My summer experience at Exeter and my life at my home in Michigan showed me very different ways of living and growing-up. Exeter is one of the most prestigious schools in the country and represents a unique culture formed by the diversity of its students. Back home, I am surrounded by beautiful family, playing backyard football with the kids in the neighborhood and spending time following my passions.

First, I would like to describe my Exeter experience.  At Exeter, there is a lot of independent living and learning different cultures. Each individual is responsible for his or her own work and must manage  time wisely.  I have realized that with independence comes great responsibility and there is no Checker-In-Chief (Hello! Mom). I have grown accustomed to being my own checker, and now completely embrace it. However, there is a more fun side to independent living.  You are allowed to do as you wish. Students are allowed to go downtown or roam around campus at almost any time of the day.  We can meet up with friends and organize a fun activity in the fields. 

Another thing that I believe is important is learning about different cultures.  Students in the summer program come from 51 different countries and 49 different states, bringing a huge diversity of culture.  In my dorm room I have a kid from Seattle and another from Moscow, Russia.  We had to adjust to and work with each other’s preferences and habits because we all come from different backgrounds.  In classes, since we have such a diverse population, we see many bright and creative ideas come from the foreign students who express their way of solving a problem this helps everyone else enhance their critical thinking skills. There are some disagreements and healthy debates, but as a group, we resolve the differences and learn a little more about each other every day.

Back at home in Michigan life is quite different.  At home, I am blessed with a beautiful family, and friendly neighbors.  I feel safe at home because I am very well accustomed to the community.  I go to an excellent school (Detroit Country Day School) and have awesome friends.  My teachers and friends at school provide great support in all the activities that I pursue.  However, my current school mostly consists of kids from a fairly homogenous background (well-off suburban kids) and there is not as much diversity of thought.  The main difference is at Exeter, you live with kids with a very wide variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

The dorm advisory team (Abbott rocks !) really helps students understand how to adjust to the new environment.  I am not saying that my life back at home is terrible. In fact, it is wonderful and there’s a lot of fun stuff I share with my friends and family back at home; however, Exeter brings some new experiences to the plate which I really enjoy and use to help me grow as a better person.  Exeter has opened up a part of me in which I am able to easily accept differences in others.  All in all, Exeter is an experience that I will not forget. I will truly cherish the experience and the friendships and will hold them dearly forever.

Living for the first time away from family in a boarding school has made me realize that communication becomes very critical in order to have a fantastic experience.  My parents have emphasized the 3Cs of communication:

Communication – with family; they will have your back no matter what

Communication – with teachers, counselors; they will give you wonderful advice

Communication – with friends; old and new, will keep you humble and cheerful

Although I have not perfected the 3Cs, I have realized the need to have a good balance of these 3Cs for a positive experience when one is 800 or 8000 miles away from home.