Posts Tagged ‘Graduation’

‘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…)

The Definitive Guide for Stanford Seniors

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

The only one not mentioned is Palo Alto "I need to postpone the real world and disparage suburbia for another year as a Stanford MS&E co-term" California

Brief Thoughts on Career Fair from A Highly Unqualified Candidate

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Career Fair is my version of Christmas, or perhaps a second Bar Mitzvah: a large number of people you don’t know trying to give you free things you’ll never need. Every year, I’ve gone from software engineering table to management consulting booth acquiring pens, bottle openers, usb chargers, and even umbrellas branded with a smorgasbord of logos of companies I will never even consider working for. And then I stop by a few employers  for whom I actually might have some interest: writing jobs (I like to write), think tanks (I’m a public policy major), and environmentalist causes (I heart the Earth), very few of whom have schwag to dole out.

Wow! Thumbs Up! and AOL still exists? were three of the thoughts I had after career fair.

This year, though, was a little different–now, I’m a senior, and I’m supposed to actually be looking for jobs. Instead of: Hi, are you a graduating senior? No, but can I have a free pen?, my conversations went more along the lines of: Hi, are you a graduating senior? Yes! Are you interested in any of the following things [insert CS/EE/SymSys, etc here]? No, but can I have a free pen?

A few thoughts from wandering around the fair:

–Being dressed in a t-shirt and shorts made it much easier to tell what kind of companies I had no interest in from a much further distance, even without my glasses.

–There was a pasta company at the fair. I tried to be their spokesperson, but they did not have any openings in that position.

–Some companies give out really interesting stuff:

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.