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Otero students

Flooded Washing Machines & Great Conversations: Capturing the Spirit of Stanford

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Otero students


Freshman year at Stanford is packed to the brim with excitement. From the moment my car-- laden with clothes, bed sheets, photos, and my trusty mug--rolled onto campus for New Student Orientation, I realized that I had made the jump into a whole new world. Diving into a college as rigorous as Stanford was a big transition. I came from a small community that primarily centered around farming. Suddenly, I found myself swimming in a sea where common conversation topics included the risks and benefits of Artificial Intelligence and how the Italian Renaissance impacted art in Northern Europe.

Making the switch from the world of high school to that of college is a lot like learning to run faster while juggling bowling pins, writing a research paper, and discovering your interests. The simple fact is you are going to drop pins along the way, maybe stay up way too late writing some papers, and get confused about what your interests really are. The key is not to worry about making mistakes. Admitting you do not know, are confused, or are uncertain opens you up to a whole new world of learning and growth. I think I switched my intended major, learned more about the implications of A.I. for humanity than I ever imagined over dinner, and realized that the name of the Stanford dance group Dv8 is a play on the word “deviate” all from conversations I had in one day. Sometimes I was the one entertaining my friends at the dinner table by sharing my big, Italian family’s ritual of Sunday night dinners, or my passion for sustainable design, or my story of the time I entered a gelato-making contest on a whim. But most nights I was listening and laughing as my friends recounted crazy tales and dazzled me with insightful thoughts on current events, science, art, and history. 

Your friends will give you so much and will cause you to alter your perspective again and again. For the times when dinner is too far away just know that there are amazing people like the Resident Assistants, Resident Fellows, and Academic Advising Directors who will meet with you whenever they can.Their forces combined cast a light on all life’s big questions like good classes to take for a major and what to do when the washing machine floods with your clothes still in it--and everything in between.

As a small-town kid who learned to navigate the world of Stanford, I am confident you can triumph over any challenge college life throws at you. I want you to know that there are people who have your back, and I encourage you to keep an open mind. The spirit of Stanford lives in all the great conversations that have happened, and those that are just waiting to get started. Go out there, learn, and join in the spirit of Stanford.

Joe Bosetti

Class of 2020

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