graduation - paige

It’s been a week since graduation.  My four years at Exeter culminated last Sunday, when in the company of my family and friends, I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from Principal Hassan.  I’m an alumna (not an alumnus as my classics-taking-friends corrected me).  

The morning began with a trip to d-hall, as had almost every morning preceding it.   But instead of my standard greek yogurt and fruit, I walked into Elm to see a Sunday brunch spread I had never seen before: bagels and lox!  As I noshed, my friends walked into d-hall, wearing the typical Exeter graduation clothes: white dress for girls and blazers, bow-ties (or ties) for boys.  As I had yet to change, I made my way back to my dorm, when I got ready before the 10:30 ceremony started. 

Grad began with a procession.  The seniors, all 299 of us, lined up alphabetically as we proceeded towards the Academy lawn.  Our families, our teachers, and many of our underclassmen friends applauded us as we walked in, sitting before the audience. 

Grad lasted about two hours.  We sang, we listened to speeches.  We applauded as our peers were called up to receive their diplomas, waiting for our turn.  It was the happiest and most excited I had seen many of my classmates since prep (freshmen) fall.  This day was ours.  We had done it, we had graduated. 

graduation - paige 2

Now, it’s strange.  My class has scattered across the world–to go home, to go on a trip, to go to work–but I like to believe our friendships will beat the distance.  For four years I was told Exeter friendships are unlike other friendships.  I’ve been told Exonians will continue to play a role in my life, as will Exeter, if only I let them.  And I hope to do so. Because though Exeter had its ups and downs, I can’t imagine my life without those four years.  As I prepare to go to college, I’ve mourned for my time at Exeter.  From Saturday-night Pad Thai runs, church basement ukulele sessions, bridge jumping, and hours spent in the library, I’ll miss not only what I had, but who I spent the time with.  At the same time, I’m excited to see Exonians outside the Exeter-bubble.  I’m ready to meet new people while maintaining connections with those I already know.  I think it was Rev who told this to me shortly before graduation, but my attitude throughout the entire process has been this: the end is just a new beginning. 

Here’s to the Class of 2015!  And to those of you looking at Exeter or preparing to start in the fall.  Welcome.  You’re about to start an amazing journey. 

Spring Cheer

Hey Everybody!

Although it always takes some time for the weather to warm and the flowers to bloom, by the month of May spring in Exeter is always a wonderful time. It is sunny and hot, kids are always playing or sun tanning on the quad, and the mood on campus is unlike any other, especially as the final days of the year near. One thing that is different about this year’s spring is that I have had the opportunity to take Bio470, a special biology research course that Exeter started up in partnership with Stanford a couple years ago.

rex- bio2

I won’t get into the details of the course, but essentially a few years ago Exeter and Stanford developed a piece of DNA that can hop around in a fly genome and be inserted into random genes. The lab we are working with is particularly interested in the fly body part that correlates to the pancreas, so if we find a line of flies that has expression in their pancreas during development, that would be of interest to the lab at Stanford.  Instead of having regular Harkness conversations and preparing homework readings, we mostly sort flies and set up crosses for class time and homework. You not only get to do lab work first hand (learning immediately that anything that can go wrong, will), but you also get to hang out with awesome classmates and our teachers Mr. Chisholm and Ms. Rankin, who are both very smart and very fun. Overall, I am so glad I got to take part in this class.

rex - tennis2

Another part of spring term that makes it great is the tennis team! We have been having a great season, and we are the first seed heading into the New England Championships tomorrow. I will admit, winning matches is fun, but not as fun as being on a team with a bunch of friends.


Upper Spring

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long time no post- it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. Schoolwork and StuCo elections have been keeping me busy. No worries though, I have tons of great friends to rely on. One of the best events that occurred recently was upper dinner, a time when all of the juniors dress up and eat (even better) food. Pictured below is me and Georgia, a fellow upper from Atlanta and one of my best friends.

kevin at uper dinner

Here’s a picture of me and my buddies Pranay and Philip. We’re all wearing our new dorm gear (the C stands for Cilley). The dorm is truly my home and these guys are my brothers. I have to say, the best part of Exeter is definitely living with your friends.

kevin in cilley gearUntil next time!


Why I Chose Exeter

SpiritI don’t want this to be another cliché post about how I chose my school because of the community. In fact, every school is a community, no matter what kind of community it may be. But what really distinguishes Exeter is what makes up this special – warm, inspiring, diverse, and vibrant – community. At Exeter, you take the unlimited opportunities it offers to be your best self; whoever that may be, and whatever that may take. And that is why I chose Exeter; the opportunity it offers to try to be my best self.

serena 1

Meet the squash team. As you can probably tell from the photo, we are the most fun-loving, tight-knit, and hilarious team at Exeter. I started playing squash long before I came to Exeter. My coaches, Ms. Carbonell, Coach Shang, and Freddie has helped me improve so much over the past two seasons. My fellow teammates, from Elle and Anisha (who were seniors last year) to Alison and Meghana who are on the novice team this year, have helped me become a better teammate.

Exeter has taught me that squash is not just an individual sport. All my teammates, no matter which place they are at on the ladder, cheer me on and motivate me to give my 100% on every single practice and match. When it’s a two-all match score, Continue reading

Swinging Into Spring

Hi everyone!

I’m so sorry for my lack of posts after my first one in the fall. Senior year really packed my schedule between college applications and school work.

Another reason why I haven’t posted a lot is because I was studying abroad in Taiwan this winter term! I just got back on Thursday and am pretty recovered from jet lag. I lived with a host family and my wifi connection was through their cellphone hot spots. Therefore, internet wasn’t too accessible and fast. However, Taiwan was an amazing experience. We left on January 7th and arrived the 8th. For 9 weeks, I studied at the Providence University in Taichung, Taiwan. My Chinese improved so much, owing to my host family’s lack of English skills which completed the full immersion in a Chinese-speaking country. When my host family dropped me off at the hotel to say good-bye, they began to cry. I really miss them a lot. If you would like to read more about my travels, you can check out my personal blog at I attempted to post once a week but unfortunately, I only posted three times. Hopefully it’s still worth a read!

After traveling to India this summer and Taiwan this term, Exeter has really provided me many international opportunities. I had planned to study abroad during my time at Exeter, and it is one of the reasons why I chose to come to Exeter. I have wanted to speak fluent Chinese and I knew living in China or Taiwan would be a necessary step towards that goal. For me, what made my Taiwan experience were the people I went with. The Exeter community is so close and open. I became best friends with people who I didn’t know before the trip. Being in a new country, we all needed to support each other and we did. Although we might not have talked before on campus, we were open to making new friends and having adventures together. This attests to the type of people Exeter accepts. Whenever the going gets tough and the tough get going, we will always have each other’s backs. I hope you will come to Exeter and witness this for yourself.



Why I Chose Exeter

Hey Everyone!

I still remember the day that I found out I was accepted. I woke up to my Mom screaming downstairs.I leaped out of bed and ran downstairs- thinking the worst. She was standing in front of our computer looking at an email. I leaned over her shoulder and the words “Congratulations Jennifer” were spelt out in bold across the page. I did it. All of my hard work had paid off- I had been accepted into my dream school. For me, it came down between Exeter and our rival school Andover. My older brother had attended Exeter, so I had grown up attending his hockey and lacrosse games- it had always felt so comfortable. It did not take me long to decide where I wanted to go. Going to Exeter has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have leaned so much about me- things that I never thought I would. I have changed so much both as a person, an athlete, a student and a friend. Are there sometimes where the work seems too hard? Of course. Exeter is a hard school academically- it pushes you and I would be lying if sometimes the work gets to you. But all of you were accepted to Exeter because of your academic strength-the admission officers believe you will not only survive but THRIVE and add to the community.

Jenn 2

My friends back home ask me all the time- “Why did youchoose Exeter?” I could say its the academics, or the reputation of being one of the best high schools in the world, or the great athletics, but that would not encompass why I came here. There is not one tangible reason why I came. Things I love about Exeter are the way the trees bloom in the spring, or how even in the dead of winter people are still happy to be here. Or maybe when I am on break, I actively count the days until I can return home. There it is- I don’t refer to Exeter as my school- it’s truly become my home. I catch myself referring it to as such without even realizing it.

Jenn 1

A Saturday Night at Abbott Casino

I am sure all of you reading this have been accepted to great schools. You really cannot go wrong. As you go through the revisit process, pick where you see yourself not only attending classes, but living, and hanging out and making life long friends. When my brothers were deciding on colleges, my dad had them take a “Broken Leg Test.” Both of them were Division 1 lacrosse players. He wanted them to go somewhere where even if they broke their leg and couldn’t play lacrosse, that they would still love the school. Try to keep that in mind as you go through this process. Make sure you love the school you choose. (I hope that it’s Exeter!) I hope to see you on the path in September.

Good Luck,



Jackson 2

Winter term has come to an end and I have been reflecting on what really made me come to Exeter. There are so many wonderful academic programs and opportunities for students to broaden their horizons, but I think what really made me interested in Phillips Exeter Academy is the friendships formed among peers. Before going to boarding school, I already knew about Exeter being one of the top boarding schools in the country, but what I did not know about was the strong student community. When I returned to Exeter on my revisit day I had the opportunity to follow a student to their classes and their dorm for a few hours. In that short amount of time, I was able to observe how close and friendly students were with each other. It seemed as though getting all of the work done after classes was made a little bit less arduous for my tour guide by the people he spent time with. He sat in a study group with his friends in the dorm so that hours of homework that they received that night was less tedious and more of a social activity.

Now that I have attended Exeter for two terms, I have been able to experience the close Exeter community first hand. I have made so many friends in my dorm and around campus who were a key part in helping me take the pressure of myself while I adjusted to Exeter academics. The proctors and other seniors in my dorm helped me to get out of the dorm more often and explore all that Exeter has to offer. Greg, Anzi, and Brian, all of whom live only a few doors away, became the closest friends that I have ever had and showed me that you can get good grades while having fun with your friends. To me, at least, the community and friendships are what really make Exeter the best boarding school in the country.

Hope to see you for Experience Exeter!

– Jackson

Why I’m an Exonian

With friendsI remember my Experience Exeter.  It gave me my first taste of what it meant to be an Exonian–the infamous Harkness method, the fortune of having a cancelled class when a pending essay is due, and the Exonian “I’ll-get-it-done” spirit.  To be honest, I expected that from Experience Exeter.  What I didn’t expect was the weather: snow.  I had arrived in town the night before, March 31st, and it was a balmy 50 degrees.  I woke up to at least two feet of snow.  April fools, if only….

But as I trudged around campus with my host that day, watching campus facilities clearing the paths and all of the grumbles about Spring-never-coming (something that I imagine has already been a common conversation this year), I saw Exeter as a place, a home.  It’s not that I don’t think Admissions does a good job because I think they do. Rather, it’s simply hard to give every prospective student an active experience. By active, I mean talking to potential peers, teachers, coaches, friends, roommates, etc.  Tours show you the campus, all of its buildings and facilities, but fails to show you the people.  And, to me, Exeter has always been about the people.  They’re laughs and smiles about the never-ending winter are what attracted me to Exeter.  Exonians, I’ve learned after four years, have fun in any weather.  And maybe you can too.