Hui '18

When I first arrived I was jet-lagged, but so excited. I woke up and saw the farm—it was so beautiful! I grew up in a huge city—Shanghai. Here, I feel I have a chance at an authentic life.

What drew me to Putney? The opportunities we get here to bring our ideas to life. I feel this is where I belong. I feel like in China, the focus is on academics. There is so much pressure! I work hard, but I am not just an academic person. I need to find ways to express myself. In a traditional education, you must choose a focus early and pursue it. Here, you can try different things—singing, sociology, feminism, chemistry, Spanish, pop dance, fiber arts. I started to play lacrosse here and now I feel like I contribute something important to the team.

I also play a traditional Chinese instrument, the gu zheng—it has 21 strings. I loved introducing that to Putney. I played it in assembly, and people clapped so loudly!

It has been interesting expressing myself in English. In English, I am outgoing, friendly, kind. In Chinese, I am more diligent and reserved. At Putney, I have both Chinese and American friends, and I feel myself being both.

Since coming here, I feel I have more responsibility for my own life. I am surprised by my potential to be a leader. I have become more confident. I know that you have to earn people’s trust to lead. I was just elected as one of the students on the Standards Committee. That’s the group that advises the head of school on disciplinary cases. I’m also an International Ambassador. Students have real responsibility here.

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