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It Crossed the Line

In their first quarter at Stanford, freshmen are required to come together in dorm lounges across campus to participate in a group event, unaware that they are about to be asked to reveal the most intimate details of their lives — deeply private things, embarrassing things, unfortunate things, regretted things and things they may not have shared with even their closest friends or family — to a room full of strangers. Freshmen have not been warned that they will have to do this. They have not been given a choice to participate. And they have not been provided a compelling reason why they should be required to make these details of their personal lives public to people they do not know nor trust. The event is called Crossing the Line (CTL) — a name that is appropriate because it crosses a line no university ever should.

A defense of small talk

Everybody hates small talk. There’s no denying it. Google defines “small talk” as, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.” Now, the English major in me automatically performed a close-read on this definition. Here’s how I unpacked it: This definition of small talk literally contains the word “unimportant,”…

Lost in conversation

“Granted, one can’t effectively convince someone who is skeptical of the truth of P that it is true by relying on an inference that ultimately comes back to P, but perhaps circular inferences can provide justification despite being dialectically ineffective.” I catch myself nodding in agreement, strategically placed mumblings of “of course” and “mm-hm” giving…

When home is no longer home

Halfway into my first quarter at Stanford, I finally called my mother. Hearing my mother’s voice on the phone, I recalled a memory of home and fractured something within myself. Time, I’ve learned, seems to work differently here, where daily life takes on a dizzying pace. At Stanford, it’s so easy to forget the world…

The final story of Stanford

When I first pitched doing weekly spotlights on students around campus, what I didn’t tell my editor was that I wanted to do these pieces for selfish reasons too. I’m an impatient person; I know that. As such, the period between first being introduced to someone and first having meaningful, unscripted interactions with them seems…