As the curtain begins to fall on my time at Stanford (well, at least the undergraduate part), I’ve been finding less and less time to actually reflect on the time I’ve spent here, mostly because I thought taking 7 classes was an awesome idea and, oh hey, I’m a moron. But I guess that’s not the point. After some gentle prodding from one of my Blog-affiliated friends, I took up my keyboard and began typing what would ultimately evolve into my 5 Suggestions for Successful Freshmen. It has a strange sort of ABABA alliteration to it, so I think I’ll keep the name.
Basically, I’m going to tell you a senior’s perspective on some (hopefully simple) things to keep in mind at Stanford in order to not pull your hair out. I wish I had done these things more as a Freshman (though honestly, it’s pretty much cross-class advice. Don’t think that just because you’re a junior you should just suddenly stop interacting with people. Well, unless you live in Oak Creek.). I tried to keep the titles short and the descriptions … less so, in the hopes that you’d be able to take away some (hopefully valuable?) thoughts on ways to contribute to having a good “Stanford Experience,” whatever that may mean to you. Personally, I’m new at this whole blogging business, but I think it’s at least better than Twitter, especially since I’m bumping up against 2000 words at the moment and I shouldn’t ever be allowed to use hashtags again. Anyways, without further ado, let’s get this ball rolling:
1. Get Out More.
Stanford’s a really awesome place. Don’t get me wrong; that’s why people come here to take pictures all the time, I guess. However, the term “the Stanford bubble” is well-known by most everyone here because it’s so damn difficult to actually get off of campus once you get here. Sure, there’s an awesome-sounding movie playing in Redwood City this weekend, but the CalTrain schedule sucks and then you have to bike to the Marguerite and then you won’t get back in time for Mausoleum and a whole ton of other reasons that people never actually leave. While Stanford is your home for the next four years, it can also feel a bit … oppressive at times, especially since you’re also so close to your schoolwork. This leads to conversations at the dining hall where you just try to talk to people about who has the most work or complain about how tired you are or how well you just did on your midterm, none of which are particularly entertaining topics. Yes, you got a perfect score on the Chem 31 midterm, we’re all super proud of you. Hence, get off campus! Break out of the bubble, even if just for a little bit. Bike or bus to Palo Alto and just take a walk to clear your head, or try some of the awesome restaurants in and around University Avenue if you can’t or don’t want to go farther. Your work can wait a couple of hours while you get some off-campus air, and I’ve found it to be extremely refreshing. Sophomore year, I made a pact with my friends to go out for dinner at least once a weekend, and when we do, we avoid talking about work. Leave campus issues on campus and see what happens. It’s also a nice walk, to be honest. (more…)