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Rachel Ochoa

To speak another tongue

Nestled in the valley, surrounded by vast mountains, is my home in Los Angeles. Stanford is very different from where I grew up. I went from speaking Spanish day and night, in and out of class, to only speaking Spanish once in a while. Now, I only speak Spanish when it comes to calling home…

Tinder date protocols

There are nearly 8,000 acres of Stanford land. There are about 7,000 undergrads, so the likeliness of seeing the same people more than once seems slim. Sure, there are a few of us, but campus is so big that I’d like to think that I won’t see too many people all the time. This theory…

How to travel with friends

For the first time in my career of vacations and travel, I visited a new place with my college friends. More often than not, I go to Mexico’s beautiful cities or visit sleepy California coast towns with my family. If I ever go to New York or Connecticut, it’s under businesses pretenses, but never strictly…

Normalize ‘lazy’ summers

I don’t remember the last summer I laid in bed and slept until noon every day for months. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the lack of responsibility or the taste of freedom of a hot, June day. Since freshman year of high school, I’ve been thrown into collegiate summer institutes, volleyball trainings and summer…

Stressfulness of relaxation

Before college, I was never really into the appeal of things like yoga and meditation. Living in Los Angeles meant always driving past SoulCycle studies and smoothie bars. I couldn’t go to the post office without having to encounter swarms of women leaving the yoga studio next door. Of course, I was naturally distrustful of…

Self-care for a 9:30 a.m. class

Waking up for a 9:30 a.m. class is no easy feat. It requires setting up to seven alarms with 10-minute intervals in between, requesting that my roommate carefully poke me and riding my bike to class as fast as I can to beat traffic at the circle of death. Staying up from doing homework or…

Being a beginner in a beginning class

Foundational lectures. Introductory seminars. Frosh-friendly courses. All these terms were thrown around during the frenzy of open enrollment. Upperclassmen, RAs and Carta were full of colorful opinions and recommendations for naive freshman like myself. I, like many of my peers, spent the summer scouting for the “must take” courses like the infamous CS 106A or…

Farm withdrawals

As I sit on an uncomfortable bus seat with a stranger sleeping on my shoulder to the left and another stranger peering over my arm to see what I’m typing on my laptop, I can’t help but to think about Stanford. I’m on a six-hour bus ride from LA to San Jose on a Sunday…

The dynamics of seminars

Seminars are not a rarity at Stanford  — in fact, all my classes this quarter are seminars. It’s a class of about 15 people sitting around in a circle with a professor ready to facilitate discussion. There’s an array of laptops and open books with half the class eager to speak and the other not…

College culture: Hydro Flasks, Birkenstocks and Macbooks

There’s a glaring similarity between all my classes. Whether it be my seminar on terrorism or my Renaissance-based lecture, a common denominator ties every single Stanford classroom together — the girl sitting across the room drinks from her navy blue Hydro Flask after every comment she makes; the guy sitting besides me types avidly away…
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