The Grind

The four-year plan: Stanford bucket list edition

Dec. 2, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

The Stanford frosh starter pack includes changing your Instagram bio to “Stanford ‘25,” buying overpriced merch on the Stanford bookstore website, posting a college commitment post with a quirky Stanford caption, overusing the tree emoji and, most importantly, planning out what courses you want to take over the next four years. Stanford frosh are notorious for obsessing over their four-year plan.

Although I don’t plan on making my academic four-year plan anytime soon, I have been thinking about what I want to experience and explore before my Stanford journey ends in four short years.

In fashion of the typical four year plan, here’s my college bucket list:

Freshman year:

  1. Attend my first college football game (and be confused the entire time): In September, I attended the home game against UCLA and watched as Stanford was epically crushed by UCLA.
  2. Hike the Stanford Dish: I’ve hiked the Dish a few times; I definitely recommend going when it’s closer to sundown so that you can enjoy the sunset and the nice weather.
  3. Go fountain hopping with friends: I fountain hopped with my friends during NSO; it was so surreal to be in the fountains that I had only seen in YouTube videos. I found it surprising that students use the fountains more than the pool at Farillaga. I also learned that most of the fountains are chlorinated.
  4. Publish my first story with The Stanford Daily: I’ve dreamt of writing for The Daily for my Stanford college experience, so it’s coming full circle as I publish this piece as my first!
  5. Go to San Francisco with the dorm to experience Scav Hunt: Scav Hunt is a must-do for all frosh; I highly recommend all incoming frosh to attend.
  6. Take my first computer science (CS) class in college to feel the rush of Silicon Valley: I’m finishing up my first class at Stanford and it radiates Google, Apple and Facebook. Everyone around me already lives and breathes CS.
  7. View my admissions file: I viewed my admissions file in September, and it was brutally honest. I was reduced to a few sheets of paper, kickstarting my imposter syndrome.
  8. Crash my bike at the Circle of Death: Current crash count? Two.
  9. Complain about Arrillaga dining hall’s food: Arrillaga is growing on me a bit, so this might never get checked off.
  10. Read my letter to my roommate from the Stanford application: I think my roommate and I are both putting this off because the letter is embarrassing to read. I hope my letter never surfaces beyond my Google Docs.

Sophomore year:

  1. Own at least 10 pieces of Stanford merch: Stanford is always handing out free merch at different events; I’ve collected a bucket hat, five different t-shirts and lots of stickers.
  2. Fill out the Marriage Pact form (and maybe meet my soulmate): Maybe I’ll find my Peter Kavinsky?
  3. Visit the O’Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm: My family loves gardening and growing fruit. I’m looking forward to visiting the farm to reconnect with my roots back home while enjoying some organic food.
  4. Ride the Marguerite (and learn how to properly pronounce its name): I’ve been pronouncing it as margarine, so hopefully riding it will clear up the confusion.
  5. Take an entrepreneurship class to get sucked into the Stanford start-up culture: I grew up hearing about famous Stanford dropouts so I’m curious to explore what the entrepreneurial side of Stanford does to students.

Junior year:

  1. Attend the Big Game against Berkeley: Fingers crossed that Stanford will win this time?
  2. Dance at Viennese Ball: My Stanford interviewer encouraged me to attend the Viennese Ball; it’s definitely at the top of my bucket list.
  3. Sneak my way to the steam tunnels with friends: I’ve heard about the tunnels underground, but I’ll have to figure out how to get to them. I already know the spiders and dust will add an extra layer of fun to it.
  4. Explore every library on campus: The libraries on campus are beautiful; I can’t wait to discover new study spots.
  5. Learn all of the Stanford jargon: CoHo, MemChu, DAHA, GovCo, FroSoCo, TAP — the list goes on.

Senior year:

  1. Pull an all-nighter in the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center: Senior year is when math class will be less numbers and more funky symbols. An all-nighter at Huang sounds about right.
  2. Finally get into Social Dance on Axess: By senior year, I should know the ins and outs of SimpleEnroll and hopefully get to experience one of Stanford’s most popular classes!
  3. Drive on Palm Drive and admire the beautiful entrance: I’d like to drive on Palm Drive and admire the view of MemChu and Hoover Tower from a distance.
  4. Meet someone famous while on campus: Maybe Bill Gates will be casually strolling in the Engineering Quad?
  5. Become a Stanford tour guide: I’ve dreamt about being a tour guide for prospective students because a high schooler’s first impression of a specific university is important for setting their goals. I want to answer all of their questions and be the person that I wish I had when I was applying to Stanford.

My first quarter at Stanford was a perfect blend of exploration, friendships and stressful nights of submitting p-sets at 11:59 p.m. While I’m not sure what winter quarter will be like, I know I have a lot to look forward to soon.

Vivian Wang ’25 is a staff writer at The Daily. She is from Orange County, California and is currently studying Symbolic Systems. Contact her at imvivian ‘at’ stanford.edu to talk about tech, journalism, Disneyland or anything else.

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