Oldfields School - Review #4

Read more details about Oldfields School on their 2020-21 profile page.
Oldfields School
5

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 2012-2016
Sports and Activities:-Images, an A Capella Group, 2012-2016 (Co president Junior and Senior year). Black Awareness Club 2012-2016. (Treasurer sophomore year, Vice President Junior and Senior Year) -Dance Company 2013-2016. Dance Captain (Sophomore, Junior and Senior Year). -F.O.C.U.S, Christian Club, 2013-2016. -Gay Straight Alliance 2014-2016. -School Team Traditions -White Team Spirit, the white team’s mascot. (Junior year) -White Team Captain, white team’s leader. (Senior year) -Played Jesus, the main character in Godsell the musical, Sophomore Year. -Played Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Junior Year. -Residential Life, student prefect in the dorm, Junior and Senior year. -Student Council (Vice President of the Senior Class)
College Enrolled:Carleton College
Home Town, State: Plainfield, NJ

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I truly do believe that the faculty and staff at Oldfields make this school a unique one. Every member of the faculty and staff are invested in the wellbeing and success of every student here. This is exemplified through our school slogan "Each Girl's Success". Through my time at OS, I witnessed firsthand that this slogan is embodied by every adult. Teachers, administrators and coaches check in daily with students to uplift, motivate, listen, and provide assistance or advice when needed. This consistent interaction allows the faculty and staff to be aware of how each girl is doing. Student well being and progress is so important to the staff here that there are weekly staff meetings held every Monday. This is a chance for all faculty and staff to get together and discuss each girl. This ensures that no girl is overlooked. Each girl is important and plays a role in this special community. To some these faculty meetings and consistent interaction sound daunting, but it provided me with extra confidence that I was well known and supported at all times. I was not afraid to work hard, to failure to succeed. Because the faculty and staff put so much effort and care into each girl's success I was able to walk fully assured in that promise.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Spending the later half of my teenage years here were amazing for my confidence and self esteem. It was really beneficial for me to have the space to figure out my identity surrounded by people who were invested in my well-being and success. I was expected to work and meet the expectations of the school as well as my personal goals, but never to the determinant of myself. The guidance of faculty here instilled in me the drive to always improve and try my best. I was able to self manage myself by the end of my career here but knew I would have people in my corner to help me as soon as I needed it. I really matured and grew up to be a confident, self assured, caring, and curious woman. I continue to credit Oldfields for helping shape me into the woman I am today.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Oldfields is such a warm and magical place. Try to get out of your comfort zone, wonderful things happen in that uncomfortable place. Try something new, whether that is an activity, class, food or your seat at lunch. It is not hard to find a place at Oldfields but challenge yourself to be creative and switch things up. I wish I would have done that, transitions and change would have been less scary if I did. I challenged myself throughout my time at OS, but mainly in the realm of things I was already comfortable doing in one capacity. I wish I would have tried different things that I had not been interested in prior to high school. Ask questions! Take advantage of all the faculty here, they are caring and very knowledgeable about their fields of study and expertise. Lastly, put your all into the things you choose to partake in. It is better and far more sustainable to be really invested in a few things than barely apart from a bunch of activities.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Traditions truly make Oldfields a special place. One important tradition is Green and White Knight. The entire community including faculty and staff are assigned a color. Each team has a Spirit, your traditional mascot who wears the suit at every event and motivates the team to stay excited and engaged. The spirit helps lead the team alongside the Captain who organizes meetings, fundraisers, and helps cultivate a team culture. I relished the good-spirited rivalry between the White and Green Team. I was very dedicated to being apart from my team and invested in competing in various competitions throughout the school year. Overall, I love that this tradition helps lift the school morale and motivates each girl to be a better student and community member. Some of my fondest memories are being White team Spirit and Captain and I will never forget my experiences as a White team member.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
No matter your interest coming into Oldfields, check out the art departments and give something a try!!!

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Upon arriving at Oldfields, I found myself challenged in the classroom. I was asked to move beyond the facts to more critical ideas. I was expected to tackle sophisticated problems, read complex novels, and produce stronger writing. During my time at Oldfields, I found the requirements, explained below, to be useful and very effective. They added structure to my education but also gave me plenty of leeway to explore things I was interested in. For example, English is required every year while at OS, but there are English courses offered that pull from different time periods, genres, and showcase various authors. I was able to obtain a rich understanding of English literature by reading contemporary works written by various women authors. I was introduced to one of my favorite African-American authors now, Zora Neale Hurston. Teachers here are dedicated to teaching material that keeps students engaged. For this reason, learning at Oldfields redefined my interests and provided me with many skills and strengths that later helped me throughout my college career. Before enrolling in Oldfields, History had always been my least favorite subject. Class periods often dragged and history was solely a bunch of dates and facts. Sophomore year I had the privilege of taking 20th Century World History with Mrs. Littlefield. All of a sudden I felt immersed in a historical bubble that reached beyond the walls of the classroom. Breaking from the traditional method of learning History changed my perception and enjoyment of the subject. History became just as engaging and challenging as Math or English. The seminar style classes at OS promote round table discussion and allow each girl to develop her own voice and thinking. Learning in this environment aided me in my transition to Carleton College, where I was expected to produce work that showcased my personal voice as a writer and thinker and participate critically every class. The workload at Oldfields is quite manageable; students typically take six classes per term. Our unique schedule of only three classes per day ensures that assignments are due on alternating days. I found that this schedule decreased stress and allowed me to produce stronger work. The schedule also assisted me in practicing time management to figure out my priorities within any given week. This built in structure to our academic curriculum encourages the practice and growth of skills that are important for further education and professionally. Teachers are extremely available since there is built in time during our academic day to get help from teachers. Students can also seek teachers out during evening study hall or via email outside of the school day. I never ran into issues receiving help, teachers were more than happy to assist me and really wanted to see me understand and utilize the material. Because the teachers foster a supportive environment at OS, students also feel comfortable helping others inside and outside of the classroom. I was a part of many study groups and sessions throughout

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
At Oldfields, each student is required to engage in athletic activity on campus each of the three seasons in the academic year. Engagement varies from team sports to riding, dance, theater, fitness and conditioning, and yoga. Each activity meets five times a week (Monday-Friday) and are built into our daily schedule here at OS. Traditionally I was not much of an athlete while at Oldfields. I was always the kid that was afraid of balls, bats, rackets; you name it. But my dad challenged me to play at least one team sport during high school. I did just that, picking from a diverse list of options my first term of freshmen year and landed on Volleyball. At the time it seemed the least scary out of all my options. I had absolutely no experience with the sport and was surrounded by students who had played volleyball for years. I was always encouraged and supported throughout the season and got to develop a solid understanding of volleyball. Our coaches at Oldfields care about instilling good sportsmanship, correct technique, and goal setting for every girl. This is a great environment to play a sport for a non-athlete like me; however, the positive effects of our program go beyond first time players. I saw it enhance and strengthen the passions and skills of the long time athletes around me. Although I did not play anymore team sports during my time at OS, being apart from a team and witnessing and learning how to be a good team player still mean so much to me.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I participated in three spring musicals during my time at OS. I had dabbled in theatre during middle school, but was often frustrated that it was not taken seriously by many of my peers. Practice times were full of distracted and disinterested kids thinking about the next thing on the agenda. I had a passion for dancing, singing, and acting that had never really been cultivated before high school. The theatre program at Oldfields is small but mighty!!! For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who were interested and passionate about this art form. I was inspired by our theatre director and my peers who pushed me to feel more comfortable acting in front of others and encouraged me to fully embody every role. In our school theatre, a building full of tradition and history, I experienced great success and failure. I will never forget the lessons I learned the season I did not get the part I wanted. I felt immense support, care, and encouragement from the entire theatre department as I learned the reality of acting and the importance of putting your all into a role no matter how small or big. Every season our shows were packed with faculty, staff and students. Our craft along with all the hard work and time put in was taken seriously and received beautifully by our community. I will never forget the sound of applause after my first show at Oldfields. The program really gives every girl interested the space to connect with her voice and her style while experimenting and exploring different plays and characters.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Freshers Fair, an event that happens every fall, showcases almost all of the extracurriculars available at Oldfields. I say almost all, because clubs can be created there is a desire for an activity that is not available and there are people interested in the club. For this reason, combined with the diverse options available, it is hard not to find something you are interested in or passionate about. I really enjoy how each club is student run with a faculty member that overlooks to other any extra assistance if needed. This encourages leadership and time management since the productivity of any given club is mostly up to the students alone. I was involved in five different clubs while at Oldfields and I had to learn how to manage time spent in clubs, any outside responsibilities, with my courses. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Leading a couple of clubs in my junior and senior years allowed me to get closer to the student body and become more serious about my interests. Club time is built into our daily schedule, placing emphasis on academic learning and advancement but also extracurriculars. I really benefited from the opportunity to engage with different activities and left Oldfields being more than just a high honor roll student and felt overall well rounded. I was encouraged by the faculty and staff to take all of my engagements seriously. This guidance and support proved to be very effective in my transition to college where I have continued many of my interests and have developed a great balance.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
There are four dorms on campus with each residence hall sporting a personality of its own. Several faculty members live in the dorms with the students as dorm parents. The dorm parents add a sense of home, providing assistance when needed, home-baked goods, pets, and I can’t forget bad times. I enjoyed the weekend sleepovers with my friends from other dorms. I have many memories of walking back to my dorm after the weekend was over with what seemed like all of my belongings. A lot of memories are made decorating rooms, studying, talking and having fun in the dorms. I remember countless snow/ free days where my friends and I would spend all day in the dorms dancing, playing games and talking about anything and everything. I had a great bond with my roommate, which extended my social life beyond weekend trips or social time outside of the room. I was able to have several confidants in the place I lived and relaxed which was of great value to me. I was a prefect in the dorm my junior and senior years, which added to my experiences with the dorm life. It was great to get to know every single student in the dorm and come up with ways to get people to interact and create bonds. Much work is done behind the scenes to ensure everyone feels safe, included, and comfortable. Beyond the environment dorm parents and perfects cultivate, dorms require a pass code for entry. This code is known only by administrators, security, dorm parents, and students. This ensures our safety at all times. Ms. Libby, the director of residential life, handles roommate set ups and dorm selections. I found the process to be very fair; I always received the placement I chose via survey and felt I could speak up if there were conflicts in the dorm affecting my living experience. I always felt safe and heard living at Oldfields.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining is special at OS. We have set times to eat meals as a community once a week at lunch. This includes all faculty and staff and gives everyone an opportunity to meet and get to know each other. I enjoyed meeting girls from different class years as well as teachers I did not have in class. This cultivates a community where each person knows everyone by name as well as personally. Sit-down meals with assigned seats also happen in the night time, with residential dinner. This allows students and faculty that live on campus to get together and the further bond. The menu is diverse and also meets the needs of those that are vegetarian and gluten intolerant. I always found fresh options to eat at every meal whether it was fresh cut fruits or vegetables or a hot meal prepared by the kitchen staff. There is also a sandwich and salad bar available at every meal. I always missed the wide array of choices during breaks.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Oldfields School is a beautiful rural campus but is not far from Cockeysville, a town with many department stores, restaurants, shops, and a movie theatre. Hunt Valley town center is 10 minutes from our campus and has many activities for students to engage in. A little further away, Towson has a large shopping mall, bowling alley, as well as various restaurants. Oldfields is situated 30 minutes away from Baltimore city so students also have the chance to visit the inner harbor where the aquarium, various art museums, restaurants and cultural neighborhoods are located. I really enjoyed the opportunity to escape from rural life for a little and explore the towns surrounding Oldfields.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Oldfields is a small community made up of diverse students from many states and countries across the world. Socially the community is tight with people interacting closely daily. I never felt alone during my time here. I could always find someone to hang out with or confide in. Socially I felt I could be myself and had the space to figure it out when I didn’t quite know what that looked like. This warm, caring and loving environment allowed me to graduate feeling confident in who I am and my abilities as a student, dancer, artist etc.
Read more details about Oldfields School on their 2020-21 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Oldfields School Alumni #1
    Class of 2019
    5 Stars  
    St. Lawrence University
    I would say that the two most prominent thing that make Oldfields unique is May Program. May Program is a learning opportunity for all students whether that be at Oldfields, in the United States, or. . .
  • Oldfields School Alumni #2
    Class of 2018
    5 Stars  
    Shenandoah University
    One aspect that O.S has that no other school is how our school is split into Green or White Teams. These team all year have a friendly competition that not only helps you make friends. . .
  • Oldfields School Alumni #3
    Class of 2017
    5 Stars  
    Muhlenberg College
    I don't know what other boarding schools are like, but the teachers and coaches at Oldfields cared about me learning, growing, and being happy in a way I never could have imagined. I was surrounded. . .
  • Show more reviews (9 reviews)
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