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Clara Spars

On treasuring our teachers

The other day, I sat for hours in a café with a friend that I’ve known since I was five years old. We talked about the ways we’d grown and changed over the years and pondered our fondest moments from childhood — the fact that the smell of Purell hand sanitizer brought back memories of…

8 types of study abroad students

I’ve been on a number of study abroad programs throughout my life and something that I’ve always been interested in is the consistent structure of group dynamics. This quarter is the first time I am participating in a college term abroad (as opposed to a high school scholarship or summer program), and in conversing with…

Scrapbooks of Sound

I’ve always loved making playlists on Spotify for different moods or situations: party playlists, sleeping playlists, middle-school-reminiscent guilty pleasure playlists; playlists for sad days, happy days; for cloudy, sunny, or stormy weather … the list goes on. It wasn’t until recently that I started making them with specific people in mind. It started as a…

My parents as empty nesters

My parents were in their early twenties when they got married and have now spent more than half of their lives with one another. They had me a couple of years into their marriage, and since then, their children became the centers of their orbits, so much so that they seem to forget themselves. Their…

A couple thousand miles of clarity

We joke a lot about the “sophomore slump” here at Stanford, as I’m sure they do at any other university. But for me and a lot of the people who’ve surrounded me during the past year, the level of stress and occasional anguish that people often commiserate with by slapping on a goofy, overused label felt like a lot more of a “plummet” than a “slump.”

I am a baby

Over this past week, amid project due dates and grant applications, I was suddenly hit with the unsurprising but harsh realization that I am, in fact, a child. A baby, really. The worst part about this revelation is that it has arrived precisely during the time when I am expected to start settling into the…

On the end of an era

Before I get a barrage of angry emails: There are absolutely no spoilers included in this article. It was only during this last year that I hopped onto the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon, and it only took this last year for me to obsessively consume all 67 episodes of the first through seventh seasons. Now,…

Death by allergies

Last spring, I thought the most menacing bodily crisis that I would encounter as a result of the Stanford ecosystem was the rash I got from the caterpillars that swung from low-hanging branches and assaulted passersby like “Mission Impossible” operatives dangling from grappling hooks. This year, my worst enemy takes the form of a thick,…

Here comes the sun

It doesn’t become apparent exactly how much the weather can affect one’s mindset, especially those of students at a rigorous university, until the sun comes out after a long stretch of cloudy, rainy skies. Cold wind and rain kept people locked inside studying and moping for most of winter quarter. The campus seemed almost completely…

When no one does the reading

At Stanford, the homework never stops coming. There is always a problem set, a reading or an essay that has yet to be completed, and very often the overlap of numerous due dates forces students to prioritize more pressing assignments over others. In these situations, the easiest tasks to give up tend to be readings…

Oh, it’s you again

In the day-to-day scheme of life at Stanford, I find myself running into the same people in the same spaces like clockwork. The consistency upholds to the extent that I even feel vaguely familiar with people I’ve never actually met after perpetually encountering them in classes and study spots that I frequent around campus. From…

Seeing Stanford from an alum’s eyes

“That’s where I used to throw cake on the heads of innocent passersby.” My eyes followed my father’s pointed finger up to one of the second story windows of Branner Hall. “Why would you do that?” I asked, picturing the scene playing out and wincing with sympathy for the poor victims of the flying pastries.…

Library studying versus café studying

Though it may seem hard to believe, there exists a student population at Stanford that has never set foot inside any of the campus libraries, partially because some people simply find the environment too depressing to work in. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those individuals that can’t even glance at their assignments…

Campus critters

Have you ever found yourself witness to odd semblances of movement in corner of your eye, especially on walks back to the dorm at night? Or bushes that stir aggressively even on windless evenings? What about flashes of color flitting across the concrete in broad daylight, while you sip a coffee in Meyer Green and…

Eyes wide open

When people go around the room sharing fun facts about themselves during a first day of class or a club meet-up, they tend to opt for their favorite ice cream flavors, exciting experiences from past travels or obscure hidden talents. I, on the other hand, consistently offer up the intimate, mystifying fact that my eyelids…

Commitment at Stanford

I sat in my room Thursday night contemplating all the places where I was not. I had canceled off-campus dinner plans to attend a club meeting, then stayed home from the club meeting to finish an assignment that was due the following day. While attempting to focus on the assignment, I surrendered to the black…

The self on paper

Stanford’s regular decision applications were just due last week, and the flurries of eager high schoolers visiting campus are beginning to slow as they hunker down for the excruciating wait for admissions decisions, coming out around April 1. Like most college students, a big part of me assumed that upon being admitted to my dream…

Conversations overheard at Stanford: Big Game edition

’Twas the week before Big Game And all over the Farm Each student was in a frenzy In apparent alarm.   Would the Big Game be canceled From all the smoke in the sky? Would we lose our one chance To see Cal’s Theta Delta Chi?   The postponement was abysmal Even for a nerd.…

Escape from the bubble

It began in the Uber ride: The sickeningly sweet scent of an Air Wick car freshener assaulted my nostrils and, like a dog in one of Pavlov’s conditioning experiments, I knew then that it was really time to go. This year’s previous Uber experiences had only led me as far as the University Avenue construction…

Nine types of bikers on campus

When my grandma presented me with her 55-year-old, green, Peugeot bicycle to take to school, I knew immediately that it would come with its quirks. After only a week on campus, I realized just how noticeable these quirks were, and how they grouped me together with a broader collective of individuals that became more and…

When horror movies aren’t scary enough

In the milliseconds it takes for the camera shot to pan a half-inch to the left, three things have already happened. One: Popcorn crumbs have left the comfort of their greasy bowl and entered the asteroidal mess of floating dust specks. I dread cleaning them up later. Two: Both my arms flex against the incoming…

30 thoughts I had while shopping at Ikea

In the hustle and bustle of the everyday experience, many seek comfort and space for recharge in the “tranquil” solace of their bedrooms. Unfortunately, university life and its ever-busy atmosphere can infiltrate this aspect of our existence, too. Dreaded draw results or curveball situations including uncomfortable roommate relationships and rowdy dorm environments — the kinds…

The thing about ‘routine’

At 6:00 a.m., both my cell phone alarm and my roommate’s alarm clock would go off simultaneously. The idea was that if one didn’t wake us up, then the other surely would. Both of us always hit the snooze button and ended up over-sleeping anyway. At 6:20 a.m., the dorm mother would stomp down the…

To the stranger I feel like I know

When you’re the girl that I see every single Tuesday and Thursday around 1:30 because we both get out of classes then and are presumably not up for biking all the way over to Arrillaga because it’s the only dining hall that’s open, so instead we just pop by Olive’s for a good ol’ Campus…
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