12th Grade

Nina Lu

Q. How many years have you been at City?

A. Six

Q. Do you like the people (staff and students) at City?

A. Yes, the open minded and academic community is what has made City unique for me. However, the social environment can get competitive and pressure is high. The staff are generally supportive and skilled in their fields. You have to learn how to adjust to the teaching styles of specific teachers and take initiative to speak up and learn by yourself at times.

Q. What are the hardest/easiest things for you here?

A. The most difficult thing for me here is the balance of time between academic and social life. The competitive environment can cause students to overemphasize academic achievement, rather than health and fun. The easiest thing is finding resources and the kind community.

Q. Is the homework amount fair?

A. I believe ‘fair’ is too broad a statement, since students have differing academic capabilities and teachers have differing views on homework. I think at the lower grades there is much more busywork that is unnecessary for the understanding of material, but upperclassmen tend to only have IB focused, necessary work. There is often a lot of homework which can be unfair to students’ health at times. I believe busywork should occur less. However, DP IB workload is difficult to change, and students must consider that when they decide to move onto DP.

Q. Did you have a hard time adjusting to City?

A. I came to City in seventh grade, thus it was not very difficult for me, since the lower grades are lighter in classwork and all the students are seeking friends. I am also organized by nature so keeping track of work wasn’t a large adjustment. However, the older you get, the harder I would imagine it is to adjust, since classwork and community dynamics are established early.

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Q. What is your favorite class?

A. Environmental Systems & Societies and Art.

Q. Any recommendations for new kids at City?

A. Try everything you can, and get involved in extracurriculars early. Keep track of your mental health just as much as homework assignments. Spend more time outside. Start the college process early.

Q. Any good/bad things that should be more known?

A. Generally, I see City kids base a large portion of their self worth off of intelligence (I have been guilty of this), and not being as naturally adept can make the environment feel very judgmental. This isn’t talked about much.

Q. Do you have any advice for people thinking of joining City

A. Evaluate how you want your high school experience and future after high school to look. If you are not academically focused (which is valid), City will be harder. Although we have an amazing community, it is built around learning and there are few spirit activities, parties and sports. However, if you want to challenge yourself and want a shot at elite colleges or a variety of opportunities/choices after high school, City will prepare you very well. Oh, and the IB diploma is not incredibly consequential to life after high school. Getting it is a representation of academic grit and hard work, but not getting it isn’t doesn’t mean failure.

Q. How difficult is City now, on a scale of one to ten?

A. As a Senior, an eight. I’ve learned to manage school but combined with social life and mental health, it can be very overwhelming. The pressure is higher at this level.

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Q. How difficult was City at first for you, on a scale of one to ten?

A. Five because it is more challenging than my previous school, but not overwhelming.

Peter Sage

Q. How many years have you been at City?

A. Five

Q. Do you like the students and staff at City?

A. I love the people at City. Many of the teachers I’ve had have helped me develop a love for learning. Some of them I even consider close friends. My friends at City have had a tremendously positive effect on my life, both in and out of school. 

Q. What is the hardest and easiest thing about City for you?

A. The hardest thing about City for me is the periods of dense workload: when three classes have large papers due around the same time. I feel a constant stress during these times; however, over the past two years, I’ve learned to minimize this feeling and be comfortable with the pressure. The easiest thing about City for me is getting along with the people here.

Q. What is the best and worst thing about City to you?

A. The best things about City, in my opinion, are the amazing opportunities that come out of being a student here, the students themselves, and the phenomenal faculty. The worst thing I see in City would be that the days can become monotonous and repetitive if you are not intentional about changing things up.

Q. Is the homework amount fair?

A. I think the homework load is fair, yes. City is supposed to be academically rigorous, so it makes sense that there would be a large workload here.

Q. Was it a tough adjustment to City from your previous school?

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A. Initially, it was difficult for me to adjust to City. I moved from San Francisco, California after seventh grade, right in the middle of my social development. The hardest part about adjusting wasn’t learning to do homework but finding my new friends. I don’t think this is unique to City, though. My guess would be that I would have felt the same way at any other school after making that large of a change.

Q. What is your favorite class?

A. Environmental Systems & Societies.

Q. Any recommendations for new people at City?

A. To people recently added to the City community, I would advise you to embrace the difficulty, get involved with a club, and be kind to the people around you.

Q. Anything good or bad about City that should be more known?

A. Something I think should get more attention is the importance of thinking about college before high school starts. The activities, service, and athletics you pursue starting your freshman year greatly affect what colleges will be likely to accept you. Start studying for the SAT well before you take it, there are many free resources online.

Q. Any advice for people thinking about joining City?

A. If you’re thinking about coming to City, go for it! It’s an amazing place to be if you’re willing to embrace the work

Q. How difficult was City at first for you, on a scale of one to ten?

A. Five

Q. How difficult is City now, on a scale of one to ten?

A. Five

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