Monday, June 23, 2008

Year One Scorecard: 3.990 GPA In the Bag

And here we are. The first year at Stanford is now one for the record books. My initial posts to this blog are so interesting to me now; when I read them I can feel what I was feeling then--how disoriented, how terrified, how thrilled by the unknown.

Here are some of the things I learned this year:

1. I can write a serious and scholarly research paper, an "A" paper, even after changing my topic at the eleventh hour.

2. It is possible for a 50-year-old to pull an all-nighter. Without caffeine. There is such a strange moment around, oh I'm going to say 4 a.m., when you know you won't be going to bed before your 9 a.m. class. You wonder what that weird humming is. You move very slowly and stare before making major decisions like which shoe to put on first.

3. I never want to pull another all-nighter. NEVER.

4. There are brilliant professors at Stanford, people that make me want to pursue the possiblity of my own brilliance. Especial thanks to Scott Herndon and Elizabeth Tallent.

5. Even in this astounding place there are professors who can be just a tad arrogant. I'm thinking of--well, let's just suffice it to say, he didn't get invited back next year, but I did.

6. There are 20-somethings who are utterly stunning in their insights, comprehension, critical thinking, logic, and humor.

7. The same 20-somethings often use the word "like" as a conversational filler when in casual conversation.

8. A particular 50-something with minimal interest in football can go a little nuts when Stanford kicks Berkeley's ass at the Big Game GO CARDINAL!!

9. When you are 50, people are always very surprised to find out you are an undergrad. If they are over 40, they are almost universally pleased for you, and often say they are jealous, that they'd love the chance to do it again. This has come from peers, parents of other students, checkers at the Stanford Bookstore, and the doctors at the Vaden Health Clinic.

10. I can draw a five-page mini-graphic story that makes people cry. (Sorry Professor Johnson....)

11. I love the clock tower, the carillon, and the organ in the Memorial Church. I love the tour guides who have to learn to walk backwards. I love the Bender Reading Room in Green Library and the made-to-order omelette bar at Stern Dining. I love tourists on campus, even the ones who point video cameras in classroom windows. I love visiting-writer colloquia in the Terrace Room in Margaret Jacks, and the great snacks the Stegner Fellows put out for Writers' Workshop. I love the pink magnolia flowers and the smell of orange blossoms near the main quad. I love Maria at Olives for always knowing when I want a double-decaf-soy-mocha. I love that one of my fellow transfers chats a moment about singing in the university chorus, then mentions that he will be doing research on Einstein's theory of relativity over the summer. I love the way main campus feels on Sunday, an hour before the sun sets.

It sounds like the cheesiest sort of Oscar-night speech, and I just don't care. HAIL STANFORD, HAIL.

1 comment:

Writer Reading said...

This is very poignant and you are lucky to be at such a great school and having such a positive experience, I'm sure in large part attributable to your own sunny disposition.