If this seems disorganized, I just listed a couple things to talk about, and expanded them independently.
If you didn’t know, I left Wednesday afternoon for a jaunt out to Stanford for Admit Weekend, a reception for all the admitted students to get a feel for the campus and such. After spending two days there, I came back on the midnight flight last night and now have tons of stories, most of which I won’t bother relating here.
First, huge thanks to Kira for guiding me around campus! She definitely earns about 40 cool points for helping me out.
And that shout-out perfectly needs into the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) , an understandably infamous organization. First, the name is totally misleading. “Marching” usually implies that they will, uh, march. They don’t. And “Band” usually implies that they will make music. I heard them make something, but it definitely wasn’t music. At least, not in ‘ne sense I would agree with. Regardless, I must say, I was quite entertained. Decked out in rally, they played in front of MemAud as we left a university talk from Bravman, and definitely seemed to embrace the crazier side of students. Kira enthusiastically supported the organization and has reminded me to keep an open-mind with respect to. I think that’s about all I can say about them right now.
I knew college was better, but I would’ve never imagined that the classes would be that much better. Apparently, they are.
I sat in on an econ class called “Imperfect Competition” the first morning there, and that pretty much set me up for realizing how great class can be. It was actually very intimidating, because I was constantly in a state of disequilibrium in that class, which was in no way helped that I had no idea what upper-case pi (at least, I think that’s what that symbol was) and lower-case lambda mean in economics until he re-iterated that significantly later in the discussion. I’m sitting here with the 2 pages of notes that I took (furiously) in that class, and can just barely understand them. It was still fun, though.
And an Introduction to Humanities section. Led by some PhD student (I think), there were ~15-20 kids sitting around, facing each other, talking over parts of Boccaccio’s Decameron and some of Moliere’s work of Don Juan. Very similar to a good Shellum discussion, which makes literature quite interesting.
And two CS classes. One dealt with some parts of set theory and the other with heaps (in reference to memory allocation). What I’ve learned is that I absolutely love CS, but totally couldn’t do serious software theory for the rest of my life. Otherwise, I enjoyed the classes immensely.
One of the events planned was a lecture that we could sit in on, specifically put on for us, from one of 20-ish, I think. When my original choice got cancelled, I rushed over to one given by Dr. William Dement on sleep. After listening to it, both my mom and I agreed that it was probably a boon that the other one got canceled.
The lecture hall was packed. Students and parents were sitting on the floor just in front of him, and I think they actually had to turn away ppl who were standing outside the door.
It was easily one of the best lectures I’ve ever gotten in my life. Dement is quite an entertaining person, and had lots of jokes and such planned through his lecture, including the “Music of the Night” (a look inside the throat of ppl snoring, with the full soundtrack) and videos of narcoleptic dogs (it seems so cruel, but it was absolutely hilarious watching them run a couple meters, fall down, wake up, run a couple meters…). Much of it was quite relevant, however, as he discussed sleep debt (the accumulated loss of sleep that we have to pay back) and drowsiness (is RED ALERT).
Oh yeah, and this guy discovered REM sleep. I highly recommend that you try to get your hands on a copy of one of his books, as if they’re even half as good as him in real life, it’ll be well worth it.
So I’ve managed to stay completely college-neutral with respect to clothing over the past couple years. It seemed kind of silly to me to get gear, and end up supporting some school that I would end up having no intention of attending, or even liking. Now that things are falling in place, however, I am now decked, with both a Stanford shirt and hoodie.
And a UT hoodie. I figured it was the right thing to do. Besides, if I end up at Stanford, it’d be significantly more difficult to lose that as opposed to a Stanford one that just about everyone has.
It’s amazing how far away life can seem on trips like this. By Thursday morning checking in, my high school life and everything seemed a lifetime away. Yes, it was 4 hrs by plane away, but even so, it struck me as unusual how distant that life seemed. Government packet? AP tests? Pssh. None of that is really happening. But now, back to life.
So Admit Weekend has solidified my decision. Stanford is pretty much what it seems to be: a beautiful campus with an amazing amount of intellectual energy, yet very relaxed and fun. One kid called it the “happiest place on Earth”. If it wasn’t for Disney World, I’d agree.
I’m sure most of you don’t really care about how I arrived at this point (and I don’t really feel like re-iterating it after having written about it endlessly in my journal and Admit Weekend journal), but I am now sure, and will be sending off my enrollment stuff today.
I think I’ll like the next 4 years of my life.