People on campus are quick to say they want to leave the Stanford bubble, but I don’t think putting geographic distance between yourself and campus is going to necessarily work. I’ve never felt as detached from campus as I do when at the zoo, and the PAJMZ is a mere nine blocks off campus. There are groups that venture further for service based goals and still drag the bubble with them. What about those that don’t necessarily have a passion for the topics targeted by the group, but are looking for a way to escape campus living? Really, unless you distance yourself from the remnants of the Farm, you aren’t doing much except toting the pressures of Stanford living around with you.
Rummaging through my inbox, it occurs to me that most of the mailing lists I’m on don’t provide me with exceedingly valuable e-mail. People asking for baking supplies, informing similarly interested people about events, guilt-tripping others into attending talks, guarantees of food to lure underclassmen out of their dorms. All pretty standard. But one e-mail caught my attention, or rather, bit my retinas and refused to let go. “You don’t understand what I go through being…BLACK AT STANFORD” it asserted. I mulled over the subject and punchline. I put it in my “Interesting” folder.
Usually, it is great to work on Sundays; I get to open the library, shelve a few books, and spend the rest of my time doing my own work. Increasingly though, I’ve been getting strange patrons. People who don’t know how the Dewey Decimal System works, don’t know the call number or location of their needed material, don’t have their student ID, don’t have change for the photocopier…and are angry at me about it.
As I bear witness to ever more Op-Ed and The New York Times prophets, it becomes increasingly apparent to me that there is a certain disconnect between those who are excessively burdened with academics, and those that ruminate yearly on how to de-stress them. While more tightly regulated articles craft factoids, snippets and reams of research into factors and causes, The Daily’s past is riddled with quasi-useful stories about how columnists have dealt with stressful and busy times.
As I weave in and out of visitors looking bemusedly about and my fellow students searching for this and that amenity, it finally strikes me that I’ve never once purchased my own Stanford apparel. In truth, I’ve tried many times and continually block out the horrific embarrassment of attempting to “try on” anything in the arm-pinching, boob-strangling, tummy-itching women’s section.