Welcome to HAFS Life
YOUNGBEAN KIM, ‘18
You’ve been through it all. Three years of intense middle school studies and projects, as well as prepa-ration to apply for HAFS. You’ve written your re-sume, reviewed your activities and finally ridden the bus over the HAFS hill for the interview. Weeks after the suffocating interview, you see the words, “The glory of HAFS. Be the one to carry it on!” on the school website. After celebration followed by a tear-jerking graduation, you feel ready to become a HAFSonian.
However, as you start to prepare yourself for the next three years of high school, you realize that you’re heading towards the grey zone, the unknown. You find yourself drowning in a pool of application forms for clubs and constantly have to seek advice in anonymous websites (and it is uncertain whether you’ll get a reply). You realize that you’ve been through nothing.
In order to alleviate some of this age-old freshmen pressure, HAFS Harbinger gathered tips for HAFS life via an online survey from students of all grades and courses. Freshmen, take notes.
Academics & Activities
There was a tip that was mentioned by every single International course student of all grades: Study math. “Study math more than English,” a to-be senior in the Intl’ course wrote in a terse manner; as if there was nothing more important. Another student urges the freshmen to solve the Precalculus textbook questions at least five times before an exam, highlighting the importance of repetitive learning. For Humanities and Natural Science, the answers varied from “knowing what each teacher’s lecture styles are,” “[putting] much effort into the Reading & Discussion program, since it’s not hard to win an award (Humanities)” and “consistency is the key to ARC projects (Natural Science).”
While there was advice that everyone could relate to such as “Do NOT procrastinate,” there were also some tips that differed among courses. Such would be the desirable amount of club activities one takes part in: A Humanities student(class of ‘18) advises to join no more than two to three clubs, for it is important to build up grades from the start of the first year. Anoth-er Natural Science student claims that the earlier is better when it comes to deciding whether you’re staying in the club or not; “Indecisiveness will result in the misery of not being able to quit due to peer pressure.” Meanwhile, an International student ex-pressed their regret at not having joined any perfor-mance clubs. Each to their own, we say.
All students who talked about the matter stressed the importance of sticking to a regular schedule. Several students mentioned the importance of settling a deal with one’s roommate in order to not disturb each other’s rest. One student in the Natural Science course said, “You know those students who seem to pull productive all-nighters? There’s no such thing. Get your sleep; especially during exam period.” Another student stressed the importance of control-ling one’s smartphone habits.
Aside from sleep, an International student included “ordering uniforms a few sizes big”— an allusion to the “freshmen 15,” which many HAFSonians put on due to the school’s “heavenly lunch.” There were also some differing opinions on caffeine consumption either encouraging it (“Prepare coffee. Lots of cof-fee”) or warning against it (“Tea or an occasional coffee isn’t bad…Energy drinks, on the other hand, may make you burn and crash.”).
Interestingly, many students advised to be cautious about spending much time in human relationships. Such are “Don’t get too hung up on friendship; you might miss things that are much more important,” and “Be aware that you can’t be friends with everyone and that some are simply ‘lunch partners.’ It’s better to have one close friend.” While this might sound shocking, these students are probably suggesting being careful about human relationships in general.
Since HAFSonians live together, warnings about rumors and watching what one says was also men-tioned, to prevent unwanted, false stories from spreading.
Two students have written touching notes on self-improvement and attitudes towards life. For this journalist believes she cannot paraphrase such great quotes, she will use direct translation.
“Admit your limits. Your grades cannot go higher by the semester, and it will hit that wall sooner or later. Then you need to acknowledge the existence of that wall. Of course, acknowledgement is not the same as submission; most importantly, you need to TRY to change yourself to go over that wall. Kudos to you.” -Natural Science, class of ‘18
“Even when it’s hard to accept the poor results of club interviews, assignments, and exams, don’t let yourself go into the state of deep despair… It may seem as though you have a lot to catch up at the mo-ment, but at the end of the day, the real winner is the one who is able to recharge themselves with positivi-ty after getting over the hard parts.” -Natural Science, class of ‘19
Dear freshmen, welcome to HAFS.