Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jennifer Kuang

Hello Mr. Ramsey, It's really great to hear and see how much the ILC has grown. My own brother is now in the program, and I'm sure he's getting a lot out of it. I currently have very limited access to Internet (read: your blog website is blocked in China, where I am currently interning this summer), and it appears that he is too busy to email me back (which I definitely understand), so I have not been able to keep up. I think it's great that he and other students from WCCUSD continue to get the opportunity to experience college life early on, and to get a head-start in the game. SEAD was not as academically rigorous of a program, but I assure you that to this day, I still keep in touch with my mentor and several staff members on a regular basis. They have grown to be such a great support network and I know that they are always there for me, regardless of how much time has passed since we last talked. As for me, much has changed since my freshman/sophomore days. In fact, I am now a rising senior at Stanford. Is this real? I can still remember high school graduation very clearly and how I couldn't wait to get out of there. Since last time, I have studied abroad in China for a quarter, changed my minor from Education to East Asian Studies, quit the rowing team, took on more academic units than was wise, and rounded out junior year mentally and emotionally exhausted and burnt out. Looking back, I think I was a little disillusioned with Stanford. It was a perfect place to me. Now, however, I see that there are quite a few problems with Stanford, some that I have brought onto myself (such as taking 20 academic units in a quarter), and some that come with the culture (the infamous Stanford "Duck Syndrome," for example, which is very real and very difficult to get a grasp of). I do not say these things in order to scare incoming freshmen of going to college. In fact, I may be addressing those who are already in college more so than the incoming class. I'm just saying that throughout the course of college, you may realize things that you might not like, either about yourself and/or your environment. A friend's mother put it really nicely: College will be some of your best years, but it will also be some of your toughest. Everyone says that college is going to be the best four years of your life, but that will not be true for everyone, or at all times. Not feeling that way does not make you weaker or inferior, but it took me a while to understand that, especially in an environment like Stanford. Despite this, I maintain that Stanford is a beautiful place. It has allowed me to, put simply, grow up. And the truest sentiment about college: it goes by fast. I think my experience at Stanford, beginning from my excitement in freshman year to a bit of jadedness in junior year, has been very well-rounded. With this breadth of experience, I am looking forward to what senior year will bring. Next year, I am going to be an RA in a freshman-majority dorm. I can't wait to stand back and foster those who take college by the horns, and to actively guide and encourage those who need a bit more easing in. Everyone does college differently, and that is very important to remember. Good luck to the Class of 2016! Feel free to email me if you have any questions. It'll be good practice for being an RA! Best, Jennifer Kuang

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