Secret Santa at Knight House

Every year in Knight House we do Secret Santa! Everyone gathers around the common room Christmas tree. Presents wrapped in notebook paper or in shopping bag rest under the fake pine. Fabio, the dorm cat, follows suit. I turn on the holiday indie music and the gift-giving commences. We all sit with our eggnog and colored mini cupcakes. Everyone receives their present and has to guess who got it for them. I got my friend Ian 90 degree glasses so he can lay down and read at the same time. I received a teddy bear and chocolates from a new lower in our dorm, Gordon from Hong Kong. He noticed I liked his llama plush, and so he got me something just like it. It’s a great time for the dorm – the only thing missing is the fire.

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Why I Chose Exeter: Dorm Life

Prior to my arrival at Exeter, I had zero experience living away from my parents. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping in a bed other than my own. As I received my acceptance last year, this thought thrust itself to the forefront of my concerns at the time. I learned that I would live in one of the boys dorms on campus, and I would spend my entire time at Exeter in the dorm I was placed in. I started thinking, who would I live with and what would they be like?

I got into contact with some local alumni, and I asked them about their experiences in their respective dorms during their time at Exeter. Their eyes lit up as they reminisced about “dorm pride” and the interesting people they encountered from all over the world in the buildings they had the privilege to live in. I knew I could never attain this type of experience at any other place, let alone at my local high school. There were still concerns, however, as to how I would fit into the dorm as an incoming lower (Exeter lingo for 10th grader).

As I revisited the school during Experience Exeter, I shadowed a new lower throughout a normal Exeter day in the middle of spring term. He lived in Soule Hall, a tight-knit dorm on the north side of campus. He spent some of his free periods in the dorm that day, and he introduced me to some of his dorm mates. I hadn’t even enrolled in the school, and they were already joking with me and engaging in conversation as if I was one of their own. They high-fived me throughout as I saw them along the path with my guide, and I felt completely at home.

Soule Hall

A year later, I find myself in Soule Hall with the same group of guys that I encountered on my shadow day. I couldn’t be happier partaking in our dorm soccer rivalry with Abbot Hall, among other spirited dorm activities. You can easily identify us on campus by our chants of “SOULE HALL” as we see one another on the path. I love my dorm, and the people who I’ve grown to know in my building will be some of my closest friends that I will know throughout my time here. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Conor - dorm

Congratulations on your acceptance and you can reach me at chunt@exeter.edu for any questions about the school and its residential life.

 

 

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.

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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

Community

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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 Chose Exeter

Hey everyone!

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Out to dinner in town with friends

We are already a couple days into spring break, and so that means sunny spring term is just around the corner! Exciting! But more exciting is the fact that Exeter just sent out acceptance letters to future Exonians all around the world. I remember being elated when I got “that email” on the morning of March 10th (and of course, later that day, the big packet with lots of information). I also remember the period following March 10th, when I had to make the tough decision of choosing to attend one of three boarding schools or to remain at home and attend a day school.

Heading into the revisit days, I really had no clue what I wanted to do; I loved my school at home, and I loved being home, but the idea of attending a boarding school really excited me. Even if I decided to go to a boarding school, I had the additional problem of deciding which one was right for me.

But after going to the revisit days for each school, my dad (who accompanied me on the three revisit days) and I whole heartedly agreed that Exeter was my best option.

Yes, Harkness sounded amazing, the courses of instruction list was diverse and in depth, the facilities and faculty were impressive, and there were more than 100 clubs to take part in– those were, are, and always will be true, and although I believe these qualities are particularly true for Exeter, most great boarding schools have these attributes (aside from Harkness).

For me, what set Exeter apart was the people. At each school I had plenty of chances to hang out with students, faculty and staff, and at Exeter, everyone seemed so genuine, so interested, so different, and so cool. Exeter was the only school where the students and faculty seemed to have such diverse backgrounds and interests– you might ask, why is that important? Well, because it makes everything so much more fun and interesting. With different backgrounds and interests comes more meaningful, deep discussions at the Harkness table, more diverse ways of thinking for tackling problems, more captivating conversations among friends, and overall a better atmosphere.

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Now that I have been here for almost three years, I can definitely say that is true. I have friends who are coding geniuses and piano prodigies; I have friends who love politics or are avid sports followers; I have friends who hail from Korea and Chile. These people not only introduce me to new cultures, but they also get me to try things that I would never do otherwise. One friend and I put together a drone, flew it over campus, and took photos (which you can see in this post), another friend and I built a website off of an idea of mine (he’s the coding genius), and another one introduced me to the sport of squash, which is now one of my favorite activities. So many of the activities I have begun or interests I have acquired are because of my friends. And at Exeter, where the activities to begin and interests to acquire run in abundance, there is no better place to grow as a student, athlete, person, and friend.

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Studying with friends

 

Home

My hometown is 9907.8 miles away from Exeter. That means a rough estimate of a 20 hour plane flight. Family friends back home keep telling my parents, “Why send your only daughter so far away?” “Won’t you miss her?” “Won’t she miss you?”

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Faculty Follies at Assembly

My first year in Amen Hall, I didn’t know what to expect. My first class, I didn’t know what to expect. Even as the term break reaches an end and I can feel spring term just around the corner, I still get excited to see if that boy is in my English class, or that girl is in my math class (you get the jist). Exeter, in the midst of its packed routines and hectic workload, always finds a way to surprise me. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not usually one all for surprises, but these are pleasant surprises. Little surprises. But surprises.

I get asked what made me choose Exeter quite a lot. Why Exeter? I don’t have a ‘real’ answer. It’s not just the faculty, although faculty follies (a faculty skit assembly, see picture) this year was a-mazing, not just the dorm, not just the academics. It’s Exeter as a whole. Enduring this bitter winter by penguin huddling to walk to 8 am class in one piece, study parties in the common room, seeing Principal Hassan serve pancakes at Elm Street dining hall, getting that A on that physics test. Exeter is more than just some prep school that’s mentioned in Gossip Girl. It’s a home. It’s a home for the custodians, for the students, for the faculty members, for the dogs and cats that roam around the path. Exeter, as we hear a lot, is a community. And for the past 2 short years, it’s been and always will be mine.

When I’m home, I get to relax and not worry about finals or what club meeting I have tomorrow or how many frees I have the next day. But I’ll probably still be wearing my Exeter sweatpants or Facetiming the girl who lives just across the hall from me. Once you come to a place like Exeter, there’s no going back. You’re bound to its memories, its smell, its environment. You’re bound to it. A bound that, at least for me, spans the 9907.8 miles of land and sea.

Wednesday Nights in the Dorm

Hey Everybody!

People on campus are usually in an excited frenzy at this point in the term– there is only one week left of regular classes, winter feels like it’s around the corner, and students are getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving Break. As the workload dwindles down right before the craziness of finals (when the workload does all but dwindle), I usually like to spend more time relaxing with faculty and student friends. One of my favorite activities from each week occurs on Wednesday nights, when Mr. Chisholm, a biology teacher, is on check-in duty.

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Mr. Chisholm does not live in the dorm (he is an affiliate), but each week he spends around four hours here checking students in as they filter into the dorm at night. Usually I have plenty of work, and I can only hang out with Mr. Chisholm and other dorm mates in the faculty lounge for just a few minutes, but on nights when I have relatively little work, I sometimes spend up to three hours talking and laughing with the Wednesday night group.

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Topics of discussion range from funny videos we saw online to interesting concepts from genetics–sometimes Mr. Chisholm is hosting review sessions for his AP Bio classes, and so we get to learn a little bit about that too.

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All in all, these relaxing moments I spend each week with Mr. Chisholm and friends are some of my best moments at Exeter, and being able to make such close connections with faculty is something that I would have never experienced at a normal day school; for that I am very grateful.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

You’re Already a Piece of the Exeter Puzzle

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Hey Guys!

Its been a wicked crazy summer for me so far, what with organizing college applications and working at an internship in NYC. But now that August has rolled around, my mind turns again to the leaf-littered paths of Exeter. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to school and start the upcoming year.  You all should be excited too!

I remember how nervous I was in the months leading up to my first move-in day.  Would the kids like me?  Would I miss home?  Would I wake up on time?  How do I button a shirt again…? I imagined all sorts of things that could go wrong and complicate the beginning of my Exeter career.

Once I got to Exeter and saw that EVERYONE in the freshman class was new and worrying about the same things I was, I started to feel more comfortable and enjoy myself. Time sped up and days flowed by me faster and faster as I had more and more fun inside and out of the classroom. Before I knew it, I had found my home away from home in a small town in New Hampshire.

I also want to send a message to all of the new lowers, uppers, and seniors – I promise Exeter has plenty of room in our community for you. Coming into a new school with people who have already known each other for so long is intimidating, but I can assure you that there is nothing to be scared of here. You were admitted just like the rest of us, and you’ll fit right in. Two of my best friends in the world were new students after freshman year and they both love Exeter as much as I do and have lots of friends all over campus.

Finally, I have to give a special shout out to anyone reading this who will be moving into Cilley Hall. I’m not sure if all dorm assignments have come out yet, but I am a proctor on the fourth floor of Cilley, a floor comprised almost entirely of new students. While I encourage everyone and anyone reading this to ask me any questions you may have, I want to extend an extra invitation to any of the students who will be new to Cilley Hall next year to feel free to e-mail me about any questions or concerns you may have about our dorm.