The best places to cry at Stanford

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back

It’s the middle of autumn quarter at Stanford: you have doubts about our nation’s democracy, you have a two-hour midterm scheduled for Wednesday, and your laundry hamper has somehow turned into a game of Tetris. At this point it all starts to feel exceedingly overwhelming, and even having to sit on your damp bike seat is enough to make your eyes a bit damp as well.

Apparently adults are supposed to have these things called “coping mechanisms,” but sometimes the only satisfying way to express your utter despair involves fat tears, indecipherable wails, and an ugly cry-face. When your dorm room just won’t cut it, here are the best places at Stanford to get your sob on.

The bike racks


I know what you’re thinking: there are so many bike racks on campus. This just means that there are so many available places to collapse into a blubbering ball of stress!

Bike racks are ideal for this type of activity because you can squeeze your body right in between two metal frames and it almost feels like a hug.

Feel free to shamelessly use others people’s belongings for your own personal comfort, but try to stay out of the way of those pretending to keep it together.

The lounge piano


There’s no better spot for a psychotic break than your own dormitory lounge. Head down there after a particularly troubling problem set and start plunking out a melancholy tune on the most likely badly tuned lounge piano. Let out some whimpers to accompany your song.

If your playing is good enough, audience members will surely join in your sorrow, while if your playing is bad enough, listeners will cry all the same.

If your dorm lounge doesn’t have a piano, then lay face-down on a couch and consider yourself lucky.

Your dining hall (when it’s closed)


Whether it’s 3:00 in the afternoon or 3:00 in the morning, you’re bound to get some serious cravings from all of that learning and sleeplessness. At this point you would waste a whole meal swipe just for some soft serve ice cream or a salad bowl full of Cocoa Puffs.

First, make sure that your dining hall is closed, and then proceed to go there anyways just to pull on the locked doors while wailing.

This will get tiring, so make sure you bring a textbook or pillow so you can read or nap for several hours and still be ready the moment the doors open (ok, let’s be honest, just bring a pillow).

Arrillaga Gym


We’ve all heard that exercise is an easy and healthy way to boost energy, relieve stress, and improve one’s mood. Recite these benefits to yourself all of the way to Arrillaga Gym until you’re on a treadmill, and then allow yourself to wonder if that magazine article you read last week is actually based on facts.

Since you’re already red-faced and breathing erratically, it’s the perfect time to turn on the waterworks. Cry because running is hard, lifting free weights is hard, and pretending like you know how to operate that leg machine is hard.

Then cry tears of joy because you can just make herbal tea tomorrow instead of working out.

Any and all Stanford libraries


It doesn’t matter if it’s Lathrop or Green: Stanford libraries have an air of knowledge and wisdom about them that is suffocating when you’re feeling anything but knowledgable and wise.

If you get lost in the rows of bookshelves, start sobbing so someone can find you.

If your back hurts from sitting at a table for too long, howl with anguish until someone has the chance to arrange a chiropractic appointment.

If you are simply overcome with a sense of camaraderie as you look upon your similarly struggling classmates, verbally release your sorrows so they feel comfortable joining in. The bottom line: cry.

Outside Memorial Church


Since you don’t want the fantastic acoustics inside of Memorial Church to be echoing disruptively as you bawl, stay on the outside. You can admire the beautiful mosaic exterior through blurry eyes while surrounded by palm trees and tourists.

This also may be the perfect time to start praying that you pass chemistry or that an asteroid hits the earth before the next Supreme Court justice is picked.

The top of Hoover Tower


Hoover Tower is a major Stanford landmark that offers the most breathtaking views of the campus. When you’re standing at the top, it puts all of your troubles into perspective and allows you the opportunity to self-reflect.

Hopefully when the tears drip down your cheeks they are tears of gratitude, although you might just be really scared of heights.

The Claw fountain


Positioned in the center of Tressider, the Claw fountain is an ideal location for a good old-fashioned sob session. Whether you’re leaving the bookstore with an over-priced planner (you’re finally going to get your life in order) or wandering out of the coffee house with too much caffeine in your bloodstream, spotting this gorgeous display of cascading water can remind you that you haven’t cried in at least an hour.

Set down your stuff, take off your shoes, and climb right into the fountain. Don’t be afraid to get completely wet since this can effectively hide tears. Also don’t be embarrassed because fountain hopping at Stanford is a thing (maybe not while fully clothed, but you don’t need anyone’s approval).

When all of the pressure and anxiety of life leave you with no choice but to break down, don’t worry, we’ve all been there; just let it out and move on.

Then, after you’ve blown your nose and finished your third Snickers bar (don’t judge, it’s brain food), go and rock that exam.


Stanford University