It was another long day today. I caught the bus to campus at 8.05 for a 9am group breakfast and info session. We learnt all about applying for graduate programs at Stanford and what we would need to include in our applications.
Following breakfast I met with a student services officer for the PhD program in Modern Thought and Literature. She had a dog in her office who was the sweetest little dude! We talked about my research interests and she suggested some other academics who might be a good fit for supervision, and she told me that MTL is where all the weirdos end up—sounds like my kind of place!
Then it was off to lunch at the Native American Cultural Centre, which was such a warm and welcoming space. We met more current students and learnt that Stanford offers courses in four Native American languages! MTL has a language requirement that you learn two other languages during your course, so if I were to come here I’d definitely consider one of the Native languages.
I got terribly lost on my way to my next meeting and arrived fifteen minutes late, but thankfully the academic I was meeting didn’t seem to mind all that much. She spoke with me about the Stegner Fellowship, which is Stanford’s non-degree writing program. It sounds absolutely amazing but I’m not sure if I’m in the right place with my writing yet to tackle something like that. I will definitely keep it in mind though.
I wrapped up the day with a meeting with another current MTL student, and we got along like a house on fire. I think I’ve made a friend! Maybe one day she’ll visit Perth and I can show her all my favourite cheap eats.
Tomorrow we’re bussing it across to Berkeley, but it’s pretty much a free day. I’m planning to do boring things like wash my clothes and track my expenses (woopsie! I haven’t done it yet…), and maybe find a nice spot outside to do some reading in the afternoon. I also have a bunch of emails to reply to and an article to write…
It’s just go, go, go over here at the moment!
The view from my lunch spot on Sunday. There are so many cool cars here!
So today we went to Stanford!
First impressions: the campus is beautiful, the book shop is well stocked, there is A LOT of merch, and the PhD in Modern Thought and Literature sounds amazing.
We started the day with a bus ride in to campus and killed time in the book shop for an hour until the start of our tour. Our guide showed us landmarks such as the library and the church and the edible blackberries. We also learnt about fountain hopping, a favourite pastime in the warmer months.
We had lunch with some current Aussie students, then split up for academic meetings. I spoke with a student studying in that amazing PhD program I mentioned and left feeling energized and excited. PhDs are between five and seven years here though, so I’m not super keen on the length.
We had another get-together in the afternoon at the Bechtel International Center and chatted with more students, and ate more food. Then it was back on the bus and home briefly before heading off to an NBA game. I was surprised by the atmosphere—it’s exactly like it is in the movies, larger than life and somewhat surreal. It was a good experience but I think once is enough for me!
Tomorrow is another early one, with a day full of information sessions and meetings. I’m learning about the Stegner Fellowship (a creative writing program) in the afternoon which should be super cool!
Also, I picked up a (signed) copy of Markus Zusak’s new book today, and had a nice chat with the guy in the bookshop about Australian authors. And maybe ranted about sf to a few people, as per usual…
Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns
I’m writing from my bed in the Stanford Guest House (pictured below) where I am sipping a cup of tea and listening to the sounds of crickets outside.
I heard a crow earlier today, nothing like the ah ahh ahhhhhh of our Aussie ravens; it was the caw caw that I’ve heard so much in movies but never quite realised was a sound made by real animals.
The trees are different here. The shape of them on the Stanford logo is accurate.
The flight from Sydney to San Francisco was about thirteen hours, most of which I spent napping. We had a bit of turbulence at one point which gave me a bit of a fright, but I’m back on solid ground now so I’m happy! I watched the movie Hereditary on the flight and thought it was odd—I’m not sure I really understood what was going on, or even what genre it was supposed to be. But it kept me glued to the screen the whole time so I guess they did something right.
Tomorrow a bunch of us are thinking about taking the train in to San Fran proper, about a two-hour trip, to go see the Golden Gate Bridge and some other attractions. If I have time later in the week (maybe Thursday or Friday) I’d love to go do a tour of Alcatraz as well.
But for now I’m going to finish my tea, read a bit of Leviathan Wakes, and have an early night.
And then tomorrow, adventures!
My room in the Stanford Guest House, near the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (we’re down the road from a particle accelerator!!!)