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Xinlan Emily Hu

The Apple watch, new tech and the trap of extrinsic motivation

We purchase new textbooks at the beginning of the school year, only to leave them unread after the first few classes; riding on a wave of determination, we purchase a new desk organizer, only to leave it, along with the desk, in two separate states of disarray. It’s time we learned our lesson: Extrinsic motivation does nothing to change old habits.

Alternative facts about Stanford University

1. Stanford students never have to apply for summer jobs or internships. They simply show up at Google and are hired on the spot. In fact, Google arrives on prospective freshmen’s doorsteps as soon as they receive their admissions letters, offering lifetime employment and a guaranteed path to CEO-hood. Most Stanford students actually refuse this offer…

Ten startup ideas for the rain-hating Stanford student

You wake up to the steady drumming of rain on your window. Not again, you think, envisioning mud puddles, bike wipe-outs and wet seats. It is, after all, the third or fourth straight week of rainy weather. But then you remember: At Stanford, entrepreneurship solves everything. As a true entrepreneur, however, you scope out the market first.…

On solo travel

I have never traveled alone quite so much as I have in college; with each school break, I make the solo trek back home, which (including layovers, since no direct flight exists) requires at least ten hours. I realize that my own trip is far shorter than that of many international students; even so, I’ve…

And I am an American

“Sixty-five of 66 are present despite the cold, Your Honor.” The judge smiled. “You know, while my son was hoping for a snow day, I hoped for your sake that they wouldn’t close the courts. Because I couldn’t stand the thought of having you wait a day longer.” Waiting. That was a word that I had heard often in…

On autumn leaves, nostalgia and reinventing myself

Leaves. Swirling, red-gold, crinkling under boots and collecting on the steps of stone buildings. I didn’t realize how much I had missed them. When I traveled to the East Coast last weekend, I had not expected the rush of nostalgia at the sight of autumn foliage. In temperate Stanford, with its bubbling fountains and sweeping…

When the music stops: Part 2

I unravel my headphones from a wad of cords. A few bars of soft piano filter through the wires. For a moment, I still hear my piano teacher: “Rubato at the end of that measure. That’s it. Accentuate the top notes. Not too much, no, you’re making them sound staccato.” And then I remember that…

When the music stops

Huanvy Phan ’20 had grown to love violin rehearsals, however grueling and difficult. Rehearsals had been a constant in the past seven years of her life, and she loved the accomplishment that accompanied the exhaustion. As college approached, however, it grew increasingly clear that her orchestra days had come to a close. “I knew I…
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