On Wednesday, former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer was sentenced to one day in prison and six months of home confinement for his role in the recent college admissions scandal. Judging by the headlines, there is outrage in America over this “slap on the wrist.” “Stanford Coach Avoids Prison in Admissions Scandal,” announced The New…
It wasn’t until my last quarter at Stanford that I formally joined The Daily, but I’ve been with them since the beginning. From late-night phone calls for quotes to spy-movie-esque rendezvous in Old Union to explicate the issues, I have learned much about the politics of persuasion in my relationship to the place I can finally call home.
I’m a solitary creature, by both nature and circumstance. I stumbled onto The Daily’s staff my freshman year much in the way young, untested Stanford students do anything — desperate for achievement, belonging, and recognition all at once, joining something, anything, for the sake of joining.
One of the things that has never ceased to amaze me about Stanford is just how elite it is. From the famous people we get to randomly meet at events to the let’s-change-the-world outlook to the sheer weight of the Stanford name as a byword for excellence, the elite status of this school is constantly being reinforced, both in us the students, and in the outside world, intensely to the point of obnoxiousness.
I came to Stanford looking for a student community as full of intellect, energy, creativity and civic commitment as I hoped to be when I graduated. When I started at the Daily my sophomore year, I knew I had found it. I found a new art form in journalism — a unique craft that marries interpersonal communication and writing to express a narrative that strikes satisfyingly at the truth. And I found peers at the Daily whose dedication to this craft was unbridled and infectious. I was instantly hooked.
I am a big believer in explaining things through anecdotes. It’s very sports-writerly of me to want to narrativize the arc of my experience. Here are a few moments for you to meditate on:
Five out of my seven Facebook cover photos over the last four years have been Stanford Daily recruitment pitches. They feature the usual cut-and-paste blurbs of hype, dangling the prospect of “interviewing prominent campus visitors,” getting “front-row press passes to sporting events,” and, of course, eating free Treehouse pizza every night at production.
What is a home? I’m thinking as I pack my bags for another summer away from the Farm. I’ve defined Stanford as my home address for a while, despite my interludes away. But this break is different: it’s practically permanent. I have another quarter to finish a master’s degree, but a whole swath of people I built my home out of when I started here almost four years ago is leaving.