1. Embracing Diversity
Over the past decades, universities have put a huge emphasis on diversity, making sure that each class of admissions represents a wide range of races, ethnicities, genders, and interests. Stanford has lived up to that -- I see people of all colors, all along the gender spectrum, on a daily basis. And the best part is that everyone around me embraces this diversity as an opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds and learn people's histories and cultures and interests that make them unique. Just this week, I left my English class to a winding crowd of students shouting, "Black Lives Matter!" and I felt so proud biking along those students who shared these values of justice and embracing difference.
2. Passion for Change
Never in my life have I been surrounded by such empowering, passionate, intelligent individuals determined to set out and make change in the world. People are starting nonprofits, developing new software, creating art from the world's "garbage," and taking classes not simply for the sake of taking classes but with a goal in mind, whether that's to promote women in computer science or improve people's quality of life in new profound ways. Being surrounded by such an inspiring group drives me to break boundaries, embrace failures, and go where my passions take me.
3. Best Personalities Ever
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a bubble -- I mean, how can everyone be so nice? Literally just about everyone I've met is patient, passionate, inclusive, and, of course, humble -- it isn't until I run into an article online by chance that I realize, oooooh so you ... dance professionally / are an Olympic athlete / are a CS genius / are a world renowned musician / "insert amazing feat here." I call this the "Stanford moment" and I love that it's a thing because the people at Stanford are so universally humble that before professional athletes or geniuses, they're peers, friends, roommates.
4. Dedicated Professors
Classes are hard, alright. But professors are just so eager to get to know students and help them. My math professor held office hours for 4 hours in his office each of the three days before a final exam. My CS professor came to campus on a Sunday to hold extra office hours for anyone who might need help. I can really feel that professors at Stanford truly care about whether or not students are fully grasping the material, and they take time out of their personal lives to give an extra helping hand. (Bonus: Some throw candy at you and some laugh at their own jokes)
5. So Many Resources!!
In addition to professors, there are a multitude of resources on campus that I can turn to for just about anything. My pre-major advisor is like a close friend and mentor, someone who sits with me and talks life for a half hour. My academic advisor is my savior when it comes time to enroll in classes and figure out what I'm doing with the little time I have in this amazing environment. There's the peer counseling center, the career advising center, the public service center -- I never feel like I'm at a loss and have no one to turn to for help.
6. Dining Halls
So far, I've hit 9 dining halls on campus, and most of them are literally a minute apart. It's when I wake up in the morning, walk out my bedroom door, and stroll down the hallway to a dining hall that I realize how spoiled students at Stanford are. Shoutout to Ricker's honey buns and Death by Chocolate, Wilbur's smoothies and crepes and paninis and omelets and smoked salmon, Flomo's cappuccino ice cream, Stern's chicken quesadillas and burritos, and Branner's Jolly Ranchers!! Life would not be the same without you.