To end our northeast trip, we spent our last day touring around Princeton, New Jersey. I now have the overwhelming urge to rewatch two of my favorite movies of all time, IQ (a cute film about Einstein’s niece) and A Beautiful Mind (a mind-shatteringly fantastic movie about a Princeton mathematician that is particularly world-rocking when you have to wait a day to see the second half of the movie, but I digress. That is a post for another day…). We attended an information session in which a woman from the admissions department and a witty math-major-turned-latin-major-sorry-I-mean-concentration told us about what Princeton has to offer. Why is it that at both Yale and Princeton the STEM minded guy switched from a math major? Lately I’ve been rethinking my gung-ho math certain plan (because how cool is biology/neuroscience/psychology), so maybe it’s a sign. It’s a sign at least that I don’t have to choose right away, which I appreciate.
After the info session, when ambling behind our backwards-walking tour guide through the lush campus (pro-tip: bring a water bottle), he stopped in a courtyard to point at a few windows on the nearby building. “You see that corner window up top to the right? That’s where Einstein taught. And that window closer to us? That’s where Shia Labeouf was pushed out in Transformers.” I haven’t seen transformers and I only know Shia Labeouf from a couple odd YouTube videos, so I wasn’t too excited about that. The former, however, was thrilling. Here I was, standing where one of the greatest minds planet earth has ever created, taught. The thought was both humbling and invigorating. The man who changed the face of physics, a man whose face has been plastered on my wall for years, a man who created an equation that I’ve known by heart for as long as I can remember (and so far only superficially understand, though I’m working to remedy that), was here. He lived and breathed and thought and taught here. Even just being here makes me want to grab some books and absorb everything I can. The air Einstein once breathed now flows within me, encouraging me simply to learn and work through the world around me.
We left campus after taking a break to discuss our visits to Yale and Princeton and how those trips have shaped my idea of what I’m looking for in a college. As if seeing a window of a room Einstein used to lecture in wasn’t enough, our next stop was to his old house. We parked alongside the curb and got out with the awkwardness that comes with unbridled excitement (which obviously the owners are used to, as evidenced by their multiple signs assuring us that the former house of the worlds foremost mathematical genius was indeed a private residence). We stopped and took pictures of the house, looking in awe at the place Einstein used to rest his head and reminiscing about the silly scene where in the backyard, Einstein and his friends “had a little gravity problem.” This trip has left me feeling on top of the world, ready to jump into collegiate life. And just like that birdie (and racket and cane and golf club) stuck in the tree, I don’t want to fall.