Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun and Games

I'm feeling a little lost. This quarter is not as academically intensive as last quarter, and while I like not staying up until ungodly hours of the night finishing assignments, it does mean that I am on occasion confronted with an hour or two or /three/ in which I can choose what to do because I'm not scrambling to do everything right before it's due. (Not that that was me last quarter, either, but the work stream was somewhat faster.)

It's getting to that point in the quarter when I could be working on final presentations. Writing and reading are always good options.

Then there are productive-unproductive things I could do. Here is a short list:

Or talking to people. I think that after last quarter, I am much better able to appreciate now what a simple delight it is to be able to sit down to eat lunch/dinner with friends. Beyond that, I've been having a lot of scheduled conversations with people talking about the summer fellowship I have, and while some conversations are definitely more insightful than others, all are useful.

I'm trying to figure out why I feel lost. Maybe because Seismic is not active this quarter and so there's nothing that consumes my evenings. I don't know. I haven't had to write papers that require lots of research. No big projects aside from final presentations.

I still have three and a half weeks left in the quarter, almost a full month, but everyone else who is on the semester system is taking or done with finals. My high school just finished AP testing. Everything is sort of shutting down, but here I am. I feel as though I've experienced a singularity of identity somewhere along the way, because I don't really recognize the person I was one year ago or even the person I was when I got here at the beginning of the year.

Because of my fellowship, I've been thinking a lot about what I will do to reflect and process my experiences at the end of the summer, because one of my fears, shared by other fellows to whom I have spoken, is that I won't learn from the fellowship. Events tend to pass through me, as if they are or I am mist. That doesn't seem a good way to live. I've talked about this with my roommate, a girl who thinks deeply about basically everything and definitely does not go through life thoughtlessly.

Why should I wait until the summer? Something momentous has occurred to me, is occurring to me right now: my first year of college. What am I doing here? Why am I feeling lost, why do I feel empty without assignments and stress and competition hanging over me?

I worry sometimes that I'm not being serious enough, hardcore enough. People joked back in high school that Stanford was hard to get into and then easy once you were in, and then turned right around and put people who got into Stanford on pedestals. My experience has been that I probably do have it easier than friends at notoriously tough schools like Berkeley or Carnegie Mellon. My classes have not all been inspiring, and I do see people who coast and don't take things seriously.

The impression I get sometimes is that we're all still kids, without substance, not serious enough. One of the admitted students that my quad hosted said that she was concerned because Stanford students didn't seem to get a lot of big-name prestigious internships, whereas at other schools she was considering everyone got those experiences after their freshman years.

I think that what I'm doing is going to be more beneficial for me, since I'm getting to implement an engineering project in the field, but then again, if I'd seriously tried to go after the big name internships I don't think I would have succeeded. We have opportunities, we have support systems, but a lot of people choose not to go after the conventional internships and instead go on fellowships or do research or something like that.

Stanford spoils us. I worry that the ambition and arrogance that we are taught here, the sense of invulnerability, is a lie. Of course it is and the world is outside of the Stanford bubble.

In high school I thought I succeeded because I did well in the context of high school. I worry that I am making the same mistake here, that by doing okay in the context of college will make me complacent to the ways in which I am deficient as a human being. I am worried, and feeling lost, and anxiously waiting for the time when it is no longer all fun and games.


EDIT 05/17/2015

On My Way - Off By One

Thematically appropriate, especially because it's a song I know from being in the LSJUMB, which is seen as the epitome of Stanford frivolousness and craziness.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes. I know that end of freshman year identity crisis.

    I don't know much about Carnegie Mellon, but UC Berkeley isn't actually that hard, academically speaking. What's hard about UC Berkeley is that there is very little support, that clubs and associations are super cliquey and isolating.

    Anyways, I do think that I was created in the end of freshman year, that the obstacles and objectives that I had in the spring of 2013 really defined me as a person, that I don't think I even was a person until then.

    College goes by in the blink of an eye. I'm technically a senior now. That floors me. Also, if you haven't done so already, you could meticulously plan out your next few years, your next moves, all possible outcomes.