Class Year: 2010
Residential College: Rocky
Eating Club / Extracurricular Activities: Cap & Gown, Women's Varsity Fencing, Women's Club Lacrosse
Her Campus Princeton: How would you describe your Princeton experience?
Chandler Clay: My Princeton experience was all about the people. I took pride in having such a diverse group of friends from such different backgrounds with such varied interests. Whenever the academic and athletic pressures got to me, I could always rely on my second family on the fencing team, my place at the table at Cap & Gown and my fellow Small World Coffee addicts. Without these people, I have no sense of what Princeton University is, other than one of the best, if not the best, academic institutions in the world. But it's the entire experience, not just the education, that stays with you when you graduate.
HCP: What is your favorite Princeton memory?
CC: My favorite Princeton memory has to be watching Andrea Oliva, a sophomore at the time, clinch the last victory we needed over Harvard to win the Ivy League Fencing Championship my senior year. I've known Andrea since I was 12 — as long as I've been fencing, since we went to the same club in Philadelphia growing up — so to see her get the last touch the team needed to win our first Ivy Championship in 9 years was bittersweet.
HCP: How did you balance your academic life and your life as a varsity athlete?
CC: By drinking lots and lots of Small World Coffee. And by not taking myself too seriously. Sometimes you just need to spend 2 hours at dinner with your friends. That's what lets you get through it.
HCP: What, if anything, surprised you about life at Princeton?
CC: How terrible Beast is. And how willingly we drank it.
HCP: You went on to receive your MA in Journalism although you studied Economics! Did you find the lack of a journalism major on campus to be worrisome?
CC: If there is one thing Princeton teaches you, it's how to write a thought-provoking and well-sourced paper. I took two or three journalism classes during my undergraduate studies, but I learned just as much about writing a good article in those classes as I did by writing my thesis. I think I had an advantage going into my Master's program at American by having written more research papers than anything else. As a journalist, you have to be able to do your own research, be painstakingly skeptical of your sources and be able to communicate complex ideas in words that arouse understanding and consideration. I learned how to do this in all of my classes at Princeton, so I honestly believe any Princeton graduate could pursue a career journalism with confidence.
HCP: What is your advice for collegiettes who want to enter the journalism field after college?
CC: My advice for those who wish to get into journalism post-Princeton is to start blogging and tweeting now. If you want to compete in this field, which I can attest is very very difficult to get into, you have to be aware and engaged. The first two things my professors at American University had us do was start a personally branded blog (http://chandlerclay.wordpress.com/) and twitter account (http://twitter.com/chandlereclay). I was skeptical at first, since I didn't consider myself a blogger or tweeter, but I'm so glad I listened to my professors because those blogs and twitter feeds allowed us to build a repertoire and reputation that, without, would make us unemployable.
HCP: Most important lesson you learned at Princeton?
CC: That I have the means to make a difference in the world. And that's exactly what I'm trying to do.