For the unsuspecting frosh, rollouts can definitely rank as one of the scarier, weirder and more cult-like experiences at Stanford. Often at early hours, the sound of hand after hand pounding on your door can seem like claps of thunder straight from hell. I remember during rollout season that the first rollout of the year was followed by messages to our dorm’s GroupMe asking what on earth was going on. Was it the big one? Was it a freak thunderstorm? Or maybe it was our collective GPAs falling from the sky?
Rollout season is often riddled with complaints from roommates, neighbors across the hall and the RAs. After every rollout, my favorite thing to do was to look at people’s doors and see which organization rolled people out. If they didn’t leave something on your door, were you really rolled out at all? Rollouts were also the talk of the hall: “Do you know who got rolled out?” often followed, “I can’t believe we got woken up again.”
Rollouts are also fun because, if we’re being honest, they’re miserable. Upperclassmen in organizations often find themselves having to break into different frosh dorms that they don’t have access to. You’d think that breaking into different dorms would be miserable enough, but that’s not even the problem (sadly enough, dorm security is rather easy to get around — any open window will do). What’s miserable and horrible for my sophomore and junior counterparts — because the seniors are smart enough to coordinate, rather than execute rollouts — is that they have to personally knock on all our doors and see us open the door begrudgingly. Rolling out underclassmen is supposed to be a fun, cherished memory — a time to pay a Stanford moment forward and make some frosh happy. However, that ideal moment is far from reality. Most frosh I knew hesitate to even answer the door. Some pretend to remain asleep, while others who did roll out never show up ever again to those clubs they initially wanted to join.
With that said, I still miss rollout season. One of my most productive weeks during my Stanford career was when I was rolled out practically every other day. Being rolled out early forced me to be productive much more early on. Even better were the rollouts I didn’t expect winter quarter; out of the blue, they broke the pattern I had fallen into and brought back memories of fall quarter when everything was still new. I also miss rollout season because of the number of people I met through rollouts and also the rush of walking/running across campus to places like Main Quad, Tresidder, Meyer Green and even the Daily building. I also miss some of the people who rolled me out, i.e. former Grind managing editors Jackie O’ Neil ‘21 and Emily Schmidt ‘20.
Quite frankly, I miss what rollout season represented: an initiation to multiple organizations and the part of Stanford they represented. I miss the feeling of being new, and as my frosh year comes to a close, I know I’m going to miss the feeling of being a clueless frosh. Instead, I’ll be stuck with the feeling of being a clueless sophomore — but hey, rollout season is only a few months away.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.