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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.

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…

Why I work out the day after an injury

“Lol, why are you working out the day right after your injury?” When my friend first asked me, I thought she was joking. Of course I work out the day after an injury — it’s what I’ve always done and what I thought everyone who works out did. The question in her text was even…

Remember with me

Memorial Day means different things to different people. For some it will be miserable, dark and nightmarish, as they sift through thoughts of their personal fallen. For others it will be a celebration, gay and riotous, the way their fallen would want them to be living life. But for most, Memorial Day is a day…

Me, myself, motivation and meaning

I remember precisely the first time I was nice to myself. It was a spring morning last year, and I slept past my alarm. I was particularly sensitive to sleeping in at the time because, having just left the Navy, I was determined to maintain the sense of discipline it had demanded of me. Most…

When a cynic tells you it’s okay

My younger brother went through a pretty bad breakup recently. He texted me a couple weeks ago: “Hey can I call you in a few minutes?” I told him sure, but I didn’t have long, thinking I was in for a little back and forth ribbing as usual. I’d make fun of his nose, he’d…

Where are you from?

“Where are you from?” When I hear this question I freeze and take a deep breath while my mind runs through the permutations of an algorithm I have yet to complete. Do they mean where I was born, where I grew up or whose country’s military I served? Who is asking? How likely am I…

Happy DD214 Day to me

Last Saturday marked my one-year anniversary of receiving my DD214 — the paper that officially signifies my transition from active duty military life to that of a veteran (prior service members can never really be “civilians” again). For most vets, their DD214 Day is a day of celebration, somewhat better than Christmas but maybe not…

Free speech

As someone who grew up overseas, one of my least understood American foods is the Sloppy Joe. Sure, every culture has its own version of grinding meat into a distractingly flavorful sauce, but as far as I know, America is the only country to turn it into such an obvious soup sandwich. While everyone else…

Dear guy who burned his Cornell degree,

Dear guy who burned his Cornell degree to prove where I go to school doesn’t matter, You don’t know me, but you reached out to The Daily for coverage, and all our real reporters must have been too busy because they asked me to do it. To start off, I’d like to applaud your courage…

The sounds of silence

“When was the last time you turned your phone off for 24 hours?” asked Tiffany Teng during her LOWKeynotes Presentation at the Graduate School of Business. “We pick up our phones, on average, 52 times a day. That may not sound like much, but if you add up all the eating, sleeping, driving and sex,…

Quitting is the new gritting

“Quitters never win and winners never quit, right?” I thought to myself as the mouse hovered over the drop down menu for editing class status. If I dropped this class, that would be my first “Withdraw” grade, and if I start now, in only my second quarter, would that be a sign of an impending…
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