Regardless of your interests or chosen discipline, being a member of the “arts community”…required a remarkable commitment. Borderline psychotic.
Every student’s experience of “the arts” at Princeton is unique. There are so many ways to engage creatively on campus, it would be impossible to experience them all. If you asked a hip-hop dancer from diSiac what her experience in “the arts” was like, I’m willing to bet that she would tell a different story than the brooding visual artist hunched over his pottery wheel in the catacombs of 185 Nassau Street.
However, there’s something that every Princetonian who was involved in “the arts” shared that has always impressed me. Regardless of your interests or chosen discipline, being a member of the “arts community”— on top of the rigorous academic expectations—required a remarkable commitment. Borderline psychotic. Collectively, we ensured that artistic pursuits thrived on campus. On many nights when I can only imagine they would rather be heading out for a night with friends on Prospect Street (or perhaps attending to their midterm papers), math majors, engineers, history majors, and students studying every other academic discipline all burned the midnight oil in rehearsal rooms, dance studios, art studios, and workshops across campus.
You shouldn’t use power tools at 3 a.m., but if nobody had, Theatre Intime wouldn’t have had any sets. It turns out that practicing the violin in your dorm room for six hours straight to prepare for your orchestra concert does not in fact bring out your roommates’ good side. It is also inadvisable to tell your professor for the third time that your paper is late because you were at rehearsal. And yet, these are shared experiences I do not regret. People tell artists that it’s impractical—even a little crazy—to dedicate so much of your time to such endeavors, but I think most artists would agree the lessons and memories were well worth it. To me, “the arts” at Princeton boils down to an admiration for the dedication and passion Princetonians share for making Princeton the vibrant and creative culture it deserves to be.