Nestor Walters
Nestor was born in Bangladesh and raised mostly in Greece. When he was nineteen he moved to the United States to join the Navy, where he served for ten years. He is now a junior at Stanford University, where he is rumored to be the only person in the math department with cut-off t-shirt sleeves. He also dabbles in creative writing.

On “The Rock,” 9/11 and listening to experts

Both cases are examples of anecdotal evidence — equally valid or equally invalid. So on one hand we’re being told to trust the proverbial experts and disregard personal accounts of harmless viruses. At the same time, personal stories are being used to emotionally manipulate us into following the masses and asking no questions.

Don’t hope on a burning sky

“Take my love, take my land,” says the opening song in “Firefly,” a one-season sci-fi show about an army-veteran-turned-space-pirate and his team of scoundrels. “I don’t care,” it goes on, “I’m still free, you can’t take the sky from me.” But, when I landed in San Francisco airport last week, it seemed like someone had.…

July 4th, 2020 from a foreign veteran’s perspective

Last year I wrote: “July 4th is Independence Day—the day a bunch of ragtag vagabonds stood up and said ‘We’re not gonna take it’ to a bunch of assholes who were taking advantage of them. It was the sputtering, blue-in-the-face, choking-on-its-own-phlegm birth of a baby country that wouldn’t take its first real steps for another century.” But what about now?

Open letter: Stanford veteran responds to ‘Zoom-bombing’ at The People’s Caucus

Dear Zoom-bombers, I’m writing to tell you that there is a world we are creating, and it’s beautiful. In this world everyone is welcome and valued and belongs. You can be welcome too, but there is one condition and it is non-negotiable: you will accept everyone else as having that same value. Period. If you need a friend, I’ll be your friend. But if you make yourself the enemy of my community, then I am your enemy too.

Apocalypse then: Reflecting on the last time I thought the world was about to end

It was early 2018, when the North Korea nuclear scare was still something we talked about. I stared at the screen. What did I make of it? If there are nukes coming, we’re dead. But he was waiting for an answer, and if there’s one thing I learned from my 10 years in the Navy, it’s that even when you’re at the brink of a nervous breakdown, doing anything is infinitely better than doing nothing at all.

5 negotiation quotes you will use in real life

Everyone wants things, right? Well, short of violence, the only way to get them is by asking nicely — aka negotiating. Now, if you search “negotiation tips,” you’ll come up with wisdom nuggets like, “stay calm,” “listen closely,” “set goals” and “be creative.” As true as those truisms may be, they’re also universally applicable to…

Asking for a friend

For my 25th Grind article, I opened up to an “ask me anything.” Thanks to everyone who submitted a question. With friends asking about music, climate change, self-help and sex toys, I know I must be doing something right. Favorite Spotify playlists? I made one called “Mongo Smash Dubstep Workout,” with songs by Excision, Skrillex,…

8 poems to start the decade with

Hi, everyone, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood Navy veteran. If you’re reading this, you made it to 2020. Congratulations. Give yourself a big hug from me, and give me one if you see me walking around in my shoulder sling. Anyway, I took a poetry class last quarter and was blown away. Since that pretty…

Drive it like you stole it

I’ve felt middle-aged ever since I was 15. Look, I grew up as the only American kid in a Greek public school. I was lonely, awkward and sometimes bullied. So I started Taekwondo. Because nobody messes with you when you know Taekwondo, right? Anyway. My coach said he’d buy a heavy bag for anyone who…

Chocolate in the rain

I wake up to rain sizzling on my window. Bands of gray Seattle sun peek through the curtains, and hazelnut coffee wafts from the kitchen. January first. Another year and still no apocalypse. I act tough, but of course part of me is scared. Zombies. Nukes. Global Chicken Fryer? Statistically, we’re f*cked. Humanity will find…

I looked for my anger and here’s what I found

This morning I lie in bed, stuck with my thoughts under a warm blanket in a cold room. It’s a sunny day. My curtains are open from when I got up to sniff smoke. I stare at the ceiling. I imagine a story called “Burning Man,” where a boy trapped in a fire contemplates his…

Navy veteran’s guide to starting the school year

Week two is over. Crazy, isn’t it? Here’s your syllabus, have fun reading all 7,000 pages. Here’s a guide to over 300 clubs, don’t miss out on any of them. Here’s your room, that’s the lounge, there’s the dining hall. Which way is the The Quad again? Oh, I’m standing in it. Lathrop, top of…

9 helpful rules for cycling at Stanford

What’s more Stanford than biking everywhere? Don’t answer that; it’s rhetorical. To save you the trouble, here are three examples of things that are more Stanford than bicycle riding: coding, Full Moon on the Quad and drinking boba. But, if you’re like me, you probably did (or do) fantasize about cruising around on your 27-speed…
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