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Avery Rogers
have pretty bad insomnia. This means I think a lot: the Grind section is a place to put all of that overthinking down on paper. I love to make people think and [hopefully] give people some inspiration and solace about whatever they've had on their minds!

The thinker or the listener?

Stanford is, above all, a place to celebrate the life of the mind. We come here to acquire knowledge and to sharpen our ability to put that knowledge to intelligent and creative use. The goal is that we will leave Stanford knowing how to think and what to think about in our adult lives.  However,…

The teachings of gossip

In the last few weeks, I’ve offered relationship advice to three of my friends (it has been a dramatic quarter, apparently), and each of those friends praised my ability to give insightful, thought-provoking relationship advice. It made me wonder exactly why I feel so fluent in the language of romantic love compared to other subjects…

Tension between safety and compassion

I am currently studying abroad in Oxford, where every morning I take a walk around the meadows behind the Stanford House. Almost every morning, sitting on a bench next to the river, sits a homeless man smoking a cigarette, grocery bags on either side of him. The meadow trail is sparsely populated at this time…

Comparing Stanford and Oxford

In the two years since I started college, I’ve often been asked by friends and family if I think Stanford was the “right” choice of school for me. I’ve never had a good answer to that question. I do love Stanford, but until this quarter, I’d never had any other school to really compare it…

Learning to grab the helping hand

As a toddler, I refused to be treated like a child. I wouldn’t drink out of a cup with a lid; I thought sippy cups were patronizing. I retaliated with cold-shouldering and other methods when my mother tried to put me in time-out. Even though I was a small for my age and a girl,…

What do we really value?

I’ve never been one to take strong stances on political issues. If there are arguments to be made on either side of a contentious topic, I’m usually able to empathize enough with both viewpoints so as to temper my own leanings. I’m wary of absorbing my parents’ or peers’ values wholesale, and I’m much better…

On post-freshman year exploration and revelations

I had long ago declared economics as my major as I began my spring quarter of my sophomore year at Stanford. At the time, I was seriously considering pursuing a PhD in economics right out of undergrad, and I was advised by many economics faculty members that I should take a computer science class in…

Connections in unexpected places

Last summer, I worked at a nonprofit organization in the Bay Area through a Haas Center grant. The grant was called the Spirituality, Service and Social Change fellowship awarded jointly with the Office for Religious Life. The fellowship itself was not explicitly religious, but sought to deepen our service experiences through spiritual reflection in once-a-week…

A social take on Alternative Spring Break

This spring break, I traveled to rural Illinois on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip meant to explore the rural-urban divide. Much could be said about the content of the trip and everything I learned about rural issues. For the purpose of this reflection, however, I want to focus instead on the people I traveled…

On approaching social impact in a complicated world

Consider the following proposition: You have $10,000 to donate to a charity of your choice, and two charities to choose from. One gives merit scholarships to children in sub-Saharan Africa and one offers them deworming treatment. Your goal is to improve educational outcomes in the region. Which do you choose? It turns out that offering…

Beyond experience

I often hear, particularly at Stanford, from people who have built a life philosophy around “living for experiences.” The philosophy goes something like this: Life is finite and transient and ultimately lacks a defined meaning. As young people with so much of the world to explore, our goal ought to be gaining as many unique,…

Down to the core

I am an economics major, which means I’m quite familiar with the idea of core requirements. In the Econ department, you are required to take six classes towards the beginning of your academic career — ECON 1, 50, 51, 52, 102A and 102B — before you can take many of the electives and upper-division classes…

Front and center

I am that girl who sits in the first row of class. Unapologetically. Whether it’s an introsem or a 250-person lecture, whether I’m alone or in good company, I will be seated in the front of the room, as close to the center as possible. I’m well aware of the social stigma against sitting in…

Trade-offs: Using the counterfactual to improve your mindset

I’ve written about gratitude for this newspaper, and I stand by my claim that gratitude can radically alter your perspective on failure, setbacks and accomplishments. However, I also recognize that having a gracious mindset is not always feasible, especially in times of stress, frustration and regret. Sometimes, the rose-tinted glasses are off, and it’s hard…

When I grow up

This summer, I interned at a homelessness organization located in the Bay Area. I worked in the administrative offices in the education department, which create and coordinate both child and adult programming for the various shelter sites. The curricula focus on financial literacy, employment search, technology skills and personal improvements for adults, as well as…

A month of summer monotony

After working for nine weeks in Menlo Park, I returned home to San Diego for the last month of summer. My internship had been slow and a bit lonely, and I was ecstatic to be returning to a month with my family. It would be my first extended trip home since I began college last…

The universal week one fear

Here you are, finally. Stanford University. For six months or more, you’ve been counting down the days until NSO, reading everything you can find online to prepare. Your family, your friends, your entire society has been hyping up this moment: according to the cultural script, you are now embarking on the greatest four years of…

How to be alone

Summer is fast approaching. Back in high school, that meant three uninterrupted months of hanging out with your friends. Maybe you worked a day job or went on vacation for a few weeks, but summer was probably your greatest opportunity for unstructured time with friends. In college, however, the summertime dynamic changes for many of…

The introvert’s dilemma: greeting acquaintances

Among the many dichotomies in human behavior, I believe one of the most telling is a person’s willingness — or lack thereof — to greet an acquaintance. There are those that will shout “Hey, Avery!” across a crowded courtyard to get my attention, even though we haven’t spoken since mid-winter quarter. There are others, such…

Note from an anti-sorority sorority girl

Entering college this fall, I knew that my value system and perspectives would change during my time at Stanford. Everyone grows and changes during their four years of exposure to new ideas and people from across the world. Still, there were attitudes so deeply ingrained in me, so central to my identity that I could not…

Why take ethics?

This quarter, I enrolled in two ethics classes: one on effective altruism and the other about ethical questions “on the edge,” particularly those pertaining to technological advances and modern social problems. I had decided during winter quarter that I wanted to minor in ethics in society, simply because the classes sounded interesting. While I got…
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