July 15th, 2009
12:14 PM ET

Cricket, Ivy League classmates startled student Sonia Sotomayor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/15/sotomayor.college/art.sotomayor.princeton.jpg caption="Sotomayor won the Moses Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor given to an undergraduate at Princeton. "]

Elizabeth Landau

Sonia Sotomayor spent her first week at Princeton University obsessing over the sound of a cricket. Growing up in New York City, her only notion of this insect was Jiminy from "Pinocchio." She tore her dorm room apart looking for the critter every night.

Finally, her then-boyfriend and future husband visited and explained that the cricket was outside the room, where she had been holed up most of that week in 1972.

"This was all new to me: we didn't have trees brushing up against windows in the South Bronx," Sotomayor recalled in a speech to the Princeton Women's Network in 2002.

The freshman who was so taken aback by a cricket's chirping now has a more public challenge: Senate hearings on whether to confirm her as a Supreme Court justice, potentially the first Latina to hold such a post.

At one time, being different may have been difficult - for it wasn't just Princeton's crickets that startled Sotomayor. The academics and the students on the leafy Gothic campus, with its ivy-covered dormitories and castle-like towers, also made her feel out of place.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. LA

    Ms.Sotomayor is hands down qualified for the position and has worked diligently to provide justice for all. Confirm her yesterday......

    July 16, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  2. Sylvia

    Sonia Sotomayor has made incredible strides from her humble beginnings, and will make a wonderful Supreme Court Judge.
    She is bringing in a new aspect to the Court, one of a woman who worked hard for everything she has accomplished and understands what it is to be an average American. All this garbage they keep bringing up about her past is rediculous and the republicans way of, once again, disgracing a minority. They are no better than the swim club that kicked out the day care because of thier race.
    She's qualified for the job, so just confirm her.

    July 15, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    If the Supremes engage in any "freshman hazing," there's an idea right there.

    July 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Boo Whoo! Most of Americans including myself would feel out of place in any Ivy League School. I came from a lower middle class family and would never get the opportunity to attend Princeton.

    July 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm |