Western Academy of Beijing alumni returned to campus on January 12 for their annual reunion. Sitting down with Grade 11 and 12 students, they offered wisdom about preparing for graduation, choosing a school, life in university and how to make the most of their remaining high school days.
These graduates are from the Classes of 2012-2016, and now are either working professionals or studying at top universities worldwide, including Brown University, Johns Hopkins, Yale, NYU, Fordham and more.
Choosing a School
"Don't worry so much about the brand or name of the school. Study what you want to study, and and find a place where you'll be happy."
"The US isn't the only country in the world with prestigious universities."
"Be proud of every school on the list of schools to which you want to apply."
Valuable lessons from WAB High School
"If you work hard in the International Baccalaureate program, it really makes you a resilient student."
"When it came to writing skills and research papers, I was way ahead of my classmates."
"Know that your options will really help you when choosing classes."
"Pay attention to the presentation about MLA citations and plagiarism."
"Don't wait until tomorrow. Do it today."
"You're not really alone, like they say. Make friends in your classes and hold each other accountable."
"When things feel like they are going wrong, don't panic. It's not the end of the world."
"Ease into it. Be nice to yourself at the beginning, and slowly add
activities and clubs to your schedule to maintain a balance with academics."
"If you don't have time to get a job while studying, don't get one. You won't make much money, and your grades will slip."
"Rely on the smarts you gained from living in Beijing."
"Prioritize your emotional well-being, your heart and mind. If you feel ill, you won't accomplish anything. Never underestimate the power of sleep."
University Course Selection
"Build a strong relationship with your advisor. If they know your face, they'll be more willing to help you out."
"Morning classes are tough, but they're also smaller. So it is easier to meet people and build a relationship with your instructor."
"Shop around a little bit. You may be surprised to find a weird course that nobody knows about."
"Try not to choose classes in which all of your assignments will be due on the same day of the week. Spread them out."
"Look up your professor on a website like ratemyprofessors.com. Make choices based on those reviews."
Finding a Career Path
"The path is not linear. It's about learning what you don't like and learning what you do like."
"In the US, there is still time while you're in college to explore your
"Be open minded and find things you're interested in. It will help you decided what you want to do and how you want to apply your knowledge in the future."
Before You Go
"Appreciate Beijing and your teachers, friends and family while you're here. You'll carry these memories forever, and it's nice to have people to meet and talk to when you come back."
And, by the way, don't forget to join the WAB Alumni Network