Starting fresh this fall, find your footing


Fun fact

A moose's wide hooves act like built-in snowshoes, helping the moose walk in the snow.

Ask yourself...

How can you put your best “hoof” forward at the start of this semester?


Dear Mathey Moose,

I am delighted to welcome you to the beginning of fall semester. As your dedicated Director for Student Life (DSL) I am here to support, champion, listen, and advise in myriad ways. My biggest wish for you is that you’re able to explore what Princeton University has to offer and find ways to tap into your personal potential.

First year students: this is your inaugural semester of college. You join our community under unusual circumstances. Along with your RCA and zee group, I will do my very best to help you navigate the experience safely and grow as an individual.

Returning students: this semester is an opportunity to build on what you started when you first arrived at Princeton. I acknowledge that you will be doing so online, but be assured that I am highly committed to offering many opportunities to have fun, forge relationships, and create strong bonds to our remarkable community.

Regardless of your class year, you are not alone in your journey. As part of our ongoing Live Well Be Well (LWBW) programming, I will communicate with you on a regular basis with strategies and tips for being well and staying well. Keep in mind, wellness is more than the absence of illness. Rather, wellness is about maximizing your potential! Don't worry, we don’t expect you to have it all figured it out on Day One. Adapting to your first year of college or to studying remotely is a process.  

This week’s LWBW correspondence centers on the concept of finding your footing. This feels like an especially apt topic to cover, since we are at the very beginning of the academic year and this is a good time to establish habits and routines that work for you.  Allow me to support and guide you as you figure out your personal path.

  • Establish a helpful, regular routine right away. In my observation, students who get deliberate early in the semester about establishing reasonable sleep, meal, exercise, and study schedules are happier and more capable of managing their busy lives. You’ll never regret being thoughtful about these types of daily activities. It’s a lot easier to initiate helpful habits than expend energy on trying to break bad habits.

  • Be prepared for some trial and error. Don’t expect everything to mesh smoothly the first days or weeks. It’s ok if your routine feels a little weird or you aren’t always perfect with the healthy habits you wish to practice. Actually, it’s really normal for there to be an adjustment period. Talk to your RCA, zee group, and other trusted people for motivation, accountability, or reassurance.

  • If you notice you’re struggling, reach out for help anytime. Thankfully, Princeton has a considerable support system and I encourage you to tap into it. You all deserve to be here and we are invested in your ongoing success. If you’re not sure where to turn, start with your RCA or me ( I encourage you to make appointments with CPS or UHS. Both are here for you, regardless of whether you are on campus or staying remote.

Moose, you got this.  This fall start fresh, start strong!

Dr. Darleny Cepin