Stanford secrets: small discoveries that low-key changed my life

June 7, 2018, 11:58 a.m.

To say a lot has happened over the past three quarters would be an understatement. While undergoing the obligatory reminiscing of the past school year, I realized that I made a lot of small discoveries that had pretty big impacts on my life. They may seem insignificant, but they were so much more than that to me this year. These are some of those discoveries:

  1. The part of my desk that pulls out and makes a mini desk. Thankfully, I discovered this back in fall quarter. Given that I’m a pretty messy person and my desk is always cluttered, the extra desk space was helpful. Since I pulled it out, it has become just as messy as the rest of my desk, making it a permanent fixture. Every so often when I clean my desk I tuck it back into its hiding spot, but soon enough I end up running out of space again, and it’s back to normal. Somehow, I had the extra part of my desk out for weeks before my roommate noticed and realized she had one too, but now she uses her mini desk in pretty much the same way.
  2. Panama Street. Living in FroSoCo means that to get to my classes in the main quad, I have to bike east. This meant biking up the stop-sign-riddled Santa Teresa Street. While I won’t admit whether or not I’ve stopped at all of these stop signs, I can say for sure that the frequent presence of cops on that street made me fear a ticket. On top of that, car drivers that weren’t looking properly or just didn’t care made it so that I had to take extra caution when I biked down Santa Teresa — which isn’t exactly what I want to do when I’m late for class. Thankfully, my friend showed me Panama Street, which has fewer stop signs, cars and cops. Plus, the wide bike lanes are great for passing people when your class is going to start in three minutes and you haven’t even passed the engineering quad yet.
  3. The second gear shift on my bike. As someone who needs to get to class in a hurry most days, I have to pedal fast. My bike has eighteen gears, just like my bike back home that I’ve had since middle school. However, during the almost ten years I’ve been riding an eighteen-gear bike, I’ve only used six, changing only the right gear shift that switches the gears on the back wheel without knowing how to switch the gears by the pedal. I’d tried moving the left gear shift a little bit over the years, but I was always scared I’d break it, so I never actually changed the gears. However, one day this past winter when I was really running late and needed to pedal faster, I decided to just go for it and switch the gears. To my surprise, the gear attached directly to my pedal shifted up and I could suddenly go much faster. I have no idea why it took me so many years to figure out something so  simple, but finally discovering this was incredibly helpful.

In the end, these little discoveries help me overcome my disorganized lifestyle, finish my work and get to class. Thanks to my mini desk, I sometimes have desk space to work on; thanks to Panama Street and the second gear shift on my bike, I’m rarely late to class. I cut it close most days, but I almost always make it. These might just add convenience to my life, but it’s convenience that I’ll gladly accept.


Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’

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