Cardinal Spirit

Hi, new contributor here – my name is Sarah!  I’ve never written on a blog before, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops.

And right there, before I even introduce myself further, I hope that gives some sense of the Cardinal spirit.  Or how I perceive the Cardinal spirit, anyway.  First, there’s the fact that I’m jumping into something new, pushing away any insecurities.  More exciting, though, is how this blog has taken off with so many contributors so quickly.  I have to take a moment now to applaud Amelia Brooks for starting the blog – a true Stanford entrepreneur!  Now take a look at the sidebar on the right, and you’ll see how many people have jumped at this opportunity.  If I had any doubts about my college choice, the energy of my classmates reminded me why I chose this school.  I’m not even there yet, and I feel part of a vibrant, generous community.

Any community, of course, is composed of individuals.  So, who am I?

I grew up in Washington State, attending the same school from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  My graduating class had only 78 students.  The majority of my time is spent with homework, admittedly, but I’m also very committed to playing the cello.  I started when I was in fourth grade, and since then I’ve played in my local youth symphony, All-State orchestras, Solo & Ensemble, various chamber ensembles, and at Carnegie Hall.  That last is with a full symphony, of course, not solo!

Here’s an interesting point, though, with the usual disclaimer that I have no idea why the admissions office makes the decisions it does.  None of my three application essays were explicitly about the cello.  One or two may have alluded to music more generally, but I let the activities portion of the Common App speak for itself.  I’m not at all suggesting that you should avoid talking about the activities you list; rather, I’m just trying to say that you shouldn’t feel obligated to address those activities.  Write about whatever feels right to you instead of trying to wrestle a topic into an essay.

I am passionate about linguistics and computer science, and I registered my school to compete in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad.  I plan on pursuing both fields through the Symbolic Systems program.  That program was a huge factor in my decision to apply to Stanford.  I’m also a proud member of the Linguistic Society of America!  That was just a matter of filling out the registration on the website, of course, but it was cool nevertheless.

I’ve already mentioned a few reasons why I chose Stanford: an energetic community of doers, great programs in linguistics and computer science, and especially the track of combining the two.  After that, can’t forget the weather!  Keep in mind that I’ve spent all my life in rainy western Washington, haha.  The campus is beautiful – if you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it.  And then there are little things like the taiko Japanese drumming ensemble.  Taiko is something I’ve been interested in for a long time, but I’ve never had the resources.  I’m sure you’ll find your own niche group on campus that will fire up your excitement.  There’s so much happening, I would be surprised if you didn’t!  I also took classes on campus during summer quarter last year.  I’ll probably address that in another post.

Thanks for reading!
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