There’s nothing more emblematic (and problematic) about Stanford students than their ever-busy lives. While some students take more than twenty units and others end up majoring in extracurriculars, it seems like some students think keeping busy is a personality trait.
I am guilty of this.
As I write this article, I am sacrificing precious nap time. Usually, after lunch, I will take a nap to compensate for the lack of sleep from the previous night. Instead of my usual nap, I am now here writing this rough article, reflecting on my commitments.
“How did I get this way?” I ask myself this question often. I blame it on the activities fair. With over 600 student groups, it is really easy to get involved on campus. On the other hand, a lot of these groups can be uninteresting to many students, and some are so selective that they rival Stanford’s admission rate. Nowadays, when people ask what I am majoring in, I am really tempted to say extracurriculars. It was not always this way. When President Tessier-Lavigne told us to explore, I took it to heart. I knew I wanted to milk this institution for every opportunity that I could. I made it my mission to experience as many moments as possible in my freshman year. I wanted to cast a net so wide that by the end of my freshman year I could say, “All these fish are communities I have caught and there are so many more fish in the sea.”
Truth be told, I made it a mission to be rejected — and rejected, I was. I got rejected from Cardinal Calypso, which, in all honesty, was probably best for everyone. But I would continue finding clubs through service4all or simply through tagging along with a friend and becoming more passionate about that club than they were. Eventually, there I was with that horrid Google Calendar with too much color. I couldn’t quit. I was in too deep, so I accepted my fate.
Nowadays, my life consists of waking up, scheduling posts for another one of the publications I’m a part of (sorry, The Stanford Daily folks) and then eating breakfast before my 9:30am class begins. Once my lecture finishes, I rush back to my dorm to blast emails out like it’s a personality trait and then take a quick nap before walking to my 11:30am. Once class comes to an end, I often find myself eating lunch at Stern and, if not, I have a workshop or a talk that I signed up for. With a full stomach, a kind of drowsiness hits me. I then get lectured by a friend in Sleep and Dreams about how I should drink coffee to wake up. Drugs? In my body? It’s less likely than you think, because I opt for the nap. Except, here I am, writing this article before I forget to or no longer have time to. In four minutes, I have to leave my 1:30pm class where I will inevitably get clobbered by Math 51.
After math, my phone receives a Google Calendar notification telling me to rush over to my next commitment. As I dismiss the notification, I get another email with a link to a When2Meet. A small part of me cringes at this email notification, but I can’t complain. Once you become known as the “email guy” in your dorm, you begin to embrace your role in the community as “he who shall not be named.”
Returning to my dorm, I find that it conveniently happens to be dinner. Whether I find friends at the dining hall is always up in the air. If I do, that’s another thirty minutes lost to socializing. If I don’t, that’s a good twenty minutes lost to listening to music on my AirPods. After dinner, I can finally unwind and start drafting an essay. I get distracted and try completing a chem PLP instead. After a quick morale boost, I try again with the essay, only to get distracted and end up updating this article. Once I reach this point, I choose to pivot towards Math 51. I struggle but get three problems done before I realize I have a meeting at the Haas Center. After that meeting, I realize I have another — this time at Old Union. Twenty minutes into that meeting, I realize all of its contents could have been summarized in an email, yet I don’t regret it as heavily only because I got to see old friends. I return to my dorm, choosing to skip out on dorm meeting and alas, the night begins. After a quick visit to EBF, I turn my resources back to focus on that which I did not finish. Math 51 taunts me, but my mind begins to wander and imagine what’s to come during the spring quarter.
I look forward to Camp Stanford. It will be a much-welcomed change, and I also look forward to changing my majors. Instead of majoring in extracurriculars, I will instead double major in undeclared and overwhelmed.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.