You’re busy thinking just one thing: “Am I going to keep in touch with this person after graduation?”
By the end of spring quarter, you can comfortably eat all your meals outside. Who wouldn’t want to eat outside? The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and by dinnertime you know that the rest of your day is doomed to be spent crouched at a desk in front of a computer. And so, earlier this week I found myself at a picnic table in a scenic little corner of campus.
“So, what are you doing next year?” It’s the question that strikes fear into the heart of every graduating student.
If you asked any undergrad to describe themself in one adjective right now, they’d almost definitely answer with “tired” or “busy.” Someone with a little more creativity or a tendency toward being overdramatic will use a better synonym--exhausted, swamped, crushed, etc. Pretty much everyone on the Stanford campus is some level of “busy.” But the question is, how does this make you behave?
How often do you use your friends’ first names? Now that you think about it, is it really that often? You only have to use their name if you want get their attention from across the dining hall, right? You could probably go for days, weeks or even months just by using “dude” instead.
The knowledge that everything will soon end creates a sort of frenzy: the Last Chance Syndrome.
Befriending a professor is no easy task, but it does come in handy. For one thing, a good relationship with your professor makes it easier to get that prized recommendation letter.
The thing is, no one likes to be the tired person, the “party-pooper,” the self-avowed “old person” who prefers to go home and sleep instead of party or otherwise stay awake.
And, with only that warning, you realize your one-on-one time must come to an end. There is a third party on the scene.
There are many, many elements of group travel that can be trying, and all of them are conveniently highlighted in one episode: the group meal.
Right? Maybe. But now it’s Dead Week, when Stanford is anything but dead, and you’ve probably realized that the plan you made was pretty unrealistic. It’s not that dinner will have to be 15 minutes; it’s that you’ll have to skip dinner altogether.
Are you an early arriver to class? Or do you rush in breathless, five minutes late? If you’re in the former category, you’ve probably experienced the pre-seminar silence.
How do you say “hi” to that person you’re really happy to see? You can wave, pound fists or flash a big smile and just say something like, “Wow, it is so great to see you!” But in this day and age, only one thing really does the moment justice, capturing the full range of happy sentiments in one action: a hug.
I’ve seen it more and more lately, but I don’t think the phenomenon is at all recent. I’d imagine that, for thousands of years, mankind has both eaten lunch and suggested things that would never occur. The intersection of these events is, of course, the lunch-that-won’t-happen.
Do you think of somebody fashioning a scrapbook with it, complete with artfully pressed flowers, wrinkled paper and, eventually, the smell of years of accumulated dust? Maybe. But if you’re a typical young adult in the 21st century, your first thought might be more relevant to the short term: Will this picture be worthy of a status as my new Facebook profile picture?
When I was proud of a column, I would take extra steps to spread my messages across cyberspace and, in addition to my typical posting in the Daily, I would post my article to my Facebook wall. Once I had copied and pasted the link, hit the return key and confirmed that the link was visible on my wall, I would sit and wait.
It was a warm, lazy afternoon, and the BBQ was going splendidly. We joked about the strange antics of our parents, and then one person blurted out, “My mom is really good at dressing up like Dwight!” Bursts of laughter ensued, and I joined along even as I groaned inwardly. I knew what would happen next. I reached for a pita chip, took a hefty dollop of hummus and leaned back in my chair, physically removing myself from the conversation. It happened. And it lasted for a good ten minutes.
It was past midnight as I sat with a friend at the 24-hour Fed-Ex/Kinko’s, sharing a King Size Kit-Kat bar. We reminisced, as seniors are wont to do, about how we met. “Let’s see. I used to talk to [insert name of mutual friend] all the time because he was a really good listener. So I kept dropping by his room, we became friends, then I guess I met you through him.”
I was happily full and carrying a steaming hot cup of coffee as I left the dining hall and bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. We made the usual small talk and discussed the finer points of the brunch options at Lag Dining. Then he made the first move that propelled us into new territory.