Parting advice to underclassmen

Maraki Tamrat ‘23, School staff

At first, change is always difficult. Whether it be a small difference in routine or a complete change in lifestyle, adjustment is hard. Every four years of my high school experience have been entirely different. From different clubs, schedules, and friends, my time in high school has been filled with change. 

I came to Greenhills as a sophomore, mid-pandemic. At the time, I was still living with my mom in Vienna, Austria. When everything became virtual, I stayed in Vienna and did school from there. This meant that I was starting my classes in the afternoon and logging off of Zoom late in the evening. My first time visiting and attending Greenhills (in person) was during my junior year. From meeting my fellow classmates and teachers to balancing the hecticity of being a junior, I learned quite a few things that year. As a senior, here’s what I wish I told my younger self:

Get yourself involved in activities that you genuinely enjoy. Don’t play a sport or join a club for the approval of others. If you truly care about the activity that you’re doing, you will have so much more fun doing it. High school is only four years long but these activities should be ones that you could enjoy for a lifetime. Throughout my time at Greenhills, I found my love for a handful of activities that I had never participated in before. From ethics and philosophy to advocating for and teaching reproductive health and justice, I found my interests and delved into them. Even after my time here, I hope to continue understanding and learning about these subjects. 

Similarly, over the course of your four years, take classes that you’ll enjoy. Balance is important and it’s essential during your junior year. If you overwork yourself and increase the number of rigorous classes you take solely for an application, you will get burnt out. We are so fortunate to attend a school that offers a wide array of classes in all subjects. Take advantage of the privileges that come with attending Greenhills. 

Even though it’s only 30 minutes long, make use of C&C. As a sophomore who was entirely virtual, office hours were crucial to my learning. I was able to ask teachers questions one on one and get a full understanding of whatever may have been unclear. I wish that I had used my resources just as much during my junior and senior years. As Greenhills students, we are often so used to what our school offers that we take it for granted. Late starts, junior and senior privileges, college counseling, and the community that our school fosters are normal to us. We may not realize that other schools don’t have the same privileges that we do. 

One big example of this is our lunches. We are so fortunate to not only get a variety of dietary choices but also have a salad bar, a sandwich station, and rotating soup flavors and other sides. The extent of our Plum Smart lunches not only shocked me but also excited me. I’m sure it’s the same for those who came from other schools whether in the Ann Arbor area or further out. 

So, to the current students of Greenhills, use up all that Greenhills has to offer. If you’re interested in trying out something new, then do it! Take classes that you may not have much experience in, you never know they’ll turn out. We have such flexibility in planning out our schedules and are lucky that we are able to make them ourselves. Don’t shy away from certain classes that you may not have much knowledge of. In my case, I decided to take Ceramics in the second half of my senior year. The last time I took a studio art class was in middle school and although I’m still improving, I’ve quickly come to love studio art. Whether it be a new club or a new course, know that there’s no harm in trying out something new. Although scary at first, change is good.