She didn’t like Stanford! According to my daughter, the campus is buzzing about a Washington Post colum by a “pro fro” (prospective freshman) who was turned off by the rah-rah atmosphere of Stanford’s recruitment weekend for admitted students.
Sarah Ball of Alexandria, Virginia wrote:
Following the icebreakers and the scavenger hunt that led me splashing through six fountains on campus, I was ready for a break, and wondering: How could I tell whether I liked the atmosphere of this excellent school when I was too busy being force-fed admissions-manufactured opinions? Forget the stale name games and the dorm-specific cheers we all learned — where were the unscheduled conversations with new acquaintances? When could I ask questions of current students and not receive a contrived answer?
She got some unscheduled time with her fellow non-minorities when the majority of students left for ethnic-themed or gay events. The undiverse remnants weren’t very chatty.
That night, as I sat on my duffel bag waiting for my cab, a Ho-Ho (house host) approached me. “Are you . . . okay?!” she asked me. I looked up at her Stanford T-shirt; a huge coil of silvery tinsel encircled her head. My interest was piqued — maybe this was it! She could tell me the straight facts, and assure me that the reality at Stanford wasn’t dividing up by racial groups or conducting senseless scavenger hunts. Maybe she’d even tell me something she didn’t like, or how she had adjusted to college life. . . . “I mean, you just look so down! We just wanted you to know how very, very, verrrrry happy we all are here on the Farm — I mean, my freshman year has been like summer camp, and. . . . ”
So she’s going to Duke, which is fairly rah-rah too, or so I’ve heard.
My daughter transferred into Stanford as a 21-year-old junior, after taking a year off. The first day of orientation — naturally geared to 18-year-old freshmen — nearly drove her nuts with its relentless peppiness. Dorm cheers, stupid ice-breakers . . . Yes, it’s true. Stanford wants you to be happy. But she toughed it out. By the second day, the perkiness was starting to de-perk.