In the middle of the quarter, it might be difficult to imagine what life at Stanford would be like if classes weren’t part of the equation. Time could be spent exploring hobbies, spending time with friends and basking in the sun during midterms while students fill Green and Meyer Libraries.
For some, like Leah Karlins ’11, this dream life on the Farm is real, and it’s known as “Camp Stanford,” or more formally, the post-graduation quarter.
“With Camp Stanford, you get to explore your interests, but in a different way,” Karlins said, adding that the free quarter offers more time for introspection and relaxation. “It’s really amazing.”
For seniors like Karlins, Camp Stanford is a quarter that allows them to enjoy all that Stanford has to offer outside the formal classroom. Despite having a less rigid schedule, Karlins described her quarter as productive both professionally and socially.
“I’ve been interning with a nonprofit called Philanthropedia, which is a cool opportunity since I plan to go into nonprofit consulting,” she said. “I am also auditing athletics classes, reading for pleasure, spending time to catch up with friends or just going on a walk.”
For many underclassmen, the possibility of experiencing Camp Stanford is something to look forward to.
“I feel as though I don’t get to explore Stanford as much as I’d like to,” said Jujhaar Singh ’14. “Camp Stanford would make it memorable. I’d do more activities, spend time with friends that I won’t see for a while and just give back to the Stanford community.”
The post-graduation quarter may seem too good to be true, but students can only participate in it on the condition that they have completed all of their academic requirements.
“For me, it’s truly a win-win-win situation,” Karlins said. “My parents don’t have to pay [for tuition]. I get the chance to take advantage of all Stanford has to offer, and I have the time to explore new interests.”
The University also sees value in the Camp Stanford arrangement, recognizing that it could allow students to fully utilize campus resources such as the Career Development Center and the Haas Center for Public Service, according to Assistant Director of Undergraduate Advising and Research Lourdes Andrade.
“This [Camp Stanford] is priceless! I have seen nothing but positive outcomes from students who take a quarter off,” Andrade wrote in an email to The Daily.
But what about those students who seek the benefits of Camp Stanford before senior year?
For students who have not yet completed the graduation requirements, there is the option of taking a quarter or quarters off during their undergraduate careers.
Steven Crane ‘11, for example, is a non-traditional “camper” who decided to take spring quarters off during his junior and senior years.
Even without problem sets or essays, Crane said a quarter off is at least as busy, if not busier, than a quarter with classes.
“I am more involved with student groups, and I’m both auditing and TA-ing classes,” he said. “Taking a quarter off has really let me have more a teacher role.” Like Crane, Andrew Nepomuceno, a student with junior-standing who has completed 10 quarters at Stanford, knew from the start of his freshman year that he wanted to take time off.
“When you’re constantly working on your class work, you get tunnel vision,” he said. “For me, I’ve had the time to formulate my worldview. I’ve been thinking about my life, investigating zen and reconsidering my relationships.”
To the students who take time off, whether it is through Camp Stanford or not, the experience can be well worth it.
“Your times at Stanford are some of the most intellectually stimulating, beautiful years of your life, so why rush your way through them?” Crane said.