Life After Ripon – Ariana Myers ’14

Chapter 2: Ripon Connections

[Editor’s Note: Ariana Myers ’14, Nathan Held ’14, and Sophia Kaounas ’14 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]

The first snow has fallen, and the good people of New Jersey have gone into a panic over how to manage the sudden environmental paradigm shift. Appointments and events are cancelled. Drivers are leery of risking their lives in the Great White Unknown. Meanwhile I, a native Wisconsinite, chuckle at their discomfort, for I attended the school that has not canceled class in 30 years.

As my first semester at Princeton draws to a close, as you might imagine, I have many thoughts to reflect on. I have learned so much in this semester alone, not just about the course material, but about myself as well. Class topics ranged from the nature of the Black Death to the artificiality of historical periodization to the connections between racism and the gender binary. I am finding that the liberal arts foundation I got from Ripon prepared me very well to excel here, since I was firmly grounded in a wide array of subjects and contexts. I have found that I can draw connections between widely disparate topics in a way that a highly focused specialist could not. Hoorah for Ripon! Hoorah for the Liberal Arts! Hoorah for interdisciplinarity!

Over my Fall Break, I had the great pleasure of returning to Wisconsin and visiting my alma mater. I got to see many (but, alas, not all!) of my old friends who are still students, along with many of my professors. The bonds forged “far within Wisconsin’s prairies” are not easily broken! It was a wonderful visit, and I look forward to the next one.

I also met up with fellow alumni Jeremy Johnson ’12 and Honey Zaw ’13 one chilly November weekend in Philadelphia. It was the result of a somewhat spontaneous opportunity when all of us were in the same general region, so we seized the day. It was a great chance to catch up and reflect on life and reminisce about the ol’ Ripon days.

I am so grateful for the Ripon friendships that have withstood the twin tests of time and distance, but I am also grateful for the new people I have met at Princeton. I am happy to say that I can count many students within and without the History Department, graduate and undergraduate, faculty and staff, among my friends. I was worried that the close community of Ripon could not be replicated elsewhere, but my new friends have really made me feel welcome.

I am afraid that I must cut this entry short, as I need to study for a Unit Test in Arabic 101 tomorrow. The specter of final papers for my History graduate seminars also looms large on the horizon. I will leave my readers with this: changing your environment is scary, but it is possible to adapt. Life can and will go on after Ripon, as long as you give it a chance!

Ariana Myers ’14


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