Where the hell do I even start? The whole experience was without a doubt one of the best things I have ever done in my life. Ever. I can’t think of a single event that can top it. Living on the beautiful Stanford campus for four weeks was simply amazing. The weather was pleasant and the campus was downright gorgeous. And the food was soo gooood… lots of healthy variety to choose from; I ate like a King every single meal lol.
AND THE PEOPLE.
Okay so our house was incredibly diverse. We had several international students hailing from all corners of the world: Spain, Germany, Jamaica, Turkey, Japan, China, and Taiwan. I’ve never even freaking met people from most of those countries. So it was awesome talking to them, learning about their cultures, and realizing that we all had a lot in common. The more I learned about them, the more I got to learn about myself and who I was as an individual and critical thinker. Plus everyone else living in the US was from different parts of the country and brought unique worldviews and perspectives to the table. In my opinion that was the greatest part of the program: the people. Everyone was unbelievably accepting and friendly from the start and I felt really comfortable around them. They were all highly motivated students who were for the most part quite intellectual. I got to engage in riveting discussions on various topics including politics, religion, school, music, life in our home states, and basically our lives and experiences. I appreciated the fact that not everything we talked about had to do with girls or partying or video games or other mindless crap (although given the right times, all of the before mentioned can be fun too). Our residential counselors were also great! They were always laid back and didn’t take their jobs too seriously while still maintaining a sense of order in a house full of like 37 teenagers. By the end, we had bonded into this huge family and our dorm residence really felt like a home (yeah, sounds cliché but it’s true).
The activities and shenanigans were always entertaining too. We got to jump into the various fountains around campus, buy lots of Stanford apparel and merchandise, go to the various House dance parties, get our country pride on and geek out over the Olympics, feast in the dining halls together as a class, get stoked for the Talent Show, attempt to pull an all-nighter sleep over on the last night (I fell asleep) and visit the surrounding Bay Area on weekly field trips to the science & fine arts museum, the Golden Gate Bridge, Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Capitola Beach and surrounding seaside village, Huge ass Stanford owned Shopping Mall, and Town & Country center. We had access to the Stanford facilities and everything too, which really made me feel like a full-time Stanford student!
The academic work wasn’t a piece of cake though. The course I took was called Investigations in Legal Studies. It laid the foundation for what we’d most likely be learning in law school. I’m not gonna lie… it was challenging! But in the good way of course, since it really pushed me to try my best and it didn’t hurt that it was a subject that I enjoyed learning about. Since it was only one class and very intensive, I really got to get into the material and learn a great deal. Our professor was fantastic and I really enjoyed how he structured the class and taught it. He usually gave a brief lecture on the opening topics we’d learn that day and then open it up to a classroom dialogue between all of us, which was an invaluable learning experience since it provided the opportunity for everyone to share viewpoints, ideas, opinions, and beliefs about the topic at hand. It was a small class too, only 11 kids including myself, which I appreciated since it was very engaging and easy for all of us to get to know each other and the professor better. We covered topics such as morality vs the law, consent laws, self defense, hate speech, personal liberties and freedoms, cannibalism, violent video games, the law & society, the American court system, mediation and negotiation, criminal law, property law, corporate law, tort law, police misconduct, human rights, and finished it off with a mock appellate argument in front of three professional lawyers on the controversial Supreme Court Case Fisher vs. University of Texas in regards to affirmative action. We also got to go on a class field trip to downtown San Francisco to visit the District Court, San Francisco City Hall, and finally the California Supreme Court. Getting to talk face to face with current Justices and individuals in the field was an invaluable experience since I really got to know what they exactly did and what it took to get where they were. Overall, I’m not sure if I want to pursue a career in law just yet but this course was instrumental in making me realize that I’m actually really interested in the subject and I definitely feel this is one of my top options in the future.
Wow… the four weeks really flew by in a heartbeat. It seems like yesterday that I left Hawaii and was immediately welcomed to California by everyone in the program. And now I’m typing this long ass essay on tumblr while melting in the Hawaii humidity. It depresses me to think I may never see some of these great kids ever again in my life but I just hope a lot of them visit Hawaii in the future LOL. But I’m sure at some point our lives will cross paths again and we can have a reunion some day.
Now time for a shout out to everyone in my house, the greatest people I have ever lived with for four weeks! Alex R., Alex J., Alex L., Andrew, Arthur, Aya, Edouard, Elif, Elizabeth, Emily, Geoff, Gonzalo, Iris, Isabel, Jake, Jamie, Jodie, July, Kataeya, Leon, Marcin, Matthew, Mina, Monica, Nathaly, Nichole, Quinten, Raksha, Ryan, Sarah, Sierre, Simonne, Stephen, Tiffaney, Tiffani, and Wallace
And to the awesome counselors! Carlos, Danielle, Nicole, Sarahi, Scott, and Sky
I don’t know how many of you all will read this post but I just want to say that it has been the GREATEST experience of my life living with all of you and growing together as a family. Terradise 2012! You’ll always be on my heart and mind.