I just finished my last final this afternoon and am greatly relieved, though somewhat sad. My dorm gets emptier and emptier, while I stay here until the summer session starts and I can shift into new housing.
But it’s been a good year. College offers many different opportunities than before, ranging from the freedom to take actually interesting classes to listening to my roommate’s music instead of my own. I’ve tested my limits by juggling commitments, and I seem to have found it, as I’m now in the midst of a vaguely grizzly illness.
Regardless, with the summer ahead and the school year behind, I’m in a reflective mood. I’m glad I challenged myself in CS my first quarter here. I’m glad I got my hand in research. I’m glad I played a variety of intramural sports. I’m glad I took my hand at section leading a class. But I’m sad it looks like music is going to drift out of my life. I’m sad my classes aren’t quite aligned as they should be. I’m sad I haven’t quite developed a healthy routine for myself yet.
I’ve learned about assembly code and the memory heap. I’ve learned about gods and religious life. I’ve learned to appreciate movie musicals and their integration into animated sitcoms (you can read my research-based argument here if you’re interested; warning it’s kind of long). I’ve learned that conventional “college” parties aren’t much fun if you don’t drink, and that it’s just fine to watch a movie and talk with friends on a Friday night. I’ve learned how to appear to be floating along while treading furiously, just like everyone else here. I’ve learned what it’s like to stay up all night writing a paper, and how to avoid that. I’ve learned about the entrepreneurial spirit that envelops Stanford and the entire Bay Area. I’ve learned that just because the dryer times in increments of 15 minutes, 15 minutes isn’t long enough to dry clothes. And I’ve learned that no one I’ve met here, no matter how bizarre, high, ridiculous, pessimistic, Southern, loud, athletic, drunk, religious, or just about any other measure, was mistakenly admitted, and that everyone has something to contribute.
Just under a year ago, it was so tough for me to pack up and leave home, but as comfortable as I was, I needed the change. I needed something radically new in my life, and Stanford’s been that. I’ve learned so much this year, and I feel like this place can keep giving for at least another three.