Although many seniors are in denial, graduation is approaching. The last class to be born in the 80s is about to bid Stanford adieu.
“The zaniness. I’m afraid that I won’t find that in the real world. I’m afraid the real world is just going to be vanilla, and I’m going to say things like ‘Let’s wear wigs!’” remarked Gianna Masi, ’11, an Italian major who hopes to make a career on Broadway.
Masi recounts her journey from freshman year to today: “If I look back to me as little tiny freshman in fall quarter, I’m such a different person now. I was more self-conscious. I really didn’t have a sense of independence at all… It’s going to be a huge change but I feel confident, I’ll be ok.”
“The Farm” is, in many ways, an insulated bubble. However, Masi notes that her two quarters in Italy gave her the sense of independence she lacked on campus.
“Study abroad forces you to push yourself and get yourself out there and try to communicate with people when you have no idea what’s going on sometimes,” she said.
“Before I went to Italy, I would be terrified to travel by myself. Now I really feel confident in being able to navigate the world on my own,” she continued.
While Masi is a dreamer, she is also pragmatic. She is currently preparing herself for life in New York. “The best class that I took this year was definitely financial literacy,” she said. Other seniors are also ready for the real world.
Kip Hustace ’11 is an English major with self-described wanderlust and a passion for ethics and political philosophy. “I want to go places and see things before I anchor myself in a job or more school,” he said.
In an effort to not be tied down by adulthood, Hustace has chosen to travel after graduation. In the course of one year, he will voyage to every continent on the globe.
“I first decided to spend a year on the road when I realized that I was only interested in studying abroad again,” he said.
Hustace plans on applying to graduate school or finding a job during his year abroad. He is a liberal arts student in an increasingly “practical” world. He majored in English so that he could be well-read, and chose a creative writing concentration to improve his writing.
Other seniors have chosen to continue their love affairs with academics by pursuing graduate school and pre-professional degrees.
And still many other students will remain in the area to work in Silicon Valley at one of the big three: Facebook, Apple, and Google. Many will also pursue smaller start-ups.
Arda Kara ’11, a computer science major and co-term, will stay around Stanford to do some startup work because he loves computer science.
The “techie” population at Stanford has had strong ties with Silicon Valley for decades. It is no wonder that Google employs an estimated 1,300 Stanford alums.
When asked what he will miss the most about Stanford, Kara did not mention the engineering quad, his coding homework, or RCC duties. Rather, he will miss “having peers around [him] all the time.”
Hustace feels the same way. He will miss “friends, the slew of campus art performances and athletic events, deep conversations on the way to Jack-in-the-Box, professors’ book and film recommendations, and the sunshine.”
Masi, who will trade in the Farm for the Big Apple, noted that she is only now beginning to realize that she’s taken Stanford for granted. “When I was registering for courses I’d think, ‘Oh that’s cool I’ll just take it next… Nope, it’s gone forever.’”
When asked about the future, Hustace noted, “I look forward to seeing all of the great work done by friends and peers in the years to come. The world can always use more hard-workers, bright minds, and caring dispositions; and this place has plenty of them to offer. I’m honored to have been here.”