By Rachel Ochoa
As I sit on an uncomfortable bus seat with a stranger sleeping on my shoulder to the left and another stranger peering over my arm to see what I’m typing on my laptop, I can’t help but to think about Stanford.
I’m on a six-hour bus ride from LA to San Jose on a Sunday afternoon, coming back from visiting home for a weekend. As I spent a few days with my family, there was that thought about college always creeping back in.
Don’t get me wrong — it was amazing being able to shower without having to wear flip flops or worry about hitting my elbows in a tiny space. I loved being fed home cooked meals by mom every morning and evening. Sleeping in a queen sized bed without having to worry about snoring too loud was great. Waking up without having to appear ‘presentable’ to walk down the hallway to the bathroom is an underrated experience.
Yet, I missed the weird things about Stanford. I missed having a roommate to talk to about our odd dreams at 9 a.m. as we got ready for class. I missed being woken up at 2 a.m. by the Olympic swimmer in the dorm so that we could all watch Shrek. I even missed eating soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream with white chocolate chips on top for lunch and dinner.
I even found myself telling my parents and sister all about Stanford during all moments of the day. I’d talk about the food and the academics and the parties. There’s just something about college.
That something feels like a struggle between independence and growth. It’s not even an internal feeling that happens in spurts — like feeling confidence in the pits of my stomach as I walk into work or even run my own errands. It’s an outwards reflection that my mom pointed out. She said there’s an air of happiness and comfort around me when I talk about my second home.
Being away from the farm made me suffer from Stanford withdrawals and actually appreciate the little, insignificant things. It’s a privilege to be on a campus full of amazing minds and beautiful people.
It’s comforting walking through Tresidder and smiling at passersby. It’s an intimate moment talking to the girl next door in the bathroom as we brush our teeth at 3 a.m. It’s liberating dancing on Friday nights to Mo Bamba with freshmen from all over campus.
So, as I sit between a sleeping girl and a peering man, I write about Stanford. I write about its dining hall food and its dorms and its existence. Being away from the Farm is a comforting break from having to think about class and homework, but when I arrive at campus it’s a nice return to people that I’ve grown to adore in five weeks together.
Contact Rachel Ochoa at racochoa ‘at’ stanford.edu.