Reading Season 2021

Jan 31 2021
Graduate Admissions Office

It has been an absolute joy to read through your applications—I find myself repeatedly inspired, refreshed and renewed.

(And also tired!)

We are mostly working remotely at Princeton, and I miss interacting with colleagues and engaging with students. The community is, after all, our secret sauce, and I miss it.

Of course we connect over Zoom and in socially distant manners outside. But it is not the same.

Today, for a change when reading files, I went to Robertson Hall, the building that houses SPIA.

While there, on the way to my office, I paused in our newly remodeled atrium to glance at the snow that had started to fall outside.

After a moment of contemplation, I pulled out my phone and captured this picture—a model of the Freedom Fountain in the fore, with the actual Freedom Fountain visible outside in the back.

I enjoy the beauty of our campus in all seasons, and smiled when thinking about what that statue represented to me in that moment.

Perhaps I am just hyper-aware of the symmetry in your applications or the poetic ways in which you have summarized work and accomplishments—I don’t know, but at that moment, the statue represented all the files I am reading right now.

By contrast, in that quiet moment, the fountain outside, the real one—full of life, history, and proud to be a gathering place for our community—symbolized the real people behind the files. The ones that will come to SPIA and join our community.

The real Freedom Fountain, like the real people behind the files, is full of life and a lifeblood to our School.

That’s the update for now. We are thick into reading season, and are enjoying getting to know you.

We will release decisions by March 15.

Wherever you are in the world tonight, I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well and staying healthy.

For those enjoying the same winter snowstorm as us in New Jersey, I hope you are safe and warm.

Thanks for your interest!