Though Stanford undergraduates are guaranteed housing for all four years of their education, an unprecedented number of students have emerged from the 2013-14 Draw homeless, if only until they receive a waitlist assignment.
Richard Tai ’15 and his draw group were at the Treehouse last Wednesday when results were released. After receiving the email notification, Tai and his friends opened the message to find that they currently did not have housing.
“I couldn’t believe it was that bad,” Tai said.
After processing the email, Tai turned to poking fun at his “homelessness.”
“I think… I wanted to make something good come out of a really crappy situation,” he said. “I try to find the funnier things in life, and I [thought] this could be pretty funny.”
In the image, Tai, grasping a sign that states “Draw # 2926 Will Code for Housing,” leans despondent against a bollard, gazing into the distance. Although Tai acknowledged that he and his draw mates would eventually find housing, he sees no fault in making light of his current situation.
“[The picture] was me trying to cope with the fact that I didn’t have housing,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m kind of homeless right now, let’s play with that.’”
While Tai and other similarly unfortunate students remain in the dark on where they will live next year, students like Kennan Murphy-Sierra ’14 made light of their spot at the other end of the Draw.
Poking fun at the wave of his peers who posted glowing or frustrated statuses on Facebook after learning their future residences, Sierra-Murphy jokingly posted that he was placed in Robinson, conventionally a Tier 3 option, with his Tier 1 draw number.
“Everyone tries to post on Facebook, “Oh I won the Draw!” or “Oh, my life sucks,” [after finding out their housing assignment],” he said. “[I thought], well, what if I just post a total troll that’s so trolly that people will have to know that it was not real.”
Although some of his friends understood the irony, others were left perplexed at his apparently poor decision-making.
“A lot of people thought [my status] was real because Robinson is typically something that goes Tier 3,” he said. “It’s really funny because one of my friends came up to me and was like ‘Wow, I totally lost respect for your intelligence.’”
Whether or not his “trolling” was successful, Murphy-Sierra was ultimately happy with his future residence — La Maison Française.
Mark Ulrich ’14 and his draw mate Hoa Mai ’14 were set apart from their fellow students by receiving the lowest number in the entire process — one.
Despite considering himself a lucky person, Ulrich said that he was still taken aback when he discerned that he and Mai had received the first number in the draw.
“I really didn’t believe that it was happening,” he said. “You know at first you see Bob Premier and you understand what that means and you’re happy, but you glance back a little bit later, and you see the number one and at first you’re like ‘That’s probably the tier number, right?’”
Mai, who had experienced bad luck in previous years with Tiers 2 and 3, was convinced that her last draw experience would fare no better. Still, after much persuasion, Ulrich convinced her to draw with him.
“What you have to understand is that my friend Hoa Mai had a series of disastrous draws and she was not happy with the entire process,” he said. “But I told her, ‘no we’re drawing together — I have really good luck so don’t worry about it.’”
Mai was so nervous when the results were emailed that she forced Ulrich to wait until they could open the email together, a good three hours after the message was sent. And unlike Tai and his fellow “homeless” peers, Ulrich and Mai had something to celebrate.
“She was so sure there would be bad news, [and] I was so sure there would be good news,” he said. “[After opening the email] we had a little celebration that we were getting into Bob Premiere, but then we looked at it more carefully and realized we were draw number one.”