Stanford was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had so much fun today touring the campus, and then doing a design thinking challenge at the d. School!!!!!
My mind is still being blown that we did that today to be honest.
The were a few of us specifically that were just falling in love with the school. The entire community had a supportive feel to it. Everyone we met was really nice and seemed to genuinely enjoy the student life.
The school has over 650 student run organizations including varsity, club, and intramural sports ranging from ultimate Frisbee to football, and also clubs like the Improvisers which is an on campus improv group. I was really happy to learn that anyone can audition for any of the drama productions and band groups, and how you can create intramural sports teams just by signing up with a group of friends. If there really isn’t an organization you’re looking for, it isn’t hard to create it.
I loved how everyone we talked to, including a former student of one of our chaperones, talked about how your story is more important than your specific grades. Everyone has a different background and something that makes them special. The important thing is to get colleges to hear your story and what you would bring to the school and hope to get out of the school.
I don’t know what I specifically want to do quite yet, so I also really liked how Stanford allows you to be undeclared until the end of sophomore year. Everyone encouraged us to take advantage of the ability to take lots of different courses early on to figure out what you really like. They also have a quarters system which allows you to take even more classes.
I’m all about inter-disciplinary courses, and Stanford really seems to embrace this idea. Even the quad was designed as one continuous building as a metaphor for how all of the courses are connected.
I can’t even begin to describe how happy I was to actually go to the d.School!!!!
MVPS has gotten a lot of ideas from the Stanford d. School. In fact, today when we went through a challenge, we noticed early prototypes of pages from the DEEP DT Playbook that we use at MVPS. The d. School has kind of been like a celebrity to me; that great far off place we always hear about but haven’t really gotten to interact with. Now we got to actually go there ourselves and that was the most exciting thing!!!!
The d. School is not an official “school” at Stanford, so you can’t get a degree there, but anyone can take any of the classes. I was happy to discover this because what makes me most inspired by Stanford is the fact that this d. School even exists. The work I’ve been doing through out high school has really been centered around the redesign of education so that it prepares students for the “real world”. There are so many times where I come across someone (sometimes me) saying, “the problem is college”, because whatever we want to do at the k-12 level doesn’t match what colleges “want”. Well, the d.School shows that some colleges and universities are recognizing the changes happening in education and are striving to get the mindsets of design to their students which makes me really happy. 🙂
I’ve been focusing on space a lot recently with the creation of the iStudio, so I was really excited to see the inside of the d. School on top of other things they have to offer.
I was not disappointed.
The environment looked fabulous. We did a little observation while we were there and the rooms had whiteboard panels that could move and create small rooms in the big area. There were chairs and tables built out of card board. Lots of big windows for natural light. Sticky-notes and passion boards everywhere, People researching in small groups low to the ground, and ideating while standing. It was beautiful.
The challenge we did was around redesigning the classroom experience. This topic was obviously pretty close to all of us, and I loved the ideas that came from it. I definitely think our presenters did not expect us to be very experienced with design thinking, but I mean they don’t work with high schoolers and you never want to expect too much out of a group. It was just kind of funny to me because I haven’t done a challenge where it was facilitated by someone who doesn’t know me or how versatile MVPS students in general are with design thinking already, which I hadn’t even noticed until today.
We ended up leaving the experience with some great ideas about the need for some communal, coffee house like place at MVPS for students and teachers to really further develop those personal connections and share ideas in a comfortable low stress environment. After all today we had the 4th person (at least) choose the “collaborator” mindset as the one that stood out most to them.
Overall the day was just fantastic!
I know it wasn’t our exact essential question for the day, but for me today was about “How do you discover what path is right for you?” I think the best advice we were given today was, “Don’t try to be someone else, because you will never be better than them. Instead, be the best you that you can be.” Ya everyone said grades and test scores are definitely important, and there are a fair amount of people that are accepted due to research work they are already doing, but they also said that everyone is different and everyone on campus has their reason for being accepted. It’s not just about the number of APs you take. It is about how you challenge yourself in and out of the classroom and what your story is that makes you stand out.