Lydia Wei's "Stanford: Campus of the Unknown"

June 28, 2021
Lydia Wei's fantastical campus map

What was it like to be a freshman this year, this strangest of years? Learning remotely from her home in Maryland, Stanford freshman Lydia Wei began to feel a bit like Medieval mapmakers, who had to imagine far-off lands that they never visited. In this spirit, she spent her winter break creating a map of the Stanford campus. It was, she writes, “a visual diary of the strange phenomenon of beginning university online, where one was simultaneously in Stanford yet not at all in Stanford.” Like old cartographers, Lydia used sources out in the field to piece together a fantastical and romanticized image of campus, using culling information from GroupMe chats and @stanfordmissedconnections. Her goal was to design a map that was “deeply personal while remaining relatable and funny for my fellow frosh."


Wei’s map is an incredible relic of this era. Read her accompanying essay, in StoryMap form below, where she describes her year, dives into her map’s inspiration, and discusses why she remains hopeful for next year. Or better yet, view it fullscreen, for the full experience.