Stanford Spotlight - Akshay Dinakar

Stanford Spotlight - Akshay Dinakar

Here's to you, smile buddy
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In this world of Stanford, where success is measured on a Silicon Valley scale, it’s important to recognize different metrics of fulfillment. There is such an emphasis on tech (cough, cough – CS) that it is especially interesting to me when people come up with their own ways to shine. Such is the case with Akshay. He is loved in our dorm for bringing happiness to Stanford every single day. Without him, my freshman experience would be dramatically different. I want to not only thank him, but also to demonstrate what it’s like to be successful at Stanford without necessarily pulling a 4.0 or writing computer programs. Sometimes, a smile is the way to change the world – I know this because this is what Akshay is doing.

Anyone who knows Akshay knows he doesn’t just march to the beat of his own drum – he dances wildly to the music of the Stanford Flash Mob Orchestra, an organization he created to bring spontaneous moments of happiness through music. Akshay is a musician, a designer, a dreamer, an artist and an incredible dorm mate. He has transformed his floor to be a place of play, relaxation and inspiration. There are balloons, streamers, mechanical engineering projects, a self-made pinball machine and music. His room is the place to go if you need to smile.

Throughout our dorm, Akshay has created a program called FroSoHappy. He has organized a system where each person in our dorm will receive anonymous notes, pictures and art from other residents. The goal is to spread happiness and gratitude for others throughout the near 200 people in our dorm. And it worked! As you walk the halls, you will see hundreds of notes from the past month with #FroSoHappy on the bottom to indicate that this anonymous note was a part of the project. What is even more amazing is that you will see other anonymous notes that are NOT part of this project – they were simply left there because people have noticed the impact that showing appreciation for others has had on the happiness of our dorm. This one project alone has made our dorm feel like home.

In addition to projects designed to put us all in a better mood, Akshay’s general goofy behavior brings a smile to our faces without his even trying to do so. After crowdsourcing a costume for Halloween, he now wears the King Julian (think Madagascar) costume each Sunday brunch. His imitation of good friends crack us up, and he is always down to mess with his dormmates by moving mattresses around.

Akshay makes me smile every single day. I love listening to his covers of popular music on his violin. I love working with him on mechanical engineering projects. I love jumping on his bandwagon and making others happy. So, here’s to you Akshay: you have made my freshman fall a blast. I’ve loved spending time with such a beautiful human being. You have reassured me that to succeed in Silicon Valley doesn’t necessarily mean software – sometimes, a smile can change the world, too. Yours has most definitely changed mine.

Cover Image Credit: www.twitter.com

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14 Stages Of Buying Jonas Brothers Concert Tickets As A 20-Something In 2019

"Alexa, play "Burnin' Up" by the Jonas Brothers."

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In case you missed it, the Jonas Brothers are back together and, let me tell you, they're giving us some major jams. For those of us who were there when it all began back in 2007 with their first album, It's About Time, this has been one of the most important events of the year. But nothing, and I mean nothing can rival the excitement every twenty-something felt as the Jonas Brothers announced their Happiness Begins tour. I, for one, put my name in for ticket presale, have been following every single social media site related to the tour/group, and, of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers on repeat. And if you did manage to snag tickets, then you know that this is how your brain has been ever since they announced the tour.

1. Finding out that they're going on tour

2. Hopefully entering your name into the lottery to get presale tickets

3. Finding out that you actually get to buy presale tickets

4. Impatiently waiting for your presale tickets by listening to their songs on repeat

5. And remembering how obsessed you used to be (definitely still are) with them

6. Trying to coordinate the squad to go to the concert with you

7. Waiting in the Ticketmaster waiting room...

8. ...And feeling super frantic/frustrated because there are about 2000 people in line in front of you

9. Actually getting into the site to buy the tickets

10. Frantically trying to find seats you can actually pay for because, let's be real, you're twenty-something and poor

11. Managing to actually get the seats you want

12. Joyfully letting your squad know that you've done it

13. Crying a little because all of the dreams you've had since 2007 are coming true

14. Listening to every single Jonas Brothers song on repeat (again)

If you, like me, have finally fulfilled one of your dreams since childhood, then congrats, my friend! We've made it! Honestly, of all the things I've done in my adult life, this might be the one that child me is the most proud of.

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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