California dreaming: Stanford University

Stanford had me at hello! The dramatic entryway was by far the grandest of all the college campuses I’ve seen. The rows of palm trees on both sides of the street were so stunning, I was speechless. The only word I could utter was, “WOW!”

photo courtesy of Stanford University website

beautiful corridors inside the university

Despite its extensive growth, and with the endless addition of new buildings, Stanford has retained its original design and architecture, reminiscent of early California Mission Revival. The campus has that romantic feel, especially with its Spanish red-tile roofs and countless areas of greenery.
My son was one of the fortunate ones to be accepted at Stanford this year. The admit rate for 2016 had been the lowest so far at 4.69%. When we were there, I knew in my heart that it was the right college for him. Although he had previusly fallen in love with Brown University during his visit the week prior, my maternal instincts suggested Stanford was going to be a better fit.

My husband and I were thinking of subtle ways to convince him to choose Stanford over Brown. Most of our family and friends were also rooting for him to go there. On his first night at Stanford, I sent him a text message asking how everything was going so far. “Good,” he replied curtly.  There were no other mention about his activities. The next day I received a text from him:”I think I’m allergic to Stanford.” He was, in fact, miserable with allergies and nothing was helping. Not even his daily dose of Zyrtec and additional Benadryl.



I was worried. His Brown experience seemed much more appealing—he spoke with great enthusiasm about the classes he sat in and the people he met over there. And in no way that reaction echoed at Stanford.

I called my husband to tell him to get used to the idea of flying to the east coast for the next few years. Based on his texts, I knew he wasn’t excited about Stanford. As much as we want him to be in the west coast, his happiness was still our priority. I mentally prepared myself and imagined future vacations to Rhode Island. “I liked it there…it’ll be ok,” I convinced myself. Then I started to visualize snow and below freezing temps!  I pictured  my son all bundled up, freezing his ass off in those dark and miserably cold New England winters. I felt sorry for him having to experience that over the next four years!

the prep rally welcoming incoming freshmen

When I picked him up on the last day of the admit weekend and on our way to the airport, I nervously asked him if he had made up his mind. To my surprise, he said “no, still undecided.” At the airport, we saw some of the high school seniors from Texas who were on the same flight as us. Everyone I talked to were already committed to Stanford. My son was the only exception.

most of the students ride the bike in the campus

The next two days after coming home have been the hardest couple of days in his life. Deciding on where he would go to college became so stressful and emotional for all of us. I could’ve just insisted on Stanford but I also wouldn’t want him to resent me later. The decision had to be his alone. There were only three hours left on May 2nd to choose between the two schools. We assured him we would support his decision and left him to be by himself. We then crossed our fingers hoping he makes the right one.

Click here to read my son’s version of the story and where he would be a part of Class 2020!

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