Honor code and other principles
Honor and mutual respect seem to be very important around here. In a orientation lecture Stanford was presented as “principle-driven university”, these principles being important things like academic integrity, doing the right thing and treating everyone with equal respect. We were also given a booklet labeled “Honor code” and told to learn it. Also, the way Americans have a very enthusiastic approach to just about everything is really interesting to a Finn. Somehow, everything seems to be awesome and flashy and great. In Finland going to a university is somewhat grey – you go, study and finally get a degree and a job, perhaps. Not much passion or special feelings involved. In Stanford students pay around 60 000 dollars a year, and it shows in everything: in the way the students and staff talk, how almost everyone wears a shirt that says “Stanford” and the bus system on campus is free, for example. You can buy Stanford swag for babies. The passion I heard a lot about before coming here shows. Also the fact that a lot of money resides here is obvious. The residences, lecture halls, the dining halls, the well maintained grass and trees… Everything looks very nice.
Taking part in lectures, talking to professors and taking initiative in your studies are greatly encouraged. Stuff that is encouraged in Finland as well, but doesn’t really happen. Lectures in Finland, for example, are often a monologue of the lecturer – sometimes it’s how the lecturer wants (I think) and sometimes how the audience acts. There haven’t been many lectures here yet, but the few we’ve had have shown the trend I mentioned. It’s refreshing. Maybe I’ll learn that as well.
On a side note, the weather is sunny and excellent.