Author Archive - Kristi

About Kristi:

Hi! I'm a senior of the rare female EE species. I'm especially interested in campus events, high tech, and Stanford traditions. In my spare time, I enjoy swing dancing, attempting to fling plastic discs in desired directions, and walking backwards while talking loudly to strangers.

#YOLO, FOMO, and the License to Chill

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I dunno, but I’m sure they’d be UNCOMFORTABLY ENERGETIC.

For those of you anticipating a bad joke about refrigerators: you are about to be disappointed.

It never ceases to amaze me how the fast-paced Stanford life has changed my perception of free time.  At the beginning of my freshman year, I was quite honestly astounded by the sheer amount of free time a college student could* enjoy.  Joining Stanford from a competitive prep school, the typical daily schedule for me had been a weighty sandwich of 8 straight classes followed by sports practice(s), music lessons, homework, and then, at some ungodly hour, sleep.  Rinse and repeat, injecting standardized testing and college apps as necessary.  Frankly, I’m not sure how I pulled it off, and if I could bottle Kristi Work-Ethic ’08 and sell it as an energy drink, believe me, I would.  (“Your babies will find partial derivatives as fast as KENYANS!!”)

What changed?  Suddenly 2-3 generously spaced courses per day became the norm.  We became the masters of our own schedules.  What freedom, what bliss!  What… perfectly sized holes into which to insert extracurriculars!

Optimizers that we Stanford students are, we felt compelled to fill the voids.  Brimming, bursting, busting at the seams, with our color-coded Google calendars representing a neon patchwork of schedule conflicts.  (If the time-turner actually existed, Stanford would be its target market.)   This attitude, this lifestyle, has commoditized our free time.  Both I and my peers have used the phrase “maximize the fun” non-ironically.  Every spare moment stands on trial for its life as we nervously check the time on our iPhones.  Optimize the relaxation!  Attend ALL THE PARTIES! (more…)

A Stanford Love Story: Suds, Circuits, and Romance

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Nerd love is the best love.

David Packard arrived at Stanford in 1930 as the Great Depression hit.  He was also, coincidentally, the Stanford dream incarnate.  When he wasn’t busy majoring in electrical engineering, he was playing football, basketball, or track for Stanford.  David had considered a career in basketball before deciding upon more academic pursuits.  In fact, David Packard and Bill Hewlett met because they both tried out for football during the fall of their freshman year!

I think you learn a lot of things in athletics and they’re very important in your later career….  You understand the importance of competition and fair play and you develop a sense of the importance of teamwork.”  – David Packard

The Wonder Woman of the early HP years.

To help pay for his education during tough times, “Dave” worked as a hasher and dishwasher in the Delta Gamma sorority.  He was washing dishes in the kitchen during a sorority party one night in the fall of 1933 when he was introduced to the vivacious young Lucile Salter, a sophomore in the sorority.  The two were married in 1938, the same year Hewlett-Packard was founded.  Lucile’s former chapter of Delta Gamma holds a number of co-sponsored philanthropic events with the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital to this day.

Lucile was crucial to the growth of Hewlett-Packard.  She was the sole breadwinner in 1938-1939, and her paycheck allowed Dave and Bill to focus on bringing new products to market.  According to the Hewlett-Packard history archives, she served as “laundress, housekeeper, bread winner, secretary, bookkeeper, company hostess, and steadfast supporter.”  She even baked metal panels for early HP prototypes in her kitchen oven (source).  What a woman!


Embracing My Inner Grammar Nazi

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Yoda drove him crazy.

I think it’s safe to say that the PWR 2 program has failed Stanford students.

Or, at least, that’s what I was thinking as I sat in a discussion section today.  It was one of those stereotypically uncomfortable sections where discussion flow is dictated by raised hands and everyone has to speak at least once to get participation points.  I personally believe that people who have nothing to say should not be forced to vocalize that nothing, but that, dear readers, is for a different rant.

After 30 minutes of frustrating, tangent-wandering, abruptly-topic-switching section this morning, I decided to make productive use of my remaining class time via informal statistical study.  Quietly labeling and tallying columns for “like”, “right?”, “y’know?”, and “[or] whatever”, I kept careful track of the filler words used by my classmates.

It was more than a little scary.

Grammar panda is watching you.

The top prize goes to Mr. Like, with a total of 10 likes within a 10 second span during his most prolific statement.  His individual words were in English, but his sentence communicated no meaning.  Impressive.  Honorable mention: Or Whatever Girl, who concluded each contribution with “or whatever.”  This example was most astonishing to me because, logically, when you complete a statement with “or whatever,” you are equating everything you just said to “whatever.”  Think about it.

I’m not a humanities or social sciences major.  I’m not likely to pursue a career in politics where each word is sliced, diced, and analyzed and where mistakes become memes before the debate even ends.  I’m a techie, but I believe strongly in expressing yourself effectively.

Fortunately, I’m not alone.

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, recently published a mouthful for those who can’t master basic grammar.  The piece should be required reading for all science and technology majors.  The basic gist is that grammar and attention to self-expression are valuable indicators of what kind of person you are.  As Wiens writes, “good grammar is credibility.”

iFixit founder Wiens wants you to fix your poor grammar

You might propose, as Wiens suggests, that “grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?”  That’s the feeling I get from my techie peers much too often.  But “if it takes [you] more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve [you should be] comfortable with.”  Grammar has commercial value as well, especially if you’re trying to market yourself in today’s software industry.  “Programmers who pay attention to how they construct written language also tend to pay a lot more attention to how they code….  Applicants who don’t think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren’t important.”

Why would Stanford belabor the point of coherent self expression as much as it does – with PWR 1 and 2 and writing in the major and more – if it were somehow not important to your personal assets?  Stanford students are smart, but there’s no point in being smart if you cannot communicate your ideas effectively.  Your listeners drown in a sea of “like’s.”  Your readers blow you off at the first incorrect their/they’re/there.  You sound less intelligent than you are.

To me, it’s a social contract.  Those who do not take the time to express themselves effectively have not earned the right to an audience.  Friends, acquaintances, and housemates, beware: I will correct the heck outta your grammar because I care about you.

Sectionmates… next week, I’m bringing Vader.

A Beautiful Symbiosis: Stanford and its Alumni

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Awesome photo credit: Bridget Vuong, B.S. ’12, M.S. ’13

Upon graduation, one of my favorite members of the class of 2011 stated, “we may leave this place, but this place will never leave us.”

As a senior, I’m in the sunset year of my undergraduate experience, and profound observations like this imbue me with a sense of premature nostalgia.  While I’m blessed to have two more years here on the Farm (thank you, coterm), I can’t help but gaze a little more solemnly at sunset-splashed Hoover Tower as I bike home from class, and yell a little too enthusiastically at football games.  Our time here is fleeting and, as our breathtakingly fast quarter system constantly reminds us, it is too easy to get caught in the ride and miss the scenery.

As a tour guide, I’m fortunate to serve as one of the main ambassadors to alumni when they return, a little grayer and a little more well-loved, to their alma mater.  The exclamations vary (“I can’t find anything – what are all these buildings?”  “Is that a bear on top of the Claw?”), but one sentence and sentiment permeates each conversation I have with them.

“You are so lucky to be here.”

“Yes, definitely!”  I reply.  But the answer is never sufficient; saying it once is never enough.  The 80-year-old gentleman looks me dead in the eyes: “you are so lucky to be here.”  And as our eyes meet I realize it has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the love he holds for this school, this history, the friends made and experiences had, the freedom, the spirit, the limitless passion that is this place.  “This,” he is really saying, “is my home.  May it define you as it has defined me.”

Arrillaga Alumni Center – residence for all classes preceding 2011

This Homecoming weekend, Stanford comes back alive with the memories of decades past.  Quad arcades ring with the cacophony of reverberated laughter as the conversations and company echo an earlier time.

Though I don’t know them, and they were never my classmates, it feels like a great big family.

I like to believe that there’s a reason football tailgates are fraught with happy Stanford offspring munchkins.  There’s a reason the Alumni Center never uses the phrase “Welcome Back,” but rather “Welcome Home.”   Stanford students never truly leave; they simply take progressively longer vacations.

I’m grateful for the constant presence of Stanford alums in the Stanford community today.  From services like Stanford Alumni Mentoring to the vast influx of alum recruiters during events like yesterday’s Career Fair to the massive student send-off parties throughout the nation, it’s amazing how people who have never met you are rooting for you.  Fellow students, that is an awesome phenomenon.  Make sure to foster that relationship, keep it strong, and someday, let’s make sure to return the favor.

To the Stanford alumni completing the pilgrimage this weekend:  thank you, and welcome home.

Actually, Luck had a lot to do with it.

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The dynamic duo ushered in a new era of Stanford Football. (Source: Getty Images.)

How quick is Stanford to forget its heroes?  Well, if football signs and Facebook victory statuses are any indication, about 9 months.  That’s how long it’s been since the last time Andrew Luck took the field for the Cardinal at the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, straight off of his second straight selection as runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

What am I talking about?  In case you didn’t watch last night’s Stanford Football upset over USC on TV (dude, you missed out) or aren’t quite so Facebookily active as I, I’m referencing the signs, statuses, and news articles claiming that “Luck had nothing to do with it.”

Nope, luck – in the sense of good fortune – had nothing to do with it.  Stanford Football has got what it takes to remain in the top ten, even after the honeymoon of our transformation from a ho-hum team in 2006 to a stellar one last year with the NFL #1 draft pick.  But to say that Andrew Luck had nothing to do with Stanford’s current status as a football powerhouse does a disservice to his devotion to the Cardinal and is just plain inaccurate.

Luck and Sherman celebrate a resounding victory over Wake Forest in 2010.

Stanford Football stands upon the shoulders of giants.  Jim Harbaugh ushered in a new era of Stanford football success, bringing pride, organization, and sweet black jerseys to the little Farm that could. puts it best: “the Stanford football program hardly resembles the one Harbaugh inherited following a 1-11 season [in 2006].”  Harbaugh’s coaching style was complimented by the ascendance of the young Andrew Luck, who “emerged as one of the best young signal callers in the nation… under Harbaugh’s tutelage.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking Andrew Luck who swatted off defenders like so many flies.  Andrew Luck who threw 50 yard touchdown passes.  Andrew Luck who creamed the Trojan recipient of a loose ball on a Stanford fumble.  (Seriously, that clip never gets old.)

Add to that the tank-like plowing power of running back Toby Gerhart (’10).  Add a hearty dollop of pure Cardinal pride (“whooooooose house??”) from now Seattle Seahawks starting cornerback Richard Sherman (’10).  Mix in the double threat (and luscious locks) of FB/LB Owen Marecic (’11).  Season that with the sweat, blood and tears of hundreds of other Stanford players, and now you’ve got yourself a program.

What I’m getting at is this: fantastic recruiting classes like ours don’t go to historically mediocre schools: they go to schools with an established, well-oiled program.  Stanford’s football dynasty has been carefully cultivated since 2006 by the likes of Harbaugh, Luck, and Gerhart, and it’s thanks to the heroes of yesterday that we’re reveling in the victories of today.  I’m proud and a half of Josh Nunes and the rest of the 2012 team for their upset over USC last night, and I don’t mean to steal any of their thunder.  But there’s enough glory to go around.

Celebrate today’s victories with a respectful eye to the past: you can never have too much Luck.

‘Til the Fat Lady Sings: Reflections on an Impending Senior Year

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

"The time has come," the walrus said.

We live in a dynamic time.  Neil Armstrong is gone, but the Mars Curiosity roves on.  Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer (Stanford ’97, ’99)  is the youngest CEO in the Fortune 500 and its record 20th female.  In November, most of us will vote in our first presidential election.

So, too, it is a dynamic time for those seniors returning to Stanford this year.

I just returned from six months abroad in Germany, and I’m currently in an awkward phase of readjustment.  Why are dollar bills all the same size?  Why are strangers being friendly to me?  Where is the recycling?  A transition so major after such a long time away can be difficult to digest… not least because the German diet consists primarily of meat and potatoes.  But I digress.

With a couple of weeks before my senior year at Stanford, I’m also readjusting to the bizarre reality that Stanford Round 4 is right around the corner.  As the inevitable bucket lists will undoubtedly show, I’m far from done here, with several more turns of the Circle of Death before I’ll kick off my flip flops and leave the Bubble.  What will it mean to say goodbye?

Let’s start at the very beginning….

BREAKING NEWS: Stanford Hospital develops new technique for additive appendage growth.

Perhaps a good place to start is with my expectations coming in to Stanford.  I love talking to new frosh about their majors, because all of them are going to double major in CS and IR with a minor in modern languages while keeping the door open for med school.  You go, kids.  I giggle now, but frankly I wasn’t so different.  If the Kristi of 2009 had gotten her way, I’d be majoring in MatSci, sailing varsity, playing for Calypso, singing for Testimony, and dancing with Swingtime.  I would also, apparently, never sleep.

As it turns out, I am doing none of those things.  Yet I am blissfully happy with exactly where my Stanford experience has taken me.  The beauty of Stanford is how it opens you up to new goals and dreams you never imagined possible.  Even as an upperclassman you can suddenly find interests where you least expect them.  As a Stanford friend of mine wrote, “Two of my absolute favorite things to do now?  …I only really picked them up sophomore / junior year!”  It’s never too late to find and follow your passions.

I’m keeping my mind open, my schedule free, and my rally gear on hand.  And until I walk wackily into the “real world,” I intend to approach Stanford like every day is the day I got in.    (more…)

WhuhOh OhNo PoPo: why a more serious Stanford Police would make for a safer Stanford.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Since I’m working abroad this summer, it’s always nice to get updates from the Farm.  However, I couldn’t help but facepalm upon opening up Gmail this evening to find not one, but FOUR emails from the Stanford Police regarding an escaped prisoner.  Sigh.  Now, I could take a jab or make a joke here, but I’d prefer to take it as an opening for some long-needed dialogue.

Stanford students, by and large, do not take the Stanford Police seriously, and this perception reduces the safety of Stanford students.

The Stereotype

It’s pretty easy to understand why Stanford students are disillusioned.  Stanford is lucky to have a very low crime rate, so university-wide alerts are rare.  What this means for our police is that every alert is read with scrutiny.  Thus, when 3 of only a handful of alerts per year warn us about “hot prowls” and Indian men smelling of apples, there’s ample cause for skepticism.

It also troubles me personally that I get duplicates of every notification.  This suggests a lack of robustness in their alert system, which makes me feel like I’m getting the message intended for some hapless student stranded in the physics basement.  From a nerd’s standpoint, it’s also upsetting that whoever is coding AlertSU is probably using an inferior Container class when really they should have used a Set to avoid duplication… but I digress.

The fact of the matter is that, from an absolute standpoint, the Stanford Police actually keeps us very safe.  After all, the greatest danger to a Stanford student is, unfortunately, the Stanford student.

Saving Us from Ourselves

If you're dressed like this, you've probably exited the realm of making good choices. ;)

The main reason it bugs me when people don’t respect the Stanford Police is that they then extend this to everything the police stand for.  Bike lights.  Stopping at stop signs.  Responsible drinking.  I know I probably sound like a nag here, but I’ve had too many friends come home bleeding after dark from some failed combination of the three.

I’m also frankly pleased with the strong presence of the police at busy on-campus events like Exotic Erotic.  While I hope that my friends and I will never need their help, it’s always comforting knowing that those students who do push their limits will have trained professionals taking care of them right away.  So if treating those saviors for sloshed students with respect is gonna cost me the few seconds of stopping at a stop sign, so be it.

I want Stanford students to have greater cause for confidence in our police, because I think that once we believe in their authority, we’ll also have greater cause to watch out for one another.

Constructive Steps

Rebel wannabes: slow your roll.

If it is, indeed, a numbers game, then the Stanford police should notify students of all their successes to balance out their foibles.  But everyone knows that the moment you become that spammer guy on the dorm chatlist, nobody takes you seriously again.  (Seriously, dude, stop trying to sell me your psych books.)  So that’s out.

However, one thing that could really help would be to start from the bottom up with education on what our police actually does.  New Student Orientation has plenty of time for in-dorm instruction, and considering recent dorms’ great success in promoting safety among their residents (I’m looking at you, Larkin ’11-’12), I think a fifteen minute spiel on What the Stanford Police Do For You could do wonders.

We, the students, also aren’t exempt from some scrutiny.  To those of you who don’t use bike lights: um, seriously?  They cost max $10, and they’re free at NSO.  Man up.  Additionally, unless you are James Dean or Steve McQueen, I think you can afford to take a few seconds to pause at a stop sign.

Big Picture

Hot prowls and all, the police are there to help you.  So the next time you see a Stanford officer, treat the situation with respect.

Unless he smells like apples.  In which case, RUN.

So… is there a Director’s Cup for academics?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

I mean, I could be more subtle, but where's the fun in that?

U.S. News and World Report recently released its graduate school rankings for 2013, and it’s a good year for Stanford.

The full list is here, but below I’ve included some highlights:
What makes me happiest about this list is that we’re scoring high across the board – in both science and humanities areas.  In the words of Borat, great success!  Go Cardinal!!

Viral @stanford

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In case your Facebook newsfeed isn’t already crawling with it, take a few minutes of your day to check out this beautiful video produced by Stanford students Garrett Gunther, BS ’11, MS ’12, Kris Cheng, BS ’11, MS ’12, & Dominique Yahyavi, BS ’11.

Congratulations on a great four years, Class of ’12.  To our almost-graduates and everyone else, may this video serve as inspiration for leaving your legacy – on the Farm, and beyond!

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Original link here:


Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Major struggs.

Probably the most important aspect of the study abroad experience is the way in which you grow to learn and love a new culture and country.  Probably the most hilarious aspect is the constant slew of missteps and misadventures necessitated on this journey of cultural immersion.

Reflecting on my experiences and those of my friends studying abroad through BOSP, I’ve selected my favorite quotes from the amusing and humbling goof-ups we know all too well.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do – add your own in the comments!

  • Telling a pregnant women she couldn’t sit down next to me on the S-Bahn because I didn’t understand what she said and I thought she was trying to sell me a book.  (Mark, Berlin)
  • New definition of success – crossing the street without dying  (Hannah, Beijing)
  • Walking onto the FKK side of the beach before realizing what FKK means….  (Maren, Berlin)
  • Wearing pyjamas or work-out clothes into an Oxford dining hall for breakfast  (Christina, Oxford)
  • 1. Acquire globe. 2. Apply to forehead. 3. Let the culture diffuse along the concentration gradient!

    2 weeks after coming to China, I started hella craving Panda Express  (Brian, Beijing)

  • Japanese people don’t like spicy food, and I am Mexican  (Christian, Kyoto)
  • Asking for the trash can instead of the check at a restaurant in Paris because your French is really rusty….  (Kristi, Berlin)
  • Waiting for the street vendor talking about you in Turkish to realize you also speak Turkish  (Deanna, Berlin)
  • “Excuse me, I have a question” and “please kiss me” sound way too similar, especially if your tones suck  (Brian, Beijing)
  • Ordering Soup as your “Hauptscheiße” instead of “Hauptspeise” at a restaurant in Munich  (Bailey, Berlin)
  • “So those sea cucumbers I ate mistaking them for fungi were plants right?… (wishful thinking)”  (Hannah, Beijing)
  • Getting carded in Germany… for buying BEER [you can legally buy beer in Germany at age 16 (Maren, Berlin)
  • Thinking YouTube is universal…   (Christina, Berlin)
  • When they run out of tomato sauce for pasta, they substitute with ketchup  (Brian, Beijing)
  • [editor’s favorite]  Toilet shelves.  Despair.  (Ashley, Berlin)


Berlin, du bist so wunderbar: Adventures of a Stanford Ex-Pat

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

I'm skeptical that any amount of context will ever make this make sense.

The man in the gigantic skirt spat half-chewed potato chunks at the audience, then flung the remnants across the stage.  Later in the production, he donned a soggy octopus suit and cried in a corner in the fetal position.  My first thought was “wow, German theater is weird.”  My second: “wow, Stanford’s paying for this!”

This experience, bizarre as it seems, pretty well summarizes my Berlin experience: weird, wild, and wonderful.  Berlin is an evolving city bursting with opportunity and excitement, and in this post I’ll explain why Berlin is truly wunderbar.

WEIRD:  the differences between Berlin and ‘Mericuh

  • Public transit is clean, efficient, effective, and almost always on time.  Like Adam mentioned, living in such a huge city has me redefining “far,” and I’m grateful to have a system that so seamlessly supports my spontaneous wanderings.  The route-planning website can’t be beat, and the quiet S-Bahn (for “Strassebahn,” or street train) and U-Bahn (for “Unterbahn,” or underground train) make it easy to do homework on the go.
  • Oh, and it's, like, beautiful here, too.

    Food is cheap.  Especially so at grocery stores when you DIY meals, but even for grab-and-go and restaurants, delicious eats can be acquired without straining your budget.  The typical rate for fresh ice cream is a mere 1 Euro a scoop, and Berlin (land of chocoholics like myself) has chocolate everywhere!  There are two chocolate company headquarters here (Fassbender u. Rausch and Ritter Sport) within two blocks of one another in the city center.  Most grocery stores have at least one chocolate aisle.

  • Sound levels differ greatly.  Excepting small children, even drunkenly carousing Germans on weekends speak at a max volume of the American “indoor voice.”
  • Punctuality:  if you’re there two minutes in advance, you’re already late.  I’ve learned the hard way – I missed the whole first half of a ballet because I arrived at the stroke of seven.  The trick I’ve learned is to always have a book or homework on you, and just plan on arriving early and killing some time.
  • So many coins!  With 2 Euro coins, you can buy significant things – meals, even – with just pocket change.  It’s really efficient, and I prefer chunks of change to crumbly $1 bills.

WILD:  observations both under- and above-ground (more…)

Have an Unconventional Admit Weekend

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Welcome to Stanford: join the party. Photo credit: Stanford Daily.

Many attempts have been made of late to characterize Stanford.  Are we a band of fortune-seeking engineers bent on changing the world?  Are we humanists with a love of knowledge and an eye to the past?  Are we philanthropists?  Troublemakers?  Celebrity athletes?

The answer to all of these questions is a paradoxical “yes.”  It is a distinct lack of an accurate stereotype that sets the “Stanford student” apart.  We are too diverse to be caricature-ized, too passionate to forgo our independent pursuits for a common definition.  We revel, you could say, in our randomness.

Just as there is no “typical” Stanford student, there is no conventional Stanford experience.  Nor should there be one, conventional Stanford Admit Weekend experience.  This post is directed at ProFros (prospective freshmen), and while I could wax lyrical about why I love my school, I shall refrain.  I’d rather have you learn it yourself by experiencing it.

You should have a marvelous  Admit Weekend – it’s as wonderful and helpful as you’ve been promised.  But, overachiever as you likely are, go above and beyond and have a well-informed Admit Weekend experience.  Here are my recommendations:

  • Leadership and a love of the outdoors combine to make SPOT an unforgettable Stanford experience.

    Visit a student group meeting.  Sure, the Activities Fair is awesome, and I definitely encourage you to go.  But I recommend connecting personally with the groups you’d be most likely to join as a Stanford student.  Usually a quick Google search will direct you to a website full of meeting times and contact info.  True story: the current engineering lead of Solar Car attended his first meeting during his Admit Weekend because he’d read this article about the former team lead.  Find people who inspire you, and get to know them!

  • Explore the underground arts.  There’ll be abundant arts events publicized just for Admits, but I found it easier to meet and connect with current students at smaller events like a comedy night at Hillel.  Persuade your RoHo (room host) to explore the Cantor Arts sculpture garden with you by night to get a sense of the magnitude of arts resources on campus.
  • Kick it at the student hangouts.  Grab some new friends (ProFros or students) and try a) a burger at the Axe & Palm (Stanford lingo: current students call it “TAP”), b) ice cream at the Alumni Cafe, c) a chocolate croissant at the CoHo (coffee house), or d) pizza at The Treehouse.  Would you feel at home here?  Can you see yourself p-setting or napping away on Old Union’s leather couches?  (p-set, v.  to work on a problem set, typically with a group of friends)
  • Go incognito in real classes.  Admit Weekend coordinates sweet sampler classes, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing.  Swing by the Visitor Center to grab a listing of all “open” classes for the quarter, or just find one to your liking at ExploreCourses.  Pretend to be a real student.  Ask hard questions; expect good answers.  This is what learning at Stanford is all about.
  • Stay up late.  Don’t be surprised if engaging conversations shift your sleep schedule by a few hours (welcome to college).  It’s all worth it when the boy from next door offering you lemon bars turns out to be from an Alaskan town so small he had to snowmobile to class each day.  Stanford students are just like you: learn their stories.
  • Be a nerd.  It’s okay; we all are.  Research the resources you want and need most!  Do you want to pursue musical arts on campus?  Trek over to Braun and check out the facilities.  Interested in community service?  Talk to the helpful assistants at Haas, who will literally try to get you involved in the next day’s projects.  Wanna do sports?  Tag along with your RoHo to the gym and check out the climbing wall, yoga room, or sand volleyball courts.  Stanford is your oyster; it’s up to you to find the pearls.

We are Stanford, and stereotypes cannot contain us.  Have an amazing time, and get to know the silly, serious, busy, chill, sporty, nerdy students that make Stanford my home and my community.

“Do we contradict ourselves?  Very well then, we contradict ourselves.  We are great, we contain multitudes.”  (Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, ed.)  Happy Admit Weekend!!

Enough is Enough: the ASSU Titanic

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

This article reflects my opinions on the current student government and the upcoming ASSU election.

I’m pulling the Brett Favre clause and coming out of retirement on writing about the ASSU.

Why?  Because, at a certain point, misconduct and misrepresentation become so blatant that something must be done.  The current ASSU Vice President should not be reelected.  Period.  Freshmen: this is for context.  Upperclassmen: for the love of God and Stanford, please vote.

This is the man who brought you forty page life plans.  The man whose laundry list of goals included bringing the most entrepreneurial animal to campus.  Whose student government claimed the title of “world’s most effective and innovative student government” before the school year had begun.  Whose campaign of “transparency” produced emails that were cut off due to exceeding Gmail length limitations.

Those things were harmless and mostly just lame.  But recent discoveries have surpassed the realm of the pathetic and entered that which is morally dubious and downright reprehensible.

Coming soon to a Newsfeed near you. (photo credit: Sam D'Amico)

Consider the following:

If the ASSU President serves as the face of the Stanford student body, is this the face we want?

In the words of philosopher George Santayana, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  We will all live with the consequences of this year’s election for a year to come.  Make your voice heard and VOTE on April 12 at  

To use your own words, Stewart:  #BOOM.

Auf wiedersehen, Stanford!

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Excellent study spot on a sunny day.

In sixteen short hours I’ll begin my journey to Stanford’s Berlin campus.  I’m really excited for the amazing courses, experiences, people, and sites that I will encounter during my travels in Germany.

But as I said goodbye to my friends staying on campus and going abroad elsewhere next quarter, it hit me: I won’t be on campus for six whole months.  That’s a crazy long time, and as I frantically finished finals and packing, I realized that I’m not done here.  This false early departure has made me acutely aware of the awesomeness of this place, this space.

To commemorate the end of eight amazing quarters and toast the beginning of four more, here’s a small collection of my favorite photos of the Farm.  Please excuse the quality – they’re all on-the-fly iPhone snapshots from life on campus.

To those of you staying on campus this quarter: have a blast on my behalf.  Enjoy all that Stanford has to offer, and never forget how lucky we are to be here.



Double rainbow over Avery Aquatics.


Pi Day, Pi Day, Gotta Get Down on Pi Day

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Stanford students get a little "irrational" about the pie generously provided by Stanford IEEE, producing a mini mob scene in the Packard building.

Got any nerdy pi jokes or factoids?  Share ’em in the comments!