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Ravalations: It’s the simple things in life


This Monday, sometime in the late afternoon, something happened that sent shockwaves throughout the entire campus: The Stanford Wi-Fi went down.

I was on the phone when it happened, talking to a friend about a class when I attempted to go on Coursework and pull up some notes. My Web browser wouldn’t load and I had to ask my friend to pause for a second. At first, I thought it was just my computer acting up again, but a few moments later, my roommate chimed in and said her Internet was down, and on the line, my friend mentioned that hers was too. We decided to come back to our conversation later and after hanging up, I found myself staring at my computer, unsure of what to do.

Without the Wi-Fi, I couldn’t check my email; I couldn’t continue watching the videotaped lectures I had been reviewing to study for my midterm, and I couldn’t even procrastinate properly since there was no way for me to access Netflix. So, I did something I haven’t really had the chance to do in a long time: I picked up a book — one that wasn’t a textbook, one that wasn’t assigned, and one that I had wanted to get around to for a while.

Now, I’ve spent my whole life loving books. My parents have countless photos and videos of me combing through books (and playing with them when I was too young to know what words were), and my tattered copy of the first book I have ever owned (Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book) is still sitting in my house. Reading is how I spent countless hours in elementary, middle and high school, but as I sat there thumbing through the book that I picked up on Monday afternoon, I realized how few books I had read since I enrolled at Stanford.

Sure, I have read plenty of books for class (and skimmed through even more thanks to IHUM), and my affinity for newspapers has gone way up since I started college, since as a communication major I am expected to keep up to date with things. But picking up books for fun had become a thing of the past for me. I found myself constantly saying that I would get around to reading eventually. I told myself I would read over breaks, that I’d catch up on every book I had been meaning to read over the summer, that I just didn’t have the time to read for fun and that the time I do have to read should all be spent reading things for class.

But on Monday, I realized that it took the Wi-Fi being down to make me see that I had been making excuses when it came to my reading. I could have easily been using all the study breaks that I spent watching television shows to read a chapter from my book instead. For some reason, it was just something that I had never thought about before, and after talking to some of my friends, I realized that pleasure reading was something that a lot of people have given up since coming to Stanford.

It’s crazy that the little things that used to make us so happy are the first things to go once we get too busy. It’s easy to make excuses, but it’s important to realize that it’s just as easy to fit the simple things back into your life. So whether it’s reading, tossing a Frisbee or taking a nap out in the great spring quarter weather, it’s time to make time for the little things. After all, with only a month left in the school year, there’s no time better than the present.

Ravali wants to know what your favorite procrastination techniques are. Give her suggestions at ravreddy “at” stanford “dot” edu.