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Ninth-Graders Settle into Life at Deerfield
Jean Chun Staff Writer '22
November 9, 2018

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, the ninth-graders have each had a taste of life at Deerfield and can reflect on the contrast between their expectations versus their realities.

Overall, ninth-graders seem to generally agree that Deerfield is a place of community, noting how no one is afraid to talk to each other.

“It’s great to be in a place where everyone says ‘hi,’ especially since it’s not like that in New York.” said Ella Mbanefo ’22.

Credit: Madeline Lee

Realistically, Deerfield and its community are not perfect, because there will always be negative people, but Maria Vieira ‘22 reflected,  “I know some people here aren’t going to be nice, because there are people like that everywhere. But that doesn’t make me question my decision to come here.”

Some 9th graders also expressed surprise at the friendly closeness between under and upperclassmen.

Aoife Bruce ‘22 commented, “I expected the upperclassmen to be intimidating, but they’re actually super nice.” She spoke about how she was initially hesitant about making friends with these older students, but she soon realized that there was nothing to be afraid of.

In the academic sphere, the Deerfield workload is universally challenging, but some 9th graders have not been phased.

Elena Lu ‘22, reflected, “In hindsight, I overestimated the workload a little bit. I figured I would have no time to spend with my friends, but luckily that was not the case.”

Others, however, were taken aback by the hours of work needed at Deerfield. A few said that it’s not the quantity, but the quality of work the Deerfield standard calls for that surprised them.

Isha Rao ’22 said, “It seems like a little work, but it takes time because you have to actually work hard and think about it.”

Deerfield is a challenging school, as all of its students know. Many freshmen expected that challenge, but still need to work hard to thrive in such an environment.

Vieira said, “I’m doing everything meticulously, because I want to do well here academically. That’s why I came here. But it takes a long time.”

The workload is intense and time confusing, but the rule that students only have to work for fifty minutes on a subject also confused some of these new students, who felt like they had to finish their assignments no matter what.

“I feel incomplete if I don’t finish the full thing, even though teachers say to only do fifty minutes of it,” said Mbanefo.

Socially, many new students were not familiar with boarding, and did not know what to expect.

Jasmine Decossard ’22 remarked, “I really like it. I was skeptical before I came here, but you’re with your friends and a ton of other people.”

Upon being asked specific favorable aspects of boarding life, she stressed independence. “You get to experience being independent and find yourself at a different place,” she explained. “You can choose your own path.”

Bruce, who lives on Johnson 1, said “I thought I would only be friends with my roommate, but I was surprised to see how close everyone in the same floor are, from hall feeds to other activities.”

As the Fall Term comes to a close, the 9th graders are settling into life at Deerfield and starting to feel like they are a part of the community.

Cooper DeMallie ’22, after being asked for a pivotal memory from 9th-grade fall, told this story: “There was one night me and my friends decided to go out and bring a speaker to the quad, and we just sat there and chilled talking about stuff,”he said. “It was just a bond. And I just thought ‘Man, this is where I belong.’”