Top 10: Things I Learned as a Freshman During Fall Quarter

As we begin what I’m told is the worst quarter of the year, it is an opportune time to reflect on the previous one. Coming in as a freshman, I had lots of questions, both about Stanford and college life in general. Some of them were answered over the course of the fall; others were not (for instance, I still have no clue where FroSoCo is). Here are the top 10 things I learned in my first 10 weeks on the Farm:

The Tree is an integral part of traditions on the Farm. (Courtesy of Linda A. Cicero/The Stanford Daily)

The Tree is an integral part of traditions on the Farm. (Courtesy of Linda A. Cicero/The Stanford Daily)

  1. You will (probably) get homesick at some point: Living away from home is different. You don’t have the usual support system. Most of my friends couldn’t wait to get home for break. On the flip side, though, you’re not weird if you don’t get homesick. I was so busy the first few weeks adjusting to Stanford and meeting people that it seemed I just didn’t have time to miss home.
  2. Your friends from high school may change a little, but they will still be your friends:  As I checked in with hometown friends over the course of the quarter, I could tell some of them had changed, so I was concerned that when we all got back home and hung out, something would be different. You can imagine my relief when this proved not to be the case. Yes, it was different — but not to the point that old friendships couldn’t be sustained.
  3. The quarter system moves fast, really fast: I’m not exactly sure when this realization hit me, but I think it was somewhere between weeks two and three, when I had to read an entire book for my history class in a single week. That week in class, we covered 75 years of history. A piece of advice to my fellow freshmen — don’t fall behind. Ever.
  4. Cream is pretty awesome:  There’s not much to say about this other than that the people who own Cream must make tons of money — every time I go down University, there is a line out the door.
  5. Always keep your room key with you: Or else you’ll end up writing lovely poems for the Cedro staff or having to awkwardly knock on the door when your roommate is asleep. College is about responsibility, right? So I guess that starts with remembering your room key.
  6. There is always someone new to meet: I was fortunate to find a close group of friends early in the quarter, but I didn’t stop making friends. Even though Stanford is a relatively small school, it’s much bigger than my high school. It took some adjusting to realize that I was going to be seeing new faces every day. But once I got over that, it’s fun to view all these new people as potential friends.
  7. Midterms aren’t exams that occur at the halfway point of the quarter: I was lucky in that my first quarter midterms didn’t occur that far away from week five, but watching people in my dorm freak out about midterms all the way from week two to week nine made me realize that one day I too will take a midterm that will not be in the middle of the term. I don’t look forward to that day (which is actually going to be in a week).
  8. Taking notes on a laptop is a risky proposition: My high school didn’t let us use computers in class, so I always took notes by hand. I came here and realized you could take notes on a laptop or iPad in bigger lectures — but this, my friends, is not a good idea. Unless you have unbelievable willpower, I wouldn’t recommend it. Before last quarter, I never knew email could be such an enthralling distraction.
  9. Stanford is special because of the people: The biggest thing I learned about Stanford is how normal yet talented the students are. While I had visited campus before accepting my admission spot, I had little clue as to what the kids at Stanford would be like. (Admit Weekend was just overwhelming, so I didn’t really get much from that.) So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a diverse group of people that shared my interests and mindset.
  10. I get to do this 11 more times: As I sat on the Caltrain heading back to campus last week, I reflected on what I wanted to get out of this new quarter. I was trying to put all the things I did and learned in the first quarter in context. And then it suddenly hit me that I have 11 more quarters at Stanford. Somehow, that seems like so many and so few quarters all at once.

About Andrew Vogeley

Andrew Vogeley is a desk editor at The Stanford Daily, covering the ASSU and student groups. He is a freshmen from the great state of Texas.