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"Smile and breathe. Stanford in spring." Student on a Bicycle. Stanford Portraits Category Winner, Spring 2013-14. Photo Credit: Justine Beed '17.

To My Fellow Stanfordians

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"Smile and breathe. Stanford in spring." Student on a Bicycle. Stanford Portraits Category Winner, Spring 2013-14. Photo Credit: Justine Beed '17.


Congratulations on your acceptance to Stanford!!!!

I hope you are recuperating this summer after what I’m sure was FULL-FORCE senior year (I see you valedictorians, salutatorians, top 5% in your class, etc.). Before your arrival in Autumn, thank the invaluable people who made such a monumental moment possible; not a single one of your classmates made it to The Farm without a pivotal influence. I personally owe so much to my dedicated parents. And I have no doubt that – without their love and constant support – I would not be a Stanford student today.

Before I dive into some words of advice, here is a little bit of my background:

My name is Persiana Saffari and I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada (also known as “The Biggest Little City In The World”). I dreamed of attending Stanford since I was six years old – and continue to harbor a sense of wonderment that I study at such a magical place. As for my interests, they are very widespread: from bioelectronics and medicine, to human rights and public service, to informatics and design, to soccer and TaeKwon-Do. Ultimately, I have a thirst for innovation and deep-seeded eagerness to spend my life helping those most in need.

With that, I would like to share some thoughts that, I hope, will serve you well as you enter this exciting, foreign, limitless new journey:


It is no secret that you are surrounded by all-star academics at Stanford. With such a high concentration of intelligence, there comes a pretty apparent, but rarely discussed fault (and no, it’s not competition). In my personal opinion, one of the most common mistakes Stanford students make is to doubt themselves. I have seen all too many classmates fall claim to self-doubt, and its many manifestations – changing career paths, pursuing activities or studies of no interest to them, and starting unhealthy habits just because ‘that super smart kid is doing it, so shouldn’t I be too?’

I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to reject this mindset. Stanford chose YOU – so why would you want to change so drastically? If someone is taking a 22-unit quarter, that should not effect your course schedule. If someone stays up till 4:00 AM studying for a midterm, you should not feel forced to stay up till 4:01 AM. Listen to your heart.  Pave your own path. Stanford has a history of rewarding the creative.

Never let others (or your own) intimidation cast a shadow on your dreams. Have faith in yourself! And invest your energy where it counts.


Do not underestimate the college adjustment period. It really takes a full year to absorb the surroundings and manage time appropriately. This is college; you control your schedule now. And with that freedom comes lots of experimentation, especially within your first year. No matter which way you organize your schedule, it is critical that you minimize the imbalances in your life. Welcome the uncertainty, limit the anxiety, and find comfort in the fact that those who came before you shared the same sentiments as you.

So, please do not put too much pressure on yourself. Invest as much time into your mental, physical, and emotional health as you do in your studies, sports, and extracurriculars; this balance is not easy, but those who can prioritize their own well-being as much as their academic aspirations have a much smoother, and more enjoyable transition to Stanford.


Finally, treat others as you wish to be treated. Celebrate the friends around you; cheer them on in moments of success and comfort them in times of sadness. Kindness – in all its forms – is the greatest gift we can give to each other and to ourselves. I am continually comforted and supported by the loving friends I have made in my first year alone. I am lucky to have such inspirational people in my life. And in a just a small matter time, so will you.

All the best to you for a marvelous first year!! I hope you all shine bright.

Persiana Saffari

Electrical Engineering
Class of 2019

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