Life After Ripon — Ariana Myers ’14
Chapter 4: Reaching Equilibrium
[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!]
And so my first whirlwind year at Princeton comes to a close. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. It feels like only yesterday that I was graduating from Ripon, so seeing many of my friends posting on social media about graduation was an almost jarring experience. I wish the class of ’15 the greatest of success and happiness in their futures. I hope this blog post will help some of you figure out what to expect in the future.
At Princeton, they require all first-year students to submit a major research paper at the end of the academic year. Mine focused on environmental warfare during the 13th century Christian conquest of Muslim Valencia. The main activity of medieval warfare was the destruction of food sources, but I also addressed the issue of slavery in warfare. The project sought to demonstrate that warfare affected everyone, not just soldiers or the nobility, and that humans form a real part of the environment around them, affecting it markedly through their actions.
I started an intensive summer Arabic course at the University of Pennsylvania last week. Commuting to Philadelphia every weekday seemed daunting at first, but now that I figured out the train system, it is actually rather enjoyable. The course is more than five hours a day, so by the end of the six weeks I should be in a much better place with it. It’s fun to get outside of Princeton after so long cooped up in the library there!
I will be heading back to Wisconsin next weekend for my friends’ wedding. It will be a great experience, to be sure. I need to catch up with all of my Wisconsinite friends, but that will have to wait until I have time for a more leisurely visit after my Arabic course ends. To those of you reading this blog post, I miss all of you dearly, and I cannot wait to see you again.
Since this is my last blog post, I should probably include something about the lessons I have learned in the year since I graduated. Life after Ripon has its ups and downs. Sometimes it will feel like you will never be able to reach equilibrium. If you can, it is important to set aside time for yourself to just do nothing, or pursue a hobby if that is more your thing. All-day pajama days are one excellent way I cope with the times when life is overwhelming.
Ripon is a small school, so though it can feel like you met a lot of different people while there, chances are you will begin to meet even more people from all kinds of walks of life once you move on. The best part of that happening for me was when I embraced it and allowed it to change my opinions on certain subjects. A Ripon education should leave you prepared to embrace the full, beautiful diversity in the world and learn from it.
However, I think the most important advice I can offer is to never lose contact with your friends. Friends are precious, and the ones you made at Ripon have the potential to last a lifetime. My Ripon network expands across the nation and beyond. Friends will be there for you when you are feeling down. They will celebrate your triumphs with you and comfort you after the inevitable failures that form a part of life. It’s hard to move far away from them, but fortunately the age of the internet makes keeping in touch relatively easy.
It was a pleasure to be able to write these blog posts for my alma mater. I am grateful for the opportunities Ripon gave me, and I look forward to seeing where my friends in the Class of ’15 go. I can’t wait until the next time I get to wander Ripon’s prairie.
Ariana Myers ’14