Eric: EtonHouse, let me release the unicorn in my heart
An open and warm learning environment is one of the main characteristics of EtonHouse. It can make every student change quietly in a relaxed but rigorous atmosphere. “I came to EtonHouse after elementary school. I remember that I was an introverted boy,” Eric said. “In EtonHouse, the layout of the classroom is no longer one desk for each person, but several desks are combined together. The arrangement of desks also changes according to the content of the course. I liked this kind of atmosphere very much. It promoted discussion with other students and made it easier for me to integrate into several groups.”
Unlike the traditional classroom, EtonHouse’s teachers put great emphasis on students’ self-expression.
In the ‘Individuals & Societies’ class, students are required to explore a certain topic by themselves, and encouraged to explore and think. Although critical thinking is not achieved overnight, and inquiry is a habit that needs cultivating, over time and with practice, Eric improved not just his knowledge and understanding of the world, but gained an appreciation of the process of his own learning. Eric realised that learning ‘how to learn’ was as important as learning content itself.
From speeches in front of his class, to addressing an audience of hundreds from the stage, Eric got plenty of opportunities to practice speaking his thoughts in front of people at EtonHouse,
“Once I had the chance to freely express myself in public, and to create with my own ideas, then I realized that I could actually do it.”
Since he graduated from primary school, Eric has written and published over 100,000 words. In 2019, Eric became a member of Jiangsu Writers Association, and his constant love for and dedication to writing has finally earned him recognition in the field.
“Now I write more poems and essays. Writing allows me to share my ideas and feel the world more delicately.”
In EtonHouse, Eric celebrated the new year at school and worked with his classmates at the Literature Club to write a cultural drama about Chinese history.
“This play was a great success, and I was glad to be able to visualize my ideas through drama.”
In addition to writing, Eric has unlocked more of his potential at EtonHouse.
As leader of the EtonHouse student council, Eric was committed to promoting effective communication between students and the school, organizing annual events such as Valentine’s Day, Book Week and various competitions.
His experience in MUN (Model United Nations) exposed Eric to more knowledge about the world, and he founded the MUN Club to allow more students have similar experiences.
“I tried to provide each person with different roles, and motivated them by assigning tasks that they were interested in.”
Eric feels that he really gained a lot of exporure as a leader.
“I am very grateful to my DP Coordinator Dr. Steven Hawkins, who supported me, and gave me critical help and guidance. Sometimes there were small setbacks, but because of Dr. Hawkins, I never lacked the courage to keep going.”
In English Literature class, Dr. Hawkins also supported Eric’s learning by encouraging him to find examples from daily life to illustrate the idea of “a hero’s journey” in literature.
By triggering the students’ own exploration in this way, he left a vivid and rich impression.
This year’s COVID outbreak inevitably affected Eric’s final months at school, and his graduation and university application.
“It’s was really difficult, all this happening at this stage, with only so much school time left. It was almost impossible to carry out Chemistry and Psychology experiments.” And he had to learn quickly to adapt things to operate online.
However, with perseverance and dedication, fueled by his own interests, Eric made it successfully, and got his dream place at NYU.
“I remember the day I saw the admission result, telling me that I had a place, the last day before Christmas break. I saw the result early in the morning, and showed the letter to Dr. Hawkins at school. He gave me a high five with excitement, and soon the whole of EtonHouse got the news in a school assembly.”
In addition to his excellent subject knowledge, the sustained experience of “organizing activities reflecting one’s own interest and influencing others” was also key to his application.
For example, Eric has pursued and refined a business plan for a solar energy system ever since his MYP Personal Project, continuously improving it. Likewise, he has continued to write and publish articles, not just at school, but with external writing associations too. This consistency of focus, and relentless creativity, have played a key part in Eric winning his place at NYU.
Eric hopes that he can continue to communicate with more people, absorb other people’s opinions, and go to the larger world with the energy he gained at EtonHouse.
“This is a time to think and pursue dreams. I wish all of us can care for and cultivate the ‘little unicorn’ in our hearts, and let the unicorn grow. Ideas become dreams if you think, and dreams will come true if you act.”