Meet Cath In College: Stanford’s top blogger
‘A high schooler came up to me today to say hi’
When Catherine Goetze started her personal blog Cath in College, she could never have imagined it would become a site that spoke to thousands of Stanford students.
What began as a private blog now has a huge online following — and high schoolers watch her for advice on applying to the college.
We sat down with campus star and 19-year-old sophomore Cath, who told us about her runaway success.
So what exactly is Cath in College?
Cath in College is the little corner of the internet I carved out for myself about a year ago. It’s a place where I have free reign to write and make videos and express myself in whatever way I want.
I write about current happenings on Stanford campus, college life in general, my travels, and my life. For example, I’ve written about what it was like to read my college admission documents, and I’ve made videos of me and my friends cramming into a tiny dorm room to answer questions that readers sent in anonymously. At the end of the day, I’d say Cath in College is one of the most smart, fun, and unique places on the Internet. There’s truly nothing else out there quite like it.
How did it all get started?
It started the summer going into my freshman year. At first, I was just goofing around. It took me a while to find the current CiC voice. Initially, I didn’t see the blog being long term project. In fact, if you go back and look at the first blog post I ever wrote, it ends with, “I don’t expect this to go on very long… I’ll probably create one or two posts total, and then never revisit this random Google account app for as long as I live.” It’s so funny reading that now.
I think finally making the blog public was a confidence and timing thing. I just needed time to find the right voice.
When did you start to realize Cath in College was getting big?
There’s an anonymous question portal for the blog, ask.fm/cathincollege, where readers can send in questions or feedback. At one point in time, about a year ago, I would get about two to three questions per week. Then, one day during the summer before my sophomore year, I logged on and saw 41 questions waiting for me in my inbox. All I could think was, “What the heck just happened?”
So I ended up sitting down and recording myself answering all these questions because I didn’t have time to write out all the answers. I just knocked them off rapid fire, one after the other. That was actually the first video I ever made specifically for Cath in College, and now videos make up some of the most popular posts on the blog.
It turns out the huge spike in ask.fm questions was coming from the incoming freshman class of 2019. They had found the blog and were posting links to posts in their Facebook group. As soon as I started engaging and interacting with them with posts like College packing checklist – the necessities, the good-to-haves, and the completely useless and [VIDEO] Advice for Freshman Year it continued to grow and grow and grow. Then, when they came to Stanford I got to meet people in person—people who I had never met but already knew so much about my life– that was a whole new level of crazy.
How did she find out about you?
She was thinking of applying to Stanford, and so she went on YouTube, searched “Stanford Student Life”, and found my channel. That’s how a good portion of my readers find the blog—they find me on YouTube and go from there.
You could be really influencing people’s choices and perspective of what Stanford is like.
That’s very true and kind of scary. I always joke, with every passing day Stanford communication must hate me more and more. I would hate it if I were in charge of the reputation of an institution like Stanford and if there was this one student with this much reach and influence. Not that I’m claiming I have the kind of power that could seriously influence the types of students who will be applying to Stanford, but I nevertheless take the responsibility that comes with having such a wide reach very seriously. Everything that goes up on the blog is intentional. I really do love Stanford. It’s a home to me—there’s nothing I would ever do to intentionally affect the university in a negative way.
Do you have a favorite blog post?
I think one that people really liked was the The Epic Chicken Tenders Mission. My friends and I were all just hanging out at night watching some good ol’ Harry Potter, and we all had this intense craving for chicken tenders. But we were way too lazy to go anywhere. So I whipped out my computer and blogged about it. I literally wrote a post called Does anybody wanna bring me chicken tenders?
Then, this guy Josh – the homie – actually brought chicken tenders to our suite! We got his arrival on video and people loved it, because they got to follow along the whole night as if they were really there. It was also just so random, and I feel like it captured the influence and reach that the blog has.
Afterwards, my friends joked about using the blog to ask everyone to bring us stuff, at which point I had to tell them that asking readers to bring us stuff definitely had to be a one time thing.
My friends actually play a huge role in the blog. They are a huge part of the blog’s success because what readers often like to see the most is campus social life. The fact that my friends are cool with me whipping out my camera while we’re just chilling as friends is huge. If they didn’t want me filming our interactions, I would be missing out on a lot of cool moments that capture a lot of what I think makes Stanford so special.
What do you find is the hardest part of running Cath in College?
Ohhh… that’s a good question. I would say the hardest part of maintaining Cath in College is not having an identity crisis while doing so. This blog has taken on a lot of different roles. It’s been a news source, it’s been a personal journal, it’s been a travel log, it’s been a late night ordering service, and it’s been a megaphone to the world at large. There are so many layers to the blog because there are many layers to me, so it’s been an interesting challenge to find the balance of where the blog ends and I begin. I’m constantly reflecting on where I should draw that line.
One thing I know for sure is that I prefer for people to not call me Cath in College as my name. Cath in College is the name of my blog—you can call me Cath, you can call me Catherine, my close friends can call me Kitty, but Cath in College is not me, it’s a website.
Where do you want to see Cath in College go in the future?
I get so much personal fulfillment from maintaining the blog. So much so that I think as long as it continues to be something genuine and fun, then I’ll keep working hard at it. If readership ever gets super-huge, that’s fantastic, so long as I haven’t sacrificed all of the things that make it what it is today in order to get there. “CiC” is my brainchild, so I would love to see it flourish, of course. Who wouldn’t? But even if Cath in College stayed the same size that it is today, I think I would still really enjoy maintaining it because it makes me happy. Plain and simple. I’ve created something unique and special for the World Wide Web, and I’m sharing my voice and my perspective with the world. That in and of itself is enough for me.