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This Column Is Ironic: Paradise Lost (But Only Temporarily)

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This is the last edition of “This Column Is Ironic” you’ll read that was written on the Farm. Scary, isn’t it? Sadly, my ever-prolific course load of political science papers precludes me from barraging you with wit during our Dead Week issue. (I promise you, political science actually requires me to do some work.) When The Daily resumes in spring quarter, I won’t be here. Instead, I’ll be living it up at home in Scranton, Pennsylvania for a few weeks until I begin my quarter abroad. That’s right, guys: I’m going to Oxford, and you’re coming with me. Don’t worry, things won’t change that much. I might start throwing a random “u” into my words here and there. I might also talk about tea more. Get excited.

Yet, before any of that can happen, I still have roughly two weeks left here on campus. I thought I’d be feeling sad about leaving. However, as March 18 looms nearer and nearer, I’ve never been more ready to leave. It’s time. Personally, these past two quarters have been filled with their share of ups and downs — most of which are intrinsically tied to Stanford. When so much of your life takes place in one concentrated area, it can get kind of hard to dissociate things. So for all of its fantastic resources and opportunities, there’s one thing that this place can’t give me: a fresh start. Oxford does just that. It’s what I need right now.

(Come to think of it, I think that this stands in the upper echelon of “first world problems.” Let’s go over my situation in the clearest of terms: I currently feel complacent and stagnant at the elite university I attend. To solve this problem, I’m going to jet set across the Atlantic to another elite university to get myself back on track. Jesus, life’s tough, isn’t it?)

This isn’t to say that leaving Stanford won’t be extraordinarily difficult. The Farm is my second home. Even though I’m ready to leave, I’m not sure I can deal with six months away from this Eden we all inhabit. (Plus, I’m going to be missing spring quarter at Stanford. Big mistake. The sun! The heat waves! The sorority girls!) I keep asking myself, “How am I ever going to live life without the Bromuda Triangle or the Axe and Palm?” The answer there is, “Quite easily.” At the same time, I also keep asking myself, “I know I’m ready to take a break, but can Oxford ever measure up to Stanford?”

Ah, now there’s a better question. Because no matter how incredible Oxford may be, it will certainly have a lot to live up to. In England, I won’t be able to climb up on the roof of The Knoll or stroll on Stanford Golf Course for midnight talks about life. I won’t have offensive and hilarious sessions of poker and/or Halo well into the wee hours with my best friends. And as beautiful and medieval as Oxford may be, there’s nothing like walking through the Main Quad on the sunniest of spring days. These are just a few things that Oxford will never be able to replicate. Then again, I don’t want it to. There are certain memories and experiences — both good and bad — that are indelibly tied to this place. I’d never change that.

You know, I poke fun at Stanford in this column a lot, but that’s only out of love. That’s something my friends know all too well. I can be bitingly sarcastic to them sometimes, but I only make fun of the people and things I care about the most. Oh, and last I checked, I’ve written whole columns making fun of myself, too. In the end, I guess that just makes me a sarcastic Stanford-loving narcissist. Seems about right.

See you on the other side, Stanford. I may need a quarter away, but there’s no place I’d rather spend my senior year.

 

Shane welcomes any tips for surviving Oxford in spring quarter, but first he has to survive a month in Scranton. Any ideas? E-mail him at savitsky@stanford.edu.