by Julia Dickinson
May 5, 2020
As we finish yet another wonderful year at BUA, we start to think about our new beginnings. To our seniors, this means leaving our warm, welcoming community to expand their knowledge of the world. To other current students, this means thinking about the new challenges and opportunities that the next school year will yield. However, there’s another group of people starting a journey at BUA: the class of 2024.
Through all the challenges, academic and otherwise, we have come to love BUA. To the incoming freshmen, however, the beginning of high school in September can be quite overwhelming. In an effort to ease the transition to BUA, I have interviewed a current student from each grade to gather advice applicable to all circumstances, even the currently uncertain ones, that they have taken from their own experiences throughout their varied ranges of time at BUA. Thank you to Janani Ganesh ‘23, Tanay Nambiar ‘22, Kieran Barrett ‘21, and Kaiti Filippou ‘20 for allowing me to interview you!
I asked each of my interviewees similar questions covering a wide variety of subjects pertaining to the average BUAer. One common piece of advice across everyone was to ask for help when needed. As Janani says, “[Teachers] are more than willing to help any student who is struggling in their class or just wanted to review with them.” She hit it spot on! Every teacher at BUA wants to see you succeed, and they would love to help you reach your highest potential. Kieran says that all you need to do is show that “you are putting effort into [the class], and [the teachers] will help you so much.” Asking for help is difficult at times but vital to your development as a BUA student.
Another rite of passage as a BUAer is your commute. I’m sure all of us can remember ourselves intimidated by the vast network of the transit system in September. Kaiti says that “most kids have other people taking the same route, so you can make a little train group to meet together every day.” This is a great idea because commuting with other BUA students not only helps you feel more confident on public transportation, but it also leads to new friendships. Soon after arriving at BUA, you will adjust to your commute, and you will have a better idea of how to effectively manage your time spent traveling to and from BUA. Across the board, the two main suggestions for using commute time are to either get some homework done or wind down from the day. Tanay says, “Some students may prefer to take the time to settle down and relax, while others use the commute to finish as much work as they can. The first month is the perfect time to figure out what works best for you.” His suggestion of experimenting with different options is great for students who are unsure which one is best for them.
To conclude our interviews, I asked each person about making new friends. These interviews have confirmed my belief that there are so many ways to make friends at BUA! One tip that works for finding friends both in your own grade and in other grades is to join a BUA activity. On making friends in different grades, Kaiti says, “It happens naturally. It doesn’t matter if you join a sport or club, since there will be upperclassmen regardless.” It’s easier to become friends with people whom you share common interests with, and BUA has so many sports and clubs to offer.
Once you have made some friends, which won’t be hard, there will be so many ways to get together. One way is through BUA events. Kieran says that “some of [his] best memories are from school events.” From Fall Festival, a BUA tradition comprising activities in the gym, soccer games, and a homecoming dance, to Lock-In, a sleepover held in the BUA building with activities and nightly excursions, and Semi-Formal, an annual winter dance, there are school events sprinkled throughout the year to provide memorable bonding experiences for students. Tanay made a great point by saying that “since your classmates live all around [Massachusetts], school events are [an opportunity] not in an academic setting where all of them [can come] together.” It can be hard to find all your friends in one space, so school events are a great chance to spend time together. Additionally, Janani says that she often “FaceTimes to hang out with [her] friends” as a way of keeping in touch with them. Communicating with friends over calls or messages is great for connecting with them, whether on a school night or over a break. At an academically rigorous school such as BUA, it’s even more important that you leave yourself time to relax with your friends.
At the end of the day, every person who enters the BUA building quickly learns how to manage the work and commute, make amazing friends, and create everlasting memories. To the class of 2024, it’s normal to be nervous or scared about starting high school, even in ordinary times. As I have learned from my interviews and experience at BUA, however, our community will always support you throughout your time at BUA. BUA provides a fantastic environment to grow in, so don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in and out of the classroom.