When we invited Western Academy of Beijing alumni to campus in December for the annual winter reunion, the group brought back fresh and practical knowledge from their post-WAB experiences.
Here are ten pieces of advice WAB alumni have to offer our soon-to-be graduates:
Study more, start earlier.
Even though you're almost done with high school, don't slack off. Organize your time and prioritize your studying. If you study for the International Baccalaureate mock exams, you'll be ready when it's time for the real thing.
Take advantage of the time you have here with the people around you.
Moving can be tough. You've all probably done it before, so this shouldn't be news to you. We've all made great friends here and you're close to your family, so make sure you don't leave wishing you had spent more time with them while you were here.
When looking for a school, ask about more than just academics.
Finding a course of study that interests you and keeps you engaged is important. But make sure to look into other aspects of the school, like diversity of the student body, student groups and extracurricular activities available, lifestyle around campus and others. It's worth visiting the schools you are considering.
Take care of yourself.
In a less structured environment, it's easy to get caught up in school and fun and forget to prioritize your personal health. Make sure you exercise. Learn to cook a few nutritious meals. Prepare yourself for medical emergencies. Keep your living space clean. Be safe.
Be nice to yourself.
Keep working hard, but don't drive yourself crazy. This goes for when you're preparing for IB exams as well as when you start at your new school. Give yourself time to rest, socialize and explore your interests.
Work on personal projects.
Your schedule will likely not be as structured as you're used to in high school. Don't forget: Free time is super valuable. Working on something you're passionate about will help you stay excited and help you continue to learn and develop in ways class just can't. Plus, those projects could help you get a job down the road.
Ease yourself into your new community.
Connect with local and international students. Familiarize yourself with the new place you live. Don't be intimidated by new locations, and take advantage of local specialties. Research and join clubs you're interested in, but don't join too many and overwhelm yourself.
Stay connected with the WAB Alumni Network (WAN).
You may not realize it now, but the connections you have built here at WAB will continue to help you going forward. Your network of teachers, administrators and classmates will support you long after graduation. You can get news and updates and find ways to contribute to WAB even after you are gone.
Keep an open mind.
Meet people who are different from you. Explore and analyze new ideas and opinions. Join groups that will challenge your beliefs. Seek out elective classes that introduce new topics. Every new experience you have will provide an opportunity to learn something and grow.