In 54 days, members of the class of 2018 will walk across the stage to receive their diploma covers–they won’t get their diplomas until they return parts of their regalia–and graduation medals. We’re that close! Finish strong!
However, before we look ahead to such a happy time, I’d like to look backwards a few minutes. Please let me know about things that you wish MSMS could do better. I’d also like to know about the things you wish you knew as a first-week junior–or as a first-semester senior, since that time is fairly stressful as well.
I would like it if we didn’t have MSMS 101 as a class,but maybe a video series that could be accessed from the j drive. It would be easier for the different staff members to present the information ,and not take time out of their busy schedules. Like when the councilors need to right recommendations they don’t really need to be teaching multiple classes of MSMS 101.
I, personally, can’t wait for the work service system to undergo extreme revision. Some people put in hard work and getting underwhelming feedback that disqualifies them from any Privilege Plan above Standard Plan. Some people hardly do any work and get through work service with flying colors. Some people work for five minutes every other day while some people work for thirty minutes every day and it’s frustrating. This needs a thorough, impartial review that can make clear the standards we, as students, can adhere to because it seems that the perception of cleanliness by all of the work service moderators vary widely.
Enough with the ranting though. If I was a first-week junior again, the first thing I wish I knew was the value of time management and the personal assurance that my time at this school would get better. During the beginning of the year, I had no idea if I would finally get accustomed to the MSMS life and now that I have, I can hardly believe I once thought about leaving this school albeit for an extremely brief time.
As a junior, I wish I would’ve had better time management skills. (but somethings you have to learn the hard way) I wish I would’ve known how early to start studying for semester exams because it is a lot of material to recall for six plus classes.
As a senior, I wish I would’ve had some known more about the stress of being a senior. College applications, new classes, new teachers, essays, scholarships, work load. It is no joke.
(I think it is important for everyone to have an outlet because being at a school like this you’ll need it.)
As for as things for MSMS, I wish they would change the dorms. (But I understand we have to work with what we have)
In reference to making MSMS a better, more bearable place, a number of things could be changed. First of all, work service needs to be completely redone. There are so many unfair and uneven job loads that often aren’t fixed when a student leaves. Another thing that really needs to change is the MSMS101 class, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but I do feel the need to express my concern. Nine out of ten times, the class is canceled or is relaying a message that is honestly a waste of valuable time. There are much better ways to present and deal with the MSMS101 information.
Moving on to myself, I feel like there is just as much to complain about. When I got to this school, despite the warnings, I completely underestimated the workload and let procrastination get to me. (I still do) The first week here I wish I would have known to do the work as it landed in your hands because always playing catch up is exhausting. I really wish someone would have told me about weekly Wednesday night door prizes sooner, for a while there I thought people were recording their cult meetings on snap chat.
For now, my hopes as a senior is to be supportive of the new coming juniors and to get myself under control or even recovered before I graduate to face college. I hope that I can live up to my expectations and do good things for the student body as well as the school to make it a better, more enjoyable place.
Honestly, I wish several things about MSMS would change.
The biggest inconvenience for me personally, privilege plans. I understand trying to motiviate us to do our best, but it feels like punishment sometimes more than a privilege. Notable, I am not saying this out of personal gain. I am on O Plan, so I am not doing this out of a place of hate. However, the idea that if you mess up one nine weeks and land yourself on IP Plan, you cannot leave to got to Walmart by yourself for nine weeks is ridiculous. For me, going to Walmart on the shuttles would be impossible at this point. I went on the shuttle maybe 4 times, and they left me at Walmart for an extra 45 minutes two of those times. I was not late as I was out the store walking around trying to find the bus 5 minutes before time, but the bus just was not in the parking lot and it turned out they left not knowing I wasn’t there.
Not to mention sometimes you need more than an hour to get your things and goodness forgive you need a lot of stuff. It seems like you cannot get more than two bags worth of things if you travel via shuttle or else you will take up too much room and be shunned. This is just one aspect of the privilege plan issue.
Not to mention the need of having your door open during study hours for new juniors, I feel like this is to studying as security theatre is to safety. I have innumerable issues with privilege plans, and I do not want to ramble about all the different issues, so I’ll offer a solution.
Firstly, the following should be the changes in requirements and rewards for every privilege plan, not the current unrealistic expectations.
Requirements-GPA- 3.7-4.0, NO NCs
Requirements- GPA-3.4-3.69, NO NCs, Satisfactory Work Service, Satisfactory Wellness, O Residential Rating
Requirements- GPA- 3.1-3.39
Students should be able to leave during the weekend for 4 hours. They should be allowed to leave during the school week, but have to use GPs.
*Also, get rid of the Curfew and Lights out a section of the privilege plan. They do not change depending on your privilege plans.
*Sidenote: In terms of Level I, II, or III, those restrictions should only apply for nine weeks. So, as long as you have not had a Level II in that nine weeks, it should not affect you. This encourages students to clean up their act instead of repeating their actions because they already can’t have their desired privilege plan.
MSMS is, no doubt, a wonderful institution. However, it definitely has its downfalls. This is especially pertinent when it comes to work service. One of the main issues is the the subjectiveness of its judgement. Some supervisors don’t supervise enough, while others do it too much. While some students are able to get away with minimal efforts, some students are expected to work five to six hours a week, and in some cases, this is not satisfactory. Revisions to this system are long awaited.
I wish that, as a first-semester junior, I would have accessed all the resources at my disposal, be it office hours, tutorials, or my peers. I maintained an “every man for himself” attitude, and it literally killed me. I also wish I knew how important time is, and how easy it is to lose it. In the blink of an eye, we are in the last quarter of the last school year, and I still have so many things I want to do before I leave for the summer.
As a junior in first few weeks of school, it would have been nice to take more photos with people that I would have spent the next 2 years with. I just regret not taking more photos, having memories of “those olden days.” But as a junior going into senior year at MSMS, I wish I would have been more prepared for the whole college process and everything alongside with it. Pretty sure I was lost, but somehow I’ve made it! And my junior self would not believe that her senior self as already begun to cry almost every day thinking of graduation from a school that gave her wonderful things…
Looking back, I wish I had a conversation with someone during my first few weeks of school about being more patient with myself. During almost the entire first nine weeks, I felt completely overwhelmed: inundated with mountains of homework that I did not know how to efficiently complete, excited but also exhausted by my wish to do more extracurriculars than I could possibly handle, and plagued by having to handle fatigue from consistently not sleeping enough for the first time due to school in my life. I kind of beat myself up a lot those first nine weeks. I made it through, but I wish I had been a little more patient with myself during those weeks. I know I should have talked to someone about it, but I think there is a way for MSMS to facilitate that conversation. While I may not remember correctly, I believe that the first few sessions of MSMS 101 were mostly related to dorm life. While learning to live in the residential environment is certainly important, I think the “managing your stress” seminar that came later in the year could come a little earlier.
MSMS is what I believe to be the school equivalent of a diamond in the rough. Many great ideas are present, such as the residential setting, all you can-eat buffet three times a day, a group of students you can call family, and staff that you can confide in if you feel the need. However, all four of these desperately require polishing to make this school as good as it can be. The idea of living together is great, but the uneven distribution of responsibilities such as work service and unequal enforcement of the rules based on the building lead to very different experiences than what should be expected. The buffet was great the first few days, until you realize that either the food deteriorated in quality or that your taste buds have decided they no longer want it. However, since all students must pay for the cafeteria, they are obligated to eat there as much as their stomach allows with little alternative if they do not possess a car. I cannot count how many times the student body has been referred to as a family, which I have never truly understood the basis for. My observations show that there are many “subfamilies” based on true interests and united only under the common goal of graduating, but I may just be mistaken. On to my next point, the differing quality in staff and their approach to students definitely requires work. Any of my fellow students can and will say that each RA, director, or in some cases teacher all interpret the rules differently. This difference ironically causes indifference to certain restrictions which causes the misinformation of the rule not existing to be passed to the next class. While I do believe that all of the rules have a purpose, most of the rules have never been given a clear “why” as to their existence, which if important, would bolster the students’ treatment of the rule. On another note, I am the black sheep on the MSMS101 issue in believing that the class only needs minor adjustments to achieve its sole purpose of preparing juniors for preparing students for the real world. For example, have someone related to accounting explain taxes to us, or a recent graduate of MSMS explain what to expect for college applications, and other uses of the resources MSMS has access to.
Although I have found this past year as one of the most transformative yet, I still believe many experiences could be more fine-tuned to create a better MSMS experience for future students. First, I believe MSMS 101 needs a MAJOR revamp. Although I love Ms. LaToya’s sessions where she compares a mountain dew addiction to alcoholism and how to buy knock-off sneakers in order to be “financially wise”, I feel as if the sessions could be put to better use learning how to balance checks, create a spreadsheet to manage expenses, or literally anything else that would actually be useful in college. The class, in my humble opinion, is an utter joke and will continue to be one unless the higher-ups, aka administration, find a real-world application for the class. Second, the work service opportunities are either good or bad. For example, my roommate has to clean the two elevators in Frazer Hall while I have to clean an entire stairwell from 1st to 5th floor in Frazer. I mean c’mon really? They’re freaking cement stairs, they get dust on them if someone plays music on their phones just a little too loud. I think the solution to this would be to create a checks and balances system with each work service to ensure each work service is treated fair in terms of sign in amounts.
MSMS is an amazing place, full of education and family, and I love it here very much. I hope that the teachers and the faculty and administrative staff feel the same way about this school that I do. However, I have noticed that there are many discrepancies between two parties, specifically the students and the staff. I could go on and on about how different the students are from the staff and the communication gap between them both, but I feel that my classmates have done that already. As students, we’re given chances to talk to faculty time and time again about issues we notice on a day to day basis, and we do. I’ve seen so many people complaining every day about things, but when they are sent to administration, nothing seems to get done. I don’t know where these complaints fall through, but the students never seem to receive a tangible response to their complaints. I feel that this could be fixed through more informal communication with both staff and administration. Having a conversation with someone leaves more of an impact on people than an email or written complaint, and I would personally like to be able to have conversations with my teachers and administrators about my issues.
There are plenty of things I wish I knew during my first week as a junior. I had no warning before I came here, so I just blindly walked into MSMS. I thought it was going to be just a little bit more difficult than my school back home. I was so wrong! The amount of homework and classes hit me in the face like a brick. If I knew what I knew now, I would not have watched TV so much, walked downtown all the time, or waste time doing other things first. I should’ve completed homework, then did fun things.
One thing MSMS should do away with is MSMS 101. In my opinion, it is a waste of time, time I don’t have. Also, we don’t get credit for it. I do not want to sit in a classroom for an hour and not even get credit for the class. Another issue of MSMS is work service. The system for being graded on work service is horrible. Some assignments you can literally do in five minutes or less and others take up to twenty. The things people have to do are absurd. Students have to sweep, mop, take out the trash, while others dust pictures.
I feel like as a first-week junior, there was not much anyone can do to convince me of the difficulties of MSMS except for my own experiences. Though, there are a few things I hope my juniors know at the beginning of the next school year. Juniors, try new things and take on new challenges because there are so many activities and opportunities here at MSMS that your old school does not offer, so take advantage of it. Juniors, you will fail and cry your heart out, but don’t let failures blind your success. Juniors, don’t compare yourself to others because no one can live your life as well as you.
As for the betterment of our school, I feel like there is a lack of trust between the Student Affair staffs and the students. Students should not be pressured that their slightest mistakes can lead to a severe punishment. I would like to see compassion when dealing with violations instead of strictly following the handbook. Although the Senate can change the handbook, we can’t do that immediately in the way that can help revert the student’s penalty right away. Therefore, the Student Affair staffs should consider each case in its entirety and not just punish students for violating the handbook, even the United State’s Constitution has exceptions. To the best of my knowledge, the Honor Court is lead by the director of students affairs. I strongly believe that the Honor Court should be lead by the SGA President or a student’s representative to ensure that students do have a voice, and by letting the students control the Honor Court, the Honor Court can be more active and can reach out to students more.
There are occasions that students are being punished too severely, and the students refrain from bringing it up to Honor Court because they believe that it’s too cumbersome of a process, not considering the time poverty that MSMS students experienced.
We could improve MSMS 101 by making it a life skill classes on how to file tax or dinner etiquette or even how to set up a tent. If the counselors have important academics updates that need students’ attention then the counselors can set up monthly mandatory meetings as necessary. I just don’t think that the students should spend an hour listening to lectures about personal hygiene or physical wellness when students can spend that hour taking a shower or working out.
The one thing I wished I knew how to do as a first week junior was pace myself. I would get either overzealous or overstressed from pondering about my classes, and I would lose sight of what is more important: doing your best and surrounding yourself with good people.
Man, this year has flown by. I am going to miss this senior class, for I have shared so many fond memories with you guys, and it was an honor to be you all’s junior. With this coming to a close, I savor this opportunity to be a senior and a great example for the incoming juniors on how to be best prepared for MSMS.
There are various things I wish I would have knew at the beginning of my junior year. First, I wish I would have known that there is no such thing as a weekend. You are consistently working and sometimes you do not even notice that you are missing meals. Then there are other times, you actually choose to do work instead of eat, which happens to be quite often. Another thing I wish I knew was that my junior year would be a roller coaster that would be filled with ups and downs back to back.
MSMS has transformed me into who I am today. I wish I knew that MSMS would be really tough. I wish I knew that no one would give me sympathy during the hardest of times. First-semester junior year, I missed so many days because of four family/friend deaths and medical absences because I overworked myself trying to catch back up to the MSMS standards. I wish that MSMS didn’t tell me that my ACT score would drastically change; it never did change. I wish that people would look into the things that we complain about. And when they do, they never look into again. For instance, this year has been rough for the new teachers. I get that. But, when students complained the entire semester about a teacher, the administration sat in on one class, gave little advice and never looked back into it. The complaints still continue. I wish that administration that there is a huge difference in the two dorms. And that one over-bearing staff member or one “could care less” staff member is the cause. I feel like the dorms need an authority, but not one who takes everything in the handbook to the most literal form and ruins next nine weeks privilege plan for them. Another thing, privilege plans are so sensitive: one small write-up could bump you down to the bottom instantly. We work so hard for the grades as it is; why do we work so hard outside of class to have an hour off?
One last thing: I wish I knew that I needed to focus on applying to college and scholarships before focusing on the small homework. I cared about my grades and put college on the back burner. Because of that, I just now chose my college and have yet to get the lots of scholarship money that I need (and was also told that I would leave MSMS and go to college for cheaper than I would have if I didn’t go to MSMS).
I would like there to be less required. I mean I understand the school work surplus, but things like wellness hours and the large pressure of work service have proven to be more harm than good. I understand the reasoning, but I would like fewer things to do in this regard. We already have a lot of work from school that some of the students don’t have time for all of that. I would have a problem with some of the classes. I was unable to take a class that I really would like to take due to scheduling issues. The first semester of this year, I was forced to take all required class with little breathing room just because my old school did not offer algebra 2 freely.
I wish that MSMS would schedule weekly test accordingly. Students should not have to take 4 tests in 2 days of classes. Teachers should get together and plan when they give their tests. Something that I wish I would have known as a first-week junior is to study your polyatomic ions and to just study more in general. Get a head start on everything and jump right into your studies. Also I wish that would have went to office hours with teachers more. They’re here to help you and you should utilize them.
With my withdrawal situation in the beginning of the year, I wish I didn’t have to appeal to return because it wasn’t my choice to leave in the first place. My parents who are both immigrants from Vietnam and barely understand English, misunderstood the circumstances of the withdrawal. They wanted me to come back to MSMS and I also wanted to come back as well, but I still had to appeal the mistake of my parents and pay for it. I believe that if my parents agreed that it was their mistake to withdraw me out, then I should have been able to return to MSMS without having to appeal since it was never my choice to leave in the first place. If I had withdrew on my own accord, then it would have been a different, and in that case, yes, I do agree with having to appeal. But that is not what happened.
I also think that with the decisions of returning students back for senior year should be extended to the councilors, teachers, and other staff members at MSMS because they actually interact with the students. What the administration sees is just a list of records of the students and mostly just their mistakes since there is only write ups and grades that they see, nothing good about the students, which puts a bias on deciding on who to invite back. If they don’t want to extend the decision making to the councilors or teachers, then I wish the administration was more involved with the students at MSMS. I know that they are busy, but I feel that there is a disconnect and a miscommunication between the students and faculty.
Coming in to MSMS, we all knew that this would be a challenge. Complaints about work load and multiple test in short amounts of time are going to be challenging, but who’s to say it won’t happen in college? We are all bound to deal with more situations of this nature in the future so we would all be doing ourselves a favor to just stop complaining, grit our teeth, and get to work. The most that will stress a new junior is the residential life, and all of the rules that more “free” individuals will have to adjust to. This just requires discipline and coming from my own person jail cell that others call my home, I already knew a bit about discipline. The most helpful thing I could offer to a junior is to tell them to get ready to work, be challenged, and deal with a lot of sugar honey ice tea thrown their way.
As a first-week junior, I anticipated I would undergo changes and have experiences I would grow to value. I knew that I would learn at a deeper level than previously and experience both good and bad circumstances. I expected difficult, stressful times amidst times that would feel like perfection. My only course of action was to allow the passage of time. I did everything I knew to be prepared for stress, vowing discipline. I would tell my first-week self that while these expectations will come true, my attempts at perfection won’t hold up for too long. I knew that too, that I wouldn’t be able to be the student who balanced work, play, and sleep with rigid discipline—early to bed, early to rise. There is not much new I would be able to tell my first-week self because the experience is necessary for an expectation to make sense. Any adages or tips cannot be stated solely at the beginning of the year but constantly. As well prepared as I tried to be for this year, I mitigated shock by only so much. Both the good and bad experiences I have had throughout the year have been well worth it, and my perspective has flexed and shifted along with them. I can give some general advice. Be open-minded, diligent, forgiving. Enjoy yourself.
My first week at MSMS was pretty welcoming. I made some friends, both junior and senior alike, and settled in fairly well. The schedule I was assigned was almost exactly what I had signed up for and I enjoyed the staff, faculty, and students I interacted with. I always complain about a lot, like having AP Chemistry first block every day of the week, staying up late, or all the assignments I put off and end up doing last minute, but looking back now, I wouldn’t change any of it. All of these things played a part in shaping me into the person that I am today and without them I may not have the same friends, relationships, or state of mind that I have now, and I wouldn’t give any of that up for the world–even if it means hiking to the back of Hooper at 8 am every morning.
A few things I believe MSMS could do better:
Be more lenient with punishments and create a more trusting and caring relationship between students, reslife, and administration.
For example, I believe there is a disconnect where students are unaware of potential consequences for actions that are not mentioned in the handbook. I also believe that they are given little access to debate these offenses and be full-heartedly listened to. In my personal experience I have been written up for something not in the handbook and was given a level 2 for it. The only person I could appeal to was Dr. McConnell. We had a positive discussion and he led me to believe that the level 2 would be lifted. Instead he sent me an email saying that he would keep the original level 2 along with an additional punishment. He did not express these opinions in our meeting and I in turn was very upset.
I also believe some punishments do not fit certain scenarios. Someone can wake up late for class and because of that, be on prison lockdown for an entire week. The whole ordeal where someone that is suspended cannot makeup smaller grades is insane. Grades are already difficult to keep up and this is systematically designed to force the kids that make a mistake, out of the school. I have seen this with at least two of my friends this year.
As for things I wish I knew as a Junior:
AP Chem is LABOR INTENSIVE.
I now love AP Chemistry but when I was initially hit with this course I found myself struggling for a C.
I think students would benefit with more information regarding second year courses – especially ones that require an AP credit.
As a first year junior, I wish someone would have truly shown me that my previous chemistry class didn’t teach much of anything (never got to stoichiometry, if that explains enough) and that i wouldn’t be able to catch up on the material with all of my other classes. I’m so incredibly grateful to my emissary and the other seniors who helped me make it through the first week, month, and year – without them I don’t know if I would have been able to stay at MSMS.
Before I got here, I already knew the year would be challenging to me. As a first-nine weeks junior, I wish I had had a good studying method. At first, I didn’t do the best on any test I was given because I really had no clue how to study, except for re-reading the material.
As an almost finished junior, I really wish MSMS 101 was not a required course for juniors. While some of the class periods were helpful, most were redundant. I also wish the microwave on third-floor lobby rotated.
During my junior year at MSMS, I wish I would have managed my time wisely. There were many times where I would focus on a certain class and forget about assignments for another class. While trying to stay up and finish those assignments, I did not get enough rest. The lack of sleep affected my performance in class. My main focus included trying to stay awake in class instead of paying attention. The workload was bearable, but the time needed to complete the work meant reducing the limited leisure time I set aside for a mental break. Weekends were no longer weekends. Going into my senior year, I plan to start on my assignments the day they are assigned.