What was your experience at Stanford?

Answers

Lauren Young, Lauren, alumnus

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The things that I remember most about my time at Stanford are idealism and entrepreneurialism. The school culture kind of valorizes students who get out and do something, whether that is to market a technology that they've conceptualized or launch a nonprofit that aims to help the vulnerable (the latter is more my style :)). At one point or another, several of my friends took time off school (either formally by dropping off the paperwork to take a leave of absence, or informally by shifting their energies away from class for a while) to launch something. In my opinion, Stanford's culture is also quite accepting--if the venture you start at 19 doesn't become sustainable or earn you millions you are usually still seen as successful for having tried and learned something in the process.

The campus is also extremely fun--I remember late nights working with a group of friends who were starting a student think tank now called the Roosevelt Campus Network ending with us imagining our ideas influencing policies while watching old West Wing episodes. (I also remember a night where we poured drinks on each other from a second story balcony, but that's a different story :)). I also had the chance to raise money to build a library and run other projects in a refugee camp outside of Congo through a one-year-old volunteer program started by an extremely audacious Stanford junior. These experiences helped me learn to think bigger and figure out problems proactively. The friends that I schemed with about how to make the world a better place continue to inspire me, and I am very glad that I had the chance to grow and experiment with them at an open and idealistic place like Stanford.

Ryan Cooke, Alumnus

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I would echo Lauren's answer about Stanford being very self-directed. Your experience really is what you make of it. I'd also balance that with the fact that depending on your degree, for example engineering, there will be quarters where you never leave the lab. In addition to activism and entrepreneurship there are student groups for the arts and athletics, excellent student-written publications and even professional groups that do consulting.

The student body is extremely diverse, and most are very active and hard working. I was more of a slacker and got to hang out with similarly-unmotivated students for midnight games of frisbee golf and runs to In'n Out. I also remember being quite aware of the dichotomy between the liberal student-body and the more conservative faculty. Also I don't think I've ever biked more in my life!

Anonymous, nothing

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Velma Dennis, university focus

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