Mid-quarter reflection: Freshman year, dining hall food and the people of Stanford

Nov. 7, 2017, 1:00 a.m.

Like many others, I came to Stanford with plenty of questions. Would I like my roommate? How would I navigate around Stanford’s colossal campus? Does dorm food really stink? What classes should I be taking? Would I finesse my biking skills and finally be able to do the ‘no-hands’?

After being on campus for a little more than a month, I can say with confidence that I still have lots to learn. My Stanford experience has been a blur of new faces, late night study sessions and burrito bowls from Stern Dining. I’ve learned to bike and navigate fairly well, my roommate has become a source of support and care and I’ve somewhat gotten the hang of Stanford’s rigorous academics. Each day has been a journey of simply living life moment by moment and learning from my mistakes. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in my first few weeks here:


  1. Everyone fails at some point. Whether it’s an assignment, a midterm you studied really hard for or something you tried out for, everyone faces failure while at Stanford. Yet, the community here emphasizes that failures do not define anyone. They remind us that we are only human, and we can’t be perfect. But we can keep striving, day after day, to be the best versions of ourselves and to grow as individuals, not just intellectuals.


  1. Dining hall food gets boring. It’s not bad, but the routine of meals gets tiresome pretty quickly. One skill I’ve gained is diversifying the meals I eat day by day. Whether it’s visiting different dining halls or limiting my burrito bowl intake to one per week, I’ve found different ways of coping with dining hall disinterest.

The many options of the cafeterias also make it possible for you to treat yourself. Who says you can’t have Lucky Charms for dessert after dinner? Who says you can’t make a pasta-salad extravaganza? Who says you can’t douse everything you eat with a stream of hot sauce? It’s college. You do you.


  1. Everyone has a story. Whether it’s the person who sits next to you in class, a stranger you meet at Coupa Cafe or a professor, each individual has a unique and rich history. We have such diverse voices and experiences in our community, and this is what makes Stanford so great.

Every person that I’ve met in my time here is complex. Each person is so much more than the qualities they show the world or the activities they participate in. I feel lucky to be on a campus with individuals who are passionate about what they do and driven to share these passions with others. I’ve realized the worth of hearing people’s stories and seeing people for who they really are, and I’m truly grateful for my inspiring peers.

I came to Stanford thinking it would be like paradise, and in many ways, it is. It’s a paradise filled with exceptionally hard working and interesting, albeit sleep deprived, individuals. Though being a Stanford student may not always be easy, I made it to Week 7 and I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience here so far.


Contact Ayushi Tandel at atandel ‘at’ stanford.edu. 


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