My name is Minna Abdel-Gawad. I am a 2021 alumna of the British International School of Washington, former Student Body President, and Editor-in-Chief of the Amplified newspaper. I am currently a first-year journalism student at Emerson College in Boston. I was asked to share my advice for students starting their college journey.
My first piece of academic advice is to be alert in your classes and work as hard as you can. I acknowledge how academically rigorous the IGCSE and IB programs are and how challenging they can be. But working hard and studying the content in those classes can help prepare you for life beyond high school.
For example, in the past week, what has helped me has been the work ethic I built up during the IB diploma. The constant flow of information and assignments can be demanding, but using the work ethic I developed at BISW keeps me more confident and on top of my work.
Secondly, I advise you to research all your university programs carefully. The universities you apply to are where you may potentially spend the next three or four years, so you should take no application lightly. Look at every course and its modules and topics of discussion. For instance, when choosing Emerson, I found that its program focused heavily on the writing aspect of Journalism rather than other schools with a heavy focus on broadcast, which was not my area of interest. These factors played a pivotal role in where I ended up.
My advice for social life is to value and cherish the time you have left at the school. While high school can seem to take forever or feel challenging at times, I made some of my best memories there. For example, confiding in my close-knit support system of friends and teachers and working in the IB room with my peers will always stand out for me.
BISW is a unique experience where your peers and the faculty know you well. That is not always the case at all schools, so be sure to use the resources you have around you.
I have thoroughly enjoyed starting fresh in a new big city and learning about a subject I’m passionate about and find exciting. I hope each of you finds the same happiness and freedom throughout your college experience.