Student Life

Crystal Beyond Campus: Hari S. ‘22

By Jack M. ’23

The Crystal community is known for being close-knit, so when members of the Senior class graduate and move on to the next chapters of their lives, the students, faculty, and administrators who remain in Hillsborough feel the absence of these beloved community members for quite some time. The Gryphon Gazette is proud to launch a new interview series, Crystal Beyond Campus, so that members of the Crystal community can hear from alumni and remain connected to those friends who are so dearly missed on campus.

The inaugural interview was conducted by Jack M. ‘23 with Hari S. ‘22, as part of a series that will share the experience of recent alumni in college and beyond with the Crystal Springs community. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jack M. ‘23: How did Crystal prepare you for college?

Hari S. ‘22: Crystal prepares you very well academically for college, because you need the same kinds of study skills and the same habits with regard to time organization and staying focused. You need those skills to be successful at Crystal, and you also need those skills to be successful in college. Because of this, I’ve never been overwhelmed so far in college and I feel more prepared now that I’m a freshman. Crystal can take a lot of the credit for that. 

At the same time, you’ll hear a lot of people telling you that your first year of college or your first semester of college is going to be easy, and your junior and senior years at Crystal would have been harder. I don’t think that’s true. I know for my college that’s not the case. But the preparation is very good and much better than what I would expect from any other high school.

Jack: What’s something that surprised you about the transition to college?

Hari: Something that surprised me about the transition to college is how quickly you settle into things. I was anticipating being more shocked, and thinking about home a lot more than I did – that’s not to say that I don’t miss home, I absolutely do. But I think a big part of the transition to college – and I think this is intentional on the college’s part – is that they give you a lot to do. 

While you’re this busy, you don’t have that much time to stop and think, “oh my God, what am I doing here? I want to go home.” You don’t think about that because you’re so absorbed in the actual act of whatever you’re doing. I think that’s intentional on the part of the college, and it’s very useful that they purposely give you a lot to deal with in your first couple of days. Once you acclimate to that, you’re already settled in by the time the whole orientation process is over.

Jack: Do you have any insider tips about the transition or how to make that easier?

Hari: Think a lot about your first-semester schedule. That’s something that I put a lot of time into, and that’s been very helpful to me – especially if you’re someone with a pretty good idea of what you want your major to be. 

I know a lot of people have a philosophy of kind of taking a “cupcake” schedule their first semester to get adjusted to college. I frankly don’t believe that you need to do that. If anything, challenging yourself will help you adjust to college all the more.

Jack: What is something that your college Freshman self would tell your high school Freshman self as you entered Crystal?

Hari: I have the same advice for someone who is entering Crystal or college, which is that once you get on campus, it looks and feels like you don’t know what you’re doing, while everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing. 

The truth is that nobody else knows what they’re doing. You are all equally confused. That’s something that I learned at Crystal, but I’ve been able to apply this knowledge more effectively in college.

Jack: Do you have a favorite part about college?

Hari: My favorite part about college is that it allows you to discover who you are. So as long as you’re still living in your house with your parents, you’re still kind of an extension of your parents, the foods you like are the foods they like, your habits are their habits. Obviously, as you grow older, these things start to change, but so long as you’re living at home, you’re somewhat constrained in what you can do by what your parents do and what your family does. 

Living on your own in college, you start to discover everyday things like what foods do I like to eat that I normally wouldn’t get at home? When do I actually feel like going to bed and when do I actually feel like waking up? Do I really like drinking coffee or do I just drink it because my parents drink it every morning?

You find beliefs and preferences and tastes and thoughts and philosophies of yours that are constantly questioned by being in this new environment, and it allows you to have an opportunity to sit back, evaluate each one, and say, “you know, do I still hold this belief? Do I still think this, or do I now have evidence to the contrary?” You can really go through and it’s a chance to re-evaluate who you are in relation to the world.

Jack: Do you have a favorite Crystal memory?

Hari: The China trip was one of my most fulfilling experiences at Crystal, and I could not imagine my high school life and my life overall without it. I’m very, very grateful to have gone on that trip. So if that opportunity is available to you, absolutely take it. And that could also take the form of going on a Model UN trip.

A second favorite would be the day that we all came back from being online for that whole time because you kind of take for granted the everyday social interactions you get. Even just bumping into people in the hallway – this very simple act meant so much more to me than previously thought. 

Finally, my third most memorable moment at Crystal was graduation – just having that opportunity to take a long look at the last four years of your life, and having the chance to wrap it up and move on. So it’s a scary moment as much as it is a happy one. But I really enjoyed it. 

Thank you so much, Hari! We really miss you at Crystal and wish you all the best in college and beyond!

Categories: Student Life

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