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Congratulations to WISS HS Graduate Vanessa HSU

June, 2017
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Vanessa HSU, High School graduate of Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), is going to the University of Manchester to study business. 

wiss-hs-graduate-vanessaGraduating from High School feels unbelievable, I spent the last five years with these people at WISS and now we are parting and not going to see each other for years. We rehearsed so many times but this time it’s true, even though it still feels like a rehearsal. We all know High School is a part of life’s journey, but to me this is a special one. I learned so much more than what’s in the textbook – my friends carried and supported me all the way, and have given me more than what any school could have given me. And these are some people from all around the world, friends that I’ll never be able to meet or talk to if I’m not a part of this community. I feel blessed that I got to spend the years here, where teachers became friends, and friends became family, no matter how different we are. If I had a choice, I’d stay for another year.

In the summer, I will get my driver’s license in Taiwan, have a nice reunion with my friends and family, have a good rest and get ready to head off to university in early September.

I’ve studied at WISS since 2012. I think WISS is quite different, as it is small. I see faces that I am familiar with every day, so that makes me very comfortable. At WISS, our teachers care about us, they know us for who we are and what we enjoy doing. They know when we are stressed; know exactly what we like as a grade. And because WISS is such a tight community, anyone can take initiative: to start a campaign, bake sale, or sport clubs. And when you find people who share the same hobby along the way you become friends – I think that is unique about WISS.

The best memory I have at WISS is the 2017 basketball season when we lost many games in the beginning of the season but came back ending in the championship game in SSSBL league. Although we didn’t get to win, we were all very happy about the result and became like a family. This is the best season I have ever had. We had a lot of new players joining this year. The first game we played was a mess, and we lost by more than 30 points. However, throughout all the practices we had and the bus rides to away games, we were able to build our chemistry in five months, and we played like we’ve been playing together for a year. The championship game we played was against the team, which we lost by 30 points to. The game went into overtime, and we nearly won. We all agreed that it was the best we’ve ever played and our coach was also very proud of us. We even won the "Team of the Year" award from Shanghai Life Magazine, which we never expected. The memories we had are so much more meaningful than any of the titles we’ve gotten.

I took IB in High School. My subjects include HL: Business Management/Chinese/Biology; SL: Math/English/Music. To be honest, IB is not as challenging as I thought it would be. The most difficult I think was the amount of assessments we get over the two years, especially there are no prescribed topics to many of the assignments, so we really have to think about what we are most interested in and how we want to present the topic. I always spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do. Now when I think about it, it isn’t really a bad thing that we get to do a topic of our choice because that is just what we do in life. 

High School is quite tough for most HS students. I think to be able to enjoy High School is to do what you like doing. I was able to really enjoy my High School life because I found people who shared the same hobby as me. I play different kinds of sports in school, as there are people who enjoy it as much as I do and the school really provided us with the opportunity to do it. The gym is open to us whenever it is available; people take the initiative to organize games and it is always fun to play with all these people, even teachers who are there every week just because we all like playing the sport.

For an IB student, I would say it is motivation that is key – that you have to be motivated to do the work assigned to you, which helps you succeed in High School. And so, to be able to enjoy, you have to choose the right course to begin with, and really enjoy what is taught to you. I think that is how I succeeded.

It’s my fourth year in international school. International school education allows you to see how different people from other cultures can be and that creates a unique atmosphere which you won’t get anywhere else. It is very different from the local school in Taiwan. What I learned here in an international school is something that I can’t even imagine if I am not here. And it is important to get acquainted with the international community as a young adult in order to prepare you for the future when you meet other people who are from other cultures.

Advice for fellow students: I just want to say that school is meant to be hard, tests are meant to test your knowledge on what you learn. So don’t worry too much about how hard things are, just give it your best shot. It is easy to lose yourself when all your work piles up, but set up priorities. Do the works from your favorite class first, so you get it done to the best quality – you are meant to succeed in what you are good at. And that will also motivate you to do other assignments. 


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