Well, it was definitely a strange year to be graduating Stanford . . . but the Class of 2020 did it! Once you’re done celebrating with quarantinis, here are ten things you should do (and advice I wish I’d had) after graduation.
- Set up auto forwarding and a vacation responder from your Stanford email to your personal email. This is so important! You will lose access to your Stanford email soon. It’s very annoying. Since your “SUID” will never be deleted (you need it to login to Axess to access your transcript), your email account will not be deleted—but you will lose access to it. I set up a vacation responder so that anyone who emails me will get a message with my new email and I also have autoforwarding to my alumni account so I get a copy of any emails sent to my Stanford account.
- Set up your alumni email. The class of 2020 has all been given Stanford alumni accounts (is what I have been told!). You can log into Gmail using your alumni credentials to get access to your alumni email. Additionally the Stanford alumni directory is actually fantastic for searching for roommates, mentors and/or jobs in specific cities!
- Change the owner email for any accounts storing documents. If you have any cloud or document sharing apps through your Stanford account, for example Google Drive or Box, make sure that you either download those documents or make your personal email account the owner.
- Download your email data. There is a Google tool that will allow you to download all of your Stanford email data through Gmail. I found that there was too much data for this to be really worth it — however I highly recommend that you export your contact directory. The most annoying thing about not having access to your email is realizing you only have someone’s email saved on your Stanford account. Additionally, if you download your Stanford email directory it should also save the emails of Stanford faculty and staff as well, which can be helpful in the future.
- Other accounts associated with your Stanford email. If you have used your Stanford email to make other accounts — for example an Amazon Prime account — they will still work. However, make sure you have auto forwarding from your Stanford email set up (see advice no. 1) so that you don’t get locked out of these accounts if you forget your password.
- Utilize your deactivation strategically. If there are people who you would like an excuse to get in touch with, emailing them and CCing your personal email to let them know that your Stanford email is going to be deactivated is a great reason to get in touch and let them know what you’re doing next! For example “Hi person I admire, I just wanted to let you know that my Stanford email will be deactivated — but I am moving to DC to start X and I would love to meet up or have coffee sometime as you’re free.”
- Keep in touch with professors and mentors. People do like to hear from you periodically and know how you’re doing! Please don’t forget that your professors and other mentors (me included!) love to hear from you, even if it’s just a check in to say hello! I always made it a point to write an email update to my closest professors and staff members every few months — even if they don’t send very long responses, they still really appreciate you thinking about them and love to hear how you’re doing. Also, you feel significantly less guilty about it when you do eventually have to email them and ask for letters of recommendation.
- Set up a group chat with your friends. Group chats are way more fun (and stay way more active) than one on one messages! Use your platform of choice, but remember — iMessages and WhatsApp use end-to-end encryption and never text anything you don’t want coming up in your Senate campaign in 20 years.
- Download syllabi and books from the library before your SUID is deactivated. They call us Nerd Nation for a reason. If there are any classes you wish you could have taken, but never fit with your schedule, download the syllabus from syllabus.stanford.edu. And, because of coronavirus, the Stanford library suddenly has a lot more ebooks you can download. Make sure to do this before your SUID is de-activated! You may find after graduation that you have a lot more time for personal reading than you did as a student.
- Join alumni associations. There is, of course, the official Stanford alumni association, but there are a lot of other alumni organizations that can be a meaningful but stress free way to stay connected to the Stanford community. (For example, I hear the Stanford Indigenous Alumni Association.)
BONUS ADVICE: Don’t be afraid to take a break or take time for yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You deserve a break! You deserve to take time off! Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Update: Also remember to change your Stanford PO Box address anywhere you may have entered your Stanford mailing address!
Congratulations Class of 2020! You did it!
Many, many thanks to Carson Smith, Anjali Katta, Ben Chao, Kanani Schnider, Maya Lorey, Ben Gardner-Gill, Max Vilgalys and Kimberly Tan for their ideas for this list!