The following is North alumna Rafeea Tamboli’s response to our questions about her college decision process, the student life and culture at Stanford University, and more.


Tamboli graduated from North in 2019. She is a part of Stanford University’s class of 2023.

I decided to go to Stanford because of a couple reasons. First, one of the best offers I got in terms of a school that had strong academics and financial aid was Stanford. Second, after I visited the college during admit weekend, I knew Stanford was the place for me. 

I’m not super sure what exactly clicked for me. Maybe it was the people, the campus, the feeling of being in a different place, but I just kind of knew that Stanford was where I would spend the next couple of years of my life. 

I’m super glad that I decided to attend Stanford. It has opened up so many opportunities for me, allowed me to meet so many exciting and new people, and learn so much more than I could imagine. 

There were a couple of occasions where I would’ve loved to go home, but it was mainly for family events like birthdays and family dinners. The way our breaks are scheduled, though, prevents me from feeling that homesick, because as soon as finals are done, we get to head back home for a couple of days. Also, I have a great group of friends that make it hard to get homesick. As cliché as it sounds, my friends are my second family. 

Something I miss about the WW-P area is being able to drive around, get burgers (from Zacs!), and be around my family and friends. 

Stanford University

Photo Credit:

My favorite thing about Stanford is definitely the people. I’ve met some amazing people through clubs and in my dorm. They’ve really shaped my freshman year (or at least what part of it I had). We’ve created some beautiful memories doing things like attending a basketball game and making dinner or staying at an Airbnb for a weekend retreat and going to the beach. 

The hardest thing about attending Stanford is that there’s an underlying assumption that everyone is amazing at everything. Sometimes, I feel like the classes are designed that way too. For example, I’ve never coded before going to college. I took an introductory coding course that was made for students who haven’t coded before. However, I felt like a good portion of the work in that class couldn’t have been done without additional help⁠—it definitely did not feel like an intro level course at all. 

I think the assumption that everyone is super smart is detrimental because it definitely makes you feel like you aren’t enough. Imposter syndrome is most definitely real⁠—there have been times where I’ve questioned my admission because I felt like I was not at the level as other people. 

Overall, there’s a really positive culture at Stanford. I think there’s a great balance between having that great college experience, but also striving for a better education. For the most part, I feel like people are elated to be at Stanford (the nice weather is probably a factor as well!).

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