Wow, congratulations on your acceptance to Stanford’s Class of 2023! Whether you found out a couple months ago or a couple weeks ago, I am sure it is still a bit surreal to know that all of your hard work has paid off. I remember when I got the news: I checked my portal for days, convinced that the admissions office had made a mistake with ID numbers or that this was all just a cruel dream from the night before.
But as the days passed, the reality of what had happened began to sink in, and although I was super excited, I did not know what to do with myself. On one end, I felt validated and ready to do my best for the last few moments of high school. On the other hand, I felt it hard to focus on anything but all things Stanford. I was so excited to take my education and development to the next level, but I was terrified that I would fail, or worse, not make any friends. I decided that my trip to California for the highly anticipated Admit Weekend would be just what I needed to confirm that I made the right choice and re-energize me for the big transition ahead.
The plan was for my parents and I to fly out to California together, but the day before we were supposed to leave, my mom fell ill with bronchitis and a double ear infection. Immediately what I was picturing this experience to entail morphed in my head, setting the trend for my weekend. I arrived on campus with so many expectations. I might meet my best friend, future husband or even the Bill Gates of our generation. I pictured myself confidently walking up to someone with a winning smile and open with a joke that instantly secured our friendship. I would attend a sample lecture that sparked my interest in a new topic or meet a faculty member that would become my greatest mentor. It was going to be nothing less than life-changing.
In reality, my experience was enjoyable but definitely not what I imagined. I stood in line to get my welcome packet, having polite if not awkward conversations with the other students in line and feeling intimidated by the accomplishments that surely filled the room. After, I went to a mixer where it was more of the same. It had been a couple hours and I already felt like I was behind in making friends. People had been connecting with other people from their home towns or meeting at events based on common interests. People were discussing pros and cons of going to Harvard, Princeton, Yale or Stanford. Meanwhile, I knew nobody at the event. I had no clue where to start with the jam-packed schedule I was given, and I had already committed to attending Stanford in the fall. Before I knew it, the first day was finished, and my excitement was slowly starting to fade. In its place came worry. Did I make a mistake? It shouldn’t be this hard, should it?
By the second day, after sleeping on my concerns, I was ready to take this weekend into my own hands. I only went to meetings that sounded interesting to me, and I spent the rest of my time exploring with my dad. We took selfies at all the insta-worthy spots on campus and spent a lot of time scoping out good food places and laughing at little things. I came to realize that I was not the only one who seemed to want to get away from the action and that I was putting too much pressure on fate to prove to me that I’d made the right choice.
The point of this letter is not to lessen your excitement or tell you Admit Weekend won’t be life-changing, because, for some, it is just that. But on the off chance that your weekend is not what you expect it to be, I am writing to tell you that you shouldn’t be worried. Stanford is a beautiful place bursting with life, personality and amazing opportunities, but it is also massive in its possibilities. If you do not find your spot in the span of 48 hours, that just means that you need a little more time to figure out how you are going to live out your time on the Farm. Heck, I am now wrapping up my frosh year, and I am still not sure who I want to be or how I want to use my time. I have not yet met my future husband as far as I know, and there are still too many candidates in the running for the next Bill Gates to tell who I need to befriend.
I guess for now, all I can say is to have the best time you can this weekend, regardless of what that means for you, and enjoy being a ProFro. You are only one once in your life, and it is truly a time of celebration and pride. You made it, and we can’t wait to welcome you to our family.
Trisha “I Feel Old” Kulkarni
Contact Trisha Kulkarni at trishak8 ‘at’ stanford.edu.