I’ll Take Astrophysical Sciences for $1,000, Alex

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Resolutions. They hold all the hope and potential that a new year offers—and they also bring 364 days worth of guilt if you leave them behind after the first week. While my friend has nobly committed to reading more books in 2010 (and has made good on that declaration by already finishing one, the show-off), my own resolution was no loftier than canceling a series recording on my DVR for The Vampire Diaries. Sigh. Although this reflects no more than a mediocre desire for self-improvement, I’ve found a much groovier way to motivate myself in this bright, shiny new year: Princeton University’s Community Auditing Program.

The Community Auditing Program (CAP) is coordinated by the Office of Community and Regional Affairs and offers individuals the opportunity to attend University lectures on a noncredit basis for a modest charge ($125 per course). Auditors listen to the same lectures and work from the same texts as enrolled students, and several Princeton professors present special courses and one-time lectures just for CAP enrollees. The mere thought of strolling the hallowed halls of one of the world’s great learning institutions with a latte in one hand and a notebook in the other is enough to make me want to break out my old college backpack and my grungy flannel shirt.

And when I say there is such an extensive list of courses that there truly is something for every one among us, I mean it. Medieval art? Sure. Cryptography? You bet. Evolutionary biology? Naturally. Music of the Baroque? Of course. The History of Europe in the World? Absolument. Rocket and Air-Breathing Propulsion Technology? A thousand times, yes! Me, I’m contemplating Literature of the Fin de Siècle. Or maybe the Philosophy of Kant. Who knows? Who cares! The world is our oyster, people, and I recommend we all get shucking: The Spring 2010 semester begins this Wednesday, January 13, and Thursday, January 14.

The CAP office is conveniently located in the center of Princeton at 22 Chambers Street, Suite 101. Staff members are available to answer your questions Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You also can go online at princeton.edu/community to learn more about the program, see the full list of Spring 2010 course offerings, and register. So, while my picture might not be added to the photo gallery of Princeton grads lining the walls of The Yankee Doodle Tap Room (hello, Jimmy Stewart and Brooke Shields), I will be able to say that I “went” to Princeton.

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