New Student Perspective

Juliet Suess

Coming to a Close

Reflecting on the end of the semester

By Mohona Ganguly ’21

As we welcome the arrival of 2018, I am taking the time to reflect on my first four months as a student, as well as the festivities that came with the holiday season.
Stage Fright
    My first instrumental music concert took place on Dec. 1. While we were rehearsing in Saperstein, I was in awe of the view from the stage. The seats were illuminated by lights that were so bright that I couldn’t see my sheet music. Finally, the day of the performance came. Head pounding, I glanced at myself in the mirror, attempting to look refined in my long, black dress. My knees were knocking together while we waited for our turn to perform. When the time came, I walked to the stage, remembering my mother’s advice, and pretended to be graceful. As I moved towards my seat, my dress sagged, and I began to trip. During my fall, I thought that both my dreams of performing and my cello would be broken, but I caught myself at the last moment. After our performance, my famished friends and I feasted on cookies and cupcakes. Despite my bad luck with gravity, it was a wonderful performance.
Winter Week
It was a delight finding out that the school had an entire week of festivities dedicated to ringing in the holiday season. Starting with festive dress day, I was ecstatic to be dressing up to celebrate. I especially liked the turtleneck and ugly sweater days, although, unfortunately, my sweater was deemed “not ugly” and “kind of cute” by my friends. I also found a new talent in the dreidel competition during the first day of Hanukkah. I won a grand total of $1.00. It was also awe-inspiring to witness the menorah lighting ceremony. I had never seen such a grand ceremony at my school before, and I find it a testament to our school’s cosmopolitan environment that we were all able to partake in such a beautiful event. Milk and cookies on the last day before break was also a real treat. Overall, I found Winter Week to be an amazing way to spread the cheer of the holiday season.
The Strength of Our Community
During the week of Dec. 8, a series of wildfires struck the Los Angeles area, and school was canceled for two days. Although I was excited that I would have no school, it was heartbreaking to witness the testimonies of various families who had lost their homes and all of their possessions to the flames. When the Skirball fires struck, I found myself texting friends to make sure that they were safe. It was a welcome surprise when I witnessed the school bonding together to support those who had suffered because of the fires. There were support rooms, where people were free to discuss any issues they were dealing with, and people were writing thank you cards to firefighters. Seeing these acts of companionship warmed my heart more than any present ever could.
A Semester Concludes
   As the first semester came to a close, I pondered about my success, not just academically, but also as a new student. I found myself making a mental checklist. Did I not get lost on the campus? Check. Did I not miss the bus? Check. Did I set a new record for times I fell down the stairs (four)? Check. Did I make new, supportive friends? Check. Did I meet encouraging, kind teachers? Check. Did I feel like I fit in well? Check. Did I have a wonderful time? Check. Am I looking forward to the new semester? Check.