The life of an NCSSM student

After sophomore year, students are given the opportunity to apply to the North Carolina School of Science & Math, a statewide residential magnet school for students with a strong aptitude and interest in math and science. Kirby Vardo-Russ applied to the school after sophomore year and was granted acceptance.

Q: How did you hear about NCSSM? And why did you wish to apply?

A: My mom heard about NCSSM on NPR and told me a little bit about it. I thought it was cool that you lived at the school and that you got free tuition to in-state colleges. I decided to apply because even though Leesville is a really great school, with a lot of talented, smart, and willing-to-learn people, I want to be surrounded by people that have a thirst for knowledge and in an environment where people are not judged for being inquisitive or hard-working

Q: What do you miss about Leesville?

A: I really miss the high school atmosphere of Leesville- the excitement over football  games, the school spirit and rivalries towards other schools, and the freedom of being able to drive (we can’t have cars at Science & Math). I miss a lot of friends that I made there, and I wish that I was able to see them more often. I also miss living at home and being able to have people over at my house, and getting to spend time with my parents.

Q: What do you not miss about Leesville?

A: Something that I don’t miss at Leesville is the cliques that form. I think that people in cliques sometimes  become more concerned about what others think of them, and concerned about judging others, than being nice to others and being their own person.

Q: Does NCSSM offer better opportunities than Leesville does?

A: I do think that NCSSM offers a lot of opportunities but not necessarily better ones. I think that all people are different, and while one thing might be a great thing for one person, it could be the wrong thing for another person. However, the opportunities that the school presented me started with a broad range of course offerings, such as Molecular Genetics, Differential Equations, and Classical Guitar. It also gives people who came from a tough economic background the opportunity to go to a school that is rich in academics, and pays for tuition for any in-state college or university.  The small classes and academic rigor, and the fact that there is no class rank, provides the most important opportunity for me- to become a really tight community of friends who help each other to do our best.

Q: Has your relationship changed with your parents?

A: My relationship with my parents changed a lot. At first, they wanted me to call them every day and always ask their permission before I went out, even though they weren’t with me. When they realized this was not plausible, they kind of let go a little bit. It was kind of difficult at first because there was tension between my parents and me over the fact that we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together, and tension because our relationship was changing. Luckily, my parents and I are close, and so I had a lot of conversations with them about what we could do to try to maintain a strong relationship. One thing that I learned, though, is that nothing ever stays the same. While you may want to keep the same relationship with someone, things are always changing; accept new things instead of trying to recreate or mimic old things.

Q: What do you like about NCSSM the most?

A: The main thing that I love about NCSSM is the people.  You find friends wherever you go- in middle school, in high school, in college, in sports and extracurricular. I have a lot of close friends at Leesville, but I’ve been lucky enough to make a lot of close friends at Science & Math too. I think the most valuable thing that Science & Math has offered me is the experience of being around people who love learning and who have extremely high goals and aspirations. It has caused me to reexamine myself as a person, and to reevaluate what my interests and limits are. NCSSM has challenged me to an unbelievable extent- in heart, body, and mind- but it’s the challenged that have lead me to grow and learn more about myself, and that will hopefully prepare me for the future.

Be the first to comment on "The life of an NCSSM student"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*