By Vivek Tanna
Hi! To start off on a cheesy note, my name is Vivek Tanna (he/him). I’m a rising senior from Texas, and I refuse to give you two truths and a frickin’ lie because I only speak the truth. Today I have a message for the frosh, but also for the sophomores since they’re also children this year: GET OUT OF YOUR ROOMS (to make friends and get involved in a manner compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols)!
During the last three quarters, I staffed three residences with three different staff teams. In practice, this meant breaking up prohibited gatherings and trying to magically make friends out of it. Thanks to Stanford’s last-minute housing assignments, I also relocated across campus five times in nine months. While I’d say I did my job successfully, my sanity was hanging by a thread by the end, so I declined the staffing position I was offered for this year. Stanford wants me everywhere, but she didn’t realize I have boundaries! While I’m no longer an RA, I’ve still opted to share my “senior wisdom,” specifically by screaming it at The Stanford Daily.
You hear that pack of 15 to 20 people walking in the hall past your room? Feeling intimidated or left out? Guess what? Me, too! Over the summer in EVGR, ResEd was late to tell my team that we were staffing mostly freshmen, and then the large packs finally made sense. They barely know each other! Over the next few quarters, that group will scatter into half-hearted lunch promises and full-hearted Instagram likes. Pardon the spoiler, but we all know how this ends (taxes and death, yadda yadda)!
If you join them, you’ll find that everyone is pretending to laugh at comments that barely have the cadence of a joke. The pack’s loudest member is either amazing, annoying or has deep insecurities that everyone else will figure out before they do. Inevitably, one of them will bring up CS 106A — but spoiler alert, 95% of the class is behind on the p-set. Another member will confusedly refer to West Campus. But, another spoiler: the very millisecond you understand how things work at Stanford geographically, it’s time to graduate. So why not insert yourself into the conversation now?
Here’s the tea about FOMO — everyone is literally so lame, so there’s no reason to be a coward. We’re all getting lost on the way from EVGR to Wilbur, getting winded after one flight of stairs and getting locked out to the point of robbing the Facilities Emergency team of their coffee breaks (and also everyone sharts so deal with it). If you think you’re so special that your Duck Syndrome is more justified than everyone else’s: get over yourself! On the other side of everyone being lame, it’s okay to take your alone time when you need it — you’re not missing out on anything at all.
If you’re gay, try to meet at least one other gay person and not date or bang them. Also, grow up and make eye contact when you walk past your Tinder matches! Many will pretend not to notice you (they also shart). I’m one of the awesome gays, but if you’re a frosh, think of me as more of a reclusive camp counselor than a friend. No matter how many friends you make, if not enough of them are gay, you might end up like me: exposing your vulnerabilities for the wider community in a three-part ethnography of Grindr, hoping that your future employers appreciate nuance.
Why do I bother, you ask? What’s in it for me, other than an opportunistic plug for my three-part series? Nothing but the goodness of my heart, I say, as I smile through the tears of nostalgia and amusement. Also, ResX assassinated the four-class dorm, where I could have tried to help you save your sanity in person. GET OUT OF YOUR ROOMS!
Also, GET OUT OF YOUR ROOMS!