We’ve been shouting our delight with Will, our new intern, from the rooftops. Will is not just any intern, he is a BASIS Oro Valley Alumnus, heading into his third year at Princeton University. Will is spending the summer helping us spread the word about BASIS Independent McLean in the northern Virginia community. Could you imagine a better way of spending your summer? We thought we’d bring some of Will’s brilliance to you, put him on the hot seat, and ask him to share with you, our readers, answers to some tough questions about his experience as a BASIS.ed student.

Question: What if I find myself struggling with school?

Attending a BASIS.ed school will challenge you in ways you didn’t expect.  You might think you’re great
at math, but start to struggle heavily in calculus.  You might think you don’t like literature, but find AP Literature to be one of the most enjoyable and engaging classes you took.  You might consider yourself the ninth grade authority on all things history, only for it to be upended with a wealth of information and analysis you never considered.  Those are just a few things that I didn’t anticipate when I entered BASIS Oro Valley as a ninth grade student. 

Just like moving to a new city, going to college, or starting a new job, there will be plenty of things about going to a new school that will be different than you think.  I didn’t expect to see B’s and C’s come back on my assignments and assessments, for example.

I remember having quizzes in Honors Literature where I would get two out of ten problems right and being absolutely astounded that I just couldn’t grasp the material at even a base level.  All the literary analysis I had learned before BASIS Oro Valley just wasn’t enough for what was now expected, and I was upset I wasn’t able to do it. I turned sour. I wanted to get through Honors Literature and then be done with it forever. 

My literature teacher (who later became my AP Literature teacher and college counselor), by contrast was never one to give up on a student. She took me out of class and told me that’s just how it was. I wasn’t special because I was struggling. If I wanted to prove anything, I would have to take advantage of all her extra resources and buckle down on my reading and studying. 

With that nice dose of reality, I started to see the subject I disliked in a different light. I began to enjoy books I never even remotely thought I would like, and joyously took AP Literature the next year. 

In math and chemistry classes I used academic support resources to make sure I was up to speed.  My teachers stayed during their lunches, free periods, before and after school to make sure I received the help I needed.  They were always there for me, and so were the other students.  One student, who was two years younger than me, tutored me in calculus for hours. (I hope to return the favor when he enters Princeton this year.)

At BASIS Oro Valley, I always felt I had more academic resources available than I could ever possibly use.  I could turn to any teacher, any administrator, and many students for help.  We all like to think we did it through our own effort, and that holds some degree of truth.  However, I can say confidently it was because of the teachers who continually challenged me and everyone who helped me through my struggles that I was able to have such a fulfilling and rewarding secondary education. 

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