I love my English classes. We start class with a question. Then we work as a group to answer or clarify it. In this class, Rachel (sitting next to me) and I were both excited about the book, The Great Gatsby. English class is all about listening to people and adding what you think.
The teachers facilitate discussion well. Their guidance is really helpful. In Mr. Sneeden's class prep year I learned that papers need to have a feeling and a point. He taught me to avoid clichés and focus on individual characters and real settings.
Mr. Griffith taught me that you need a conflict for a paper, and helped me learn to express conflicts to the reader. Mr. Hawkins, whose class I'm in here, taught me to use actions in my writing to show what I'm thinking.
Here, I'm rehearsing with Concert Choir. We always start off with stretching exercises.
Mr. Turner, the choral director, is great. Really energetic and fun.
Singing always wakes me up in the morning. I don't think I could ever stop singing. I have sung since I was little, when I was in a children's church choir.
This year, I'm also in Glee Club. During prep and lower year at Exeter, I was in Women's Chorus. I also took violin lessons prep year and I took voice lessons lower and upper year.
Here, we're studying Cicero and rhetoric in Mr. Unger's class. We usually present individual translations. The other students then ask questions, rather than correcting. '"What is the case of this word?" "What is the construction being used here?" We're almost teaching each other. Mr. Unger tries to take himself out of the equation as much as possible.
We use a Tablet PC in class. With the Tablet PC, one person takes notes, which are then projected onto the screen so that everyone can see. You can focus on making sure you understand everything that's going on. After class, Mr. Unger posts the Tablet PC notes to Blackboard so that we can use them to study.
Latin has made me more conscious of grammar. My sentences have gotten more interesting since I started studying rhetoric. I use what I've learned in my history and English papers.
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Science is my favorite subject. I have a passion for it. I enjoy abstract things that you have to think really hard to prove – conceptual things. Here, I'm in physics class. I'm working with my friend Julia to solve a problem. Towards the end of class, we did an experiment to show the velocity of a cart on an incline. I'm looking forward to getting into energy and the study of waves this term.
I really love chemistry. It's like mind puzzles. In order to prove what's going on, you have to perform experiments with results that can't be explained by any other solution. I like biology and genetics too. I really enjoyed bacteria, which I studied with Mrs. Rankin.
Mr. Matlack is fun, and very passionate about what he teaches. It was great to do labs in his class and talk to him about science. Dr. Finley, my chemistry teacher, is great too. She explains things and waits for everyone to get them.
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Here, I'm working at the Harris Family Children's Center. I go there once a week as a volunteer for Exeter Social Service Organization (ESSO). I'm there for lunch time and right before nap. I pass out plates and glasses and open the kids' string cheeses. I talk to them.
After meals, the kids sit and read books. Sometimes I read to them or sing lullabies before they take their naps. I am going to teach them to sing "Do-Re-Mi" and "Edelweiss."
ESSO arranges special activities for the kids at the Children's Center, like Halloween parades and pumpkin carving. We bring in performers – Outkast, Step Group and West African Drumming Ensemble have all come to the center.
I got involved with ESSO when I was a prep. I worked on the Hats for Homeless and Food Pantry clubs. Eventually, I narrowed it down to children's clubs, largely because I missed little kids. I head up two ESSO clubs – this one at Harris Family Children's Center and Kids Create, which invites local kids to campus for art lessons.
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Relationships develop a lot faster here because of the nature of Exeter. You live together in dorms, on the same campus, eat all meals together. At Exeter, people are very respectful of what everyone else thinks. That fosters a great sense of community.
Exeter has a good balance between allowing independence and having people watch out for you. You can talk to teachers about things that do not relate to class. All of the teachers are so brilliant in their respective fields and they're just here to help you.
I love the intellectual challenge at Exeter. Exeter teaches you how to think. How to analyze. It teaches you how to listen, and to bounce ideas off other people.
A nice thing about Exeter is you can walk everywhere you need to go. Your friends are all on campus. I text my friends. We go watch a movie. It's so much faster than at home, having to drive.
I tried out for novice crew in spring of prep year and I made it. Ever since then it's been crew for me. I really like that it's a very physical sport and you use your entire body. Here, we're taking the shells from the boathouse and launching them in the Squamscott River for a scrimmage.
Everyone in the boathouse pushes people to perform. If you're working really hard and you're great, the coaches pull you up. This year, 2nd, 3rd and 4th boat had undefeated seasons. I was on 4th boat; 1st boat was really strong too. They're going to the nationals. We hope they win.
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Here, I'm in Mr. Herney's U.S. History class. I love Mr. Herney. He's passionate about history. We learn a lot. He's really good at focusing us. When people ask good questions, he's great about saying: "That's a really great question." Every class has its own kind of chemistry. My history class is very fast-paced and creates a lot of energy.
History at Exeter is drastically different from middle school. Instead of having a teacher sit and preach to you, the teacher hardly talks. Students pick the focus, within guidelines. You have a ton of reading, from which you analyze what happened, why it happened, what it changed and what its ramifications were. It's incredible.
I enjoy taking histories of other cultures because I like knowing what other people think.
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After a term at Exeter, you feel like you've never seen multiple choice in your life. Learning from word problems makes you a lot more knowledgeable about math. You know how to get to a problem. You have methods. You don't just plug and chug numbers. I like math at Exeter – especially algebra and solving problems.
Usually teachers give 8-10 homework problems. You come into class, pick a problem and put your solution on the board. Everyone takes turns, explaining how they did their problem. Here, my classmate Cole is explaining his solution. If someone got a different answer, you go through it so that both people understand the right answer.
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Here, I'm heading to the opening of the RedHOUSE show at Lamont Gallery, which is all about the house and collection of Jan and Frederick Mayer '45.
I'm very architecture- and design-oriented, so I wanted to see this show. My dad is a building contractor and my mom's an interior designer. I've always been interested in architecture. I'm really interested in green housing design.
Read more about the RedHOUSE exhibit and Lamont Gallery…
I meditate in the morning and night. Here, I'm at Buddhist meditation in Phillips Church. Buddhist meditation takes the clock away from you. It allows you to de-stress for an hour every Friday evening.
We sit and Ms. Napier, the meditation leader, guides what we focus on – our breath, our feet.
It's nice to have one time period when you know you are going to meditate. And nice to have someone else in charge of knowing what time it is.