Ram Reflections: Upper School Advice from a Senior

After the important years spent in Upper School, our seniors have some words of wisdom to share for new MICDS Upper Schoolers. Check out what they have to say about how MICDS helped them grow and prepared them for college, and learn what advice they have for future Upper School Rams!

Upper School Reflections & Advice for New MICDS Upper Schoolers

Isaac Layugan ’22 came to MICDS in seventh grade and has been involved in Cross Country, Tennis, and Essential Fitness. He is most involved in TeenCERT, a club that offers FEMA certification and continuing education for disaster response and emergency first-aid.

  • How he’s changed and grown as a person during Upper School:
    “I think that there have been a lot of different things that have more or less changed me throughout the past four years. To be fair, I’d argue that there are some of my characteristics that have stayed the same and other characteristics that are drastically different—but I guess I am still me. I think that Upper School is the perfect place to open up and explore your options because once you start applying to colleges, you really need to be comfortable expressing yourself.”
  • His advice for new MICDS Upper Schoolers:
    “Take advantage of all the resources you have. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Don’t be afraid to explore different options. Get engaged with activities/clubs/sports. Establish good relationships with your teachers. Get close with the people in your advisory—you’ll spend the next four years with them, and sooner or later it’ll already be senior year. Enjoy high school, but also remember that this is the beginning of an important transition to college. If you already have a career path in mind, shape your academic studies towards that path. If you don’t, don’t worry! Just make sure you explore all the different options while you still have the option and flexibility to do so.”
  • How MICDS Upper School has prepared him for college:
    “Honestly, MICDS has done a really good job. Obviously, everyone has their own story and their own experience, but I can’t see myself prepared any better for college.”

 

Zoe Carter-Konate ’22 came to MICDS in sixth grade and is the co-head of French Club, Ambassadors, and the Black Student Union. She is also a member of Anatomy Club, RamX, and Peer-to-Peer, and competes in throwing events for Track and Field all year long.

  • What she loves about MICDS:
    “I absolutely adore the people who I have gotten to meet, both teachers and students.”
  • How she’s changed and grown as a person during Upper School:
    “I know that I’ve improved GPA-wise, but I think I’ve discovered more about who I am as a person as far as my likes and dislikes.”
  • Her advice for new MICDS Upper Schoolers:
    “Manage your time well and enjoy the time that you have; these four years go by fast— make the most of them!”
  • How MICDS Upper School has prepared her for college:
    “From what I have heard, the workload that we are experiencing is very similar if not the same in college. So, I feel like we’re extremely prepared in that way!”

 

Amelia Markwell ’22 came to MICDS in 10th grade and is involved in the strings program. She is the head of Upper School Speech and Debate, and she performs in the Blue Whale Café every year.

  • What she loves about MICDS:
    “When visitors come to MICDS, the first thing they notice is how wonderful our campus is. Between the gardens, fields, and architecture, a lot goes into keeping our learning space beautiful. But what people often overlook when they visit us is how intertwined our community is. Yes, we are fortunate enough to have these tall buildings and cool technology, but the real thing that makes MICDS what it is, is our community. We have sports, spirit weeks, after-school activities, and arts. With everything going on, the campus is busy practically 24/7. From early, early hours in the morning to late hours at night, we are all here to help each other succeed, and that’s what I love most about MICDS.”
  • How she’s changed and grown as a person during Upper School:
    “I’ve changed in so many ways, both socially and academically. I feel like I’ve grown as a person, and it shows in my schoolwork. Everything from the way I introduce myself to how I write essays has been tweaked during my time here. I’ve learned not only how to work well with others but also how to spend time with myself.”
  • Her advice for new MICDS Upper Schoolers:
    “I would tell a new Upper Schooler to practice gratitude and appreciate how lucky you are. Not everybody has been given the same opportunities that are about to be laid in front of you; it’s up to you to take the initiative.”
  • How MICDS Upper School has prepared her for college:
    “As a college prep school, MICDS has prepared me and taught me how to manage my time in college. The school has also shaped the values I look for in terms of the schools I’m applying for. As I reflect back on my high school years, I look around at my peers and realize that though we will all be parting in separate ways, we were all taught the same valuable lessons, and I’m going to miss MICDS greatly.”

 

Sam Lustgarten ’22 came to MICDS in Senior Kindergarten and is involved in Debate, Mock Trial, theater (Romeo and Juliet and After the Fire), Peer to Peer Mentoring, Jazz Band, Pep Band, TEAMS, Peer Tutoring, Activities Committee and he’s the co-founder of Classics Club and an ambassador for The Headway Foundation.

  • How he’s changed and grown as a person during Upper School:
    “Besides being six inches taller, I feel like I have become a more well-rounded and empathetic human being, and I believe that everything I have learned at MICDS has allowed me to confront any challenge presented to me. Except drawing; I’m still pretty bad at drawing.”
  • His advice for new MICDS Upper Schoolers:
    “I would tell any Upper Schooler, future or current, that they don’t need to have figured out their extracurriculars, curriculum, passions, and everything else from their first day. Be patient, allow yourself to savor your time, and be confident enough to explore your curiosity into subjects you normally wouldn’t have looked at. You’ll be fine, just enjoy it.”
  • How MICDS Upper School has prepared him for college:
    “MICDS prepared me for college through its challenges. Whether it be difficult projects or confusing social moments, I have felt the pressure of knowing that many of my decisions across my tenure at this school will be evaluated by colleges. But through their constant support, the expectation for its students to “dare to err” (thank you, Proctor), and limitless empathy, I know I will be able to adjust, adapt, persevere, and thrive through whatever new opportunities I will face at Stanford next year.”

 

Ellie Gira ’22 came to MICDS in fourth grade and is also involved in Cross Country, Basketball, and Track & Field. She’s also the co-head of both Science Olympiad and Rhythmic Rams in addition to being a member of Anatomy Club, the Asian Student Association, and Programming Club.

  • What she loves about MICDS:
    “I love most the connections I have with my teachers and the unique work and assignments we do. Over the years, I have really appreciated the relationships that I formed with my teachers. They are all so passionate about what they do, and they go above and beyond to care about a student and help them succeed. This only enhances the work that we do in class. There are opportunities to be creative and have fun with the concepts we learn, and there are also opportunities like science labs that are one-of-a-kind.”
  • How she’s changed and grown as a person from when she first entered Upper School to now:
    “I think I have grown in pretty much every possible way. I understand how I function as a student and a learner to be able to study effectively and accomplish my goals. I developed my leadership skills through the roles that I have taken on in activities and athletics. I have made so many great friends throughout the years. Ultimately, I have gained a lot of perspective on my life and my time at MICDS.”
  • Her advice for new MICDS Upper Schoolers:
    “I would say to them that they should take advantage of all the opportunities they can. Whether it be a club, a sport, or reaching out to a teacher or friend, don’t be afraid to try something new and reach out. Also, enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast!”
  • How MICDS Upper School has prepared her for college:
    “I have learned so much at MICDS and developed a lot as a person. Not only does this include actual foundational content but the humanities, science, and critical thinking skills that are necessary no matter what field I go into. I’m so grateful for all the mentors and friends I have had. I know I am ready to face whatever comes next in college because of MICDS.”

Thank you to our senior Rams for sharing this wonderful advice for new Upper Schoolers!