Palo Alto, CA: The last weekend of September marked the end of the first century for Stanford University. I had been to the Stanford campus when I was younger because my dad is an alumnus of the school, but this fall I was able to look at it from the view of a potential student.
The one aspect that had always impressed me was the beauty of the campus. Most of the buildings are sandstone with red tile roofs and beautifully carved arches and doorways. The newer buildings, including The Charles H. Gilbert Biological Sciences Buildings and the Kimball Hall dorm, have a more modern look to them, yet blend in well with the original buildings. Large palm trees also line the campus streets and pathways, which are usually packed with cyclists between classes.
On this trip, I was able to appreciate Stanford for its students and classes as well as its beautiful campus. I had the opportunity to attend an information session conducted by one of the associate directors of admissions, Jon Reider. Mr. Reider helped our group feel comfortable with any questions we might have had about Stanford. He was willing to talk about everything from the difficulty of being admitted to the vegetarian meals available on campus. Most important, he told us to relax and be ourselves when filling out the application, and not to get too stressed out about their decision, because although the college we attend will be a big part of our future life, if we don't get into Stanford, life will still go on.
Besides Jon Reider and a couple of professors I met, everyone was very friendly to the thousands of visitors on campus that weekend. Some freshmen were as lost as the older alumni because classes had just begun. Classes at Stanford normally start in late September, after most other colleges. But all the students seemed willing to help whenever they could. There were plenty of special activities for the Centennial Weekend and all were taking part in the fun.
On a regular basis, there is a long list of groups and clubs to join at Stanford including many different sports, singing groups, The Stanford Daily newspaper, KZSU radio, and the ILSJUMB (Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band). Between classes and activities, I'm sure none of Stanford's 6,000 students gets bored during the school year.
The one thing that made the biggest impact on me was a movie made by students about undergraduate life at the college. A series of slides showed Stanford students at football games, dances, parties, and with groups of friends having a lot of fun. These slides were followed by other pictures of students studying, reading, and listening to lectures while Billy Joel's "Pressure" played in the background. This fit in perfectly with something Mr. Reider had told my group. He had said that all the students may look carefree and relaxed, but underneath they're stressed out and working really hard, but that's what you have to do in order to survive and do well at Stanford. n
Reviewed in 1992
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.