To start, I have to admit that coming to Phillips Exeter Academy wasn’t my first choice. I had hoped to attend a summer program at Brown University, and when that fell through, I was less enthused by my acceptance to Exeter. Despite my disappointment, to say the least I have had one of the best summers of my life and if I didn’t go to Exeter I would not have built the relationships and learned as much as I have. As these weeks count down, every day adds a weight to my shoulders making it harder to wave goodbye.
In retrospect I am certain there was a part of me that knew PEA was the right choice for me. On my first day everyone was so friendly and kind. I felt like I belonged here. For a while it was illusory to me that people from all over the world would come to this school to study until I was on campus and heard all of the different languages. To my surprise a lot of the students spoke more than two languages. But it is not just the international students who surprised me. Though I had been to the north before, coming from Memphis, Tennessee, where people are very conservative in their culture, the north of the United States was a change also.
In just a short three weeks so far I have become so knowledgeable in different beliefs and have been astounded by the unity of everyone at Exeter. Even though many of the students at Exeter represent countries that don’t get along, the students are best friends regardless. I have learned different phrases in German, French, Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Turkish, and Greek.
I learned so much thanks to my peers. Before coming to PEA I had never heard of Harkness. Now I know that it is by far one of the best methods to get students thinking and interacting with each other. Teaching the Harkness method to students around the world is valuable and essential to the growth of education globally.
It is hard for me to give words of advice because I don’t think that any advice is needed. Coming to Exeter is a learning experience: learning about the world around you, learning about how to adapt to being on your own, learning to accept others, and learning to have fun. Everyone and anyone who has the opportunity should be feverish to find the true meaning of Exeter within their time here: unity.