Monthly Archives: September 2014

10 Things You Must Do Before You Graduate SIA

My list includes both silly activities and practical tasks. In fact, most of the silly activities can be justified by practical reasons, and some of these practical tasks are just kind of silly.

  1. Participate in cloud watching festivities on campus. During a recent fire drill, I looked up at the sky and spotted a fish, a chicken leg, a puppy, a fetus, and a demonic pig with a mermaid tail.
  2. Spend an afternoon in the Stanley Library without doing any homework. Read a novel or encyclopedia, cuddle up with one of the stuffed animals, or flip through old copies of the school’s literary magazine, Images.

My Library Recommendations:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri (The Interpreter of Maladies), Junot Diaz (Drown), and ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy book series by George RR Martin
  1. Sass your friends and teachers. Run away when they get mad and try to kill you.
  2. Create a doodle collection and design your own trademark doodle. This activity is surprisingly therapeutic and will help you make new friends.
  3. Start a club with your friends. In the past few years, Upper School students have founded clubs dedicated to fishing, movies, Asian culture, and food. The more avant-garde societies included Meeting Club, in which members scheduled meetings and attended meetings where they would discuss the scheduling of future meetings. Meeting Club was very popular during the last two years.
  4. Keep up with current events, for obvious reasons. This is especially necessary if you take a history class taught by Mrs. Platis. You can browse through the latest stories at the library, which has a daily subscription to the New York Times, as well as a subscription to magazines like The New Yorker, Time, and National Geographic.
  5. Go beyond your course requirements by taking that extra language class or art elective. I wouldn’t be able to survive the school year without some fun classes in addition to the more demanding ones. If you’re worried about adding to your workload, take an art elective like Studio Art or World Drumming that does not assign homework.
  6. Read more non-fiction (see number 6). This practical hobby will improve your SAT critical reading scores and prepare you for AP classes that are reading intensive, like Psychology and US History.

My Recommendations:

  • Freakonomics, about the unusual things that statistics can reveal about our society; witty anecdotes make this a very fun while thought provoking read.
  • Half of the Sky, about women’s education and economic empowerment in developing countries; this is a compelling book about an important topic that deserves much more attention than it currently receives.
  • Any book about composers, writers, inventors, etc. These profiles are often quite funny. Who wouldn’t want to read about Brahms’ party antics or Beethoven’s terrible manners in a restaurant?
  1. Get involved with the Upper and Middle School theater productions by auditioning for a role or joining Tech Crew (this is a great opportunity to build your upper body strength or learn new skills like how to operate a soundboard or spotlight). Artists get a chance to paint sets and musicians can play in the Orchestra Pit for musicals. Musicians and members of Tech Crew make a one-week commitment only, while any member of the cast has to attend several months of rehearsals.
  2. Invest some time into a major project, like making a movie or learning a new musical instrument. This can be a solo endeavor, or you can get all your friends involved.


By Julia X. ’15