Seven things I’ve learned during my first quarter

Oct. 18, 2018, 2:00 a.m.

It’s true that Stanford students learn quickly. Now that I’ve been been an official freshman for four whole weeks, there are so many things I’ve picked up beyond the knowledge I’m taught in class. This list definitely isn’t exhaustive, considering that we’re barely finished Week 4, but here are the most important discoveries I’ve made. 

1. Dorm life can kill your productivity.

It can be difficult to study in your dorm room. Sometimes you can get jaded by staring at your laptop while sitting a mere foot away from your bed. Working in libraries or in public centers is definitely beneficial to me; my productivity increases when I am in a quieter and more open environment.  In dorms there will always be plenty of people around, and you might be more likely to leave that “zone of optimal functioning.” I slightly regret that I started going to study at Green Library only in the third week of school — Green is a great place to get work done.

2. TAP’s shakes are actually amazing.

To appease fellow food-lovers, I’ll say that TAP has the best (albeit pricey) damn Snickers malt milkshake ever. My Southern brethren might argue that Cook Out has the best shakes, but I guess I’ll judge those shakes when I schlep back to the East Coast in December.

3. Whoever says NSO isn’t stressful is lying.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed during NSO. NSO can essentially feel like having four days of non-stop socialization and an amazing myriad of clubs and opportunities being thrown at you.  There’s no need to stress if you can’t make it to all the information sessions because you can definitely look into the related organizations in the following weeks.

4. Finding a classroom is like maneuvering a maze.

It’s super helpful to Google Maps your way through your schedule before you go to class.  Stanford classrooms can be rather elusive, as they are sprinkled all around campus in every nook and cranny.  It took me a few minutes to find the classroom for my CS discussion section and another 10 to find the building for COMPMED83.

5. You walk faster than you think.

It’s completely possible to walk from the basement of the 380 building in Main Quad to the third floor of the Edwards Building in the School of Medicine in less than 10 minutes).  On the note of walking, I’ll broach the subject of bikes; having a bike is super handy around here (and I need to get one), but walking is manageable if that’s what you prefer.

6. Shopping classes is a godsend for the indecisive. 

Shopping classes is an opportunity not to be wasted. I shopped classes during my first week and can resoundingly affirm that it was very helpful; for example, after shopping two classes, I realized that I’m not actually interested in those fields with respect to the focus of each class. If there’s any uncertainty about what level of a class to take, it’s possible to try out both and then make an educated decision. In high school we would generally power through all the classes we signed up for without a second’s hesitation, whereas in college, there emerges a gratifying sense of academic freedom and flexibility which students can utilize to take classes they honestly care about.

7. So. Many. Free. T-shirts.

Stanford students get loads of free t-shirts!  It’s only the end of the fourth week and I’ve picked up four shirts: Cardinal Nights, Class of 2022 and two from the football game against Utah.  The shirts even seem to come in different material styles: translucent, sweat-wicking and regular old cotton.


Contact Sarayu Pai at smpai918 “at”

Contact Sarayu at smpai918 ‘at’

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