A Second Home

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!!!

Winter Wonderland!

I can still count the hours that each day is getting shorter by, as the long 10 hour days drag on through endless snow caked on the sidewalks. Yet I know that every hour spent toiling in front of a computer screen while the blizzard wages outside, or the hours spent completing an English narrative or bending your mind around a Physics problem is all worthwhile. And coming from Vegas, the snow makes Exeter my own little paradise!

Hector's winter wonderland

We’ve received well over 6 inches of snow, with another 7 inches coming in today and later on this week. Understand that snowball fights are just any part of any Exeter experience, and no matter how bad you appear to lose (just like I did this weekend against some friends from Soule Hall), the simple fun moments that take place are the ones you will cherish for a lifetime.

Hector's gingerbreadTo commemorate the advancing of Christmas, we Exonians took to the Wentworth Bash, the best dance of Christmas season! I, however, preferred not to flash off my insane dancing skills and preferred to take part in a Gingerbread making contest happening right next door, open to all Exeter students. Just look at the masterpiece we created!

Last weekend was also a little time for some intense extracurriculars. I am a part of Model United Nations, a club at Exeter that mocks parliamentary debate in a United Nations setting. A team of 12 students and I went to St. John’s Prep in Massachusetts to debate. It was my first conference, my first taste of debate and international relations, the most fun I have ever had outside of Exeter.Hector's Model UN pic

And as we count the final days approaching Winter Break, where we all get to go back home for some well deserved Rest and Relaxation, I’ll always find the time to remember the fun in the snow,  the connections I make by meeting new people everyday, and the vast opportunities waiting for you to grasp.

Residential Life in Cilley Hall

I live in Cilley Hall, clearly the best dorm on campus. Each dorm has a rival dorm and ours is Wentworth Hall, but there’s not much competition. Some of the best things about Cilley include C-ball, impromptu Halo nights, and the people. C-ball is a sport created by the young men in Cilley Hall that involves the benches by the front door and some kind of ball. It’s similar to volleyball but there are additional rules. There are two players per team and the boundaries are very questionable so you can win points if you argue hard enough. I learned how to play fall term and honestly, it doesn’t even matter if you win or lose because you become tighter with the brothers you live with. Next are impromptu Halo nights (called “sticks”) which have been a part the Cilley culture for quite a bit. I started playing winter term and I was terrible but with enough positive and negative reinforcement from upper class men  I gradually became better. The reward for winning is extreme bragging rights, so games can get really intense. Finally, the individual people in Cilley are amazing. They are always there for you and have been through what you have been through so they can always relate to you and give you great advice. We talk about anything: girls, guys, school, arts, music, life. I love my homies in Cilley.