Student Stories

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.

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 Experience as a Non-Resident Alien

Ruru Hoong, '19

“Non-resident aliens on F-1 visas are exempt from paying FICA taxes.”

Stirring from my drowsy languor, I look around the room to the other hundred or so international students attending the mandatory immigration session, ready to exchange a bemused smile or look of disbelief. I hardly understood what it meant to be on a F-1 visa, let alone what FICA stood for — but non-resident alien?? I felt ready to sprout a pair of neon green antennas on my head.

Flooded Washing Machines & Great Conversations: Capturing the Spirit of Stanford

Joe Bosetti, '20

Freshman year at Stanford is packed to the brim with excitement. From the moment my car-- laden with clothes, bed sheets, photos, and my trusty mug--rolled onto campus for New Student Orientation, I realized that I had made the jump into a whole new world. Diving into a college as rigorous as Stanford was a big transition. I came from a small community that primarily centered around farming.

Planning, But Not Paining

Courtney Gao, '20
“Courtney Gao, freshman. Undeclared!” our announcer boomed into the microphone with a
twinkle in his eye. His words needed no Thai translation. The audience chuckled and I joined the
palms of my hands in a slight wai , fixing my lips to match grin for grin. In that moment, I knew
what I was: a Stanford student who had no idea what she was doing with her life.
Allow me to supplement this introduction. My name is Courtney Gao. I’m a rising sophomore

Survive and Thrive

Ian Macato, 19
December 2014
“Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that I offer you admission to the Stanford University
Class of 2019.”
Reading this line was possibly the most affirming and validating moment of my 17 year old life
thus far. I remember sobbing tears of joy and disbelief the second I finished reading my
acceptance letter, that my Pa came down from his nap, worried that something terrible had
happened. Ma was thrilled. She started crying and wooing about my acceptance, and during

Why I'm An Urban Studies Major

Sean Volavong, '19

10:43 p.m.

Twenty minutes until I land at the San Francisco International Airport.

14,500 feet in the air and I have the coveted window seat.

Peering through the window, a glimmer of gold and pearl lights begin to glow brighter and brighter. As we descend, the lights begin to intertwine down freeways and busy intersections as the networks of cities and lives inside Bay Area reveal themselves.


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