Admit Weekend 2010: The Best On the Schedule

Posted by at 7:30PM

It seems like just last year when Stanford got itself in a frenzy to improve the dining hall food, ensure that the campus remained dry, bring out all clubs and groups in force, and recruit heavily to find more RoHos. It’s not every weekend that we have Admit Weekend, and to make it even more special, our guests are even more heavily vetted than ever before.

Here at TUSB, we pride ourselves on the contributions we make to giving open, honest opinions on what’s going on, and this week (or at least this post) is dedicated to all you ProFros. You’ve probably been contacted by your RoHo, and you might even have a nice packet explaining what you should be doing during your stay, but take it from us: Stanford can’t tell you what it should be like. Only biased, ignorant*, narrow-minded bloggers can do that. There’s a lot you should do, but here, I’ll give you the gentle introduction, picking out what I think the highlights of the schedule that I can see are.

Top 5 Academic Expos

When you get here, we’ll mostly focus on how fun Stanford is, but when it comes down to it, you actually do have to take classes to stick around. Here are what I think the best choices are:

5. The Mathematics of Doodling – Ravi Vakil (Session 1). Ravi Vakil is kind of a genius, being one of only 4 people to ever win the Putnam Competition 4 times. More importantly, he’s done tremendous work in Algebraic Geometry and will give you a taste of how math goes crazy after you stop using numbers and doing calculations. Trust me, Toto: we are definitely not in Kansas anymore

4. Ethical Considerations in Public Service – Rob Reich (Session 1). Honestly, I don’t know much about this guy, but he’s on my list for 2 reasons. 1) I’ve heard good things about him and 2) he teaches the IHUM: Freedom, Equality, Difference. I personally would probably rather watch Batman & Robin twice than sit through this, but if this is your sort of thing, it might be worth it to go for a test-run because you should CHOOSE YOUR IHUM WISELY.

3. Your Computer is More Random Than You Think It Is: How probability theory underlies web search, email, and many other things your computer does – Mehran Sahami (Session 2). Mehran is one of the most popular lecturers on campus. Of note, he teaches the introductory computer science class in the fall (for which he is an iTunes star: search “programming methodology” on the iTunes store), in which he throws candy for asking and answer questions, and delivers some of the funniest lectures I have ever heard. Oh, and he basically invented spam filtering.

2. The Perfect Economic and Financial Storm: Causes, Consequences, Solutions – Michael Boskin. One of things that you’ll learn is that when you come to Stanford, people here are kind of a big deal, and Michael Boskin is kind of a big deal. To be honest, I don’t know whether he teaches any classes here or speaks well, but this was the biggest name I saw on the list.

1. The Role of Sleep in Achieving Success at Stanford – William Dement. Sleep and Dreams is one of the most popular courses at Stanford as Dr. Dement (THE sleep doctor) is absolutely hilarious and has all sorts of good things to tell you about sleeping. I assure you, you will never see anything like his narcoleptic dogs that fall asleep when they get excited. And if you’re wondering about his street cred, he was on the team that discovered REM sleep. You will never have so much fun in a lecture.

Top 5 Events

5. Academic Expos (multiple times) – alright, I literally just covered this, but I want to re-emphasize: you’re going to take classes, and there really are awesome lecturers who are speaking. You’re skipping 2 days of high school. I think you can sit through a few 50 minute classes.

4. Hike the Dish (multiple times) – full disclaimer: I’ve never walked the Dish myself, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. The weather is supposed to be nice for the first Admit Weekend I can remember, and this should make you appreciate how much better the weather is at Stanford than anywhere else. Moreover, you’ll be going along with the SPOT leaders. Again, I didn’t do SPOT, but it was a tremendous experience for everyone I know who did it, and this should give you a chance to try to figure out another choice Stanford forces you to make before you get here.

3. Scott Forstall and YSU: The Official Close to Admit Weekend (Saturday at 4PM) – he led iPhone development. This guy changed the world. Scott’s just as brilliant a designer and leader as Steve Jobs with the attention to detail that makes Apple products what they are, except he isn’t a jerk. Granted, I’m a little biased, seeing as he’s a product of my own major (yes, that was a shameless plug), but this again reiterates my point that people here at Stanford are kind of a big deal. Thankfully, he’s also super-friendly and down to Earth. If you come to Stanford, you could be the next him.

2. A Cappella Concert (Friday at 8PM) – a cappella groups on campus are great. I am actually without words as to how good their shows are. And you’ll get to see them all!

1. Activities Fair (Friday at 11AM) – you’ll never get a better chance to see everything that Stanford offers. Sure, classes are important, faculty are famous, the campus is beautiful, but if you’re going to fall in love with anything at Stanford, it’s the passion and intellectual vitality of the students. You’ll get to meet all sorts of amazing groups, from the band to chess club. They range from minor hobbies to important activities, but they’re absolutely worth getting to know and getting involved with. And TUSB will be there, too.

Get excited because the schedule is jam-packed with great stuff, and it’s just a hint at the best 4 years of your life.

*you know at least I’m ignorant because I’m not even good enough to add an eye-catching picture to this post

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4 Responses to “Admit Weekend 2010: The Best On the Schedule”

  1. Josh says:

    Two of the best teachers I’ve had at Stanford are Rob (Reich) and Mehran (Sahami). Go to these two, and you won’t regret it…but you might be disappointed when you have real classes during the school year that aren’t quite as good.

  2. Giancarlo says:

    I second Josh–Mehran is incredibly engaging and absolutely hilarious. Go see him even if you’re not remotely interested in technology.

  3. George says:

    Rob Reich is the man. You will NEVER sleep in one of his classes. Hiking the Dish is also worthwhile. You can do the whole loop in an hour or less.

  4. Samir says:

    Boskin is the boss. The was the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under H.W. Bush, and he teaches Econ 1B right now!

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