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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…

In conversation: International and domestic students

Stanford campus is rarely more conspicuously international than it is during Thanksgiving break. While many American students spend quality time with their families and their full stomachs, international students more rarely go home. And so last weekend, after semi-successfully attempting an apple pie, I invited whatever friends were still on campus to my nearly deserted…