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Interview With Chris Wen: Columbia University

By Sophia Yang

1.      What do you think was the hardest part about high school?

I think managing things that you like to do with things that you sort of have to do was difficult. There are always going to be things that you want and love to do, but also the things that are tedious and annoying. Finding the balance between that was really hard. Once you find it though, everything just flows and falls into place.

2.      What do you think makes you different from other students?

In class, I actually paid attention. Listening in class saves a lot of work that would be done at home. I mean it’s kind of a no brainer to listen in class, but most kids actually do not listen. As for extracurriculars, I did a little bit of everything. A lot of students focus on music or math, so I chose to expose myself to more areas. I would say I am a little bit more science orientated though. I did science over the summer and chose not to go all out on math like other kids.

3.      What do you think is the most important thing for college applications?

I would say really getting to know each individual school’s personality and flavor because it is just as much as match between you and the school as anything else. It is kind of like online dating where you pick the colleges you think you like, then the colleges pick the kids that they think they like. Ultimately, you decide on one college you are going to go to for four years. Of course, extracurriculars, grades, and essays are all super important to the process, but when you apply, know what each school values because that might shape your essays.

4.      What are some of your regrets about high school?

High school is indeed a learning environment but I really missed out on becoming better friends with the class above me. A lot of my friends had lots of older friends that could help them out with things. They know more than me, so I wish I had more mentors I guess.

5.      Do you have any advice for current high schoolers?

Incoming freshmen: everything is going to be weird and new. Despite everything that is going on around you, remember that you are still you. You are going to have the most time this year, even if it does not feel like it. Between new friends and old friends (and possible drama) and these pesky things called classes, don’t forget who you are.

Incoming sophomores: you guys have like no problems this year. No threat of a painful junior year, college apps are a lifetime away, and freshmen year is done. You got this in the bag, nothing to worry about!

Incoming juniors: They say it is going to be a hard year. It is not going to be an easy year. That being said, it will not be your hardest year and the darker moments will pass. That being said, the month of May is not your friend and be ready for it.

Incoming seniors: I was lied to walking into senior year. People said “it’ll be easy” and “senior year is a piece of cake.” Nope. Everyone agrees it is the biggest lie. College apps are like a ton of bricks on your schedule and no one wants to do them. You get out of senior year what you put into senior year, but don’t walk in expecting rainbows and unicorns. Finally, this is your last year. College, though you think it is coming up pretty fast, is still quite a while off. The time you have in senior year will never come back, so don’t spend all of your time preoccupied in the future. Enjoy now, enjoy the little moments you have, and enjoy the year. It will be a good one.

About Jerry Xu

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