Here are my top five takeaways from my first quarter at Stanford:
1. There are many different flavors of “smart”
Coming into Stanford, I knew it was diverse; however, I was still expecting similar “flavors” of smart — the tangy, sweet and extremely nerdy kind — to dominate the school. But the intellectual diversity of Nerd Nation is out of this world. Yes, there are the studious, classical kinds of scholars, but it certainly doesn’t end there.
2. We can expand our minds
After taking a class on growth and fixed mindsets, I’ve realized that we are indeed capable of improving our abilities, our skills and our intelligence. How “smart” we are is not fixed — and now at Stanford, at college, we have the perfect opportunity to grow our skillset. The intellectual vitality here, after all, is off the charts.
3. It’s all about learning
Coming from high school to college, I’ve realized that grades matter significantly less to me. In high school, I wanted to learn a lot as well, but there was definitely a heavy focus on grades. I’m thankful that my teachers have helped me to reach this point, but now that I’m here, I value learning more than ever. Looking forward, I’m beyond excited to learn all these new things in my classes that will help me become the person I want to be.
4. Satisfying > maximizing
Stanford is full of amazing opportunities waiting to be had. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I am learning, and still learning, to be satisfied and not go for everything that is out there. There’s no way I’ll get to do everything that I want to do — I have to put away that ambitious high school version of myself who could. We are so spoiled with choices here that it’s overwhelming, but with all these options, I’m learning to be happy with what I’ve chosen. Life is full of trade-offs, after all, and no option is perfect.
5. We are some lucky Stanford ducks
When my friends from Cal came over and ogled at the buffet-like nature of the dining halls and the relatively straight roads perfect for biking, I realized how lucky we are to be here. We have resources and opportunities available here like almost nowhere else. Coming from a regular public school, being at this private school with really, really, really smart, cool, talented people from all over the world makes me realize that we really are some lucky Stanford ducks.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of freshman year and my time at Stanford has in store. The road ahead may not necessarily be a straight path, but with each up and down, there are many lessons to be learned, and I look forward to that.
Contact Ecy King at ecyfemi ‘at’ stanford.edu.