By, Sam G. ’19
“Most Likely to Succeed?” is a new column being introduced to the 2018-2019 Panel Back Page. In this column, the Back Page editors interview a highly-respected Winsor faculty member about an embarrassing or difficult time in their life, specifically during their middle school, high school, and early college years. The purpose of “Most Likely to Succeed?” is to teach Winsor’s student body that you do not, in fact, need to be fully formed at the age of 14.
Having changed schools in fourth grade, Upper School head Mrs. M. describes her late elementary and middle school years as “a little bit challenging because a lot of the kids at [her] school had been together since kindergarten.” Therefore, she explains that she was “very much ‘the new kid” in school. The start of ninth grade brought another change of schools for Mrs. M.; however, this time, the transition was different because she was attending a boarding school where it was every student’s first year. Having been someone to whom academics came easily throughout middle school, Mrs. M. says that “my biggest priority freshman year [was] that I wanted to get plugged in with friends and I wanted to really make sure that I was socially in the place I wanted to be.”
Despite her strong dedication to making new friends in her grade, there was an added challenge in that Mrs. M. was in many classes with sophomores and juniors.
“Every free minute I had,” Mrs. M. describes, “I was dedicated to making friends” with the students in her grade.
Suddenly October came, and Mrs. M. received her first set of high school grades. After a pause, Mrs. M. confesses that “they weren’t good.” “And I just don’t mean they weren’t good as in I didn’t get straight A’s,” she continues, “I mean I was on academic warning.” The worst part of academic warning was the fact that all of her free periods and after dinner free time were to be spent in a proctored study hall, a giant and dark basement room called “The Pit.” Many students would use their free time for a mix of studying and socializing, but because of her academic warning, Mrs. M. says that “I could not do any of that.” “I definitely had a hole to dig myself out of,” Mrs. M. says in response to the remainder of her freshman year.
By the end of freshman year, Mrs. M. had gotten herself off of academic warning and her grades returned to where she had hoped. She describes this instance in her life as “a lesson about how to prioritize [her] time.” “For example, the field hockey bus could be socializing time, and then when I got back to my dorm being able to say ‘you know what, no, I can’t hang out right now, I’ve got to get started on my homework.” She concludes that ninth grade and the rest of one’s high school years are all about finding a balance between different commitments. Mrs. M. asserts that “it definitely takes time to find a balance” and that “it took [her] a lot of time in ‘The Pit’ to figure that out.”