On the Farm

My Stanford experience was a busy and fulfilling one: I took a wide range of classes, navigated through the frat party scene, did most all of the "freshman things," was a section leader (like a TA) for a class, taught a class, was residence staff, pulled multiple all-nighters in a week, wrote for the Stanford Daily, slept through an entire day of classes (multiple times), lived on "the Row," started a company with friends, and was part of countless clubs and organizations.

The upshot of all this is that I loved Stanford, I felt truly privileged to have been able to attend, and that I honestly couldn't imagine having been happier anywhere else.

That being said, I will be the first to admit that there were numerous times during my Stanford career that I becane extremely bitter, upset, frustrated or a combination thereof at one thing or another.  Usually it was centered on the demands of my courses: Though "grade inflation" may indeed exist here, our professors by and large expected ridiculous things from their students. The problem is that we almost always gave them what they asked for and then some, leading to a truly vicious cycle. 

Certainly, this is to be expected from a school comprised almost entirely of over-achievers, and I did my fair share in contributing to this reverse delinquency, but it was still very difficult to deal with, especially the part about consistently sleeping four or less hours a night, even on weekends.  Another topic that would always gets me rather irate is Stanford's perverse concept of a "dead week" (the week before finals where everything should stop so you can study for finals)-- instead, everything imaginable is due this week, class still meets, and as an added bonus, all the material presented in this supposedly "dead" time inevitably appears on the final. But wait, it gets even better: In Spring Quarter, Dead Week is actually "Dead Day." And dammit, despite the stereotype, it rains practically every day winter quarter, El Nino or not. 

So it's not perfect, but in spite of its relatively few flaws, Stanford still amazed me on a daily basis. What other school produces some of the greatest minds of our time and simultaneously can go to the Rose Bowl or can be a number one seed in the basketball championships?  Where else is it not surprising for undergrads to be talking IPO-- of their own businesses?

I would have to say my favorite thing about the Stanford experience was the residential life. Living in a dorm of 80-some people spawned some amazing friendships and memories. My freshman year living in an all-frosh dorm was a great experience. Many of us have stayed very close in the following years and I think we were really lucky to have such an overall great group of people to spend our first year with. 

My second year I lived on the "row," which is comprised of spacious, independent houses containing about 40 students each. I loved my roommate, my room, and the 24 hour kitchen, but I truly hated living there because of its entirely stifling social atmosphere.  A live-in library would be an accurate description of the place and I basically made no friends while there, and I think it's safe to say neither did anyone else. I think that's really sad because I have all my time later to live in nice, isolated housing where you really don't get to know anyone else. But I felt that my college years were extremely limited and I should definitely have taken advantage of the opportunity of living with and getting to know the amazing people found here.  

With that in mind, my third year I chose to be staff in my old freshman dorm. Though my position was extremely demanding at times, I never regretted it. It was insanely fulfilling to be a part of a house where people actually give some sort of crap about each other, not just the five or six people in their draw group.

To cut it short, if you're a prospective student and you're nervous about getting in, don't be. If you don't, some things are meant to be. You'll go somewhere else and you'll most likely love it, and your life will be none the worse for it. But if you do, congratulations, you're coming to one of the most unique and amazing places of higher study.


stanfordguy stanfordguy
22-25, M
2 Responses Jan 27, 2006

I also went to Stanford University and had an incredible experience there. I lived in all different types of housing environments, studied abroad, researched, and made life-long friends. <br />
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I've been out for a while now and miss it soo much!<br />
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Stanfordguy are you still in the area and connected to the university at all?

I often ride my bike on the beautiful Stanford campus, but watch out for bike traffic, Stanford kids don't bother to watch where they're going. Looks to me like girls outnumber boys there. Is that right, or do I just find too much competiton. I"m also impressed by the number of Asian kids. I wear as little as possible when I ride, with a low cut top so when I bend forward over the handlebar my **** should get attention, but at Stanford this doesn't work. Too many **** hanging out all over the place, but I don't suppose you ever noticed.<br />