On a recent Monday, 15 first-year Princeton students sat in a classroom in Blair Hall and contemplated a large ceramic snail in the center of the table.
The topic of the afternoon was “facing personal adversity: resilience and meaning” in the freshman seminar “What Makes a Meaningful Life? A Search.” And the snail? A prop inspired by one of the assigned readings — “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
This is the sixth time Ellen Chances, professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, has taught the seminar since creating the course in 2013. “I hoped that in this era of overly busy lives, it might be helpful for first-year students to contemplate what others have said about living a meaningful life, and to reflect upon their own thoughts and questions in connection with the topic and with their lives,” she said.
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