Dear new student,
If you are anything like I was as a ninth grader, you were a trembling mixture of excitement and nervousness when you arrived on campus for your first move-in day. Whether you’re from down the street or halfway across the world, you probably had no idea what to expect. Maybe you cried and maybe you didn’t (I did, a lot). Either way, know that you weren’t the only one.
While this is my fourth year navigating Deerfield life and all of its complexities, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t figured it all out yet. And I’m not unique in this regard—just about everyone here is faking it till they make it at one point or another. Acknowledging and accepting the fact that no one at Deerfield is perfect makes it a lot easier to be kind to yourself and those around you. Trust me on this one.
Whether you’re here for four years or just one, the best way to make the most of your time here is to invest in the entire Deerfield experience. Believe me, it’s very easy to get caught up in the stresses of classes, assignments, and grades, but if you spend every waking minute at your desk or in the library, you’ll miss out on everything that makes Deerfield special. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do your homework. Please do that. But, also recognize all of the opportunities that Deerfield has to offer beyond the classroom. Join a new club. Go to sports games that aren’t your own. Attend concerts and theater productions. Apply for a leadership position, even if you’re afraid that you won’t get it. When you look back at your Deerfield career, these are the experiences that you’ll remember and take pride in.
There will be times when you will feel like Deerfield is too much for you. When it seems like every minute of your life is packed with academics, cocurriculars, and required meetings, lean on the support systems that you have here. You are a part of the Deerfield FAM17Y now, which means that there are friends and allies in your classes, on your teams, in your dorm, and just about everywhere on campus. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
Deerfield is an incredibly special place, and one that I’ve been lucky enough to call my home. Take the time to get to know the people here, to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, and to cherish all of the small moments of spontaneous fun, and I guarantee that you’ll love your Deerfield Days.
Maddie Blake ’17