Posts Tagged ‘dorms’

How to Own the Stanford Housing Draw

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Okay, okay, I’m kidding. There’s no way to beat the draw. (I mean, it is just a random number that you have no control over. Sorry.) But you can do the next best thing: avoid it altogether. Put your housing out of the lottery system and into your own hands.

Disclaimer: This is written for those who want to live in a tier 1 or tier 2 house. If you’re into FroSoCo and the like (“FroSoCo and the like” meaning, uhm, just other tier-3 houses!), you can put your housing into pretty much anybody’s hands and you’d still be set.

French House is a Tier 1/2 house, but you just might be able to live here all 3 upperclass years...

So, let’s say you want to live in a tier 1 or 2 house all three upperclass years. You look at that recent Daily draw article and sigh. A 784 to get into Xanadu, a 1159 to get into Durand, and a 360 to get into French House… It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to see what’s happening if you get a 1500-3000 draw number: you’re not getting in. So what do you do? You don’t let it come to the draw at all. Here’s how:

1.      Staff (Tier 3)

Staffing is pretty much the sweetest deal ever. You get a single. You get paid. You get to plan what happens at your house (and have people listen to you, too). You get a leadership position for your resume. You get to brag to your friends about being on staff. You get to use tier 3, and still live wherever you want. Perfect, right? Right.

OK, there is a caveat – namely, you can apply for staff and not get selected. But there are so many houses, so many staff positions, and so many senior staff who have to be replaced that you probably will be selected. In fact, in my 2 years at Stanford, I’ve never heard of anybody applying for staff and not getting any staff position (but then again, I guess people wouldn’t exactly publicize that). But even if you don’t get selected, you’re not worse off than if you hadn’t applied for staff at all (well, ok, except for the bruised ego. But then just don’t tell anyone you were rejected and move on).

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Redefining “Far”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Tokyo Subway

Attendants cramming people onto a Tokyo Subway (courtesy of Google). It's not as bad in Kyoto, but it gives you an idea of Japanese commuting life.

I thought I knew what the word meant; after all, I lived in Slavianskii Dom for the last two quarters. At the mention of Slav, people either smile because they like how far away it is, recoil because they hate how far away it is, or stare blankly because it’s so far away they’ve never heard of it.

But let’s take a second to consider just how far Slav really is. At the end of the Row, Slav indeed defines just how far away you can live while still remaining on campus. For me last quarter, “far” meant a hazardous, full-speed bike ride down the Row, through White Plaza, around the Circle of Death, left at the top of the Quad, right at the Bio building, and a final stop at Mudd Chemistry. Whew. If I successfully ran all the stop signs, ignored all the tabling student groups, escaped the Circle of Death with my life, navigated my way around the Marguerite buses by the Oval, and found a parking spot amid the throng of Chem 31B students, I could cut my travel time down to…7 minutes. If I felt lazy on the uphill ride home: 15 minutes. 15 minutes defines Stanford’s conception of distance. It used to define mine.

Coming to Kyoto on Stanford’s BOSP program four weeks ago rewrote my definition. No longer can I just roll out of bed, grab a quick bite to eat, and fly out the door a few minutes before class. I commute now. On every school day (and on most weekends), I wake up at 7:00 AM, eat breakfast with my host family, and leave the house at around 8. I bike for 15 minutes down a large hill to the nearest subway station, board and ride for another 15 minutes, then change trains and arrive at the school 10 minutes later. Including change times, the whole trip takes me around 45 minutes, triple the time it takes me to lackadaisically pedal across Stanford campus. The return trip takes longer. That hill I mentioned? It’s a single lane with no bike lanes or sidewalks, so cars, bikes, and pedestrians all battle for supremacy.

Do I have it bad? Not really. Some people on the program come from as far as Osaka, at least an hour’s train ride away. And this type of commute is routine for most Japanese college students: I recently talked with a girl who commutes for a total of 4 hours every day. That’s the equivalent of a 20-unit course load. Inconceivable!

What lessons can we Stanford students take from this commuting lifestyle?

– Taking more time to get to class can be enjoyable if we let it. Instead of dangerously racing against the clock, leave your dorm a couple of minutes earlier. Enjoy the sunshine. Listen to music (with only one earbud, of course). Observe people; Stanford students are fantastically interesting. Or take a few minutes more to walk to class, simply for the change of pace. You’ll see campus in a whole new light.

Yamashina, Kyoto, Japan

Sakura trees on the way to school. Walking instead of biking offers some great photo ops.

– Use public transportation; for those without cars, this opens up a whole world outside of Stanford. Ride the Marguerite (for free!) to get into Palo Alto for some delicious food or a quiet cafe for studying. Or take the CalTrain and get into San Francisco more! It’s an underutilized service that takes at most an hour and can get you directly to one of America’s greatest cultural centers.

– Most dorms on campus are really only separated by a 5-minute bike ride (or a 15 minute walk). In the grand scheme of things, that’s not so far. So when you’re looking to draw next year, add more weight to the community and amenities and less to the location.

Most people talk about how large Stanford’s campus is. But it doesn’t seem big at all anymore. Of all the things I miss about Stanford, the last thing I expected to miss was just how close and connected we all are.

Home is where your misplaced birth control is?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Funny Story.

My roommate and I lost our stapler.  I actually blame myself, because I remember seeing it somewhere funny, but I can’t remember where that hilarious place is.  Anyways, in the search for said stapler, I found under the rolling drawer part of my desk (holla Crothers!) a piece of paper.  Wanting to recycle it, I pulled it out.  AND A DOLLAR CAME WITH IT (I know, this is practically like winning the lottery).  When I looked at the piece of paper, it was in someone else’s handwriting.  Wanting to find out if anything else were in there (and hoping to find someone’s stash of money), I pulled out the drawer so I could reach behind it to the mysterious treasure.  Here is a picture of what I found:

You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her stash

Besides the paper and dollar, three pens, three pencils, two erasers, a reservation to the Sheraton Hotel, a button (which oddly exactly matches a button that I am in need of), and a pack of birth control with only one pill missing. (more…)

The 2nd Annual Unabridged List of Suggested Dorm Themes

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Sometimes, even the most competent RAs need a little help. And while we cannot help them counsel and give advice, we can, in fact, contribute to an even more important part of their job–choosing the pun that will define their dorm.

Last year, with some help, I created this list (on page 2, though you should read the whole thing), which was met with a very positive response–and some of the dorm themes even got used this year. And so I’m back again this year, moving to the blog, with the complete list of suggested dorm themes for the upcoming school year.

And now, without further ado (except for the further ado of thanking all of the people who contributed to this–namely the great people with me here at Stanford in Washington): the list. Let us know your favorites or, if you think you can out-pun us, your own suggestions. Who knows–it could make it onto next year’s list.

Ginsburg is excited about the freshmen. Can you say cloak party?

Wilbur Hall, Home of the Supreme Court
SANDRA DAY OKADA
SONIA SOTOMAYOR
RUTH CEDRO GINSBURG
JUNIPEARL WARREN
ARROYOLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
WILLIAM H. RINCQUIST
DAVID SOUTERO
BROWN V. BOARD OF TRANCOS

Stern Hall

This was a historic moment for Stern.

JUSTIN BIEBURBANK (All the freshman girls want to live here)
LEWIS AND CLARKIN
CASA ZAPOPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
TWAINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH (Remember the Twaintans-themed, starring Denzel Washingtwain)
SERRAHM EMANUEL (The counterpart to 2009’s Serra Palin)
RAMADONNER

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