College Process Reflections: Sara

It’s over.

A year ago, I never would have thought that I would be in a position like this: preparing to go to a college I am totally in love with and making my family prouder every day. To top it all off, I will graduate debt-free from a top university.

That’s not to say the journey was easy. It was a struggle—once, I even woke up in the middle of the night with a sudden idea for an essay. Sometimes, I forget how I was able to finish everything on time. Then I remember: I really wanted leave high school and go to college! I guess my undeniable desire to go to college was what prevented me from leaving everything to binge-watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. 

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College Process Reflections: Bianca

The amount of research, forms, essays, applications, and financial documents that you have to keep track of when applying to 20+ schools will seem absolutely endless. The feeling that you are forgetting a detail or form will haunt you throughout the entire process. There will be countless times when you will have to remind your recommenders and counselors to submit their forms before the deadline, not to mention the myriad of edits on your personal essay and supplements. Yet, having these tasks ahead of me helped manage my senioritis and keep me on track.

Applying to college led me to many sleepless nights and even a few tears, compounded by my bad habit of over-examining everything. But I pushed through all that because I knew it would lead me to the place where I deserve to be. I was no longer going to let my challenges, struggles and past determine where I was going to end up. After all, applying to college was all up to me. Believe me when I say it will all pay off after you see all of those small green checks on your common application. 

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SJP Alumna Jeanne Li named New York Times Scholar

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Congratulations to SJP alumna Jeanne Li, who was awarded a the prestigious New York Times scholarship:

Because Jeanne Li’s aunt and uncle, whom she lives with, do not speak English, she serves as the family’s scribe and interpreter. She said she began thinking about studying statistics or math in college after volunteering to comb through data at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Above all, she wants to continue writing, maybe as a journalist.

Her short life has been marked by upheaval and turbulence. She does not like to talk about it, but she can write about it.

“Some things,” she said, “you can’t say out loud.”

See some of Jeanne’s blog posts during the program here, here, or here.

REMINDER: Applications for SJP Summer 2014 are due by 11:59PM EST on February 21, 2014. The application can be found here.

THE APPLICATION FOR SUMMER 2014 IS NOW AVAILABLE HERE. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY 11:59 PM EST ON FEBRUARY 21, 2014.

Journalism Fuel

Ashley Jones-Quaidoo (Hyattsville, MD)

Before I came to SJP, I didn’t understand the technical side of journalism. Over the past nine days, I’ve learned a plethora of methods to journalism: conducting interviews, creating data charts for information, verification, and attribution. Being a journalist isn’t about the glamour and giving facts, it’s about telling a story and informing the public. This is what I love. Journalism allows me to feed my curiosity and hold people accountable. While at SJP, I’ve written several stories: ranging from A-Rod to the my generation’s self indulgence. Each article I’ve written has been different, but they have each allowed me to do one thing: Expand my base of knowledge. If you want a story, it’s not about just talking to people and collecting information, it’s about RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Let’s face it, we don’t know everything, but with a curious mind and the right resources you can educate yourself on any mind boggling topic. Through networking, creating stories, and meeting students from all of the country, I have a greater appreciation for journalism. SJP has broadened my knowledge on various topics, but I will always be a life-long learner. SJP has given me greater confidence to pursue my career as a broadcast journalist. The directors and counselors believe in us and that means a lot to me.

PSJP students listen to an alumni panel about college admissions and life after SJP on the last night of the program. 

PSJP students listen to an alumni panel about college admissions and life after SJP on the last night of the program. 

College Gateway

Lesley Le Platte (Atlanta, GA)

As we near the end of SJP, college becomes more relevant. Yesterday, we were assigned our college counselors. Our college counselors  will help us with the process of filling out our college applications. They will help us with improving our standardize test scores, and they will recommend colleges that may be a good fit for their mentees. They are a very useful resource that will help us to maintain our motivation and inspire us to strive to do better.

The Portrait of A Journalist

Sara Solano (Manhattan, New York)

On the second day at SJP, Richard Just, one of the directors and founders of the program, gave us a lecture on the characteristics and mannerism of a genuine journalist. During the lecture we agreed that a Journalist should be bold, outspoken, persistent, dedicated, organized, honest, smart, and open-minded. 

Later that day, the coordinators at SJP showed us the film “The Insider.” The film tells the story of Jeffrey Wigand, a research chemist of a tobacco company, and his decision to participate in an interview for 60 minutes to disclose the level of negligence demonstrated by the tobacco company he worked for. 

I really loved this movie because it demonstrated the level of ethic and passion that a journalist should have. Lowell Bergman, the producer of the show that decides to publish Wigand’s story, is the representation of a true journalist that considers the truth as the first priority for a journalist. 

I think that this was a great introduction to the program because it showed all of us that no matter how passionate you feel about journalism, you’ll always have to face ethical problems; but what really matters is the level of integrity you use to face those problems.    

Ending SJP

Navil Perez (Thorton. Colorado)

The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program ended as quickly as it started. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that this morning could have potentially been the last time I would be woken up by sleepy counselors knocking at the door (because ain’t nobody planning on sleeping tonight). 

I never expected call someone a “friend” after only 10 days; I much less expected to become as attached to a group of people as I have become. The frustrations of sleepless nights, stress of deadlines and sing-a-longs have built the strong bond which unites us.
Now that the program is coming to an end I am genuinely sad to leave. I am keeping this blog post short because I want to enjoy the last 24 hours I have with my amazing peers.

Reliving the Memories

Ellen Pham (Tampa, Florida) 

I woke up today to a depressing realization; there is only one more day left of SJP. This past week and a half has been incredible. I had the chance to visit three new states, try different types of food, go to my first baseball game, watch my favorite football team play live (from the press box, no less), learn more about my passion, and meet some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. 

I’ve grown attached to Princeton and to the wonderful counselors and to my SJP peers. I know that goodbyes are inevitable. I know that the trip to Newark Airport will be emotional. But I know that SJP is so much more than 10 days learning at one of the best universities in the world. It’s a community of friendly, open-minded people who have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Remembering this makes leaving tomorrow a little more bearable. 

SJP has been filled with so many memorable moments.

Covering the Trenton Thunder game was exhilarating. We had to walk up to strangers and ask them about their feelings about performance enhancing drugs. I’m naturally very introverted, so this experience forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I loved it. I felt like I was witnessing history take place as I watched Alex Rodriguez prepare to bat. I would later find out that my inklings were right. A few days after the game, the infamous man donning 13 on his jersey was controversially suspended by Major League Baseball. 

One of my favorite parts about the program was breaking up into newspaper teams. I would always look forward to our poignant discussions about government, the value of privacy and the future of journalism. Even though we could have talked about superficial topics, we always somehow gravitated towards serious, weighty subjects. I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I was glad. At the beginning of the program, Richard Just, one of the program directors, said that “journalists are intellectuals.” I didn’t truly understand what he meant when he said that. Why is it important to be interested in everything? Why is it worth it to question our own opinions? Thanks to my amazing newspaper team (Go Wall Street Journal!) and our mentally stimulating conversations, I understand what Richard means now.

All of the speakers were fantastic. SJP takes a liberal arts approach when inviting speakers so in addition to learning how to write an accurate news story, I also learned about subjects such as anthropology, statistics, history and sociology. I have a strong interest in politics so I loved hearing from Alec MacGillis about his experience writing about campaigns. His honest, vivid descriptions about working with Al Gore were absolutely hilarious! 

It’s easy to feel alone pursuing journalism in my high school. My newspaper staff is smaller than I would like and the majority of students don’t care about the news. To make matters worse, most of the people I’m surrounded by think journalism is a dying career. Frankly, it’s not exactly the most conducive environment for a budding journalist. But here at SJP I don’t feel so alone. It gives me hope that I can succeed in this transforming industry.

I feel so unbelievably blessed and grateful to be a part of this wonderful program. 

For the Love of SJP

Jasmine White (Birmingham, Alabama)

There was moment in the program where I thought: Ah! This it what SJP is. I think it happened right in the heat of investigating and reporting, but also had the exhaustion of getting only five hours of sleep each night started to set in. Learning so much in so little time, is both exhilarating and exhausting.

The past few days have been a blur. The friends I’ve made I feel like I’ve known for years. The way we gravitated towards each other and became so amicable so quickly really makes it feel like there’s a sort of destiny within our group. I can’t imagine it being any different.

 We’re now starting to put our newspaper together. It’ll be good to see our long hours of hard work produce results; however it’s a bit of a sad thing as well, as it marks the end of SJP.

 Though I miss my family, I also sort of feel myself dreading the day when we all return to our respective homes, not knowing when (or if) we’ll see each other again. Nothing is truer in this instance than the saying that we should even cherish the shortest moments of our lives, as they often have the greatest impact on us.

At the Eagles vs. Patriots game.

At the Eagles vs. Patriots game.

Turf Wars

By Xavier Husser (New York, New York)

On Aug. 9, at Lincoln Financial Field, the crowd roared in both excitement and contempt. Smoke billowed out of the home team’s entrance. Football is not just a game or a form of entertainment; it is an ever-changing battle between two well-equipped armies. Football is also like chess: pawns fiercely fight to gain even a single yard. 

The Philadelphia Eagles waged war against the New England Patriots in the Eagles’ and Patriots’ first preseason game. The Eagles, who have not been able to beat the Patriots since 1999, have never won the Super Bowl. The Patriots have won three Super Bowls and are one of the best teams in the NFL. Even though all can change in football with a good coach or just one great player, the Eagles were the undisputed underdogs.

Michael Vick, the once-disgraced Atlanta Falcon, is a possible starting quarterback for the Eagles. After 12 years on the field, Vick knows his way around this artificial battleground. At 33 years old, Vick does not have a ring. With time running out in his career, he only has a couple more years to win the most sought-after prize in football.Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks playing in the NFL, is also a veteran. Brady aided the Patriots in their defeat of the Eagles in the 2005 Super Bowl, and is considered an aerial threat with close to 45,000 career passing yards and more than 330 touchdowns. Not only does Brady throw red-hot Hail Marys, but he advances to the end zone in the blink of an eye. A rival team’s worst nightmare, Brady is not undefeatable, but is comparable to a football demigod.

The Patriots’ touchdown in the first three minutes of the game set a tone of dominance. Vick quickly answered back with a touchdown of his own, but by the end of the second quarter, it was clear that the Patriots were in charge, at 24-14. The Patriots have a tendency to capitalize on a team’s mistakes and break through even the best teams’ defenses.

In this real-life David versus Goliath, David’s stone could not find a flaw in Goliath’s armor. After the smoke settled, the Patriots stood victorious, 31-22. The Eagles fought with all their might, but could not stop Brady and his army. Preseason games may only show a small glimpse of the regular season, but first impressions are important. Brady is still a dangerous player, but Vick also showed signs of becoming a threat this season.

Making the Most of the Last Two Days


By Bianca Uribe (New York, NY)

It has been a very hectic eight days. I never thought that I would actually get this far into the program. I seriously thought I would collapse or just simply explode somewhere halfway through. Fortunately, I am still here and I’m stronger than ever. It is so hard to believe that in just two days we will be going home back to our ordinary lives. I have done things that I would have never done before such as going to a football game, eating Greek food for lunch, and deciding to trade in my few hours of sleep in spend some time with the girls on my floor.  

Also, I will never forget the amazing speakers who came to enlighten us with their passion. The most influencing speaker for me in the past couple of days has been English professor Jeff Nunokawa. As soon as he spoke all eyes were on him and you could just tell by the way that he spoke and moved that he was completely in love with his profession. I cannot wait to tackle these last two days and to live them to the fullest. The last thing I want to do is go back home, but at least I know that I am going back as a better version of who I was when I first walked in.