In the five months since Commencement, I’ve had to reconsider the niche I found at Deerfield as editor of The Deerfield Scroll, captain of the math team, co-captain of the cross-country team, and successful student.
When I arrived at Princeton in September, I signed up to write for the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. My first two articles were exciting and went off without a hitch. I even profiled a former White House Chief of Staff. However, my next article, which featured the well-known philosopher Peter Singer, dealt with death threats he received ten years ago. Death threats are apparently thorny topics, which I discovered could lead to libelous interpretations of my article.
I have already encountered a few similar surprises here, all showing me that college is really more high-stakes, larger-scale than high school. My math class seems to be filled with peers who have had more success in math competitions than I, which is new to me. Finding time to run here is even harder than at Deerfield. Also, in most of my classes, my grades are almost entirely based on my midterms and finals, contributing to a constant uncertainty about my academic performance.
Adjusting to a different system and trying to overcome new challenges has truly tested my faith in my abilities for the first time since I established my identity at Deerfield. Especially in my junior and senior years of high school, I felt a certain confidence I took for granted.
However, as surprisingly tough as I find it to establish how I stand out from the rest of the Princeton community, I truly don’t want to be anywhere else.
The growth and success I found at Deerfield did not come immediately or easily, and knowing that is enough to inspire me to keep pushing until I find my place. I am prepared to embrace the failures that may come because I know sometime in the next year or two, I will find my niche, and I will again take my self-confidence for granted.
Jason Jung ’09 was the editor-in-chief of The Deerfield Scroll. He was the 2009 recipient of the Crow Cup. Jung now attends Princeton University in New Jersey.