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2017-2018 Archives by Moshan G '17 Features students Uncategorized

Word From the Real World: Moshan Guo

If I could only use one word to describe college, it would be serendipity. From arriving at the campus on move-in day to cramming Sociology vocabulary words at 3 a.m. to going stargazing with my friends in the middle of nowhere, freshman year at Colby College for me has been a roller-coaster of a ride.
My name is Moshan Guo, a rising college sophomore transferring to Columbia University this fall. I call myself a preparer; in the summer before entering college, I tried to prepare the best I could for this upcoming new life by ordering dorm necessities like laundry hampers or looking into classes I was interested in taking. I spent countless nights too excited to sleep because I could not wait to experience being the cool college student without curfew or parents by my side telling me what to do. But I was not prepared for adjusting to college; no one had warned me about it.
I cried through my first semester, homesick and stressed from coursework. I would go to class in the mornings, be the most active participant in class discussions, eat alone in the dining halls and then return to my dorm room, where I spent the remainder of the day doing homework and video-calling my best friend from high school. I had almost no social life on campus and instead tried to devote the rest of my time to extracurriculars like volunteering or visiting professors’ office hours.
But it was also on this lonely, quiet campus that I learned to grow, both academically and spiritually. As editors before me have emphasized, college, even after taking IB classes, is challenging. There were weeks when I would go to Miller Library right after classes to study and return to my dorm after 4 a.m. for only four hours of sleep. Although I found myself aware of what quality of work professors expected from me, living up to their expectations was often stressful. As my social circle expanded, especially since the start of the second semester, I found myself bonding with other students over the common woes we shared. There were plenty of times when several of us would work together on a study guide for Biology or help each other with editing essays for Chinese Feminism class.
The majority of you, like me, will initially find yourselves to be isolated in college. If there is one thing I regret about freshman year, it would be stepping outside of my bubble too late in the year. At one point, everyone around you will seem to be having a great time making new friends and excelling at their coursework, while you are the only one struggling to find friends or do well in class. But I promise you that the majority of the people are also struggling with you. It was only after I opened up to my new friends that I realized like me, everyone else around me was nervous about making friends and facing pressure from coursework. Once I stepped out of my bubble, I started spending a lot less time in my dorm and spent more time with friends, even if it was just studying countless hours together in the library. There were times when we impulsively decided to watch a movie at 1 a.m. despite having class the next day or drive down to Waterville for a quick meal at McDonald’s.
The point is, much of the memorable parts of my freshman year come from time spent with friends. I realized that I could get a lot more work done with the help of fellow classmates, even if it meant having endless distractions or side-conversations here and there. College is a miraculous platform in which you will find people coming from very different backgrounds who still share common interests and worries with you.
Coming back to the city for college for the next three years may be daunting; I will once again have to go through the tasks of finding new friends and integrating myself into the campus community. However, I am determined to make the best out of my experience. Freshman year has indeed allowed me to witness the highs and lows of being a college student. But most importantly, it taught me to persist.

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2017-2018 Archives Features students

Word From the Real World: Joy Hamlin

Hi all.  This was surprisingly hard for me to write, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything I could say that would be memorable.  So I didn’t bother.  I don’t expect I’ll say anything in this column that you haven’t heard a thousand times already, but I’ll try my best.

Living on campus in college is extremely different from high school, especially a high school as small as BSGE.  You have a world of choices in picking your own classes, there isn’t a clear separation of school time and home time, and you’re far more responsible for taking care of yourself than ever before.  Personally, I found it liberating.  At Stony Brook, I got to get away from my family and be myself.  I was finally able to take a physics class, though some of you lucky students got to do that at BSGE now.  I performed in a short theater piece and was stage crew for a much longer one, fumbling blindly on a pitch black stage trying to move giant flats into place.

One thing I didn’t do, though, was try to join Stony Brook’s student newspaper The Statesman in any capacity.  Editing for The BaccRag is an experience I’m very glad I had, but one I have no desire to repeat.  I originally joined in 8th grade because my father insisted I wasn’t busy enough and so I needed to join another club, and as time passed I kept going.  Eventually I became an editor, as much because I was one of two seniors participating as because it was something I had a positive desire for.  It was very interesting, trying to manage a fleet of young writers to produce decent writing in a reasonable timeframe, but that experience was vastly different than anything I would have done with The Statesman.  Besides, this way I got to focus my time on extracurriculars that BSGE doesn’t have, like theater.

I suppose the advice I have to give is to use college to seek out new experiences.  Most of what made my first year as great as it was were the parts I couldn’t get at BSGE or ever before.  Use college to its fullest.  Do things you’ve thought about for a while but never tried.  Or at least, that’s what worked for me.

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2017-2018 Archives by Eliza P '23 Features students

Overbooked Seventh Grade Schedules?

In the first year of their BSGE career, many seventh graders are ecstatic about having such a large variety of clubs to join. However, this results in a large problem–many new students have gotten a bit too excited and decided to join one club for each day of the week. These students try to pledge every spare minute of their time to school. While there is nothing wrong with being devoted to BSGE, students need some spare time. Many seventh grade students spend every waking moment they have juggling clubs, homework, and volunteer work. Many Seventh graders no longer have spare time to spend with their families or engage in personal leisure time. Moments of rest are only acquired when multiple teachers are extremely forgiving and decide not to assign homework. Too much dedication can result in high levels of stress, which isn’t beneficial for anyone.

All of this is coming from a 7th grader who spends every day buried in tasks to complete. Mondays are booked until 3:30 for Helping Hands meetings. Wednesday is dedicated to the Robotics club. On Thursdays, I am typing away on the BaccRag. Lastly, on Fridays, I attend P.I.N.C. subcommittee meetings. I also do a large amount of volunteer work over the weekends and on holidays. Multiple others that I know have very similar schedules. For many of us, Tuesday is not a free day either; it is reserved for sports like basketball and dance.

One 7th grader with a particularly overbooked schedule is Mehak R. ‘23. Her schedule consists of Helping Hands on Monday, personal basketball on Tuesday, Robotics on Wednesday, and P.I.N.C sub-committee meetings on Friday. Her time is also filled with basketball games and volunteer work. When asked about her thoughts on her packed schedule, she said, “I don’t always want to do it all, but I feel like I have to because I want a good job.” Many people constantly feel the weight of their future resting on their shoulders.

Another seventh grader who has an overbooked schedule is Camille P. ‘23, who holds the same schedule as Mehak R. ‘23. When questioned about her schedule, she responded with, ”I sometimes feel very stressed about my future and I am not used to this busy schedule.”

Many students still struggle with adjusting to their schedules. It is tough on the students and builds stress. Regardless, these busy schedules are sure to provide the Class of 2023 with successful BSGE futures.

 

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2016-2017 Archives by Krista P '22 Features students

How to Make Something of Your Free Time

Free time. Those are words some haven’t heard in a long while, yet don’t realize when they experience it. Therefore, when students get any amount at all of time with almost nothing to worry about, tests or homework, they can just relax. But this leads to frequent boredom, staring at phones, debating whether or not to like a photo from 56 weeks ago.  There has to be a better way to spend the time.

Since free time is so rare, few know how to spend it. Spending free time wisely is meant to give a sense of accomplishment and contentedness with yourself.

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Jacqueline C '20 Features News students

The Flapjack Fundraiser: Making More Than Just Profits

The Flapjack Fundraiser is an annual occurrence at BSGE that not only supports the school’s softball team, but also unifies the school community. This year it was “extremely successful,” according to team member Anela Salkanovic ‘20. The fundraiser provided the softball team with enough money to buy new jerseys and prepare for the upcoming season. It also gave them a chance to celebrate with teachers, parents, and other students in anticipation of their future victories.

The ticket sales are always the biggest producers of the team’s funds, but not the sole basis for the fundraiser’s success. Emily Costa ‘17, one of the team’s captains, explained that “raffles were a big deal” because they profited the team several hundred dollars. She continued, saying that these gains were one of the factors making the fundraiser “at least as good as last year’s…if not better.”

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Samantha V '18 Features News students

Shhh…It’s the Day of Silence

The Day of Silence is an event that BSGE participates in annually. This year, on April 20, students will be given the choice to support the cause by either staying completely silent or by respecting those who are and by just supporting the cause. Both equally show one’s support for the LGBTQ community, so don’t think that someone who is supporting cares less than someone who is being silent. Nationally, the Day of Silence is on April 21, but this would coincide with Helping Hands’ Earth Day trip.

 

This year, the organization that the Day of Silence committee is planning to donate to is the Ali Forney Center. The Ali Forney Center is an area that provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth. They are provided with necessities such as food, medical attention, and shelter, if necessary. It helps young homeless members of the LGBTQ community feel safe and they are given the resources to feel comfortable expressing their sexuality.

 

Showing your support for the Day of Silence is very important because you are showing that you respect those who are forced to stay closeted and can’t express themselves because they are afraid of being judged for their sexuality. Even if you aren’t going completely silent, showing your support by wearing the support cards—that are handed out in the morning—is spreading the word and showing support.

 

A final note that should be made is that staying silent on the Day of Silence should be taken seriously. It is not a day to stay silent for the sake of not having to participate in class. Also, staying silent means no communication with any other person at all. This means no passing of notes, no texting, and no hand gestures. This goes against the purpose of staying silent and it should be used as a day of support, not joking around. At the end of the day, the silence is broken during a “Breaking of the Silence” ceremony where everyone can break the silence at together.

 

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2016-2017 Archives by Anokha V '19 Culture Features News students U.S.

A Personal Experience of the March on Washington

On January 21st, 2017, my mother, friends, and I chanted “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” loudly throughout the streets of Washington D.C.

Less than twenty-four hours after country musicians strummed their guitars for America’s new president, I marched with more than two million women, men, and children across the globe protesting Donald Trump and what he stands for. With the recent election and inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president, tensions have been high, to say the least. Each day has introduced new scandals and potential constitutional violations. From taking down the pages on climate change and LGBTQ rights on the White House website on his first day in office to waging a full fledged war on the media, Donald Trump has been a very controversial figure. However, this article is not meant to focus on Trump or his supporters, but on the Women’s March on Washington. While I went to the Women’s March primarily to protest Trump’s administration and the man himself, the Women’s March was used by many to advocate for women’s rights. The idea for the Women’s March originally sparked when a retired attorney from Hawaii, Teresa Shook, created a Facebook page for 40 of her friends, attempting to create a small march in protest of Trump’s election. Overnight, 10,000 people had RSVPed for the event, and that’s when the movement gained momentum. The march had its fair share of controversy, however. When it was originally conceived by Ms. Shook, she named it the Million Women’s March, which was a march organized for black women in 1997. This naming drew some backlash, and felt quite racially exclusive, so the march was handed over to female activists Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory, and named the Women’s March on Washington. From there, the march became the monumental event that it became known as on January 21st.

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2016-2017 Archives by Katherine Y '22 Opinion students

Dealing With the Crowded Hallways and Stairways

Imagine needing to reach your next class in a hurry and getting delayed because the stairways and hallways are crowded with students who are all on the wrong side. A BSGE student has to deal with this problem in between almost every pair of class periods. Sometimes, people even get delayed because others are cutting them off or running in front of them. Two common ways to deal with this problem are brushing off these people or cursing them out. Which option is used more often and which one is better?

Numerous people believe brushing people off would be the best option. However, some people admit they curse others out. Samin Chowdhury ‘22 admits that he curses people out an extensive amount. But, cursing is a natural thing to do. Humans can’t really control their mouth in a rush or a bad mood. However, if you curse too loudly, just hope that there aren’t any administrators around you. If you have trouble holding back your swears, try using words to replace them. “Try saying flipping chicken licker to replace the F word,” suggests Liam Costello ‘22.  Wei Wei ’19 presented the alternative of sticking to a basic replacement such as “Frick”.

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2016-2017 Archives by Anokha V '19 Features students

From Poland to America: Bartolomie Halibart

Meet Bart. Bartolomie Halibart, our tenth-grade Polish transfer student, has added lots of character to the grade. Bart, as most people call him, came from Krakow, Poland. He left Krakow, the “most beautiful city in Poland”, to arrive in New York City on June 26th, 2016. However, it’s not his first time here. Previously, Bart lived in New York City from 2002 to 2007, then moved back. He used to live on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. On this Bart remarked, “They call me Brooklyn Bart.” He is to be a man of many monikers: another form of his name is Bartolomiej, which combines his English name and Bartłomiej, his Polish name.

Currently, Bart resides in Ridgewood, Queens with his parents, his sister Katarzyna or Katherine, and his Yorkshire terrier Dexter. He described his commute to school in detail, with more knowledge about the subway map than many of his fellow classmates. New York was well missed by Bart: he proudly stated how great it was to be back. Bart had much to say for his second time in the city.

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2016-2017 Archives by Janielle D '19 Features students

The Face Behind BSGE’s Favorite Deli

BSGE students see her every day as she hands them their iced coffee, BLT, or change. Though she seems to just be the face behind the cash register for most, but there is much more to her and the deli than its french fries and bagels.

Holly, whom people may know as “Mimi” or “the deli lady,” owns the family-run Mimi 36 Deli Grocery, which is also known as the deli across the street from BSGE. She moved to America from South Korea in 1986 and notes the differences between the two countries. “There are a lot of jobs,” she said, referring to America. “And Korea is very fancy, but over here it’s a little regular.” Even though she observes that there is much more litter in America compared to South Korea, she still enjoys being here, saying that it is very nice to live in the States.

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2016-2017 Archives Emma K' 18 Features Opinion Student Life students

Shorter Periods: Blessing or Curse For Grades?

Progress report time has come and gone, and soon January report cards will arrive. Students tell themselves that when they receive grades, it is a time to reflect on their work over the past few months and find ways to improve. This year, the first time that BSGE has had forty-five minute periods, it is relevant to see exactly how this has affected the student body.

Despite grades usually decreasing a bit at the beginning each year as students adjust to the newfound difficulty of our classes, the change had the potential to be good or bad for students. Students were immensely split on this issue, with just as many responding “yes,” “no,” and “somewhat.” More surprising were the justifications, such as one student who responded, “The periods themselves are enough to cover the material we are learning in class, and it goes by a lot faster than the 70 minute periods previously. Thus there is no real difference in the actual teaching material, maybe except for less homework review but that is not essential.” However, some students find said homework review time necessary, such as Sarah Mathai ’18, who said, “The lack of homework review in some of my classes is troubling. I enjoy going over everything so I can better understand the topic.” Others think that the lessons themselves are now rushed and the teachers are not being given enough time to simply go over the class material. This is especially prevalent when discussing math classes, which BSGE students are accustomed to having 280 minutes of a week, but instead only have 225.

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Lalla A '20 Features News students

The Truth on What’s on the Roof

The roof of the school is a mystery to many people. Looking up towards it, it isn’t clear what is there. Some of the younger grades  say that there is a pool, while most say there is nothing there at all. One student, Kayla Powers ’20, believes that, “there is this greenhouse and this house thing and someone lives there.” Another one, Grace Lim ’22, said that when students “look up, they see something weird.” It’s seems absurd that there would be anything on the roof to begin with, that it serves a purpose besides making sure that the rain and wind don’t get in. While there is no greenhouse or pool, there is, in fact, a man who lives on the roof.

The roof hosts a cozy apartment loft, complete with a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom. According to Ms. Johnson, the man who lives there is the landlord of the school building. BSGE was originally his pocketbook factory, and a little more than a decade ago, he rented out the building to the DOE, who then converted it into a school. In the past he has even given the school some pocketbooks to sell at auctions.