Orientation Advice, Part 2



Redlich proctor Isabella Giordano ’20 helps Cate Barry ’23 and her mother move into the dorm.

As new students adjust to the unfamiliar environment during their first few weeks of school, returning students offer assistance. Proctors, orientation leaders, teammates, dorm-mates, and classmates provide new community members with advice in hopes of making their transitions easier. Returning students note the benefits of pushing oneself out of one’s comfort zone – to sit with new people at meals, and connect with people on teams, in co-curriculars, in classes, and in the dorm. By meeting new people, students can learn things that they may have never imagined knowing and gain exposure to new perspectives. Sophie Davis ’22 said, “The more people you can meet, the better your experience will be at Hotchkiss.”
Returners also encourage new students to reach out for help without hesitation since anyone in the community is willing to point students in the right direction, whether it be studying before a math test or learning how to properly do your laundry for the first time. As Jerry Qiao ’22 and Ellie Burke ’20 mention, there are so many resources available at students’ fingertips. The Teaching and Learning Center is open and offers tutoring services for anyone who needs help outside of class, as well as assistance with time management. Burke said, “When I first got here as a new Lower Mid, I found it extremely helpful to reach out to everyone here who [was] willing to help me. Going to the Teaching and Learning Center helps with managing classes and organizing studying.”
Students are also willing to help each other, and perhaps more suited to help with the adjustment period than faculty. Once Qiao ’22, a second-year Lower Mid, became familiar with his surroundings, he realized that the stereotype of boarding school as competetive places is false. Qiao said, “In my community prior to boarding school, I used to hear that it is a very competitive environment, but [as soon as I became acclimated with the lifestyle,] I found that everyone is as willing to help and share resources.”
Emily Beutner ’22 expressed that she did not anticipate such a broad, diverse range of people and personalities at the school, and has learned the importance of accepting everyone as their true selves and being comfortable with herself. Attending a school with people of different ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds allows people to find similar interests as well as gain exposure to hobbies or traditions previously unknown to them. She recommends that Preps keep an open-mind and learn about as many new things as possible. Beutner said, “Don’t hide the ‘weird’ things about yourself, since you never know what opportunities they may open up for you at school.”
As well as reaching out for help and meeting new people, Abby Powell ’21, a three-year Upper Mid, quickly learned the value of using free periods to accomplish more than just TV-watching sessions. Powell said, “[Using] your frees to do homework relieve[s the] stress of leaving all [your] work to once you have finished dinner and your after-school commitments.”
Kira Ackerman ’22 stressed the importance of approaching everything with the right attitude, since first impressions can mean so much in a place where you are constantly spending time with your peers. Kindness and open-mindness is key, as well as an equal balance of confidence and humility. Ackerman said, “Being confident does not mean that you cannot be humble. Try to approach every new situation that you encounter with this mindset.”
Many students go to boarding school excited for a chance to be independent. This, however, does not mean that they won’t need help along the way sometimes. Reach out to other people, whether you’re in need of help with homework, or just want someone to talk to. Chances are, someone knows how you feel. After all, we’re only here for a few years. We should try to make those years go as smoothly as we can, which is only possible with others’ help.