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Navigating High School: Insights from a Future Moise Graduate

Alex Coiov, XII A


For the past eight years of my life – essentially half of my existence on this hectic yet engrossing Planet Earth – I have been at the same educational institution under the well-regarded name of ‘Moise Nicoară National College’; some might know it as simply ‘Moise’. For better or for worse, with lots of ups and tons of downs, this lengthy experience has ultimately cemented my current 18-year-old self, an individual I could say I am tremendously proud of.

 

However, after spending 18 years in the same city and eight years at the same public school, one cannot help but wish to uncover novel and uncharted lands alongside cultures, customs, and traditions different from one’s own. Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, on the American East Coast – where Emily Dickinson wrote her insightful poetry – is calling my name.

 

Nonetheless, this eight-year journey (perhaps a marathon) has been unnecessarily arduous (even stressful) at times or seemingly unceasing. The reasons are myriad, but that is just how life is. A public school in Romania – located in a quaint but not too big or affluent city – does not boast the same luxuries, opportunities, and resources as a private British school (obviously) that is a feeder to Oxford, Cambridge, and the like. But with the help and resources provided here, which were comparatively better and more abundant than at other peer Romanian institutions, I was able to carve out my own path and, ultimately, succeed.

 



What I would have wished for, however, was a stronger alumni network and more guidance from seniors and the community regarding the college application process and high school life in general. I would have also longed to be more proactive on my part. Yet, going into high school and, especially, the daunting college applications at the start of my senior year, it felt as if making the switch from Moise to university had never been done before – as if my graduating class and I were navigating uncharted territories never explored by those before us.

 

This was certainly not the case, but it nevertheless felt like that, hence why I began reaching out to current juniors, sharing my experiences and the insights I had gained through my own journey. In this minute article, I hope to likewise offer guidance to those who will certainly follow in our footsteps. Having spent eight years at Moise and having applied to exactly 25 universities spanning two continents, four countries, and far too many time zones, I could say that I have learned a thing or two. I hope my experiences and the lessons I have learned throughout these years will help make your high school journey smoother and more manageable.

 

I. Read to Uncover Your Intellectual Passions

 

Economics constitutes both the quantitative (based on numbers) and the qualitative (based on descriptions) study of humans and their everyday choices – the study of who gets what and how? In a world fraught with scarcity, wherein we sluggishly navigate existence's diverse landscapes, Economics strives to optimally allocate limited resources, aiming to maximise societal welfare. Essentially, Economics tries to allocate finite resources as efficiently as possible with the ultimate goal of increasing the well-being of others… of making people, indeed, happier!

 

I would have never discovered my effervescent interest in Economics had I not actively searched for it. I would have never fallen in love with the noble (perhaps idealistic) objective of Economics – that of essentially making society richer and more efficient, and people happier and more fulfilled – without some luck and some initiative on my behalf.

 

It was during the pandemic’s conspicuous darkness that I found solace in the haphazard yet engrossing swings in interest rates and GDP growth. Such volatile numbers piqued my curiosity, ultimately fostering my ongoing predilection for Economics. One Coursera course gave rise to an additional ten in microeconomics, monetary and fiscal policy, inequality, and whatnot. However, it was my first-ever online course – Financial Markets by Yale University (funnily enough, a Finance course) – that ultimately cemented my voracious appetite for Economics, prompting me to expand my intellectual journey into the pluralistic realm of economic literature.

 

By reading ‘across the spectrum’ and delving into Economics books of all sorts – either foundational literature like Friedman’s ‘Free to Choose’ and Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’ or modern reads, such as Banerjee and Duflo’s ‘Good Economics for Hard Times’, Wheelan’s ‘Naked Money’, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ ‘It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism’ – and from all sorts of eras, ranging from the United States’ creation in 1776 to contemporary times, I was able to engage with sundry contrasting ideas and concepts, each era with its particular taste of public policy. This diversity of thought further captivated me, corroborating the idea that I was made for Economics, and Economics was made for me.

 

And this is why I would advise all high schoolers (and not only) to explore the vast realms of reading. Books have unequivocally helped me discover my intellectual drive and, ultimately, made me a more informed (and yes, even better) person! Even if one does not succeed in discovering their academic predilections through reading, time spent reading is always time well spent. You cannot go wrong!

 

II. More Reading… This Time to Keep Up with the World

 

We live in an uber-globalised world. Whether you are enthralled by the STEM sciences or the arts, we are all members of the same society; we are all global citizens of the so-called ‘global village’ – especially here, in the grand European Union, the epitome of globalisation – and we cannot escape that. We have the right (perhaps even responsibility) to vote and must act as sensible and productive citizens, contributing to the betterment of our community and, ultimately, humankind.

 

Reading can indubitably help develop one academically, enabling individuals to discover what makes them tick. However, reading can also serve as a bridge to the world beyond our immediate surroundings. Reading thus equips us with the knowledge necessary to understand the complexities of our global village, the forces that help shape our world, and the issues inherent in our perfectible society. By keeping up with current events, we become more informed and capable of making thoughtful decisions.

 

I advise all high school students to read reliable publications like Politico – or even ‘read with their ears’ by listening to free podcasts such as The Economist – that will help them stay informed about the world around them, contrast different viewpoints, and know what the world’s most pressing issues are.

 

III. Make the Most of the Resources at Your Disposal

 

Whilst Moise is not a private international school, it is certainly amongst the better-resourced public ones in Romania. Make the most of that. For instance, Moise students have access to the American Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Students can pick from myriad subjects, ranging from several Physics, Mathematics, and History APs to exams in Comparative Government and Politics, Environmental Science, and Economics. They subsequently have access to online courses covering the entire curriculum for these tests, after which they will sit a three-hour exam in May for each chosen subject.

 

I have taken six AP exams in my four years at Moise – taking APs was an option only since my sophomore year, when they were first implemented – and I recommend everybody, whether they yearn to study Medicine in Romania, International Relations abroad, or anything in between, to self-study for at least one AP exam. It is genuinely a valuable experience that can significantly enhance one’s academic journey, and it is always captivating to see how other educational systems work.

 

Moreover, there are several student-run clubs at Moise and in Arad – the Robotics Club, the Pulsar Club for Physics, the Student Council, and this newspaper, to name a few. Participating in these clubs not only helps build a strong profile for university applications but also enriches your high school experience by providing opportunities to explore your interests and form lasting friendships. Make the most of them, and if no club matches your interests, consider starting one yourself!

 

IV. Be Proactive

 

Taking full advantage of the resources available to you requires a proactive mindset. Whilst Moise does offer numerous opportunities, it is up to you to seek them out and make the most of them. Do not wait for opportunities to come to you; instead, actively look for ways to enhance your academic and personal development.

 

To be on board with the opportunities and resources offered at Moise (and not only), consider reaching out to older students or alumni, who can provide valuable insights and advice based on their own experiences. Older students can share tips on managing school work and navigating present-day Moise, whereas alumni can offer guidance on university applications, the selection of a major/career, and the transition from high school to college. If you need advice or have questions, you can always reach out to me at alexcoiov00@gmail.com, and I will try my very best to help you.

 

Likewise, make sure to start researching early, whether that implies the college application process or exploring potential majors/career paths. For college applications, strive to familiarise yourself with the requirements and deadlines of the universities you are interested in, whether they are Romanian or not. Regarding career exploration, take the time to learn about different fields and what they entail. Nobody expects one to have a full-fledged, life-long plan at 18. However, having a general idea of your interests can definitely set you on a path to success.

 

By starting early, you allow yourself the flexibility to explore different options, seek advice from others, and make well-informed decisions about your future. Besides, early preparation diminishes stress, ensuring that you can take full advantage of the resources and opportunities available and focus on your development. And always have a backup plan!

 

V. Concluding Remarks

 

Ultimately, I hope this little article can serve as a source of guidance for those navigating the tremendously overwhelming journey of high school. My experiences, encapsulated within these words, strive to ease your path, making it less daunting. Remember, whilst the resources and opportunities at Moise are invaluable, it is your proactive engagement with them that will truly make a difference. If you need any sort of help or additional suggestions, please consider reaching out to me and my wider graduating cohort, as we would be thrilled to help guide the future generations of Moise or, at least, offer a listening ear. Take care!

 

Best,

Coiov, Class of 2024

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