june 6, 2013
GOING THE DISTANCE
Relationships: Togetherness is Key
Several seniors discuss the role that distance played in selecting their ideal college
graphic by Mika Gross
Nicole Yu & Maggie Zhang Features Reporters
Senior Yoonchan Choi will be traveling over 2,500 miles this fall to attend the University of Southern California. Choi and several other seniors said that a college’s distance from Newton had little influence over their decision to attend. For some, however distance was a major deciding factor. For senior John Deng, who is going to Brandeis University, the proximity of the university to his home was a significant part of his decision to attend. “It was a really huge factor for me because for all the colleges that I applied to … they were all in the Boston area,” he said. “I did not apply to a single college out of state.” According to college counselor Barbara Brown, almost all the students that come to her consider distance when choosing their colleges. “Lots of students start off thinking they want to be as far away from home as possible, and then as it gets closer [to graduation] they tend to decide they may want to be a little bit closer,” Brown said. “It’s a very important part, also how comfortable they feel about being away from
home.” Deng said that even though several students choose to attend college out of state, most choose to stay in or around Massachusetts. “Usually you get [a] few that want to get out of Newton, [who] want to get out of where they have lived their entire life, and basically they only apply to colleges really far away,” he said. “[It is] a giant choice for them … but other people, like me, just want to stay in the area they’ve lived in. They want that security, and they choose colleges that are closer to home.” According to Deng, going to a college close to home is both convenient and comfortable. “When you go to a college close to home … you know that no matter if you are sick or injured or just homesick, it is just a really close drive home,” he said. “[I feel] safe to know that I am changing environments, but I still have the opportunity and the chance to go home if I need to.” Senior Mina Willet, who is going to the University of British Columbia (UBC), said that distance was not a deciding factor in her choice of college. “I wanted to explore all my options ... but I decided that even though [UBC]
was the farthest school that I applied to, it had the best opportunity and the best programs for me out of all my options,” she said. For senior Laura Kessel, who is going to Rice University in Houston, Texas, the decision to choose a college out of state was just by chance. “It … happened to be where it was. I didn’t really pay much attention to it,” Kessel said. “I just sort of found schools that I liked, and it just happened to be that this one was in Texas.” Kessel added that she looks forward to the opportunity that distance gives to experience new things and to become more independent. “I can just go and be by myself. I don’t really have much intervention by my parents,” she said. “I think it’ll be interesting because it’s definitely [a] different culture in Houston, so it’d be interesting to be in that sort of [environment], around those different kinds of people.” Willet said that for her, being far from home will be difficult. “I know that it’s going to be really hard for me to be so far away from my family,” she said. “But I think no matter where you are, [college is] going to be a lifestyle change.”
Library visitors increase, circulation lags Sophia Fisher & Maggie Zhang Features Editor, Features Reporter
Despite South’s library seeing a 107 percent increase in student flow over the past nine years, the number of books the library offers has halved in that time, and last year fewer than 2 percent of the books were checked out. Several students said that the atmosphere of the library has developed into one of social interaction rather than one of focused studying and checking out books. During especially busy blocks in the library, junior Daniel Ehrlich chooses to relocate his studying efforts away from the place usually considered quiet. “Not enough people can sit [because] there are people everywhere ... standing [and] milling around tables,” Ehrlich said. “It’s loud because everybody’s trying to talk over each other … Sometimes the library’s empty, and sometimes there’s so many people that I have to leave.” Junior Nikita Roy said that she believes many students do not use the library to check out books at all, but find other reasons to go. “[Students] go [to the library] for studying, to socialize or computer reasons,” she said. When students enter and exit the library, sensors record the movement. During the 20022003 school year, the number of students who entered the library reached 62,550. In 2011-2012, patron count exceeded 129,000 — the 107 percent increase from nine years prior. The decrease in number of books at the library is a possible cause of relatively low circulation rates. A South librarian for 12 years, Ethel Downey said the library had about 30,000 books in circulation when she started working at South, but only 15,000 today. Ehrlich said that low circulation rates are not the fault of the librarians. “You can’t blame the librarians for problems that they aren’t causing,” he said. “They should be trying to get students to read, but at the same time, a lot of it is out of their hands.” According to English teacher Corinne Popp, who has
taught at South since 1999, the school library has increased in popularity over the years. “The number one primary change is the number of students in the library,” she said. “It used to be kind of an underused, quieter place, and now when you go in there, it’s overflowing.” Sophomore Yulan Li said that library’s computers are important assets for students and that the library would benefit from buying more. “[Computers] are useful … because at home sometimes I don’t get resources that I can get to…so I have to use the library’s computers to do it,” she said. Even when students do check out books, they usually get the books for class rather than outside reading, according to Roy. “For classes I’ve had to [check out a book]. But I’ve never actually done it for any other reason,” she said. According to Yi, lack of book variety in the library is not to blame for low checkout rates. Yi checks books out both for outside reading time and for classes. “[The variety] always keeps me interested. I’m not sure if [getting] more books is a good idea,” she said. “It might be just because people don’t really have that time to be reading books.” Roy said that lack of time prevents her from perusing the library’s aisles. “I don’t have time to look at the books,” Roy said. Freshman Amanda Michel agreed, and said that she cannot finish books by the time the library requires them to be returned. “I just don’t have enough time to read the book in a certain amount of time,” she said. Popp acknowledged students’ challenges with time management but asserts that a more reading-based English curriculum could help increase students’ reading time and — perhaps — library circulation. “Having a curriculum, especially in English class, that requires independent reading ... is really important, and it gives kids a chance to just read books they’re comfortable with,” she said. Li said that although circulation rates are low, she finds time to sit in the library quietly reading novels. “I just sit down, read and enjoy,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every issue, The Roar publishes a different anonymous student’s perspective on relationships. The views expressed in the “Relationships Column” do not reflect the official views of The Lion’s Roar, nor are they intended as a guide or source of advice for others. The first movie my boyfriend and I ever walked out of was “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The movie featured Kristen Stewart as a rather lackluster heroine, creepy Scottish dwarves and a cheesy romance between Snow White and the “huntsman” himself. Needless to say, it was terrible. About halfway through the second hour, I turned to my boyfriend and announced that I couldn’t stand the film any longer and that we had to leave. Looking more than slightly amused, he laughed and replied, “Good idea. Let’s go.” After we left “Snow White and the Huntsman,” walking out of movies became a regular habit: “Step Up 4: Revolution,” “Taken 2” and “The Bourne Legacy.” We did not stick around to see the end of any of these. Granted, we made fairly poor choices in movies, but I doubt that that was the real reason we ditched so many. Looking back, I suspect that every time we decided to walk out of a theater, we we were doing it because we were not actually getting much out of each other’s company by sitting in front of a screen. Although movies may have been a good way to ease the pressure of a few early dates, the moment we made up our minds to ditch was often the spontaneous gesture that banished any remnants of awkwardness we had still been feeling. Finding something that we both disliked was surprisingly gratifying, but not just because we disliked it. We had finally found something in common when we didn’t know each other all that well. Five or six unfinished movies later, my boyfriend and I were planning to go off to another theater on a Saturday evening. As we were getting ready to leave, he confessed that he was starving and vaguely mentioned the overpriced movie theatre popcorn. Money was tight as always, so I suggested we cook before the movie. Until that evening, I did not know that he could cook. The hour we spent frying omelets in my kitchen reaped both a good meal and a satisfying feeling. This was more fun than walking out of a movie; rather than just sharing our distaste for a film, we had accomplished something constructive together. By the time dinner was over, we had missed our movie, but neither of us was disappointed. That night made us realize that no matter what we were doing, we could have fun as long as we were together. A few weekends ago, we chose to see “Silver Linings Playbook,” a movie we had both wanted to see since its release. Even though we watched it in possibly the most ancient theater in the country and the fuzziest picture quality that I have ever seen, we sat through the entire thing without wanting to leave. And we held hands the entire time.