Tuesday, February 6, 2018

David Snyder - Top 5's and Top 10's


In the spirit of the new year, I thought it would be fun to generate a few “Top 10” and “Top 5” lists. From my top golf courses to my favorite LP’s, the lists will provide some insight into the life of a student-athlete at Stanford University in 2018 and a little about the things I enjoy.  

Top 5 courses we play as Stanford golfers:

To start off, I’d like to rank the courses I’ve had the great fortune of being able to play with my teammates in qualifying. We don’t always play a qualifier among our own team to determine the top 3 to 6 players that will travel to every tournament, but when we do, we will usually play a series of courses over a period of a week or two. For ranking these courses, I considered the quality of the course architecture (including the views!) and the usual condition of the course.Outside of our Stanford University home course, here are the others I really like:

1. Cal Club - unreal bunkering that reminds me of Royal Melbourne
2. Olympic Club (Lake Course)
3. CordeValle - the course is on a great piece of property and the greens get an A for design
4. San Francisco Golf Club
5. Lake Merced

Top 10 places to eat as a college student:

Is it just me or are restaurants hard to rank in a specific order? I struggled because as I wrote this, a plate of Texas BBQ sounded particularly good! If you’re visiting Palo Alto, you shouldn’t be led astray if you go to any of the places on this list (they also won’t take any nasty bites out of your wallet). I also avoided including any chain restaurants. I mainly considered the quality of the food at each restaurant, but I also considered the atmosphere and ambiance.

1. Sweetgreen - this place will challenge the best salad you’ve ever had
2. Armadillo Willy’s BBQ
3. NOLA Restaurant & Bar - vibrant ambiance
4. Bare Bowls
5. The Willows Market
6. Lulu’s at Town & Country Village - can’t go wrong with a burrito
7. Steam
8. Aroy Thai Bistro
9. Sprout Cafe
10. Jeffrey’s Hamburgers - has the diner vibe and sells great milkshakes

Top 5 dessert places in Palo Alto:

1. Pressed Juicery - the frozen juice is just like the texture of frozen yogurt and even better!
2. Tin Pot
3. Cream - the cookies are even better than the ice cream
4. Scoop
5. Yogurtland

Top 10 LP’s:

I’ll change the pace here a little and talk about some 33’s. I’ve always loved music and sharing music with people, after all, that’s how I’ve been introduced to my favorite stuff. Since last year, I’ve been getting into vinyl records and many people have helped my collection grow. Here are my favorites so far. I considered the entire collection of songs as opposed to just the hits when ranking these records. Of course the epic album artwork of Stairway to Heaven and Days of Future Passed carried some weight!

1. Hotel California by The Eagles
2. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
3. Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues
4. The Stranger by Billy Joel
5. Rumors by Fleetwood Mac
6. Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. Innocent Man by Billy Joel
8. Eagles by The Eagles
9. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
10. Back in Black by AC/DC

Top 5 places to study on Stanford campus:

As much as I wish I could play golf, listen to music, and eat all day, I must admit I am also a student at Stanford. So, I’d like to share where most of the magic happens. Stanford’s campus is massive and there are literally thousands of places to sit down and do work, but only a small few are practical on a day to day basis and only a couple are worth going out of the way to get work done.

1. My dorm room in Kimball Hall
2. Law School Terrace - the vines and fountains make it a great scene
3. In a hammock at Terman Fountain - some work can be done in a hammock, trust me
4. Green Library (Lane Reading Room) - the definition of quiet
5. The Stanford Varsity Golf Clubhouse - my second home on campus

Top 5 classes I’ve taken at Stanford:

The single most important thing I do here at Stanford is take classes (I had to say this in case my dad sees this blog). I’ve tried my best to select classes that I will personally value and ones that will advance my pre-law track. Although pre-law is not a specific track like Pre Med, it is important to take classes that are rigorous and prepare students for the kind of writing and research work of Law School. For ranking my classes, I considered everything from quality of the professor (a very important metric) to the amount I enjoyed the work content of the course.

1. Introduction to American Law (AMSTUD 179)
2. Public Speaking: Romancing the Room (ORALCOMM 118)
3. The Romans (HISTORY 102A)
4. The Changing Face of War: Introduction to Military History (HISTORY 103F)
5. Introduction to Music Theory (MUSIC 19A)

Top 10 smartphone applications:

Since Stanford is in Silicon Valley, I might be in trouble if I didn’t have a list of something pertaining to tech. In the year and a half I’ve been at Stanford I’ve been introduced to many new helpful smartphone applications that make things easier. To rank these apps I thought about which ones I couldn’t live without...so there is no list….just kidding. Although I could live without all of these apps, they help my efficiency. If you haven’t heard of any of these apps I highly recommend looking them up and seeing of you could benefit from using them in some way - I know I have!

1. DoorDash - get food delivered from virtually any nearby restaurant in under an hour
2. InstaCart - restock the fridge without having to shop at the store
3. SnapChat - communicate easily with friends
4. Venmo - no cash?...split the check with friends using your debit card funds
5. Moment - track the amount of time you spend on your phone daily
6. Parkmobile - pay for on campus parking on the go
7. Yelp - find the best restaurants in town
8. Tile - if you lose your keys, find them through bluetooth
9. Google Maps - never get lost...hopefully
10. SeatGeek - find all the concerts in town and buy and receive tickets immediately

Top 10 photos I’ve taken while at Stanford:

Stanford, the places our team travels, and the Bay Area in general are full of places to snap great photos. I hope to convey some of what is fun and beautiful about life at Stanford. The particular order of the following photos is not as significant as the previous rankings.

1.













- My teammates might laugh if they see that I chose a sunset photo as the first one on the list, but it’s true, I do love sunsets. I took this photo after a long practice at our awesome practice facility on campus called the Siebel. One of the best views on the property is looking over the hills as the sun falls through the clouds.  


2.















- One of the perks of having a brilliant group of students around you on campus is that many of them play instruments really really well. This is a photo of our Stanford Symphony Orchestra as they prepare to start a piece by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 5 in E minor.

3.















- This is Arastradero Biking trail just 10 minutes drive up the road from campus. It’s a relatively tame trail and a wonderful workout for a sunny day. When my sister was a visiting student at Stanford over the summer, we biked this trail multiple times.

4.















- This is Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, in the middle of singing of their hit song, Hymn for the Weekend. During fall quarter, I went to this concert with my old teammate Viraat Badhwar who graduated in 2017. The Bay Area is host to concerts by the best musicians in the world so I always keep a lookout for tours. Next up is Justin Timberlake in April - I hope I can find a way to make it to that one!

5.













- Rarely do we button up as a team, but some of us did for the Cardinal Classic dinner that we have every year in the Spring. It’s an event held for the benefit of the Women’s and Men’s Stanford Golf programs and last year Condoleezza Rice was a special guest speaker along with George Shultz. (From Left to Right: Chris Meyers, Isaiah Salinda, Franklin Huang, Jeff Swegle, Brandon Wu, Henry Shimp, Bradley Knox, Me, Viraat Badhwar)

6.











- Some may not be able to pinpoint exactly where this is on campus because this area is usually completely dry. Last winter we had so much rain that Lake Lag actually filled up completely. The lake was directly behind my freshman dorm, Roble Hall, and was a beautiful place to sit on bench during the months it was full.

7.















- Although we do have plenty of palm trees at Stanford, these particular ones find their home on the Big Island in Hawaii where I played my first college tournament, the Amer Ari Invitational. As usual, the weather was fantastic that week and the team camaraderie was a blast.

8.















- Fall does actually exist at sunny Stanford! This is a view of Roble Hall last year as the sun hit the colorful leaves of the trees out front. Bikes are seen everywhere on campus, as they are the primary mode of transportation for students.

9.















- One of the most beautiful spots on campus is Meyer Green and the fountain right next to it. If it’s a sunny day and the weekend, you’ll often see young kids playing in the fountain (as a couple are in the photo). I took this photo from inside Green Library where I study on occasion. During finals week, the whole entire paved area you see in this photo is covered with bikes due to all the students who are hunkering down in the library.


10.












- I thought I’d wrap up this blog post with a photo of the Pacific Ocean from the par 3 course called the Cliffs at Olympic Club. We practiced here for an afternoon last year in preparation for our tournament in Hawaii. There are few experiences better than playing at Olympic Club, on a warm sunny day, with your teammates who are all playing well and excited for a trip to Hawaii.

That’s it for now! Until next time, GO CARD!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nate Menon- Trust The Process

I should probably start with a little bit about myself.  I’m a perfectionist.  I like to have control.  I like to plan.  Everything I did in regard to golf in the past year was focused on the goal of contributing to the team when I arrived on campus.  I planned my entire 2017 schedule so that I would be peaking in September, and I was.  Then I injured my calf three days before the team reported for preseason practices, and my entire plan was thrown out the window. 

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about for this post, so I started with the best source of inspiration I could think of, The Truth.  I read Ashwin’s recent blog post (it’s a must read by the way), and realized that despite being in the same position as incoming freshmen, we had significantly different first quarters.  While the team was competing against Army in the Bush Cup, I was back on campus with our team trainer getting treatment on my calf.  Instead of lifting during workouts, I was doing physical therapy exercises. During practices and qualifying, I was sitting on the metaphorical sideline that doesn’t exist in golf.  I’ll be honest, it was frustrating.  I was around the team, but my physical limitations made it difficult to feel like I was contributing, and it weighed on me mentally. 

So, I trusted the process.  I couldn’t control the fact that I was unable to play golf, but I could control how I reacted to a difficult situation.  I did everything I could from a rehabilitation perspective so that I could be back playing as soon as possible, and I tried to focus on the positives.  I had great teammates, great coaches, and the Eagles were winning (and still are.  Nick Foles is taking us to the Super Bowl.  Don’t @ me.).  I realized that I wasn’t going to have the fall season I had envisioned for the past two years since I committed to Stanford, but that didn’t have to be a bad thing.  If anything, it made me appreciate Stanford even more.

For starters, the weather is absolutely unreal.  From when I arrived on campus to winter break, it rained once.  Yes, once.  I don’t think I checked the weather past the middle of September once I realized it was going to be somewhere from 65 to 75 degrees and sunny every day.  That’s not exactly what I’m used to coming from Pennsylvania.

Despite how great the weather is, it is the people you meet and interact with every day that makes Stanford unique.  I quickly realized that there’s a reason why the acceptance rate was 4.65% last year.  Stanford students are special.  I’ve met Olympic gold medalists, published writers, Heisman finalists (the voting is rigged), and the list goes on and on.  Just in our freshman dorm, we have multiple national champions, a PAC-12 freshman of the year and first team All-American, founders of successful businesses, public figures, and probably more than a few other future millionaires.  Over our three-week winter break, I had a friend attend a U.S. soccer national team camp, a friend who studied in Israel, and a friend who did this:



Like I said, pretty special.

I’ve learned that every student at Stanford has a reason why they are here, because they are capable of doing great things.  I really feel like that’s true of our team this year.  Some have written us off after graduating two incredible seniors in Viraat and Mav, but having been on the sideline, I’ve seen how hard our guys have been working, and I think we’re poised to have a special spring season.

As for me, my calf is starting to feel better, and hopefully I’ll be back playing soon.  Until then, I guess I’ll just have to keep trusting the process.

Go Card!

-Nate