This is the first art class I've taken at Exeter. It's a lot of fun. We're reviewing a photo assignment. We each explain our photos to the class, including the things we improved on in Photoshop. The class talks about what they like and dislike.
One of my photos is of my friend's bass guitar. It looks really abstract – you have to look at it from different angles to know what it is. Another is a bunch of Poland Spring® water containers stacked up. I took it diagonally so it wouldn't line up with the side of the page.
Mr. Lewis is really laid-back. I like that. You don't want a teacher who says, 'Make sure you get this type of picture.' You want freedom with your assignment.
I've liked all my teachers at Exeter. I've never felt as if I was asking too many questions or not enough. They allow you to be the student you are. If you don't have much to say on a topic that day, they don't force you to speak up. They listen to the class discussion. They try to lead us by asking questions.
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I really like Harkness math because we discuss the different ways classmates come up with solutions. Mr. Feng wants you to learn why you do certain things, not just formulas. He shows us the best and the easiest way.
Math at Exeter is a big change from public school. Here homework isn't based on one type of problem. You might have 8 problems, with only 2 on a similar concept.
This class is all lowers so I know everyone. I was comfortable from the very beginning. I had math with most of them last year too.
It took me awhile to get used to Harkness math prep year. On the first day of math class we put a problem on the board. Mr. Hardej, my math teacher, walked us through it step-by-step. It helped me understand the learning process. I realized that I was not on my own – that teachers and the class would help.
There are tough math teachers and easier teachers. They're always willing to answer your questions. You never feel that you can't ask a question because the teacher just answered it for someone else.
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I often hang out in the Grill with friends, or study ahead for class during free period.
I'm working on a paper that was due. I had to proofread it. I didn't have much time, so I went to the computer lab in the Phelps Academy Center because it's near my next class.
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I enjoy Mr. Miller's English class. He's hip. We can relate to him. He has a really funny sense of humor.
Harkness is one of the things that makes Exeter so unique. It's great how you can walk into class, like English, and for the whole period just discuss. You talk with your peers about what you think.
The main reason I like Harkness is that every student is from somewhere else, somewhere you're not from. Students come from many different cultures, religions and backgrounds. English is the easiest class to get to know your classmates because there's so much discussion.
We're reading Shakespeare's Macbeth. Mr. Miller's talking about how Shakespeare has been translated into many different languages, and that some of the meaning gets lost in translation. He had us play the game "Telephone" to show how even without changing languages you lose some meaning. The phrase that we started with was totally different from the phrase being passed by the end.
I enjoy writing if it's something I'm passionate about. Mr. Miller gives us lots of freedom in writing assignments. For The Grapes of Wrath, we chose one line from the book and related it to our own life. I chose a line about how a guitarist's fingers are calloused because I wanted to write my paper about playing bass guitar.
I also liked English with Mr. Hearon. We read Beowulf and Grendel with him. As a class we figured out a hidden meaning within the text. Every chapter mentioned an animal that correlates to a constellation. It's cool when you can read a book and realize the author is hiding something between the lines.
Mr. Hearon is the perfect teacher for Anglo-Saxon novels. He has a deep voice. When he reads a passage from the book, it's awe-inspiring.
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I love the food here. There's such variety. There have been many times when I've found new desserts or sandwiches. I had never heard of a Reuben before I came here. My favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake or cream puffs.
I like that there is Japanese food in dining hall. My mom is Japanese, so we eat a lot of Japanese food at home.
Lunch is one of my favorite parts of the day. You can joke around. You can be yourself with your friends. The dining hall is loud, so you don't have to worry about being too noisy. You can talk about anything. The thing I like most is that you have a lot of time. At my last school we'd have only about 25 minutes for lunch. Here we have an hour.
I always go to Elm Street Dining Hall. My dorm is nearby so it's convenient. I don't have a set group of people I sit with. I usually find dorm mates, classmates or friends from the basketball team.
I was never afraid I'd walk into the dining hall and not know where to sit. Everyone I met was willing to involve me, from the very beginning. They knew I was new, and it helped them open up to me.
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Challenge Fitness is a lot of fun. When I first signed up I didn't think it would be challenging at all. I learned my lesson.
The biggest challenge we've done is stadium stairs at Phelps Stadium. Mr. Mills had us take steps up and then hop down diagonally as fast as we could. We'd jog back and repeat that. One time we'd skip up. The next time we'd jump with 2 feet. Then we'd have to do that 4 times. That was just one set. The challenge was to do 3 sets!
Here, we're in the gym. I paired up with Jack, taking turns doing sit-ups. We had to do 200 – I'd never done 200 sit-ups in my life. This class makes me more fit. The sit-ups really help my abs.
I also worked with Mr. Mills on my wrist, which was bothering me. Mr. Mills is showing me the correct way to hold the weight. If you have a question Mr. Mills comes over and works with you individually. Teachers are willing to help you with even the smallest things.
Mr. Mills splits the class into 3 groups – endurance, agility and strength. You choose the group you want to be in each day.
Mr. Mills sometimes does the runs with us. One day we went out to crew hill, which is a quarter-mile stretch. Surprisingly, he beat everyone in the class.
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I'm in my dorm common room with Trevor and Kevin. All 3 of us are really close.
Kevin and I are working on Japanese together. We're studying for a vocabulary test. Kevin's also reviewing homework.
In my dorm everyone is familiar with everyone else. You're living with your best friends. There's no awkwardness. You can always joke around. Sometimes we'll have someone move into the dorm in the middle of the year. We're welcoming. We make sure we go to his room and introduce ourselves.
I met Trevor my prep year, the day before classes began. A friend from Facebook knew Trevor and introduced us at the Grill. That night I met him again at my dorm and we've been close ever since.
I met Kevin prep fall term in computer science class. Kevin was a lower but lived in my dorm. We helped each other out on homework. We did a video project toward the end of term. It was hilarious. We got an A on that project. We had the whole class laughing.
I like Ms. Tazawa a lot. She's funny. It's great to have a Japanese teacher who's from Japan.
We're all really good friends. We've been in the same class together for 5 terms. The class is really laid-back. That helps because you're not afraid to reply to a question in Japanese – you don't worry about using a wrong word.
Sometimes we have vocabulary games in class. In one game, Ms. Tazawa lays out cards on the table and calls out a word. The goal of the game is to grab the card as fast as you can. Everyone competes for that one card.
One day the whole class went to Ms. Tazawa's house and ate buckwheat noodles. We're reading a book about an exchange student who goes to Japan and discovers these noodles, so Ms. Tazawa thought it would be a great idea to treat the class.
At home I speak Japanese with my mom. I speak fluently but have a low vocabulary, and I'm not really good with the grammar. My mom thought it would be best if I learned Japanese the correct way.
I'll keep taking Japanese at Exeter. I'm hoping when I go back to Japan it will be obvious to my family that I've learned a lot. I'm hoping to learn more characters so that I can write Japanese as well as I write English.
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Biology is my favorite subject. I hope to become a doctor. I enjoy learning about anatomy and the human body.
This term, we've learned about DNA replication, starting with cells. We got into genetics and how genes differentiate people.
Today we're taking a test. I'm talking to my friend John before the test. He's one of my closest friends. He's really good with biology and math. Whenever I have a question about either of those, I talk to him.
Dr. Goddard is nice. She gives in-depth descriptions of how things work, which is really helpful.
I took Physics all of last year. It was really cool because I learned how light travels through different prisms, how lasers bounce off things, how electrons move through batteries, and how much force would be created from momentum and collisions of objects. During spring and winter term I had Mr. DiCarlo. I really like him. Sometimes he plays the flute at EP [Evening Prayer]. When I got my bass guitar last year, he taught us how the strings make their sounds. We learned about harmonics, and how you could calculate different sounds.
I'm hoping to take Astronomy in the future.
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I love basketball. I've played since I was 6. Basketball has taught me so much in life – about failure and how to persevere, and how to keep on working hard. My dad has been a big part of it.
In the fall, I enjoy playing pick-up basketball. Here are pictures of the varsity team from our season play in the winter.
The team's closest friends are the teammates. From there it spreads to other classmates and dorm mates.
I like basketball for more than just the sport. I love being able to come down the court and use a crossover or dish out an assist so a teammate can score. When I play basketball, I feel like I can be myself to the fullest.
I love the basketball gym. It's great that we get to practice in this kind of atmosphere, on these kinds of courts, under this kind of coaching.
Mr. Tilton is my adviser and one of the basketball coaches. Whenever you have questions about something that's bothering you, you can always call him up. He'll always return your call.
Mr. Tilton talks about more than basketball. He also talks about life and decision-making, and how to stay focused. He tells you this stuff to keep you on track. He's a really good cook too. His advisees go to his house for dinner often. Last month he made us chicken parm. Every year, on my birthday, he cooks me something. He's got a bookshelf full of cookbooks.
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