You Belong

Outing with friends

My name is Remy Gordon, I use he/him pronouns, and I’m a rising sophomore. I have loved my time at Stanford, as challenging as it has been, because I’ve gotten a chance to learn a lot about myself. I tried to be pretty experimental my first year as I didn’t (and still don’t, shhhh) know what I want to do with my life. I participated in a number of clubs and orgs. Some of my favorites were the Society of Black Scientists and Engineers, Black Student Union, Club Basketball, and Sigma Phi Epsilon. I lived in Twain, which is a co-ed, all-frosh dorm and it was one of the closest communities I’ve ever been a part of. Now, I’d like to speak shortly about my path to find my way at school during my first year.

I belong at Stanford University. I may not feel it every day, but deep down I know it’s true. Stanford can be an incredibly intimidating and overwhelming place at times. It seems like every student here has either cured cancer or cracked the code on enacting world peace, as you may have already seen through Facebook introductions. I was worried, even before arriving at Stanford, that everyone would see right through my façade and know that I’m out of place and can’t compete. First, let me dispel that myth because almost everyone at Stanford is down to earth and wholly accepting. I’ve never been around a group of people that judge so little and have hearts so big. But even then, something didn’t feel right for me.

I would see what all of my peers were doing and it never felt like my own accomplishments would stack up. I pushed and pushed, with my wheels spinning in the mud. I joined too many clubs, made too many commitments, tried too hard. I wanted to prove to my peers, to my friends, to my parents, to myself that I could do just as much or even more than everyone else here. That was a mistake. Belonging at Stanford isn’t about how much you can take on or how expansive a vocabulary you can use when discussing organic chemistry. No, belonging at Stanford takes on many different forms. For some, it’s finding their one true passion, pursuing it, and turning it into a career. For others, it’s joining a group with people they love doing something they love. And for others, it’s being part of a friend group that cares about them and for them.

Belonging at Stanford is not the same for everyone, but it almost never boils down to how heavy of a course load you can take or how many clubs you can join. In the end, pursuing these superficial goals often leads to a decline in sleep, hygiene, and ultimately mental health. Feeling like you deserve to be here is less about lofty goals and more about enjoying what you do and how you do it. It’s beyond difficult to achieve this if you’re over-stressed, over-worked, and under-rested. So, the best advice I can give you is explore, join organizations you’re interested in, and push yourself to try new things. However, make sure to carve out some you-time and enjoy yourself, because this can be a very fun place to be. Prioritize your mental health and you won’t just exist at Stanford, you will belong.

Remy Gordon

Undeclared

Class of 2020