Archive for the ‘Graduation’ Category

‘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…)

This Video Sums Up Why We Go to Stanford

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Fabulous shots of life on campus, set to an RAC remix of “Stay Close” by Delorean. Kudos to Sam Pressman, Emily Goldwyn, and Abteen Bageri for putting this together.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Advice from Alums

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Homecoming weekend means that alumni from over 50 years ago to less than 5 months ago converge upon campus to show off to their former classmates how much they have accomplished. Because these reunions typically fall in increments of 5, it also gives a beautiful longitudinal cross-section that we at TUSB wanted to mine for wisdom. Ultimately, they all said about the same thing, but here’s some of the advice that they gave to current Stanford students, sorted by class year:


How Stanford Ensures Future Generations of Double-Legacies

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I walked by. It was awkward.

Not pictured: the “tweetup,” which I still don’t understand. But we tweeted about it!

Oh, the joys of Reunion Homecoming weekend.

TUSGraph: It’s Not About What You Know…

Monday, May 17th, 2010

One of the great mysteries of graduation day; you don’t learn all that much at commencement, yet your value increases greatly in the seconds you receive your diploma.  As far as I’m concerned, hiring Stanford students for the summer has to be one of the best bargains for labor around.

Oprah Winfrey to Speak at Stanford 2008 Commencement

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I just got an email in my inbox about Oprah Winfrey being our commencement speaker for graduation this year. My first thought:
“Wow – the senior cabinet got the job done”.
Everyone knows that Oprah is huge. But how huge? She’s been called “one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century” and “one of the most influential people” of 2004 through 2007 by Time.
Her TV show is the longest running day-time talk show ever (22 seasons) and though I couldn’t find any numbers, is watched by a enormous number of people.
She also has a really popular magazine called O which Fortune called the “most successful startup ever” in the magazine industry. (I personally find it hilarious that every issue has Oprah on the cover)
Yeah, her show is often “feel-good” and spiritual and people make jokes about how women always cry when the watch Oprah. But that doesn’t matter. She clearly knows something about being famous and successful (something every Stanford student secretly or not-so-secretly wants to be).
Her success is even more impressive when you consider that, according to wikipedia, she was born to an single teenage mom and raised in the ghettos of Milwaukee.
Last year, the graduation speaker was Dana Gioia, a poet and the chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts. No sloucher, but not exactly what many seniors were looking for. And the while not everyone was disappointed by Dana Gioia, many were.
I’m glad the Class of 08 was able to step up.

My Additions to the Class of 2007 Time Capsule

Friday, July 13th, 2007

It was Thursday before graduation. Senior Dinner on the Quad that night had been somewhat chaotic, but ultimately delicious and a nice opportunity to say goodbye to friends and reminisce on the old days.
My friend (who asked to remain anonymous) and I, doing quite well for ourselves after several glasses of wine, decided to take a stroll around the Quad. Oh, our beautiful Quad.
Once we passed under an arch to start walking through the arcades, it didn’t take us very long to reach the plaques and time capsules of years past, and soon we came upon the placeholder for the 2007 plaque, which was covering our class’s time capsule.
I had received the e-mails from our class Presidents requesting “suggestions” for items to go into the time capsule. Because every other request for suggestions from the Presidents had been disappointing (hello Gioia), I hardly even paid attention, and didn’t send in any ideas.
But as I stood there looking at the covering over the capsule, I suddenly regretted missing an opportunity to make a mark on the history of the Class of 2007. We attempted to remove the covering over the capsule.
Surprisingly, it came right off. We didn’t know it at the time, but most of the “official” items going into the time capsule had been removed for the night following the capsule ceremony, while the plaque was not yet sealed in place. All they had left behind was a green Energy Crossroads Conference bag, a crumpled dollar bill, unattractive women’s lingerie, and some other stuff.
Feeling that the capsule was overly female and not gay enough, we set ourselves on a mission to find and bring back items that would more adequately represent the Class of 2007. To be sealed in our Time Capsule for all of time.
Here’s what we came up with:


Celebrity Treatment and Some Chaos at Senior Dinner on the Quad

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

There is no better venue than Memorial Court and the Inner Quad for a fancy dinner, and the Alumni Association rolled out the red carpet and pulled out all the stops last Thursday for the event. Wine flowed freely, and the food was extraordinary. I don’t even want to guess how much that dinner cost the Association. But, of course, they know it’s a necessary investment in our school spirit, ensuring that the alumni donations flow just as freely. I’m all for it.
The only hitch to the event — otherwise executed perfectly down to the last detail — was the disastrous decision to not pre-assign seating at the dinner tables. So students gamed it and tried to be the first in line to grab a table and sit with their friends. Instead of listening to President Hennessy’s speech and Dean Julie’s brilliant appeal to school spirit (which I did catch the end of when I moved closer to the speakers), students rushed to be first in line for the tables. As you can see in the video below, everyone was so concerned about getting the perfect table that no one even cared to quiet down enough so that at least Hennessy and Dean Julie could be heard over the crowd. It was a real shame that they were so baldly disrespected… but then, again, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done for groups that wanted to sit together. They had to game it. Next time, how about coordinating seating arrangements ahead of time? And, seniors, how about showing these important figureheads a little respect?

Continue reading for more pictures of the event.


Gioia: “Loss of recognition for artists, thinkers and scientists has impoverished our culture”

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

From the Stanford Report:

Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, delivered the 2007 Commencement address June 17 in Stanford Stadium. He said the dominance of celebrities and entertainment has had significant cultural fallout, most notably “how few possible role models we offer the young.”
See a related speech by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and the arts in public education around the world (TEDTalks).

I LOVE STANFORD!!! Fantastic speech by Dana Gioia!!

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Hello! I’m in between ceremonies and just wanted to stop by and say how impressed I was with the ceremony, with Wacky Walk, and with Dana Gioia’s call to the renewal of arts and intellectualism in our culture.
Congratulations everyone!!
A brief video of wacky walk:

The Stanford Report also has a fun Wacky Walk video.

Commencement: LIVE from the Unofficial Stanford Blog!

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Just wanted to let everyone know that one of our very own bloggers, Marie Jo, will be webcasting live streaming video from the Commencement ceremony RIGHT HERE. So, if you want to catch it as it happens — from the Wacky Walk to Dana Giulio or whoever he is — come visit us (bright and early) on Sunday at 9:00AM and perhaps during other portions of Commencement Weekend — at

From MJ:
“uStream is interactive so your parents/friends can call 310-433-0523 to tell me to find you, and you will be streamed live! Tell all your friends. Go Stanford ’07!”

Keeping an Open Mind About Dana Gioia

Friday, June 15th, 2007

DanaGioiaByLynnGoldsmith.jpgHe may have been called “the John Ashcroft of poetry” by Black Sparrow Press founder John Martin, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti did say he was an ‘excellent choice’ for the “National Endowment for the Arts of Complacency.”
But he’s not all bad. In fact, he sounds like a very interesting person, aside from his politics, so if you still haven’t Googled him, I encourage you to do so. Check out this SF Chronicle article that was published on him when he was appointed by Bush to head the NEA (appropriately entitled, “Who is Dana Gioia?”). It made me feel a lot better about the choice for Commencement Speaker. There’s also his semi-famous essay, “Can Poetry Matter?” published in the Atlantic Monthly, and some of his poetry. I thought this one was nice:
Rough Country
Give me a landscape made of obstacles,
of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,
where the low-running streams are quick to flood
the grassy fields and bottomlands.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A place
no engineers can master–where the roads
must twist like tendrils up the mountainside
on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.
Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine
push through the tangled woods to make a roost
for hawks and swarming crows.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . And sharp inclines
where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,
scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly
to find an unexpected waterfall,
not half a mile from the nearest road,
a spot so hard to reach that no one comes–
a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies
and nesting jays, a sign that there is still
one piece of property that won’t be owned.

I just saw Steve Jobs

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

…behind Tresidder, just outside the Treehouse. On a picnic table. Wearing his trademark black mock-turtleneck and jeans. The first thing I thought when I saw him: “Wow, he’s got to be burning up in that outfit.” What is it, 89 degrees outside? (That is, indeed, what my Dashboard widget says.)
Actually, my first thought when I saw him was, “Oh my God!! It’s the iWitch!!”

My second thought was, “Damn, I wish he was my commencement speaker. Wouldn’t that just have been the perfect counterpoint to Bill Gates’ incredible commencement speech at Harvard?” It’s better than that Dana Giulio person or whoever is speaking this year.” Ah, well. I did get a chance to watch Jobs’ commencement speech at the ceremony here in 2005… so I guess I can claim him as my own.

Senior Dinner in the Skybox: mmmm…. purdy

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

The Stanford senior class of 2007 came together for yet another posh event specifically designed to make us associate positive feelings with writing checks to the Stanford Fund (suggested donation: $20.07). I’m okay with being exploited… especially if it involves amazing views of a world-class stadium and the Stanford campus from posh sky boxes… and wine. But they totally underestimated the number of seniors that would show up, and so they were out of food after an hour — for a two-hour event. Many seniors are now associating bad feelings with writing checks to the Stanford Fund.
But oh well. I promise to donate a bijillion dollars once I’m a bajillionaire either way.
Check out some fun photos (click the pic to go to our Flickr account):

UMass, Protests, and War

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I recently caught wind of an interesting story at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As part of the school’s advanced degree graduation procedings, the administration chose to give an honorary doctorate in public service to Andrew Card, President Bush’s former Chief of Staff (2000-2006). This decision was not received well by many at the school, resulting in student protests and an online petition with well over 1000 signatures, including 200+ faculty members. Nevertheless, the university still presented the degree, and the video below shows the response.

Now, I have seen my fair share of protests. I mean, if you live in California long enough, you will. I honestly can’t say I’ve been much of a fan of protests in the past. Still, I was struck by the proceedings at UMass. I’m not quite sure what it is, though. Perhaps it’s the striking unanimity with which people progressed, one faculty member after another with anti-Card signs. Perhaps it’s the anger I sensed in the crowd’s boos and catcalls. Maybe, instead, it’s the realization that we are in a new wave of activism in our generation.
While Generation Y was long decried for its apathy, we seem more willing to recognize and fight injustice. In a time where thousands of Americans have died fighting a war based on unsubstantiated claims, it’s only fitting that we would be more conscious. On our campus alone, protests are becoming more extreme, more poignant, and more frequent. And, I’ve taken notice and find myself more sympathetic now. So, to those who protest: keep fighting the good fight, and you might just see me there one day.