It was a normal Wednesday on campus. I tend to like Wednesdays because I have a lighter class schedule. Stern serves French toast at breakfast, and I know that I will actually have time to complete work before the sun goes down. On this particular day, though, I was absorbed in the final projects that were slowly piling up for the end of the quarter. As I returned back to my room with a mental checklist in mind, I dropped my bag off and headed down to dinner, where I sat with my dormmates, as always.
But it was while I was sitting there, eating my pasta and listening to the various strategies and conspiracies regarding our game of assassins, that I happened to look at the date on my phone and realize that we were in our last two weeks of living together. I still remember moving into Donner in September and being surprised at the dorm itself; it was much smaller and simpler than I anticipated. I think in my head, I glorified where I thought I would be living. I worried that if those expectations weren’t met, maybe it was unrealistic that I would meet a lot of people in my dorm, too. Now, Donner has become my home base, and although I know that the friendships I have from here will persist regardless of where I live next year, I can’t help but reflect on some aspects of my dorm that defined my frosh experience.
There are ongoing debates about which dorms are better for incoming frosh — four-class or all frosh. Without a doubt, both have their merits, but one aspect that I loved about all-frosh is the common experience. Despite our community coming from every corner of the world, we all started our time at Stanford in the same place and at the same time. We registered for classes together, got rolled out for clubs together, went fountain hopping for the first time together and cried through Dead Week together. Even now, we will all move out to begin our sophomore years together. I think this common thread made the transition to college so much easier for me.
I will miss not being able to assume that a large population of students are also taking an intro class with me and are also struggling on problem three of the p-set. I will miss stressing about declaring a major with other people who understand that we really don’t have that much time. I will miss joking around in the dining hall at a table of way too many people, and I will miss my RAs telling us exactly what we have to do on a weekly basis.
I will also miss the fun activities during Dead Week, the best and worst week of the quarter, and the random objects that clutter the dorm for no obvious reason. I will miss Donner Diaries, baking sourdough bread and going to house meeting every week. I will miss the many group trips we had, whether to events on campus or for weekend getaways, and I will miss the spontaneous games and dance parties that happen in the hallways.
It is hard to think about not living in the same dorm in the fall, mostly because this is the only place I know, but as the quarter draws to a close, I am beyond grateful for the community I have found this year. From the other freshmen, to my RAs, to the kind people in the dining halls, I can only hope that I will continue to be surrounded by such caring and fun people as I continue my four years at Stanford.
Contact Trisha Kulkarni at trishak8 ‘at’ stanford.edu.