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.
So I found myself beginning to do something I hate — something I absolutely detest. I began wondering, “What if?” And I’m not talking about that super theoretical, fantastical kind of “what if?” (like, “What if I met Drake? Would there be a song called Houstalantacali?”). No. This kind of wondering “what if?” has more to to do with things not accomplished than things wished for; it has to do with regrets. For me, it started off with: What if I had never left? What if I had stayed in the fall? How would things been different? Would I be more actively involved in certain organizations? Where would I live on campus? Would I feel more or less feel obligated to see certain people? And from there it snowballed — having me question my entire Stanford career.
While I was having this kind of existential crisis, I found myself going on a trip down memory lane. It started when I promised a friend that we’d have a sleepover like the good ol’ days of sophomore year. However, my plans got sidetracked a little when we ended up visiting another friend — a homie since Admit Weekend — who happens to live in the same dorm. Although we had intended to only stop by and catch up for a few minutes, we spent the rest of the night recapping our lives.
At times, I had wondered if our friendship with each other was just a result of the fact that we had lived in closed proximity during the very formative freshman year.
One thing that you notice when you return to somewhere you have left is what — who — you care about. Everything is put into perspective. I find myself making more of an effort to see certain people or do certain things. Yet other things, like going to Green, don’t seem worth the effort. It’s hard to admit that there are people that you don’t care if you see because it makes you sound kind of mean, but it’s just being honest. You start to think how many connections are arbitrary versus the ones that are fated to happen.
Maybe it was the free-flowing juice or the all-you-can-eat fruit snacks, but at some point during the conversation, it hit me. I really like these people. As our talk continued, it felt like it was old times again. The ease and familiarity I have with these people can’t be faked. Even though I don’t see them all the time, and I sometimes wonder if any of it mattered or made some kind of difference, when I’m surrounded by them, I can’t help but think that I was placed there for a reason.
There are people ready, willing and waiting to reach out to me, and all I have to do is reach out to them in return. And that’s a wonderful thing to know, because it’s easy to forget that and get jaded. The connections that I make now are worth the effort of cultivating because they are not ones that I want to ever see disappear. Though I have to be willing to keep working at it if I want to keep what I have.
The fact that I can look back upon so many experiences with a smile on my face shows that I’ve made some pretty good decisions. I know I that I’ll never stop wondering “what if?” — a girl’s gotta keep dreaming that she’ll get a hit song made about her — but I realize that there are some things that I won’t ever wonder about.
Camira is wondering if you’ll email her, so drop her a line at camirap “at” stanford “dot” edu.