Freshman ’15: The Amazing Race: Twain Edition

Opinion by Bianca Chavez
Oct. 24, 2011, 12:27 a.m.

Freshman '15: The Amazing Race: Twain EditionI’ve been a Stanford student for well over a month now. And yet, I still wake up every morning not quite believing that I actually go to school here.  It feels like the token “happy” scene in every teen movie–the one where the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing while the upbeat pop song plays in the background. It’s during these happy moments when I remember how lucky we all are to be attending college, let alone one of the top universities in the world. I know that’s easy to forget when you have midterms, five different club meetings to attend and like, three essays due on Tuesday, but it’s so true. I mean, did you see all the old folks that came to Homecoming? They’re from the class of ’61, and they still love this place enough to come back. That’s how awesome Stanford is; people keep returning five decades after they graduate.

Actually, last weekend was a perfect example of Stanford’s awesomeness. All of Twain took a–free!–trip to San Francisco for our frosh scavenger hunt.

Naturally, my team was the best. But I’ll admit that I wasn’t super excited when I first heard who my group mates were. Our RAs had used a “random algorithm” to form our groups (read: purposely put together teams that they thought would be the most awkward and thus, the most hilarious) so that we would be forced to “branch out.” May I just take a moment to say that I absolutely hate being the first to branch out? I know it builds character and all, but it’s just plain uncomfortable sometimes. And the beginning of our scavenger hunt certainly was. None of us really knew what to say to each other, and it really didn’t help that the tasks on the scavenger hunt list required us to be very physically close. (Task #7: form a human pyramid on a street corner.)

But as the day continued–and the tasks on the list got progressively more ridiculous–I began to discover that I had more in common with my teammates than I had anticipated. One girl who I had initially pegged as quiet and shy turned out to share my same obsession with weddings! We had a great time trying to accomplish #24 on our list: try on a bridal gown at Neiman Marcus. (In case, you were wondering, we totally failed this mission. Apparently you need to make an appointment like, six weeks in advance to try on gowns at a luxury bridal salon. Who knew?)

Even though our attempt to play “Say Yes to the Dress” was loads of fun, it was not one of the trip’s highlights. The craziest moment was when my next-door neighbor, Garseng, decided to accomplish #8 on the list: get a tattoo. He gave it absolutely no thought either, just waltzed into a tattoo parlor in Haight-Ashbury, plopped down in a chair and decided what to get in a period of about three minutes. (He settled on getting Lady Gaga’s phrase “Born This Way” scrawled on his foot. It only came out slightly crooked.)

And the trip’s best moment? When four of my dormmates jumped off a pier into San Francisco Bay.  Sure, it was illegal and moderately terrifying to watch, but as I watched them frolic in the visibly dirty water, I could not help but think, this is what college is supposed to be about: taking leaps of faith.

Why not take a leap of faith of faith and email Bianca at blchavez “at” stanford “dot” edu?

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