Groton School - Review #3
About the Author:
|Home Town, State||Lexington, MA|
|Years Attended Boarding School||5|
|Activities During Boarding School||Groton Math Team: participated from 8th to 12th grade; captain from 11th to 12th grade Arthropod research and Groton Arthropod Society: founded the club and began research on bugs in 10th grade Squash: participated from 8th to 12th grade; varsity from 11th to 12th grade Groton Community Service (GCS): participated from 8th to 12th grade; senior board member in 12th grade|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The single most impressive aspect of Groton is the dedication, quality, and passion of the faculty. My teachers were always well prepared for their classes and when I wanted to meet them outside of class time, they were always welcoming and generous with their time. Even when I brought up topics unrelated to the material of the day, my teachers were interested in discussing the matter with me, and I often had enjoyable and intellectual discussions with my teachers. The small class sizes (most of my classes were less than ten students per class while some were less than four) allow the faculty to focus on and interact with all the students.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
As I mentioned briefly before, my most successful and enjoyable year was my senior year at Groton. First of all, living with the second formers was a great experience that I won't ever forget. I also had a very fruitful research career while at Groton. During the summer before senior year and the fall term of senior year, I devoted over a hundred and fifty hours to my ecological research on insects. I first began the project without really thinking of entering any science competitions or anything. But I soon remembered that the Intel Science Talent Search competition existed for ambitious high school seniors like me and I geared my work towards the competition. With Mr. Black's generous help, without which I couldn't have had such a strong paper, I managed to finish the project in time, on the night before the fall term final exams began. In January, I got a call during study hall telling me I was a Finalist. I couldn't believe it at first, but I checked my name on the website, and I was possibly the happiest person on campus at the time. This past March, all the Finalists were invited to Washington D.C. to meet prominent scientists and to share our research with the scientific community. It was the greatest week of my life, I think. Not only did I get to meet various congressmen, senators, and scientists, I got to shake President Obama's hand and take a picture with him. Even more awesome, in my opinion, is that I have a minor planet in the solar system named after me now. Without Mr. Black, I wouldn't have had such a successful time. Outside of academics, I learned a lot about leadership and working with people, mainly due to being a prefect for the eighth graders. Groton definitely shaped me in ways that would have been unimaginable had I just stayed in Korea.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Nothing really. Of course, there are parts that I regret and probably always will. But it's also those mistakes that helped me be who I am today. My only advice for students entering Groton is: pursue your passion. That's what I did. I pursued my passion in academics, sports, research, and community service and I had a great time at Groton. Don't worry so much about what others are doing or what the general public tells you to do. If you like what you are doing, you are good at it, and what you are doing is useful for the world, then definitely pursue it without hesitation.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Definitely the faculty and the eighth graders. If all the teachers at Groton continue to be of as high quality as they were for me, and if new incoming students are as funny, kind, talented, smart, and interesting as my eighth graders were, I am sure Groton will always be the best school in the country.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
To sum it up, always set a goal and pursue your passion. Strive for the best and don't give up before you try. I went into the Intel STS competition thinking it would be great to even be one of 300 Semifinalists. If I had given up without even trying, I wouldn't have had such a great experience. And definitely try the tutorial system. It will be a unique experience and if you use it well, you will gain far more than you could from normal classes.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The classes at Groton are interesting, challenging, and intriguing. Because the teachers are well aware of their subjects, the classes flow well and students find it easier to participate in discussions. The best part of academics at Groton is, without a doubt, the tutorial system. It allows students to pursue their own interests with a teacher in one-on-one sessions in any variety of interests. For instance, I did three terms of insect work with Mr. Black, two terms of various advanced math topics with Mr. Taylor, and one term of math competition problems with Mr. Creamer in my senior year. Often, sponsoring a tutorial is a huge time commitment for the teachers; yet, my teachers were all enthusiastic and encouraging about my work. Especially productive and worthwhile was my insect research tutorial with Mr. Black, which ended up winning me a place as one of forty Finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search competition, the most prestigious science competition in the country. I definitely suggest that all seniors take advantage of the tutorial system at least once before they graduate.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I love sports. In fact, I probably enjoy sports more than studying at times. At Groton, I definitely fulfilled my athletic desires. I played a variety of sports at Groton, but my main sport was squash. Every winter, for five years, I spent numerous hours on the squash courts. In the past two seasons (in my 11th and 12th grade years), I played the best squash of my life. A lot of that was thanks to Mr. Taylor, my teacher as well as the squash coach. He was very encouraging and helpful, and he always inspired me to try harder and not to become discouraged at losses. Thanks to his encouragements, I was motivated to try hard and I wrapped up my Groton squash career by placing 2nd in the New England Squash Tournament Division I Draw 6. I loved the athletics program at Groton, and I am sure that the other sports are just as enjoyable.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I took photography classes with Ms. Andersson in my 11th and 12th grade winter terms. While I am not very artistically talented, I definitely enjoyed the classes. Ms. Andersson was very open to my ideas, which were, frankly, a bit strange at times. With her help, I learned to develop films, and more importantly, to use Photoshop at a decent level. There are many interesting arts classes at Groton that are worth taking.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Groton definitely kept me busy. But not just with academics. In my 11th and 12th grade years, I only spent about an hour a day on weekdays on homework and spent the rest of my times on sports and other extracurricular activities. My biggest time commitment, other than academics, research, and sports, was community service. I devoted five terms total during my upper school years to various community service projects and I enjoyed all of them. Groton also has a tremendous number of opportunities for joining various clubs. In fact, there are probably too many for a person to join all the ones that interest him. But there are definitely many, many interesting clubs to join, and if there isn't, you can always create one, just like I created my Groton Arthropod Society to study bugs.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorm life at Groton can be an awesome experience or a terrible one; it all depends on how you handle it. For me, my best year at Groton was my senior year and that was mainly due to the 8th graders for whom I was a prefect. Helping them adjust to new lives at Groton as well as with work and other life issues was a very fulfilling experience. They were also very trusting of me and I enjoyed being with them. I spent a lot of time with them: I ate meals with them every day and proctored study hall almost every night. It was so great because it was almost as if I suddenly had twenty-ish younger brothers and sisters. I will never forget my senior year and the times I spent with my second formers.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining at Groton is usually good and healthy. I remember it as being a little better when I first arrived, but that may have been because I was just simply amazed at the food then. In recent years, it had its ups and downs, but for me, everything was perfect once the dining hall got a sushi chef. As much as I love western food, I still enjoy Asian food more than anything. Whenever sushi was on the menu, I ate dozens and dozens of them until I was satisfied. Definitely the best meal ever served at Groton. The times for dining are convenient as well. I usually eat early, so the dining hall opening at 5 was perfect for me.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
While I never really went to town except for a few CVS trips, I definitely loved the area surrounding Groton. The school is surrounded by a vast expanse of forest and other natural habitats, which support a rich ecosystem (according to my last count, I have identified a little over a hundred insect and bug species just on campus). The forest is an awesome place to spend time in, especially if one loves nature as I do.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Unlike many of my classmates, I didn't really have a very lively social life. I was more engrossed in my research and sports, which was fine with me. Most of my social life revolved around my extracurricular activities and sports. I did make good friends though, and I am sure they will last a long time as my friends.
|3:30 AM||Wake up and do homework/read/watch movie/play games|
|5:00 AM||nap for 20minutes|
|6:00 AM||Go to the gym for squash/tennis/work out|
|7:30 AM||breakfast with eighth graders followed by chapel at 8|
|8:45 AM||classes start|
|12:00 AM||nap for 20 minutes and then have lunch|
|3:00 PM||classes end and afternoon activity begins at 3:30|
|6:00 PM||nap for 20 minutes and then have dinner|
|7:00 PM||various extracurricular activity, homework, and proctor study hall beginning at 8|
|11:30 PM||go to bed after doing homework or other activities|
|5:00 AM||sleep in and wake up a bit late; work, watch movie, play game, etc|
|9:30 AM||go to brunch followed by Catholic Mass at 10|
|12:00 AM||nap for 20 minutes then start work|
|3:00 PM||go to gym for squash, tennis, or work out|
|5:00 PM||eat dinner and nap for 20 minutes|
|6:00 PM||hang out with eighth graders|
|8:00 PM||proctor study hall for eighth graders|
|11:30 PM||go to bed after working|
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