By Richard Coca
Last year, as a newly anointed frosh, my RAs sent me to check out the activities fair. The upperclassmen that I met during NSO warned me to be careful as to how many clubs I signed up for. They also warned me about excessively giving out my email to too many lists. So naturally, I did the opposite. The activities fair, with over 600 Volunteer Student Organizations (VSOs), symbolized to me what Stanford promised: an exciting plethora of new opportunities.
Consulting — never heard of her. Stanford Space Initiative — we can do that? From Stanford Calypso to Dance Marathon, the activities fair introduced me to extracurriculars that I had never even heard of, let alone done. Every organization that I talked to made an impression on me, and since I didn’t want to waste time, I signed up for anything and everything. Two weeks later, I learned that I couldn’t do everything and anything, but I did find my way to the clubs that I am in now.
Fast forward to a year later and I’m on the other side of the table. This year, as a member of multiple VSOs, I found myself table-hopping instead of the usual fountain hopping (which still occurred at the activities fair). This time, I found the fair to be a lot less overwhelming than last year. As a tabler at the activities fair, I found myself with a lot fewer questions. I also discovered that I was much happier to give out answers to the frosh. Even when the frosh were not interested in whatever club I was tabling for, I was happy to be able to talk to them, ask about their interests and give them advice with respect to what clubs they should join.
Even more important to me, I realized that tabling at the activities fair was a much bigger milestone than I foresaw. I noticed that as I tabled with friends, I found not just one, but multiple communities. Frosh year, one of the major points that attracted me to clubs — and that still maintains my membership in many — was a sense of community. It gave me an amazing sense of pride to be able to reflect on my personal growth during an event.
It also gives me an incredible sense of joy to see all of the frosh socializing at the activities fair. Seeing the class of 2023 with an electric sense of excitement makes me even more excited to recruit and onboard all the frosh — especially for the Daily.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.