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Joining the Stanford Family through Dorm Traditions

You step out of the car. It's the first day of freshmen orientation. A fresh start, a new beginning. A thousand thoughts rush through your mind. What will Stanford be like? How hard will your classes be? Will you make friends? Will your roommate be weird?

Map and suitcase in hand, you approach your dorm. Suddenly, a group of students run toward you, cheering your name. "Welcome to Stanford."

Every year, thousands of freshmen are greeted by their dorm staff in this manner. Whether they are in an all-freshman, four-class, or ethnic-theme dorm, this is the first of many dorm traditions that welcome students to the Stanford community and ease freshmen anxieties. Through dorm traditions, students find a home and a family at Stanford, forming lasting bonds with their dormmates.

Among freshmen activities, perhaps the most memorable are those of New Student Orientation (NSO). Marching from event to event, freshmen and staff display dorm spirit by waving their flags and out-cheering other dorms.

Okada freshmen proudly march along their flag

Branner freshmen spell out the letters of Stanford University on their chests in red paint
In a cherished Stanford tradition, students decorate one another in school colors before their first American football game of the year.

Trancos freshmen prepare to drag their dormmate indoors to the shower for his birthday during their annual snow trip
No Stanford freshman can turn a year older without being thrown in the shower at midnight by their housemates. A fortunate few receive this honor during the annual snow trip to Lake Tahoe; as seen above, there are those who put up a good fight.

Supporting their students as does a family, the staff write motivational messages to their residents all across campus before finals.

Dorm activities unify houses and ease the transition of freshmen to college life. Such traditions promote a fun and generally stress-free environment outside of academics. By the end of their first quarter, freshmen feel as though they have been part of the Stanford family all along.

By Budi (Okada), Madina (Trancos), Trisha (Trancos), and Kristine (Branner)


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Hello Budi, Madina, Trisha , and Kristine,

I love how you paint such a vivid picture of Stanford dorm life! People can truly visualize the experience of arriving the first week on campus

You also share with your readers some of the more honored Stanford "traditions"

I would like to know how different readers responded to these descriptions



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Mit freundlichem Gruss
Frank Steinmeisner

It seems to be a wonderful and exciting atmosphere at Stanford during the freshers welcome day. In fact your writing has made the whole scene appear live in front of my eyes. I'm simply impressed. The first day is really an interesting and memorable day in every persons life.

an interesting description of what we call orienteering week here in New Zealand.


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