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Only at Stanford: 10 unique moments I realized I was truly here

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A lot of the time, Stanford seems like a dream. Here are 10 noteworthy moments and experiences that made me realize that Stanford is indeed a reality.

1. The view on the first day of class

I remember biking down Jane Stanford Street, the sky an immaculate blue, staring at the Oval to my right and MemChu to my left, soaking in the ever-so perfect views I had so often seen online. I recall thinking to myself, “Wow. I’m so lucky to be here.” Indeed, ‘twas and still is true. 

2. Using Hoover Tower as a landmark to find classes

Stanford is a large campus, and it’s really easy to get lost, especially as a frosh. Luckily, Hoover Tower was a beacon of hope when I found myself unsure of where I was. Wilbur? To the east of Hoover Tower. Main Quad? To the west. There were a few times, if I was really unsure, that I would just head straight to the tower and then find my way from there. 

3. Seeing the tourist groups for the first time

Seeing tourists as a student for the first time was an incredible experience, making me realize that our school is so prestigious and pretty that people come here just for fun or to bask in the wonder that is Stanford. Even students from my high school came to tour; that experience was pretty surreal — speaking as a Stanford student and realizing how far we’ve come.  

4. Band Run

The late-night band run before the first day of classes made me realize that Stanford students don’t take themselves too seriously. I remember President Marc Tessier-Lavigne answering a question I’d written on a notecard about the essence of the Stanford soul. He responded nonchalantly: “Stanford students don’t take themselves too seriously.” I couldn’t agree more, and wacky traditions such as band run (and the Stanford marching band in general) make me further embrace Stanford’s truly unique spirit.

5. Sleeping over at a library 

Sleeping on an air mattress at 1 a.m. in the Huang Center’s library really changed my definition of a sleepover. If having a p-set party on a Sunday night followed by watching the sunrise on Monday morning constitutes a slumber party, then so be it.   

6. Having a world-class researcher as a professor 

In high school, I remember walking around the halls and seeing posters about growth mindsets plastered all over the halls. On the first day of college, I learned that my professor is the psychologist who coined and popularized these terms. That’s Stanford for you. It’s a land of immense opportunities where you are lucky enough to meet people who have changed, are changing and will change the world. Moments when you realize your professor is a world-renowned psychologist truly exemplify that.  

7. Entering people’s phone numbers 

When typing in others’ contact numbers, I realized that no one was from the 559; I’d been so used to putting the same area code — I almost did so instinctively. Some people, however, didn’t even have the same country code. It was in those moments I realized the extent of the geographic diversity at Stanny. I am in contact with people from all around the world here, and I love that.

8. Dinner time 

On that same note, one night at dinner, after Afrobeats practice, I found myself sitting with students from around the world — hailing from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Guyana and New Jersey. The diversity among the African diaspora alone was amazing. Before Stanford, I’d never met anyone from any of those places, yet there I was, laughing my heart out at dinner with people from all around the world.  

9. Seeing my professor on a bike

Seeing my professor biking off to her destination reminded me that not all heroes wear helmets (I’m just kidding: she was wearing a helmet).

10. The “Silience”

As defined by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, “silience” is “the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably.” At Stanford, I feel like it’s not completely unnoticed, but it is definitely hidden at times. When the person sitting next to me in math turns out to be an IMO Olympian or you discover that every single person in the dorm plays piano, you realize how talented the people around you are, how grateful you are to be here. 

Contact Ecy King at ecyfemi ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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