Meet Vida H. ’19: a Day student who came to Ridley in search of a diverse and global experience. Read more about how Vida plans to contribute to student engagement on campus in her new role as a Prefect.
Why did you choose Ridley?
I chose to attend Ridley because my family and I felt that it provides students with the best opportunities to excel academically, athletically and artistically, all while contributing to the development of an individual’s character through the immersion of a culturally diverse and international community. I truly believed that attending Ridley would allow me to form a global network of relationships; that belief really drove my excitement to attend Ridley in Grade 9, as someone who has lived in St. Catharines all her life.
Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
I was pretty confident I was prepared for Ridley, from hearing stories about it since I was young – but I was wrong. In hindsight, I don’t think that there is much I could have done that would’ve prepared me for such a rigorous school system full of various commitments. While I did find it difficult at first to adapt to the schedule balancing homework, athletics, social life and others, I, like many, was eventually able to overcome such obstacles with the support of my parents, peers and teachers. In all honesty, I sometimes wake up feeling unprepared to go to school, however, it really helps to self-enforce a mentality of preparedness, which I find allows for an enriched and heightened Ridley experience.
Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
This is an impossible question to answer. All of the teachers have been extremely supportive and kind, and they all share one goal in ensuring each student’s success – whether it’s in the classroom, on the court or with homework in the dorms and/or tutorial. My teachers (and coaches) have all played an essential role in my growth as a student, athlete and as a person in general, upholding positivity, encouragement and endless support, while instilling a love of learning for anything and everything, for which I am very grateful for.
What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
My greatest challenge at Ridley was definitely transitioning into the Ridley mood and atmosphere. I came to Ridley knowing practically no one and not much about the students, etc., which was a new experience for me. I was taken by surprise with certain approaches and mentalities at this new school, which differed greatly from my previous experiences. This challenge definitely provided me with a welcomed new perspective. I am grateful for experiencing and overcoming these obstacles, with the help of my parents and teachers ,for they have allowed me to develop respect and appreciation for others for who they are, which is essentially an accomplishment in itself.
What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
I am extremely grateful for the many opportunities Ridley has provided in allowing me to excel in terms of character, academics, athletics and leadership. However, I feel that my greatest accomplishment is a personal accomplishment – overcoming my greatest challenge as mentioned above. Because it was difficult for me to adjust to Ridley, I faced many complex challenges at the time, to which I did not know the answers. As time progressed and I was able to improve my mindset and attitude, I realized that it is the biggest challenges, issues and problems I overcome that I should take pride in expressing, rather than suppress and ignore.
What has been your favorite Ridley experience?
I have many memorable Ridley experiences, I don’t think I can choose a favourite one. From my very first Snake Dance in Grade 9 to winning First Girls’ basketball CISAA and CAIS to receiving the Ian Wood ’53 Summer Program Language Study Scholarship to winning Co-ed Badminton CISAA and many others, I have made many memories within the scope of my personal, academic, athletic and extra-curricular accomplishments. There are so many memories that stand out to me, and perhaps I might make a new memories in the upcoming year that will stand out amongst all others!
What is your favourite part of Ridley life?
My favourite part of Ridley life is the sense of family and togetherness that all members of the community have for each other – whether it be a student, teacher, Head of House, Residential Don, or member of staff, etc. The sense of school pride and spirit at Ridley is unparalleled; I find it especially remarkable that the entire school community can be continuously divided into smaller, tighter-knit communities composed of unbreakable relationships and bonds from housemates to grades to nationalities to classrooms to roommates; it is a very heartwarming experience.
What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?
I am most excited for contributing my efforts to building Ridley towards a more student-to-student engaged community through Prefect-led initiatives, including the highly-anticipated Snake Dance, and hopefully many more. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to working with such a dedicated and talented Prefect team in the upcoming school year as I am sure we will all do our best to fulfill our role.
How has Ridley prepared you for the future?
Attending Ridley has provided me with an outlook on life that no other high school could have ever given me due to the unique traits of the school. The challenges that I have overcome in my time here have been eye-opening, and from my triumphs have I gained a greater appreciation for the hard work and dedication of others. In my opinion, Ridley serves as early exposure to the real world for students: in realizing the prevalence of cultural and economic disparities, in differences in opinions, in realizing the wonders of broadening global scopes, the beauty of mutual understanding, the benefits of cooperation, and the warm familial sense of community.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending university. Ideally, I will attend an American school to study Political Science or Business/Commerce. If not, I intend to study the same here in Canada; I aspire to pursue a career in either international relations or law. On the other hand, whatever the school or profession I pursue, I aim to continue learning about the global community. I hope to learn more languages and immerse myself in various cultures and regions, ultimately gaining a greater appreciation for them. As for the upcoming summer after graduation, I’m hoping to travel to France and possibly other European nations.
What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
1. Hit the ground running. If you don’t run (like myself), walk at a reasonable speed. From orientation week to the last exam, Ridley moves at an incredible speed. Life at Ridley will undoubtedly be busy and demanding as it is important that we fulfill co-curricular activity commitments and engage in our social lives, while embodying our role of students: completing night work, handing in assignments and studying for tests. I think it is important to realize that in order to not fall behind and become overwhelmed easily, immediate progress and effort at Ridley is essential.
2. Time management is really important! Though this phrase has probably been repeated too many times, it truly does apply. Speaking from experience, I find myself asking, “why can’t a day be more than 24 hours?” I often find that I simply don’t have as much time as I would like to have to accomplish what I want to when I get home – this is where efficiency comes in, which is generated by effective time management. Ridley is a great place to be when stress over schoolwork is minimized, and only through good time management can you properly embrace all the great opportunities this school provides!