Maya Kuppermann, ‘14, is attending Stanford University.
Q: What are you majoring in?
A: I’m thinking human biology and in that a concentration in psychology. I wanted to do neuropsychology, but a major in that plus a minor in dance and premed was too much. Human biology has more overlap with premed.
Q: What surprised you?
A: Everyone is super social. I expected it to be a super intense study environment, but everyone always helps each other. We all understand how hard it is and help each other out through the roughness of the academics. People go out every weekend.
Q: Anything else?
A: People here do not sleep. This summer I got eight hours of sleep. Personally, I need my sleep. My friends go to bed at 4:30 a.m. and wake up at 8 a.m. and are totally peppy. Meanwhile, I’m dying.
Q: What is your favorite class?
A: Right now three of my dance classes all count for credit. I’m also taking a class that ended up having only two people in it. It’s how dance changed social norms: how dance has shaped history and revolution, how choreography is a form of protest. The professor is amazing. But with two people in the class, you really have to do the reading. It’s at 9 a.m. so that sucks a little.
Q: Any class you dislike?
A: Chemistry is rough. We have a midterm every three weeks. (Former SCDS chemistry teacher Alan) Beamer is the only reason I’m not struggling in this class. The way that chem is taught is not helpful. One of our professors teaches things that are interesting to him, but that doesn’t help us. The problem sets, which are a big part of our grade—a lot of the information is not in the book. If you want to do well, you have to self study. The books do not explain things well.
Q: How’s the food?
A: The food is so good. The guy who used to be the head chef at Slanted Door (a restaurant in San Francisco) is now the head of our dining room. We have a mini Chipotle. On Sunday night you can go over to different dining halls, and they have Indian food and Chinese food. They have late night that goes from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Q: Are you doing any extracurriculars?
A: I am in a hip-hop group called DV8. I never really did that much hip-hop, and I wasn’t expecting to get in. Our PHE (Peer Health Educator), who is essentially an RA but more focused on the health side, was like, “You should audition.”
I am also in a contemporary dance group that is through the department so it’s more official. It’s called Chocolate Heads.
I’m also my dorm captain for dance marathon, which is a fundraiser. We have a big dance marathon in February for raising money for Partners in Health in Rwanda. It’s a yearlong effort. We’ll probably raise around $100,000.
Everyone here is really into bonding with people in the club. You are really close to all the people in your extracurriculars.
Q: Are you involved in Greek life?
A: We don’t rush until spring, so I have a while to think about it. I never really pictured myself as the sorority type, but at Stanford a lot of the bad stereotypes aren’t true. I’ll probably end up rushing and then if I think it’s not my thing, then not do it. They have really nice housing, and the girls are really nice.
Q: Does Stanford have any weird traditions?
A: Full moon around the quad. On the first full moon of the year, everyone dresses up and goes out to the main quad. The school puts it on, which is odd. You have a DJ. At midnight everyone makes out with each other.
Usually people do a lot of fountain hopping. (But) because of the drought they turned off the fountain.
The first week, during orientation, all the RAs in the dorm surprise us, and at midnight we sprint the entire campus and we follow the band and all the upperclassmen dressed up in rally clothes.
For most of the clubs, instead of emailing you saying, “Congrats you got in,” the day they are announcing it they come banging on your door and take you out for breakfast or something. You’re in your pajamas with no make-up on, and you’re like, “What’s happening?” One of the ones I’m in did it at 3 a.m. During that week no one gets any sleep because everyone’s being rolled out.
Q: What was orientation like?
A: It’s a bunch of information about harassment and drinking and stuff. They try to make it fun by putting in more fun events. You’re forced to go to a bunch of things that you don’t really want to go to. It’s forced awkward social interaction. If they had done it earlier in the summer or condensed it into three days, it would have been better.
Q: Your advice to the class of ‘14?
A: When applying to schools, definitely just go ahead and apply where you want to.
One thing people told me was to join as many clubs as I want and enjoy myself. That made my first month and a half so nice. You have to audition for a lot of the clubs, and you get to meet a lot of people.
People don’t realize how much more time you have in college. You have to dive in and pursue your interests right away because that’s where I met all these great people.