I remember waking up at 5 AM on a Saturday morning, squinting my eyes from the screen on my mother’s smartphone, and the yelps of sheer joy as I read the words “Congratulations and Welcome to Exeter!” from her e-mail. The questions, emotion, and uncertainty storming through my head were overwhelming.
The decision to come to Exeter was one that would change my academic career and my future forever. Coming from an immigrant family, the thought of boarding school, coming from a different background, and leaving home was petrifying. Yet I remember my first Experience Exeter classes well. The dark, cloudy spring morning never came to shadow the enthusiasm of kids around a Harkness table. No one feared to be wrong, sound confused, or present a brilliant epiphany; stagnancy was the only enemy. I soon learned that one’s voice was one’s greatest weapon here at Exeter; you are implored to find it and use it, to show a passion around the table. At Exeter, no one cares who is on financial aid and who is not; we all come from different parts of the world to study and learn, battle it out on the playing fields, and do what we do best.
The first days of Prep Year were some of the most exciting yet terrifying days. After entering my new dorm room, I saw all the other new 9th graders unpacking. I reached over to lend a hand. The transition to Exeter is nothing to be intimidated of, as many people are in your same shoes; I quickly gained 60 new brothers who all bleed blue and gold from Wentworth Hall. I quickly came to learn the value of meeting new people. Make it a goal to introduce yourself to a stranger each time you walk to class. Cross your fingers every time new schedules are released that you are assigned classes with complete strangers. Find a pack of friends you know will last; these will be the connections that will last a lifetime.
And as many of us have, you’ll get your fair share of late night History research papers and English narratives. At Exeter, you’ll be constantly immersed with many brilliant people. As the days get shorter during winter term, workloads will pile. Yet at times like these, your lowest points become your greatest advantages. Remember: YOU were chosen to come here, rightfully and deservedly so. NEVER compare yourself to others. Set your OWN goals for yourself and track your progress. And by the end of your years here, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come, and your accomplishments will exceed your own expectations and those of others, up to par with your peers.
Exeter is so much more than just a school; it teaches one to listen rather than just speak, to doubt rather than just accept. Your independence compels you to search for and immerse yourself in a passion, target your weaknesses and question your strengths. Yet in the process, you fully realize the resources backing your endeavors, whether it be the courses, teachers, or friends who want to see you succeed. It’s your own discretion to decide HOW you wish to succeed, and HOW you wish to grasp Exeter’s offerings; at this moment, You are no longer just an application or a name on a piece of paper. Congratulations, welcome to Exeter, and God Bless!!!