HB ’18: Freshmen Again

By Anna Keresztesy

Learning not for school but for life. Best college preparatory school. Skills used beyond the classroom. Writing like a college student. All the things HB feeds us in preparation for the college diploma at the end of the rainbow. But what happens when 113 students move beyond the doors of the hallowed Hath into the world of 66 different universities and colleges? Even if they don’t return for IDEO, or their only memory is a team photo in the hallway, each graduate has been left to fend for themselves. Here’s what they have to say on learning for life.

Special thanks to the 18 people who actually took the survey, even though over 70 saw it. 🙂

When asked if they felt ready for college in the time leading up to actually going, the majority of girls said yes. A few said gave an outstanding not at all, and yet another group said some form of ‘sort of’. However, when followed up with how they felt once classes actually started, the general responses were that college is really hard. Obviously, we all know this, but now hearing back from the freshman, you obviously never know how different it will be. On the up side, many of those responses were followed by ‘but I realized I was actually really ready for it because of HB’. Or, of course, “I still don’t know what’s going on”.

The next big question was about how close they are with their HB sisters for life. It’s difficult to stay in touch with friends at different schools, in different states, all just as exhausted and stressed as you are. For those already anxious about losing friends, you have nothing to worry about. Even for girls who said that they don’t talk to a lot of people, all of the responses said that their main support ended up being the friends who truly cared, even if it took a while to get back in touch.

HB obviously prides itself on preparing for college, and each teacher has a different philosophy. As it turns out, they’re all right. As expected, Frazier’s essays, KP’s notes and writing, Adler’s favoring the prepared mind, and even high school calc notes all made an appearance as the secret to success. One response said they “don’t like to give Mr. Purpura any extra credit because it will go to his head, but telling us to learn to think for ourselves has been very important so far.” In fact, it wasn’t even one specific person or class that was described again and again. It was the entire HB lifestyle that left an imprint on these girls. “In general though, people always said that HB was a very unique, special place and to be honest, I always took it for granted. I never realized how much sexism I would actually experience in college and I appreciate that HB taught me to stand up for myself.”

Every wellness class touches on the stress culture of HB. So is it all worth it? According to the girls who’ve gone through it all themselves, a resounding “OMG YESSSSSS” is the answer. Nobody liked the stress, some wish they didn’t have it as much in high school, but no matter how bad the senioritis, your first acceptance letter will make it all worth it. In the end, “grades and test scores don’t define you, don’t obsess over them,” and to those who complain about uncurved tests, “in college teachers barely curve or they curve so that the average of the class is a C not the standard A- that HB is”. To the class of 2019, you’re at the worst part of the year, and it is absolutely awful. But with every sleepless night, know that “the senior lifestyle, while almost unbearable, is what makes me feel like i can do college.”

At this point in the survey, it’s very clear that I may have ruined somebody’s day. The final two questions asked were about cliche advice we should actually listen to, and any final notes from our sisters to us all. If I could put all of their responses in this article, I would, but I’m already over 600 words. For length’s sake, I will paraphrase many of these responses, but to my anonymous 18 responders, your overall thoughtfulness and genuine care towards the entire HB community speaks more than any one response could show. Thank you. On that sappy note, here is some cliche advice which we all might mock, but we will never forget. Most importantly, cherish these years. “In the blink of an eye you’ll be holding hands and screaming and jumping into the pool or walking across the stage to get your diploma and Godshall will be telling you that this is the last time that she gets to tell you what to wear. Before you know it, you’ll be moving into your freshman dorm and you’ll be saying that you “went” to HB, and your HB sisters will no longer be your classmates. Get to know all of the sisters in your class, because they’ll be the first ones you reach out to in fall. Cherish the time spent and the relationships you’ve built with your teachers and underclassmen as well! They also really care about you.” ‘Be grateful for what you have; once you’re in college, you will see that HB truly prepares you like no other school.’ “Listen when they talk about alcohol and sex. It’s real, it’s a part of college, it’s scary when you don’t know what to do. Know your stuff. Go to class, your tuition isn’t cheap, each class could be hundreds of dollars, don’t let your investment be in vain.” ‘Take time to figure yourself out. It’s good to make friends and date, but there are so many people, take risks and stop worrying about what others think.’

For some final words, here is what the class of 2018 wants to say. “Wow. ‘Last things’ sounds super final. Seriously though – HB was (and always will be) a home for me. I’ve spent so much of my life and that building with my teachers and my friends. I can’t begin to explain how much I miss it or how I can map out every inch of that place in my head. I truly believe it’s one of the best places to receive an education and grow up, and I can’t wait to go back.” “The competition of college choices will not necessarily end when high school ends. In my first weeks, people at my school were very negative about ending up here, talking about how it wasn’t their first choice or they were unhappy or whatever. Just be confident in the choices you make. You know yourself the best so don’t let other people’s ideas of what should make you happy influence your decision making.” “Thriving” “ miss you guys!” “Be kind. Be kind to everyone. Don’t be exclusive, you’re never too good for anyone.” “Thank you HB students and faculty for inspiring me and getting me to where I am today!”

The final message that came up throughout, is that everything works out. Even if you don’t get into your top choice, or people are negative about the school you love, everyone ends up where they were meant to be. From the class of 2019, they love us, they miss us, and we will be just fine- “you are an HB girl after all”.