I think we all hold a little hope for our senior years. Even for the most cynical of Stanford students, the concept of senior year is symbolic of opportunity — it is the last chance to be that person, to have those experiences.
I know several people with senior year bucket lists, both mild and graphic in nature, as they buy into the idea that senior year is inherently different from their previous three years at Stanford. Halfway through our fall quarter, some of my expectations have had to confront the reality of life at Stanford. Here are some examples:
Expectation: I’ll take easy classes and breeze through the year academically.
Reality: I’m having to fulfill those WAYS requirements that I haven’t finished yet, which means that I’m taking classes that are so different in nature than what I have focused on in the past three years that I don’t know how to do anything. It doesn’t help that I’m so tired and busy that I miss 70 percent of my classes, and for some reason, the lecture material isn’t covered in the readings. I have a random midterm from 9-10 p.m. on a Friday night, but it’s on Canvas? How does that even work? I should probably take this class credit/no credit. Why are these classes so hard??? ExploreCourses made it look so chill — I’ve been played yet again.
Expectation: I’ll definitely make more time for my friends, and be super social this year.
Reality: Why am I friends with some of these people? We have nothing in common. Our conversations are mutually one-sided —they’ll say something, I’ll say something unrelated, they continue talking about what they were talking about, and I do the same. There’s that person that I kinda talked to in a class sophomore year, but never talked to again. Quick, pretend you didn’t see them … I’m really looking forward to his birthday party, it’ll be a great chance to see everyone aga—wait, it’s cancelled? Oh, Allie tagged me in a meme. I love memes. They make up about 90 percent of my conversations with friends. Memes bring us together as a society.
Expectation: I’ll sleep so much because I’ll be efficient with my time.
Reality: Okay, I’m almost done with this, and I should get about … oh, only three hours of sleep. That’s the third night in a row. I am so tired, it’s a miracle that my alarm wakes me up in the morning. Maybe I should read before bed. Or drink tea. But I hate tea. I should also probably stop scrolling through Facebook before trying to go to sleep, that blue light and all. Why do I have 9 a.m.’s all week? Maybe crying myself to sleep isn’t helping either, but you know, depression. I’d probably be less depressed if I slept more. I don’t have time to sleep — it’s senior year, I have too much going on. Oh, it’s two hours now. Whoops.
Expectation: Living in a row house will be great, there’ll be such a fun community and I’ll meet so many new people.
Reality: I haven’t spoken to anyone else besides my roommate and that one person from freshman year. I’m also in the back of campus, it takes 30 minutes to walk home everyday. I don’t have meal swipes, but I have class during lunch and dinner most days. The food’s wonderful though.
Essentially: senior year’s great, but not what I expected.
Contact Arianna Lombard at ariannal ‘at’ stanford.edu.