Student Spotlight: Miles @ Princeton University

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Meet Miles, a sophomore Operations Research and Financial Engineering major at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ. Miles is originally from New York City and attended Collegiate School for Boys.

What’s on your playlist?

Mat Kearney, Skylar Grey, Parachute, Passenger, Queen, Imagine Dragons. A mixture of rock and indie/acoustic.

What’s a book that inspired you?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl, for sure.

Favorite way to take study break?

Eat!

Favorite late night snack?

Wheat thins!

Favorite app/gadget/tools?

Spotify.

Favorite travel destination?

Spain.

Would you have done anything differently in high school?

I definitely should have tried to do more independent projects. I feel I was a very “by the book” student, i.e. learned all the material I needed to learn and got the grades I needed to get. While I did have some extracurricular activities that were very important in my life, those two were pretty guided (I had a coach for chess, a teacher for piano, etc.). The ability to learn on one’s own is a vastly underrated skill in high school. I feel that in college, that kind of initiative is a lot more common and yet is not something that comes naturally to me.

Did you have a class that changed the way you think?

I took an Introduction to Computer Science course this fall, and it opened up a whole world of possibilities that were not there before. Given that so many of the tools I interact with on a daily basis require extensive programming knowledge to build, knowing that I have just a few of those skills is an incredibly empowering feeling. After having no knowledge of computer science going in, I’m now considering Computer Science as a potential major or minor.

How did you decide what school you were going to go to?

As I was going on my college visits, I mainly focused on whether I could see myself as a student at that school. Also, I wanted to get the sense that the campus and town were bustling; I didn’t want to spend four years of my life in a really sleepy community. On a related note, I really needed to be near a major city. With these in mind, I was able to narrow my choices down when it came time for the Early Action application. I was choosing between Princeton and Yale, and what really broke the tie for me was what I had heard about each school from kids I knew. No one I knew at Princeton seemed to have anything negative to say about the place, whereas some of the people at Yale were a little more ambiguous about how they felt. Hence, I really thought that Princeton would be the best place for me and decided to apply early. Once I got in, I didn’t apply anywhere else.

What one piece of advice would you give high school students, or yourself in high school?

Everyone transitions into college at their own pace. Don’t expect to feel totally at home by the first week, or even month or year. Your academic work will probably be much harder, and building a social circle from scratch is no easy task. Don’t worry too much if you feel like you’re behind the curve; so many other kids feel the same way.

Top 4 things you won’t read in the brochure about Princeton University:
  1. Even though there’s limited Greek life, there’s a pretty strong party culture at Princeton. Eating clubs take the place of fraternities when it comes to weekend festivities.

  2. In the same vein, Princeton’s a very work hard, play harder kind of place; lots of people come into the weekends absolutely spent from the week’s work and are ready to go have a good time.

  3. Princeton has this thing called late meal, where during the week you can basically get a free meal from the student center twice a day (lunch and dinner). It’s absolutely fantastic.

  4. One thing that’s kind of disappointing is how your vacations don’t sync up with most other colleges; you won’t see much of your friends from high school when you’re on break. Also, the fact that you have finals after you get back from winter break (a winter break that is much shorter than most other schools) may convince you to just stay on campus.

Princeton University

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