Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In The Nation's Service

TigerBlog will get to the video he saw on goprincetontigers.com yesterday in a second.

First, there was huge news out of Princeton yesterday.

The academic calendar is changing, after a vote by the faculty. You can read the University's official story HERE.

The main change, of course, is that beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, first semester exams will no longer be after the holidays. They'll be in December instead, like they are essentially everywhere else. There's more to it than just that, but that's the most notable part of the change.

If you're a Princeton alum, then you spent four years going home for the holidays and then coming back to campus for reading period and then final exams. This was your ritual each of your four years, when all of your friends who went to other schools had already taken their exams.

This, of course, probably leaves you with some pretty strong feelings about the change of the calendar. Did you love it? Hate it? Do you love the fact that it was something very unique to Princeton? Did you want your winter break back?

Miss TigerBlog will, hopefully, be a junior in the 2020-21 academic year, which means she'll have two years the old way and two years the new way. Perhaps after graduation she'll write a guest TigerBlog about what she thought of each.

TigerBlog, of course, went to Penn, which has long had a traditional academic calendar. He only knew having first-semester exams before the holidays, and that was fine with him.

Since he's been at Princeton all this time, he's gotten used to the way the academic calendar has been. And one of the more unique components of it was the way it impacted athletic schedules.

Most college teams shut down their athletic programs for first semester exams in December. At Princeton, that break came in January.

As you know as a Princeton fan, this would mean that there would be no athletic events during basically a three-week stretch in January. It's always meant that the winter season was broken up into completely separate components - and that Princeton would be sidelined while the rest of the college athletic world would be at its busiest.

What will the effect be on the athletic calendar? TigerBlog isn't sure. He hasn't talked to enough people - coaches, administrators - to get a real feel for things.

He does know that he'll miss the winter breaks. They come at a very good time and have always provided a natural break for those who work here.

Of course, he also got to take his exams before Princeton, so what does he know? Actually, one thing he does know is that the post-holiday exam break went back decades and decades and that he's not sure exactly when it first started to be like that. Maybe it goes back centuries.

And now it'll be changing. That's huge stuff.

And now he can talk about the video.

TB's colleague John Bullis did a piece on two Princeton female athletes who are also in ROTC, sophomore Casey Bersh of the women's water polo team and junior Mikayla Blaska of the softball team. You can watch the video HERE.

By the way, TigerBlog puts links to stories and videos here all the time. He always has the links bold and italicized. Do people click on them?

Anyway, Bersh and Blaska talk in the video about their decisions to take a path that most college kids would never even consider. It's a calling for them, and they are embracing that piece of their experience. They also talk about the connection to their athletic experience at Princeton.

The University's official motto is "In the Nation's Service and the Service of All Humanity." In the Department of Athletics, the goal is to give those who compete here the opportunity to "Achieve, Serve, Lead." These two young women clearly buy into both aspects.

TigerBlog especially liked when they talked about what they were going to do in the future, after graduation, when they're in the Army. Blaska talks about active duty and the infantry. Bersh talks about military intelligence or the JAG Corps, which is military law and justice.

The best part is the way both smile as they say the words. They are very serious and very proud of what they want to do - but at the end they both sneak in a small smile, one that says they're really looking forward to it.

They're definitely special. That's for sure.

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