Welcome, Class of 2016! As a Frosh enthusiast, I’m incredibly excited that I was on campus for NSO all 4 years of my Stanford career. You’ve all worked incredibly hard, seen amazing things and made it after 4 years of jockeying for place at this institution.
We know exactly how hard you worked, thanks to Confessions from Stanford. We got a play by play. That’s not a bad thing in itself. Despite some of the Stanford Community’s criticism of the blog, we still love frosh. But I’m not here to talk about that blog. I think Lilliana did a great job writing about the subject.
As an old senior, I wanted to impart other wisdom on you. The first thing is, now that you’ve leaped over obstacles to get here, please just sit back and relax on the windy river that is a Stanford undergraduate experience. College here is both an intellectual and social wonderland that you have to explore to enjoy. Starting from day one, you will be meeting people that will change your whole outlook on life. Take things minute by minute, day by day, and really stop to pause and smile at how beautiful everything is around. As blasé as I am nowadays, I still pause in my tracks sometime and grin at how many colors there are in the mural in front of Memorial Church or how incredibly comfortable it is to lie down on the grass..anywhere really and take a nap. So, appreciate things around you. Appreciate the people around you. Applying to college may have been a marathon, but slow down and stroll. You deserve a break.
My next piece of wisdom is don’t waste time waiting to like something you think you should like. Want to create the next Google but end up not liking Computer Science (yes, it’s possible…)? Want to be a business connoisseur but can’t bear anymore Econ? Besides the fact that there are other means to work with people who do have those skills/background (like Start X, the Haas Center for Public Service, or even SICA), it’s more important to take classes in subjects you truly enjoy. You only get to be an undergraduate once. And even though you’re just arriving on campus, I’ll let you in on a secret – your college major doesn’t make or break what you do for the rest of your life. So just like you should enjoy the campus, make sure you enjoy your classes too!
My final piece of advice was inspired by advice from a self-made millionaire I had the pleasure of hearing. He reminded me that while Stanford is an amazing place to be, it just the beginning of future possibilities. On the blog I mentioned before, some of you explained how you chose Stanford and what steps you took to get. Now it’s time to start figuring out what being at an institution like Stanford means in the grand scheme of things. Use it’s network. Take full advantage of what you can explore intellectually. But try not to make attending Stanford your crowning achievement! If you had the skills and qualities to get in, you definitely have the power to use everything our great university teaches you to do amazing things, even after you’re off the Farm.
Even though being on campus is still a very fresh experience for many of you, I still hope you can find some kernel of meaning in my words. I can’t help but want to share what I’ve learned with you all, right at the beginning! I see too much potential in the class of 2016 to not try to nudge you guys along. That goes for 2015 and 2014 as well. And of course THIR-TEEN! Enjoy NSO and Stanford. You made it!