My Stanford Story

Research Out of Left Field

Lauren Selden, '23

An early class and a little bit too much coffee can sometimes be a recipe for disaster: jittery hands, bouncing knees, and a mind that not only wanders, but sprints in the opposite direction of the lecture material. I made this mistake towards the end of the fall quarter of my freshman year, but, as luck would have it, the extra caffeine in my system happened to bounce an idea into my head: what if I could go on pilgrimage for research?

 

My Stanford Student Athlete Story

Photo of Stanford quad arched breezeway.
Aria Fischer, '21

Stanford University is the perfect combination of academics and athletics. I’ve heard that sentence a million times. From coaches, administrators, teammates, and my parents. I’ve also said it a million times to explain why I chose Stanford. But what do those words really mean? I didn’t find out until my freshman year as a Stanford student athlete on the women’s water polo team.

Talk to your Advisor

Six large bronze sculptures of robed men, the Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin with an arched arcade in the background.
Melissa Stevenson

Once upon a time, I was a Stanford undergraduate.

I was the first in my family to go to a four-year college (I jokingly referred to it as “sleep away college”), I understood very little about university culture (what are office hours anyway?), and was baffled by the rules, regulations, and norms that everyone else seemed to just effortlessly know off hand.

My Major is Not My Career

Greg Beale, '69
My goal was law.  I was a Political Science major at Stanford, while playing football at the same time.  That was not an easy thing to do then, fifty years ago, and is not an easy thing to do now.  I know that the demands of football at Stanford now  are more than what we had to do then, with year round training, summer workouts, etc., etc.  We had the same demands, but weren’t kept on campus during the summer.  I don’t know how they do it.
 
And to carry a 3.5 GPA with all that was not easy either.  
 

Embrace the Uncertainty, Follow your Curiosity

Linda Nguyen, '16
There was a time when some students were briefly able to glimpse their admission documents. As some of my fellow classmates, I was curious. The most remarkable thing was that even though I wrote on my application that I was pre-med and had worked on Asian-Pacific Islander Health advocacy, one of the admission officers wrote that she enjoyed my personal statement so much that she wished I would major in English! I walked out of there, shaking my head in disbelief.

My Major is Not My Career

Dontae Rayford, '07
15 years ago, I walked into PoliSci 101 as a bright-eyed freshman.  I'd major in Political Science and then take a year off to work in politics while studying for the LSAT. Then I'd go to some awesome law school before beginning a high-powered career as a litigator before transitioning into civil rights work after making my mark. 
 

Finding My Place

Julia Raven '21

When considering the potential challenges the first year of college can present, my biggest concern was finding my place. And I know, it sounds vague. Everyone hopes to “find their place” in college, and if you don’t report back to your eager friends and family that you truly “found your place” after your first quarter in school then there must be something wrong with you, right? For me, finding my place initially meant doing exactly what I was comfortable with, and no more.

My Senior Thesis

Jonathan Levin

In the spring of 1993, I decided to write a senior thesis on Norman MacLean. MacLean had been an English professor at the University of Chicago, and late in life wrote two books: The River Runs Through It, a beautiful reflection on MacLean’s family in Montana, the death of his brother Paul, fly-fishing, and religion; and Young Men and Fire, an account of a 1949 forest fire in Montana that killed 13 fire fighters (“smoke jumpers”). I loved MacLean’s books, and especially the story of his brother. 

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