂 I also have an ongoing list of films and books that I want to watch/read.
    Congrats on graduating from Princeton!! Woot woot! And, I am SO jealous that you guys got Flo Rida…hahaha. 🙂

    Like

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