Stanford, CA


What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I wish I had known that the era of academic competition is no longer important. There is such a diversity of brilliance at Stanford that there is just no point in competing - I have to strive for my personal best, as cliched as this sounds. I began by taking overly-challenging classes that weren't tailored to my skill or interests, thinking it was what "everyone" was doing. I should have started off by taking the classes that truly sparked an interest in me to have avoided a lot of stress and boredom.

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How to manage my personal finances, seek mental and emotional counseling from non-peer to peer sources and overall health and well-being. I also wished I had better health practices to avoid gaining wait and eating an unhealthy diet: the late night food service was a disincentive to practice healthy eating, as well as the dining hall food options. Although we could eat at any dining hall, it wasn't always convenient to do so.

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I wish I'd taken more though about how I wanted to take advantage of all that Stanford had to offer. I would have liked to know that designing your own major is hard, and that it's best to make connections with faculty early. I would have also preferred to live in an all-freshman dorm rather than a four-class dorm to have a stronger community of friends. And I wish I knew about the Women's Center earlier on!

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I wish I had known the importance of applying for scholarships in high school. I didn't realize just how hard it would be for my parents to come up with tuition every year or that I would only get a couple thousand dollars in government loans for financial aid. I feel like I could have won many scholarships in my senior year of high school.

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I wish I had known how difficult the quarter system was. It seems people are always taking midterms and taking exams, much more than at semester schools. As a result, falling behind can be detrimental.

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I wish I had known the importance of interning at companies as well as of the career-placement resources available at Stanford. This would have made job-hunting a lot easier coming out of college.

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Before I came to school I wish I had relaxed more, and known that everyone else was going to ready to make friends easily and that the environment fosters acceptance.

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Some majors are a lot more work than others -- especially in the engineering fields. It's really important not to compare yourself, and your work load with others.

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I needed to take some calc courses in high school... that would have made a few of the intro science and math courses MUCH easier and raised my GPA considerably.

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There's nothing to do off campus. It gets boring quick, and because everyone is so smart and/or unique, it makes for a kind of awkward social scene.

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