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Things I learned embarrassingly late


As my first year at Stanford winds down, I’ve started to engage in all the typical nostalgic reminiscing about the last nine months. Looking back on all of my experiences, connections and growth since September, it’s clear that I learned an incredible amount along the way. However, some things took a bit longer than others. Despite my best efforts to acclimate to Stanford as smoothly as possible, I somehow didn’t learn the following tips and tricks until the last four weeks of spring quarter — a little too late for them to be of much use.


  1. How to use the strength equipment at the gym. Granted, I considered learning this at the beginning of the year, but I was too embarrassed to try and fail miserably in front of everyone else in AOERC.
  2. There is a stand in Tresidder where you can buy sushi and an overwhelming variety of juices with Meal Plan Dollars. Apparently I am the only person who did not know this until recently.
  3. If you press the start button on the dryers multiple times, your clothes will dry for more than 15 minutes and will probably (though not definitely) come out only slightly damp rather than still soaked.
  4. There is a Marguerite route that stops at the Stanford Shopping Center, and it is actually not necessary to walk the 3.4-mile round trip every time you want a pressed juice.
  5. Stanford printers have wireless printing capabilities which do not require you to log into an entirely new computer every time you need to print an essay.
  6. Professors can see how long you spend on their Canvas pages — allegedly.
  7. There is a bathroom (multiple, actually!) in Arrillaga Dining.
  8. Old Union has a second floor full of couches. It is both just quiet enough and just close enough to a steady supply of waffle fries to make it the perfect study spot.
  9. The Stanford Daily has a new app and you can download it for free from the App Store?! (This is just product placement. But it is technically recently-acquired knowledge, so it counts.)
  10. You can look up how many meal swipes you have remaining each week online.
  11. Pre-assigning instead of trying your luck in the Draw is an extremely underrated opportunity.
  12. The Bookstore actually does sell Apple headphones (they’re just hidden in a corner on the second floor).
  13. You can download Microsoft Office for free through a Stanford Outlook account.
  14. Self-storage units are way, way, way cheaper than the companies that pick up your boxes and store them for you.
  15. Lathrop has a basement. With a cafe! Who knew? Not me.
  16. Sometimes the departments running experiments on undergrads get confused and send you Amazon gift card compensation even though you already received the course credit you signed up for. Don’t ask questions, just take it.
  17. Most of the school supplies I brought to campus in the fall were entirely unnecessary and went unused. Remind me why I thought it necessary to haul two containers of extra staples across the country?
  18. There are more Wifi networks on campus than ‘eduroam.’ This is probably the fact I’m most upset about not knowing all year.
  19. According to a semi-reliable brochure that can be found outside the Campus Store, Stern Dining keeps vegan waffles in the freezer. I have yet to verify this information.
  20. Only one person in your draw group needs to participate in Med Draw for your entire group to receive the accommodation. Shake off that 1,900-level lottery number and say hello to two-room doubles in Norcliffe for you and your closest three friends!



Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ 

Jackie O'Neil '21 is a senior staff writer and the former Managing Editor of the Grind for Volumes 255 and 256. She's a Richmond, Virginia native who loves constitutional history, pretending to be a serious triathlete, waking up at the crack of dawn and Gilmore Girls – in no particular order. Contact her at jroneil 'at'