Alex Clark’s Post-Graduate Year Perspective

When I was first accepted into college in 2009, I was thrilled. I had gotten into my first choice school, Elon University in North Carolina, and felt like I had accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish during my high school career. However, as the summer months came to a close and my departure for Elon drew nearer, I quickly realized that I was about to embark on a completely unfamiliar lifestyle. I had never lived on my own before, and hadn’t had a roommate since sharing a room with my younger brother Ben – we got our own separate rooms way back when I was 9. I had also played three varsity sports – football, basketball, and baseball – at my local public high school, but I knew I was not Division 1 material in any of them. It therefore felt like a huge transition for me to go from playing a sport every season to playing none at all.

For all of these reasons and more, I decided to forgo my acceptance into Elon and apply for a post-graduate year. I am grateful for the help that McMillan Education consultants gave me in matching me with Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH. My experience there as a post-graduate greatly alleviated the social and scholastic adjustment challenges that exist between high school and college. At Kimball Union, I learned how to structure my after school life so that I could not only complete all of my work, but make the most of my free time afterwards. I was also able to get a more personalized experience with my teachers, something that did not exist coming from a large public high school. Yes, there were things I did not like so much, like having to wear a tie everyday, but even the dress code taught me a valuable life lesson. It is important, especially once you become an adult, to look presentable and come across as a serious person.

When I was at my public high school, I would complete assignments just for the sake of getting them done – in other words, hastily and without putting in much thought or effort. My post-grad year at Kimball Union gave me a new appreciation for what it took to really learn and understand a subject. Related to that, I gained a clearer idea and sense of what I wanted to study in college (the sciences). Kimball Union also gave me a better sense of what it would be like living on my own, away from my parents and with a roommate. Had I not completed my post-graduate year, I can honestly say that I would have felt completely unprepared and out of place when I did eventually go to college. If a post-graduate year could benefit me, I know that it could benefit many others. In fact, my younger brother Ben also later decided to take a post-graduate year as well, attending Lawrenceville (he is now a senior at UChicago).

– Alex Clark

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