About Stanford and West Lag
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Stanford is a really cool place; here are some of my thoughts about the school:
Is Stanford Right for Me?
I made a little document for people who went to my high school who were considering Stanford...it talks about what I like about the school, and (hopefully) should help prospective students decide if it's right for them.
Getting into Stanford
A few people have asked me for advice about getting into Stanford. A good, albiet opinionated, website written by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend is The Underground Guide to Getting Accepted to the Best Colleges. I would only stress that Stanford likes people who show intellectual passion--people who love learning, research, etc. If your application shows that kind of passion (which is hard to fake), you'll have a much better chance than Mr. or Ms. "I-always-wanted-to-be-a-doctor-and-that's-why-I-want-to-go-to-a-good-school." (Oh, how I despise premeds! Don't get me wrong--I've got lots of friends in med school now. It's merely that there are a lot of premeds who are entirely preprofessional, who don't seem to care at all about what they're learning--only Becoming a Doctor...)
About West Lag
West Lagunita is, appropriately, the western half of the Lagunita dorm complex at Stanford, known as "West Lag" for short. (For non-Stanfordites, "Lag" is pronounced like "log"; hence the "Lag Log," a charming piece of driftwood once held hostage by Ringo and Bill in Eucalipto. And the staff T-shirt one year which read "West Lag! West Lag! It's better than bad, it's good!"...a play on the Ren and Stimpy Log Song [that link appears to be down, but you can still read the lyrics], for the uninitiated.) It is a four-class dorm, and thus inherits the reputation for being stodgy and uncool (compared to the hip, swinging freshman dorms)...and it also has a reputation for being far away from everything. However, it is unequivically the best place to live on campus. Can I justify this bold statement? Take the following:
- First, the dorm is about half freshmen, and the combination of Adelfa, Eucalipto, and Granada (the three dorms that make up West Lag) give a critical mass of frosh equivalent to any of the other houses. Thus, you feel like there's always someone to hang out with. However, there are still a bunch of cool upperclasspeople to talk to and learn from. From the upperclass perspective, it's fun being around a bunch of bushy-tailed frosh who are excited about everything.
- The "three dorms in one" structure also gives one different levels of community--one has the more intimate community in one's hall and house, but also a larger community in West Lag as a whole.
- The dorm itself is beautiful. It's one of the oldest dorms on campus, but recently remodeled to bring out its historical charm. It has a gorgeous lawn, large staircases with windows overlooking Lake Lagunita (yes, something of a redundancy: Lagunita means "little lake"...oh well!), etc. The dining hall is also beautiful--vaulted ceilings and the like. It's no wonder that Stanford uses the dorm over the summer for its top-flight housing.
- While it might seem far away for people who live on the East side of campus, it's actually closer to much of the Quad than any of the East Campus housing. Moreover, it's not nearly as far as FroSoCo!
- The rooms: well, this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. You see, Lag was designed as an all-women's dorm, made almost completely of well-sized singles. However, two freshmen get put into each room, making a frosh "mini-double." Thus, at least for freshmen, it's one of the smallest living spaces on campus. However, having lived in a "mini-double," I think it's not so bad...indeed, as the Resident Fellow liked to quip, "It forces people out of their rooms! And I can assure you that the rooms are much smaller at another Bay Area institution...the Santa Clara County jail!" I can also attest that it's a lot more space than I'll ever have on a submarine. The small size also has a silver lining: no matter where you end up sophomore year, it will seem huge by comparison! Also, regardless of whether you're a freshman or not, every room has a sink--which is a big plus.
- Having served on staff in Lag, I can attest that it's a very fun place to be on staff--largely because of the aforementioned plusses. Moreover, it attracts some of the best staff members, who are thus fun to work with.
- Finally, I not only talk the talk, but I have walked the walk: I lived not one, not two, but three years in West Lag! The strange thing is, this isn't an unusual thing...one can often find people who lived all four years in Lag.
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