I am trying to spend some time wandering about the Stanford campus and taking some photographs each time I go home to visit my parents. It is odd to walk around Stanford: as a graduate student, I have spent some seven years in higher education so far, with three different universities becoming intimately familiar to me. I am quite familiar with Stanford, but as a local of the Palo Alto area, not as a student, and I have no sense of ownership, no areas of emotional significance associated with events in my education, nor any real sense that I might chance upon a friend while walking across campus (though I am acquainted with at least a half-dozen people who might regularly be found there). I have a very real sense of being an outsider, a sense that is not helped by the difference in status between Stanford and my undergraduate campus, UCSC.
The Stanford campus is much neater and more organized than the Toronto campus–which isn’t surprising, given that it is an actual semi-planned campus, as opposed to a semi-coherent tangle of city properties that are affiliated in some way with a university governing body in the heart of a big city. In fact, the city thing is something of a sore point for Stanford: so long as I can recall, they have been trying to secede from Palo Alto, an issue that is periodiccally exacerbated by disputes over housing ddevelopment on Sand Hill Road (though that may have been resolved by now–I am more than a bit out of touch).