My Roommate + A Tangent on Ender's Game

The Saturday before leaving, I finally saw the house of my roommate, Nick Isaacs.  It was big.  The folks were friendly.  The garden was nice. 

Nick has a really big book collection, too.  On a related note, I discovered that recent printings of Ender’s Game have a new cover.  It’s weird how much the new cover disturbs me.  I had no attachment to the old cover, and it doesn’t affect me whatsoever when other books change their covers, but the no cover just seems so wrong.

Summer Plans

I’m not doing anything definite this summer, so I’ll have some time.

Reading (1)

I have already read The Plague.  It’s now my favorite book.  I’ll probably reread it in a bit. 


Sophomore College (1)

Stanford has a program called Sophomore College.  Fall term starts towards the end of September, and SoCo goes from the beginning of September until the start of fall term.  In  SoCo, you only take one class, and it meets every day of the week.  To do a SoCo, you have to apply – each SoCo has enrollment capped at 16ish, and there are only 10 or 20 of them, so there are always more people who want to do a SoCo than spots available. 

The Plague: Camus' and My Philosophy


My favorite reading in SLE was Camus’ The Stranger.  The protagonist, Meursault, is very similar to me in many ways.  He has seen what the existentialists call “the absurd” – the idea that, unless you believe in religion or a substitute (like nationalism, fascism, capitalism, Marxism, etc), there is no way to say that there is any absolute Truth or value, and in the current historical moment, even if people claim to believe in those things, most are just going through the motions.  In other words, “the absurd” is the idea that there is no absolute meaning to life.  The universe is

Queer Straight Alliance

In May, last year’s QSA leadership approached me and recommended that I apply to be part of next year’s QSA leadership.  I applied, and now I’m co-chair and financial manager.

In the past few years, it has mostly been a social organization.  Last year, they organized the work on the No On Prop 8 campaign, but not a whole lot of other political action.  There is a lot of potential in the organization, though, and I hope to make it a lot more political.  One thing that we’ll want to do is organize an Ally Week to try to get more people to identify as allies to LGBTQ people. 

Student Government

This past year, I was an executive fellow on the ASSU (Associated Students of Stanford University – Student Government) web team.  Starting this spring, I became a deputy chair of technology.

Because of Gobaud’s CS experience and public service attitude, there are a lot of cool projects underway.  There are some general student-life applications (ie, online room reservations for the student union), but, for instance, we’ll also be creating a service database where anyone can post their experiences with the many public service organizations on or near campus.

Dance Marathon Hackathon

Last year’s student body president, a few years ago, started Dance Marathon.  It’s an annual 24 hour fundraiser for FACE AIDS / Partners in Health that was was started as a response to reading Paul Farmer’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains. 


There aren’t very many debate tournaments in the spring term, so nothing much to report there.  There were elections on the debate team, and I’m now the Captain of NDT-style debate (policy debate, as opposed to parliamentary debate) and the webmaster for the debate team.

Ed193a: Peer Counseling

Speaking of applied classes in the school of education…

Ed193a is a class that trains students to be peer counselors at The Bridge, Stanford’s 24-hour, free, anonymous peer counseling service.  I didn’t come in to it thinking that I would want to be a peer counselor.  I actually just got an email, before picking my classes, entitled: “Ed193a – Be a Better RA, Friend, and Leader!”  I thought that the class would teach me some good listening skills, and I knew a friend who had a positive experience in the class last term, so I decided to take it.

Soc22n: The Roots of Social Movements (3)

Overall, Soc22 was interesting at times, but fairly basic.  It went over the sociological study of social movements – basically, reaffirming intuition about social movements and using a lot of jargon to do so – and applied that to different social movements. 


Subscribe to Sam King's Verbose Letters RSS