fbpx Exonians share stories of belonging | Phillips Exeter Academy

Exonians share stories of belonging

From dorm traditions to tryouts, students reflect on the moment they knew Exeter was home. 

March 10, 2020
Exonians embrace during opening days

Ben Cai

Class of 2020

“Since prep year, my dorm, Abbot Hall, has always been the cornerstone of my Exeter experience. On the last night of my first year, I remember listening to the upperclassmen's reflections on their hard but worthwhile time at PEA. We relived the memories from the past year and then did our dorm tradition of running to Dunkin Donuts at 5 a.m. To be an Abbotteer or, more generally, an Exonian, not only means being a part of a supportive community but it also means being able to embrace your true self with the help of many trusted, best friends.“

Anjali and Meili Gupta

Class of 2020

"I really felt like I belonged at Exeter from the very beginning, during my first week of prep fall. The moment I knew I’d be fine and happy at Exeter was at opening assembly. I loved how the teachers walk in rows down the aisles and everyone was cheering so loudly for them. I had chills in that moment and thought, 'Wow, I’m really part of something special.'"
— Anjali

"I don’t remember a feeling of not belonging at Exeter. What’s so special is that there’s a home here for everybody. I found a home in music. There’s always a place here to return to that helps you feel like you belong, whether it’s a friend’s arms, your dorm, a club or a teacher."
— Meili

Exeter students the Gupta sisters

Carson Bloom

Class of 2022

“I remember a conversation I had with my friends one night as we were walking through the quad spring term of my prep year. Lots of people were playing Spikeball, and we were just getting back from dinner. We finally felt like Exonians. We felt like we grew up a lot and had become much more capable. We understood how the school worked and the campus started to actually feel small.”

Kaylee Bennett

Class of 2022

"I was nervous going into tryouts ... but when I came into preseaon a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders just because everyone was so nice and so supportive. Instead of a tryout it felt more like fun."