Two sets of Harrisite freshmen refect on this year

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IN THE midst of SATs, collaterals, and Advanced Placement exams, it’s easy to believe the school year will continue to drag on for months. However, the warmer weather reminds us that summer vacation is closer than it seems: on both high school and college campuses, students are finishing up their spring semesters at last.

Many rising sophomores reflected on the adjustment they made when coming to THHS. According to freshman Noah Sadik, the transition to high school was made difficult by his reservations about leaving a small and close-knit middle school. “The most difficult things in the middle-high school transition were firstly, the testing and interviews, and secondly, the final decision I had to make between going to the big Manhattan campus of my old school, where most of my friends went, Bronx Science… or Townsend,” he recalled.

Once he made his decision, Noah said he felt fairly comfortable in his new academic environment. “My transition to Townsend has been pretty smooth,” he explained. “Gym was a shocker and the workload was an awakener but I knew it would be hard.”

Freshman Neisa Yin was also initially unsure about which high school she wanted to attend. She explained she was “dead-set on going to Bronx Science,” until a friend urged her to explore THHS. “I immediately noticed the cozy atmosphere,” she said. “Sure, this school is small, but so is my middle school and everyone was cold as can be… It was very cliquey and I felt like I could never connect to anybody on a personal level.”

In Neisa’s experience, the social life at THHS was just the opposite of what she had known. “When I came to this school, everybody pretty much was going through the same struggle,” she remembered. “This school really lowers my self-esteem sometimes, but the people I’ve met are worth the trouble.”

While current Harrisities speculate about their next years of high school or the beginning of their college careers, the Class of 2014 has just completed their freshman year of college.

Samantha Prevot is a student at Quinnipiac University and is majoring in journalism. Although she expected her biggest challenges in college to be academic, Samantha faced difficulties of a different nature: “In reality the big problem for me turned out to be making friends,” she explained. “The people at my school are not from urban areas — they come from wealthy suburban areas and led very different lives than me before college, so it became hard to find people to relate to. However, by the end of the year I found a group of people that I really hit it off with and now they’re some of my best friends.”

In the case of rising sophomore at Vassar College Jonathan Chung, living on campus has been key for his adjustment. The added responsibilities don’t come without extra challenges. “Living in a community with so many people and resources has been harder. Having where I live intermix with where I learn and play… was and still is hard to get used to,” he explained.

Jonathan describes his college experience as “a lot of uncomfortable self-reflection.” He said that being self-aware and reflecting on everything has made college a learning experience. His suggestion? Push beyond your comfort zone.

“I advise you all to be uncomfortable,” he explained. “Own your mistakes, miss Townsend… Question where you stand and where you will stand. Reflect on any discomfort you feel and take something from those experiences.”

Biology major Alessandra Taboada found that striking the balance between academics and other aspects of life was the most stressful aspect, while making friends was surprisingly easy.

Alessandra suggests making the most of the time left in high school. “Remember that the person you were for the last four years of your life does not define who you will be or what you will do in college. The overachievers will struggle and those struggling will achieve. College is your clean slate.”

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