By Angie Lee
Prior to arriving on the Farm as a frosh this fall, I lived vicariously through students’ blog posts, YouTube videos and Facebook groups. Therefore, I had already been aware of Stanford’s famous traditions: Band Run, Full Moon on the Quad, Dorm Storm and, of course, “Scav Hunt.” Seeing videos and written works about these activities may have ruined the surprise aspect of them for me, but it gave me something to be excited about – they were fun things that I knew were going to happen, amidst all of the unknown that comes with going to college.
When my RAs finally announced the details of Scav Hunt, I was pumped. As expected, I had a lot of fun in the city with my dorm family, but in the midst of running around pretending to be street performers and asking strangers for their hand in marriage, I also learned some things. (Hey, we’re Stanford students – always learning, right?) Here are five takeaways I had from frosh Scav Hunt:
1. Everyone needs a Disney serenade once in a while.
One of our easier tasks was to serenade a stranger with a song from a Disney movie. As my team and I were walking along the streets of San Francisco, two gentlemen who looked like they were custodial staff came out of a building to take out the trash. They smiled at us. My team and I immediately made eye contact with each other; we had found the victims of our serenade.
Before they could go back inside after finishing their duty, we hurriedly approached them, asking if we could sing a song. Their eyes lit up and exclaimed, “Of course!” After our horrible yet effortful rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King,” they thanked us and said, “We needed that.”
2. Cops are not allowed to put innocent people in handcuffs.
A random yet fun fact I discovered while trying to cross another item off the scavenger hunt list. After asking three pairs of cops to put us in handcuffs, my team was always faced with the same response: “That would get us fired.” One officer even added, “Besides, they’re covered in blood right now anyway.” Yikes.
3. People live in extremely different situations, even within the same vicinity.
Within a few minutes from each other, I saw people living in a tent under a bridge, as well as people who were able to afford the fur coats that my friends and I merely tried on to complete the task “Wear $5,000 worth of clothes.” It seemed sad. It seemed unfair. It was the real world.
4. When it comes to the Caltrain, always take the bullet.
This is a handy tip I learned the hard way. Towards the end of the day, a friend and I were inevitably getting a bit cold and tired, and the impending work that we had left behind in the dorm was beginning to haunt us. We decided to head back a little early, yet we arrived back on campus at nearly the same time as our friends who left the city an hour later than us. Why? Because they took the bullet train, which does not stop at every station. Unless you want to be in a cramped space listening to people complain about their jobs or talking obnoxiously loud on their phones for an hour and a half, I suggest you take a bullet train.
5. Sometimes, you gotta take your eye off the prize and just have fun.
My team and I started off the day huddled around the task list and a map, pinpointing which spots we were going to do which tasks. Before we headed towards our first destination, however, we agreed that we were going to make having fun our primary goal. We would use the opportunity to get to know each other and explore the extraordinary city at our fingertips, instead of straining to gain as many points as possible.
Thanks to Scav Hunt, I made some wonderful new friends while shopping at Pier 39, getting boba in Chinatown and taking pictures on scenic rooftops – none of which were on the task list. Especially after receiving notice in our dorm group chat that someone had gotten a tattoo, we gave up on winning and just enjoyed the day.
Contact Angie Lee at angielee ‘at’ stanford.edu.