On Oct. 1, Stanford Peace of Mind (SPoM) hosted Let’s Talk, an open discussion on mental health and the campus attitude towards happiness, where students were able to brainstorm potential ideas to help make Stanford a better experience for all.
We all remember the “firsts.” Pasted into scrapbooks, framed on the wall, documented in writing, they surround us with memories of the beginning. First word, first step, first day of school, first kiss, first love, first loss. These are the stuff of stories, easily recalled at family reunions and dinner parties.
But how often do we remember the “lasts”?
Once again, history was repeating itself and I had taken on too much. For once in my life, I wasn’t procrastinating (that much) or prioritizing the wrong tasks. No matter how much I accomplished, this monstrous wave of to-dos and assignments and meetings kept looming larger and larger behind me, and it was only a matter of time before its crest broke and swept me out to sea with it.
DO: Attend the campus-wide memorial for Gov’na this Monday Night at Yost. Please wear all black. (I don’t know if memorial gifts are a thing, but they will be gladly accepted.)
DOO-DOO: Consume the people around you.
Last Wednesday, I attended the first week’s meeting of my history class discussion section. We started our 50 minutes with an innocent icebreaker, in which every student went up to the chalkboard, said their name and then wrote it down where their birthplace might be if the board were actually a map, albeit blank and borderless. We were supposed to reference where the students before us had placed their names and estimate where our own belonged.
Since coming back to campus, adjusting to the Stanford lifestyle hasn’t been always been easy. I thought it would like learning how to ride a bike again, you know, it comes right back to you just like that. However, what I failed to remember is how difficult it is — me especially — to ride a bike, and that it takes a little trial and error before you get going again. And of course, looking around at everyone whizzing past me and doing loops around the Circle of Death, I had to believe it was just me who was struggling to just stay on a bike.
Sometimes, all we want in the world from another person is a nod — reassurance that we aren’t alone. Sometimes, we just want our thoughts received, acknowledged and echoed back to us like they make sense and, yes, it’s okay. Normal. You’re fine. I understand. For as much as communication is about conveying information, it’s about confirming what we already think. This might explain our impulse to latch onto, in first encounters, “ME too!!!” or “I know, right?!” like conversational lifeboats. It’s that initial connection we constantly seek, even if we’re only at shallow shores of acquaintance.