As a high schooler who had only kissed boys while sober, I first heard about Full Moon on the Quad when I opened up to the California section of Insider’s Guide to Colleges and flipped to Stanford University. At America’s dream school, the smartest kids in a faraway land wait until midnight when the gifted princes kiss the brilliant ladies. Because the admissions rate was low, everyone must be perfect and talented. It is a tradition that began with senior collegiate gentlemen bringing roses to the freshman girls; FMOTQ was a fairy tale that only could exist far away in an unimaginable place.
Fast-forward to freshman year: I was living the dream. The excitement of fall quarter in a Wilbur dorm is contagious. Making friends on the scavenger hunt in San Francisco; discovering that FloMo serves Indian food every Sunday at dinner; being awoken by the virtuoso piano music from your dormmate in the lounge: Life was good.
Cedro stayed up into the wee hours of the night talking about life, eating Late Night, and finishing p-sets. We were sure that we had the highest “work hard, play hard” ratio of any freshman dorm on campus.
My RA had a list on her closet door that described all the things “To Do Before I Graduate,” and “get kissed at Full Moon on the Quad” was there. Inspired, I knew that that was something I wanted to check off my list. Never before had I been to an event where painted nudity was an expectation.
Never before had I gotten drunk on a Tuesday. Never before had I had such an opportunity to shamelessly make out with randos. At FMOTQ, all of this changed.
They told us there’d be free Chipotle, but there wasn’t any left by the time we got there. With a pack of dormmates and SUID in tow, I was ready to throw away my Karel worries away and experience college in California.
As they say in Designing Your Stanford, YOSO: You only Stanford once. I shuffled into the Quad and stuck with the familiar faces from my dorm. Not quite sure of the names of all the people there, I waited in anticipation for the clock to strike midnight.
Freshmen, when you head to the Quad for your first time, be prepared. Use some mouthwash. Embrace that kissing unknown suitors is only awkward if you let it be.
Head there and back with people you know. 5-SURE exists, so our students can golf-cart home rather than walk. The Sophomore Class of past and present does not admit visibly intoxicated students to Quad (keyword: visibly).
At 12, it began. It was kind of like a frat party, but outside, with more kissing and less grinding. About one-third of the people were shy and maybe spectating, one-third were there to party and get a couple friendly kisses, and one-third were rampantly trying to make out with as many people as possible.
Surprisingly, people mostly maintained a casualness and respect for those around them: Remember to stay classy. Though the kissing got shut down in less than 20 minutes, the madness was everywhere, and I managed to peck the Tree as well as few other gentlemen.
Back at the dorm, I was surprised to realize that others had a number for the night. (Pro tip: Keep count.) One friend admitted he’d just had his first kiss with a girl whose name he didn’t know.
Another girl managed to kiss a boy from home she’d known in high school. I’d just kissed my first (and possibly into the double digits) Stanford boys. Everyone saw the painted, swinging bodies.
FMOTQ could only exist on the West Coast academic Disneyland that is our school. I love that at America’s No. 1 dream school, it’s school tradition to have a massive make out orgy that increases the number of connections between the newest class of Stanford students and those of us who have been here a bit longer, a chance to be more open with those with whom we work and play.
FMOTQ is an intoxicating experience enjoyed by budding adventurists and those looking to have a good time alike. Freshmen and upperclassmen should go, experience the craziness, then head home. For the brief time it lasts, in the Quad there is an undeniably palpable and unique energy; equal parts trepidation, irreverence, hope, and curiosity.