The Williston Northampton School - Review #8
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2006-2009|
|Sports and Activities:||JV Ice Hockey, Soccer, Varsity Lacrosse, Dorm Proctor (RA), Student leader of Diversity Day Workshops, Newspaper, Yearbook, Student Tour Guide, and Student Activities Committee.|
|College Enrolled:||Albion College|
|Home Town, State:||Odessa, FL|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Williston, although located in Easthampton, is just a short bus ride away from Northampton. The small city of Northampton has more to offer than can imagine. The streets are lined with eccentric cuisine, art venues, and quaint parks. Smith College offers a number of events and different types of entertainment that are available to Williston students. The Five College system (Mt. Holyoke, Smith, UMass Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College) also offers Williston students a number of possibilities and resources that most other schools are not privileged to.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
There are too many "best" things that happened to me while at Williston to choose from. When it comes down to it, the best decision I've made so far in my life was to go away to school. Living on my own really forced me to grow up and become responsible. I had to learn that no one was going to wake me up when I slept through my alarm; no one was going to do my laundry; no one was going to nag me to do my homework. I had to become self-reliant and self-sufficient, but I was able to that in a very supportive community. Teachers weren't just teachers. They were teachers, coaches, dorm parents, confidants, support systems, fans in the stands, and more. I'm truly grateful for the people I met, the relationships I formed, and the total experience that I had.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
If I had the opportunity to go back and do everything all over again, I'd do it just the same. My dad made me promise that I would be open to trying new things and that I'd get involved in campus life. He told me that my experience at Williston would be what I made it. I reached out eagerly for newer and richer experiences, and I'm so glad I did. I would say to prospective students to approach the boarding school experience with an open mind and heart. No school is the same, and no person will have the same experience as you do at a particular school, but you'll get out of it what you put in. Don't be nervous or intimidated. Boarding school prepared me more than I could have ever imagined for college, and I don't just mean that in the academic sense. I was prepared for dorm life, communal bathrooms, homework loads, time management, work ethic on and off the athletic field, and late nights. Get excited about boarding school! I can honestly say that going to Williston was the best decision I've made in my entirely life.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The thing I loved most about Williston was the sense of community I felt there. Whether it was my dorm, my lacrosse team, my economics class, or my small group of friends, I always felt supported and comfortable. My experience at Williston was very personal. Teachers knew not just my name, but where I was from, what sport I played, my parents' occupations, my favorite ice cream in the dining hall, how I responded to pressure, etc. I loved the relationships I formed because they weren't typical of the high school experience. No one had just one roll to fill, but several, and it made all the difference in my experience.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The advice my father gave me about getting involved was the best advice I've received. He said I'd get out what I put in. I tried sports I'd never played, put myself in intimidating situations, and overcame new hurdles, and it made all the difference. I put in a lot of effort and reaped a lot of benefits. If you embrace the boarding school experience as an opportunity to try new things, meet new people, and to grow as an individual, then I promise you'll have a positive experience. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for my experience at Williston. It's a place I'll call home for the rest of my life.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I found the academics at Williston challenging, but not impossible. I was pushed to do my best, and when I needed help, teachers were always available. Living on campus with teachers made getting help with classwork quite easy. Many nights were spent in teachers' kitchens working on math homework or asking questions about economics. Teachers were eager to help when I needed it. I enjoyed the small class settings and the intimacy of my educational experience. I was never intimidated to speak up in class or to ask a teacher for extra help. The "close-knit-ness" of the campus made my experience very comfortable.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I had such a positive experience with Williston athletics. I was allowed to continue playing soccer and lacrosse, which I was used to playing at home, but I was also afforded the opportunity to play something new: ice hockey. Being from Florida, I was totally unfamiliar with ice skating, ice hockey, and winter sports in general. At first, I was nervous about having to participate in an activity every season, but I soon discovered the benefits. Williston has several levels to each sports team (varsity, JV, thirds, etc.) that allowed me to try something I'd never done before. I played JV ice hockey my junior and senior year. Playing allowed me to try something new and to experience an aspect of New England life that I otherwise would never have participated in had I not gone away to school.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Sadly, I'm easily the least artistic person in the world, but my lack of creativity didn't deter my appreciation for art. I never participated in any music or theater production, but I did get to watch. Williston's theater was always a popular spot on the weekends to see the dance ensemble preform or to see the latest play. I did get to try an art class while at Williston though, despite the lack of confidence I had in my abilities. I took a ceramics class my senior year that was intimidating at first, but eventually was a favorite of mine. The whole class was hands on, and the teacher was super supportive. Although I'll never be a world-renowned artist of any kind, I did enjoy the opportunity to try it, experience it, and appreciate it.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
What I liked most about student organizations at Williston was the diversity of all that was offered. There were interest groups formed, such as the DJ club or the cooking club, but other clubs such as community service, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or being a tour guide. I got to participate in a number of activities that looked good on a resume or application when applying to college, but also that allowed me to experience a lot of different things. In my time at Williston, I learned sales-based skills by being a tour guide, improved my writing skills while working on the school newspaper, learned how to lead a group of people by being a proctor in the dorms, confronted fears of public speaking by leading Diversity Day workshops, and much, much more.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life at Williston was probably my favorite aspect of the school. Williston has several dorm options from small houses that hold only 8 students, all the way up to a large communal dorm that housed up to 50 students. We were, after our first year, allowed to choose a dorm for ourselves that we thought we best fit. There were room lotteries at the end of every year done my seniority to pick rooms and roommates. I chose to live in Logan Dorm for all three years I was there. Logan housed 16 girls, which I felt was the perfect balance between a small dorm and a big dorm. I had two dorm parents who often made us apple crisp, brownies, and all other sorts of late night treats. The small dorm really did make me feel like I was part of a family. I knew all the girls I lived with, and enjoyed dorm activities such as barbecues in the front lawn when it warmed up in the spring, and bowling during Friday night study hall once a winter. My dorm parents weren't just authority figures, but people that I looked up to, relied on, and enjoyed spending time with. My dorm-mates, at the risk of sounding totally cliche, really did become like sisters to me. And now that I'm in college and living in a dorm with more than 400 kids, I'm missing living in Logan Dorm.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall always had a number of options to choose from. Even the pickiest of kids had something to eat. My personal favorite was anything cooked at the grill. Every morning, the dining hall staff made eggs for breakfast - any way we wanted them. There were no big tubs of eggs sitting anywhere getting cool on the food line. No, they made our eggs fresh every morning just the way we liked them. Other foods made at the grill that I enjoyed were stir-fry or the pasta saute. We were able to pick a plate of ingredients, the type of sauce, and the type of meat/pasta (depending on the meal) that we wanted. It was nice to have food made prepared specially for me. The dining hall staff also made eating there much nicer than I think it is at other places. We all formed personal relationships with the people who worked in the dining hall, got to sit in a wide open, sun lit dining hall, eating pretty good food. The dining hall, at least while I was there, became a social venue. Saturday and Sunday brunches took up hours of our days simply because we enjoyed each others company in the dining hall. It was friendly and warm and always inviting.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Town life was something I really enjoyed. Easthampton, although small, had a lot to offer that was right in walking distance of campus. Mt. Tom's ice cream and Antonio's pizza were two favorites of most everyone I knew. The grocery store, pharmacy, and dry cleaners were all also within walking distance. Having the school intertwined with the town really gave me a sense of freedom because I felt as if I could do a lot of things on my own and that I wasn't confined to a fenced in campus all of the time. I was allowed to wander out, explore, and make use of the town's amenities.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life at Williston is pretty typical. Groups are formed; best friends are made. I will say though, that I grew much closer to friends at Williston than I had at any other school I've attended, but I think that's due to the fact that we lived together. There was never a dull moment. Living on campus meant that there was always someone to hang out with or an event to attend.
|8:00 AM||English Class|
|9:00 AM||Economics Class|
|10:00 AM||Chemistry Class|
|11:30 AM||A Lunch|
|12:30 AM||Free Period|
|1:00 PM||International Relations Class|
|2:00 PM||Free time|
|3:00 PM||Sports Practice|
|8:00 PM||Study Hall|
|10:00 AM||Brunch with all my friends|
|12:00 AM||Wander back to Logan to start some homework|
|4:00 PM||Begin a load of laundry|
|6:00 PM||Dinner at the dining hall|
|7:00 PM||Frisbee on the quad|
|8:00 PM||Study hall|
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