10 things Stanford feels like besides a school

Nov. 15, 2019, 2:19 a.m.


It’s still hard for me to believe that I’m here, at one of the best schools in the world! Although Stanford is a university, at times it feels like more than just a school. Minus the work and stress, its pretty views, pretty cool people and pretty nice perks make the Stanford bubble feel sort of like a vacation. The university is so multi-faceted, rich with a variety of experiences. It’s interesting to discover and experience different aspects of Stanny, so here are ten things I think that Stanford feels like besides a school.

1. Hogwarts

Stanford is the Hogwarts of the Muggle world. So far it has proved to be a magical adventure, complete with twists and turns I never could’ve imagined before. Aside from the magical element, everyone here appears to be a witch or wizard in their respective craft. One day you might come down to the lounge to find someone in your dorm busting out a concerto on the piano or discover that the girl you’ve been sitting next to in class for the past four weeks participated in the IMO. I never know what to expect; the hidden talent here is off the charts. Additionally, I’ve met a lot of interesting characters and personalities. Stanford has indeed put us all under a spell. 

2. Tourist Attraction

Biking to the Main Quad and seeing tourists for the first time as a student was a strange sensation. But after the umpteenth time, I’ve gotten used to it. Seeing the hordes of tourists equipped with flashing cameras and a burning curiosity makes me realize how picturesque the campus is. With its Spanish-style architecture, verdant scenery and nearly perfect weather — in addition to its top academics, athletes and artists from all around the globe — one can see why Stanford attracts more than just its students. Although the tourists can be inconvenient sometimes, they make me even more grateful to go to Stanford as they also see the beauty in our school. 

3. Startup Magnet

In the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s only natural to see and feel the entrepreneurial culture here. The career fairs — with all the big companies and growing startups hiring students right out of school — definitely bring into perspective how much of a tech magnet Stanford is. It’s interesting to think that some of our classmates will end up working for the Googles, Facebooks and Apples of the world, or perhaps even found the Next Big Thing, whether that be in social entrepreneurship, tech entrepreneurship or another field.

4. Jam Session Central

I don’t know if it’s like this for other dorms, but in Soto, seemingly everyone plays the piano. Whether it be classical music, chord improvisation or random theme songs, I often walk into the lounge hearing a new song being played by a new person I didn’t know played the piano. Other times, I’ll just be sitting in my room and the peaceful sounds of someone playing guitar or ukulele will waft through the air into my ears. In the halls, I sometimes hear a cappella. I really enjoy days singing at the piano or those wild karaoke nights when everyone is just having fun belting out the music. 

5. Park

From the ceaseless biking to the morning joggers and from the hiking trails to the gorgeous area that is Meyer Green, as I walk through certain parts of Stanford, I am often reminded of a park. Here, there are so many perfect places to walk a dog, run for fun or just sit down and have a full-blown picnic. Maybe I’ll do some of that … after midterms, that is. 

6. Waterpark

Going fountain hopping through four out of seven different fountain-hoppable fountains makes Stanford feel like a waterpark. When running through the rectangular fountain near Farrillaga or creating a whirlpool in the Old Union fountain, Stanford indeed feels like a wild water adventure. 

7. Beach

Looking out of my window and seeing the sand-fill beach volleyball court, full of students blasting loud music and actually playing volleyball in the perfect weather on the weekends takes me to the beach for a brief second. After a quick glance out the window, my messy desk full of work reminds me of reality.  

8. Ancient Greece 

Those classical late-night discussions often get pretty philosophical, reminiscent of Ancient Greek philosophers. Sometimes I feel as though I’m in a modern-day School of Athens, engaging with my fellow Stanford students in an extremely intellectual, extremely nerdy and extremely cool setting. 

9. Summer Camp

So far, Stanford has felt like a stressful summer camp. From playing ping-pong to piano to pool to even VR in the lounge, it sometimes doesn’t register that I’m actually at school. Living with your friends further cements the whole summer camp vibe.  

10. Home

After a few weeks, Stanford really starts to feel like a home away from home. With all the great memories and friends I’ve made so far, I’m so happy to be able to call Nerd Nation home and look forward to what the next few years will bring.

Above all else, Stanford still feels like a dream. Although the workload can be difficult at times, taking a step back and realizing where we are, how we got here and all of the crazy opportunities we have available is truly amazing. I hope that despite whatever Stanford feels like to you — perhaps just a school, summer camp, prison, home, heaven, hell or in between — ultimately it becomes a place where you can fulfill your potential, becoming the best person you can be as you get ready to change the world in your own special way.

Feel free to comment, email or tell me what else Stanford feels like to you. 🙂

Contact Ecy King at [email protected]

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