There is something about an ending that makes us want to maximize the time we have left. Somewhere along the way we lose our enthusiasm and sense of adventure in our lives, the monotony of regularity overpowers the desire to enjoy our lives. An ending is an awakening, reigniting that passion for living a full and complete experience. We mourn all the could have’s that became should have’s, and strive to right our wrongs.
Thus the bucket list was born. I’m sure that as an incoming freshman you had a list of things you had to do in order to have the full Stanford experience: from experiences like Full Moon on the Quad and hiking the Dish to Fountain Hopping across campus and streaking at Gaieties. We all feel the need to check off a certain list of quintessential Stanford experiences, otherwise, did we even go to Stanford?
I find this interesting for a variety of reasons, the first being the assumption of a quintessential Stanford experience, the next being the attempt to itemize it. One of the things this university prides itself on is the diversity of its students; everyone here has had their own unique experience of life. This variety is simultaneously celebrated and ignored — it’s cool that you’re one of 12 kids, but it’s not cool that you’ve never gone to Late Night at 1:30 am. For example, I heard someone say recently that Casa Italiana’s Pizzeria is the place to see and be seen. I remember as a sophomore, everyone spending a substantial amount of money to get into Frost, when a lot of people didn’t like Fetty Wap and didn’t think he was a great performer for an outdoor venue — yet they still spent the money. From Bay to Breakers to Big Game, there is this idea that there is only one way to have the full Stanford experience.
But that’s not accurate. Some people’s thing is Cardinal Nights events, others RUF, or some Synergy’s Beltane, others Eurotrash. Just because someone spent senior fall sleeping at The Daily office after long nights of layout rather than making it to Crepe Night does not mean that they’re not living the Stanford Experience, and vice versa. The reality of it is that no matter how strange you think it is that a senior has never gone to Coupa, if they’re attending Stanford, they’re having the Stanford experience.
My experience here has been well-documented thanks to my involvement with the Daily. There have been many breakdowns, several nights spent procrastinating on Netflix, multiple failed dating attempts, a few rants about flaky friends, a spring quarter at Oxford, a trial week without social media — oh, and a missed final. But that’s just what I’ve been willing to share. My experience has been one that only I could have, as yours is wholly unique to you. It’s futile to me to compare what I have done to what you have done, as if our experiences of these actions can be quantified and equalized somehow.
So when asked recently what was on my senior year bucket list, I blanked — in part because I wanted to try to impress this person with how inspired I could be, but also because I feel like a senior year bucket list is not an accurate measure of time at Stanford. I listed the Hitchcock festival at the Stanford Theater (which would be cool, but I wouldn’t be devastated if I don’t make it), Senior formal, getting on the roofs, and some things in SF. This fulfilled my obligation to have a list of things that I deem “necessary” for my Stanford experience, but in all seriousness, I value much more the people I have met, the things I have learned about myself and the world around me and the ridiculous number of times that I have ordered Domino’s as much more essential to my Stanford experience.
Also, we’re not dying, just graduating.
Contact Arianna Lombard at ariannal ‘at’ stanford.edu.