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College-age ASM panel discusses life after Madeira

January 15, 2013
Haile Bennett '09, Bishop Reid '11, Sabeen Qureshi '09, and Katie Sotos '11

At the All School Meeting (ASM) on Friday, January 11, our students heard from four recent Madeira graduates from the classes of 2009 and 2011 who spoke about their transition from life at Madeira to life in college. The panel was comprised of:

  • Katie Sotos ‘11 - Colgate University
  • Sabeen Qureshi ’09 - the University of Houston
  • Bishop Reid ’11 - the University of North Carolina in Wilmington
  • Haile Bennett ’09 - Villanova University

Each of their paths through Madeira and into college was different, and each young woman had great advice to share with our current students.

Katie Sotos talked about how Madeira prepared her for college:

"Madeira set me up to expect a well-rounded college experience. I felt prepared. At Madeira you learn to expect close relationships with faculty, so at Colgate, I started going to my professor’s office       hours from the beginning, which led to a job working for the  professor and an opportunity to go to Costa Rica to do biology research. I think that my Madeira experience gave me the  confidence to approach the professor and ask for the job."

Sabeen Qureshi was a four-year boarder from Saudi Arabia:

 "My first year at college, I lived at home, which was a huge change from boarding at Madeira. But Madeira instilled a restlessness in   me that didn’t allow me to sit home when I wasn’t in class. I joined     many clubs and also volunteered. Madeira prepared me to be very social and outspoken."

"Co-Curriculum is awesome! It has allowed me to get positions I  would never have been able to land without that experience. Now  I’m a research assistant at Baylor College in Houston. I’m also grateful to Madeira for the great experience of learning how to write well."

Bishop Reid spoke about her “gap year.”

"I didn’t plan to take a year off between Madeira and college, but that’s how it worked out. While most of my peers were starting college, I interned at the White House. I would definitely not have been able to do this without my Co-Curriculum experience. Don’t take it for granted. It’s incredible what it will do for your future opportunities."

"After my year off, I think I had a greater appreciation for going to  college. Now that I’m at UNC, I’m in a sorority, which is much   like Madeira. I want to assure you that it’s okay if you don’t get a     strong feeling when you visit a college. If you don’t end up where you thought you would, or if you don’t know what you want to do or what you want to major in, it’s okay. I never envisioned being where I am, but I love it.

Haile Bennett gave a candid portrayal of her Madeira experience:

"I was a four-year boarder from New Jersey, and I had a different experience at Madeira. I didn’t always love it when I was here, but looking back now, there is so much I got from Madeira that I didn’t appreciate until I left. I cherish the experiences and the people I met here."

The sense of pride each graduate displayed for Madeira was palpable. It was clear that they credit much of their ability to succeed in college and in the world to the foundational education and life skills learned at Madeira.

Answering the girls’ questions at the end of the assembly, the panel addressed topics such as rushing a sorority and some challenges that they faced as freshmen in College. The graduates indicated that one thing that was unusual was that they now had young men in their classes, and that very few of the young women they now went to school with would speak up to answer or pose questions. Without exception, they indicated that they were proud to be one of the most outspoken and confident girls in their class.

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