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Students celebrating on move in day. Credit: Kate Frimet

My Unexpected Stanford Community

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Students celebrating on move in day. Credit: Kate Frimet


My name is Kate, a rising sophomore, (probably) majoring in Political Science, and I’m from Washingtonville, New York. On campus, I’m involved in Stanford Speakers BureauThe Bridge, and J Street U. I came into Stanford excited, nervous, and wildly unprepared for the whirlwind of peaks and valleys that my first quarter would be.

I went to a boarding school for high school, and I thought that having done that, the transition into college would be an easy one. And in some ways, it was. I already knew how to do laundry, was fairly competent in time management, and felt comfortable enough to eat breakfast alone. (If you don’t feel this way coming in, that is totally okay and you’re not alone in that.) I remembered how much my friendships had changed during that first year of high school and was expecting that to happen again in college. As much fun as I had with my friends during the first few weeks of Stanford, I didn’t believe they were permanent, so I didn’t place as much trust in them as I probably should have. 

In Week 4 of Fall Quarter, a good friend from high school passed away. I found out just after 8:00 in the morning, sitting in the hallway outside my dorm room. A guy on my hall was taking his trash out when he saw me crying, and without hesitation, dropped his garbage bags, gave me a hug, and asked what he could do. My RA was getting out of the shower and as soon as he understood what was happening (and put pants on), he sat me down on his couch and waited with me as I got in touch with friends from high school and my family. At the time, only two other people at Stanford knew what had happened (my PHE and a girl I now consider to be one of my best friends).

The next few weeks were difficult. I had a hard time concentrating in class (which wasn’t ideal, considering it was midterm season), I was less patient with myself and others, and I spent a lot of time trying to contact friends from high school. At the time, I didn’t realize how much my Stanford community was supporting me. Not everyone knew what had happened, although I did talk to a few of my friends over the following weeks, but most of them sensed that something was wrong. Looking back, I see how intuitive they were to my needs, from blasting music on the weekends, simply sitting with me in silence, or sending me notes reminding me how much I was loved and that they were there for me, anytime.

On my flight home at the end of the quarter, I had the time to reflect on everything that had happened over my first 11 weeks here. As I thought about my classes, my clubs, and my (new-found) community, I knew that more important than any of the papers I had written or events I had planned, I had found friends I could rely on. I know that if I need them, they will drop everything to be there, and I would do the same for them. During NSO, I didn’t think that these people would become my family. We’ve learned how to better care for ourselves and each other, we’ve laughed our way through countless adventures, held each other while we cried, made mistakes and gotten in fights, put those arguments aside to celebrate successes, and we have grown immensely, together.

I am so lucky Stanford brought these people into my life, and I am so grateful to them for all they have taught me about compassion, trust, respect, and love. They reminded me to look at new relationships as potentially-permanent, not potentially-temporary (the simple difference between a glass half-empty and a glass half-full, in other words). My friends, and the broader Stanford community, inspire me every day to be a better person.

(There are plenty of organized grief resources on campus, whether it be formal counseling, group grief sessions, or conversations with members of the Office for Religious Life (ORL). Ask your residential staff, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or The Bridge for help finding them if you need!)

Kate Frimet

Class of 2022

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