Over the weekend of August 15th, approximately 70 incoming students showed up for the Princeton summer program called Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI). Among other purposes, it’s intended for students who will be faced with unique time management pressures. The 14 participating freshman Tiger football players will certainly be faced with a lot of time management challenges as student-athletes in the fall. FSI is a great opportunity to get into the rhythm of campus life and they were thrown right into the mix upon arrival.
On Sunday, FSI started with check in & move in to Princeton’s Butler College, their home for the next seven weeks. They settled into their dorm rooms unpacking all their things (or had mom do it), while meeting their roommates and RGAs (Residential College Advisors). Later that afternoon, a reception followed by dinner for all FSI participants and parents allowed the new Tigers to finally meet each other as a group … and they quickly defined themselves as a group within a group.
After orientation, a tour of the campus and shopping trips on Monday, the young men were ready to go. And they needed to be ready, because on Tuesday, it all started for them. That start was bright and early at 6:20 am … ready to run on the field with the rest of the football players who are in Princeton for the summer (the team alternates early morning conditioning with early morning weightlifting). Then it’s quickly on to breakfast, classes and a full day.
FSI participants take two classes over the summer session, Ways of Knowing (WOK) and a Math class. The classes fill most weekday mornings from 9:00am -12:30pm. Afterwards the boys have lunch, then relax, take a nap or do homework. Afternoons include opportunities to attend workshops on how to successfully meet the demands of Princeton and professor lecture series which coordinate with the topic they are reading, discussing, and writing about in their WOK class that week. But one thing stays constant; their professors have to fit a full semester class into an abbreviated amount of time. The coursework hit the student-athletes right away with a lot of homework and due dates.
Around 5:30pm, the team captains arrange “captains practices”, where players get together on their own to work on their football skills. In the evening, it’s time for dinner, more homework in study/tutor sessions, and 10pm snacks and study breaks with their RGA.
Weekends include FSI group activities and fun getaways to NYC & the Jersey Shore … along with papers to write by 6pm on Sundays and reading assignments and math quizzes to complete before Monday’s class.
In between all of this, the new freshmen are learning how to live in their new world. Figuring out where everything is, the best routes to get there on foot or bike, rain or shine, and how to do laundry. In other words… how to excel, or survive, on their own.
So yes, they are VERY busy. But, Princeton has embraced them and they have the benefit of a team of friends for the next four years. Behind all this is opportunity. Yes, not only a chance to get a head start on learning the Princeton way, but also a head start on an educational opportunity that can open doors never thought of before.
They’re off … all at a faster gear.
As parents, we’re shifting to a slower gear … becoming empty nesters and learning to let go. Unlike our parents, at least we have cell phones for daily texts and social media sites to see what they are up to … #collegelife.
At FSI drop off day, the football parents also met and quickly bonded. We can’t wait for the season to start! We look forward to tailgating together before and after the games and cheering on The Tigers, while watching our boys mature over the next four years. As a close friend told me … “If you think you enjoyed watching him play high school ball, just wait until you get to watch him play college ball!”
So, along with some W’s on the football field … all we really hope for is they will take full advantage of the wonderful opportunity presented to them. We will miss them dearly. But we find comfort knowing they’re at Princeton, a great place to win in life with a great bunch of teammates!
~ Go Tigers!