Ivana Alardin was recently accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (or MIT) for the Fall of 2017! MIT is regarded as one of the the top universities in the world. She graduated from Gray School in 2013 and will graduate from Walter Payton College Preparatory School in June 2017. Ivana was gracious with her time and provided a short interview about herself and her experiences. We are proud of her and wish her great success in life!
Q: Before we ask you about school, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your interests and hobbies? A: I really love bowling, playing ultimate frisbee, shopping, crocheting, and laying on my couch to watch Pretty Little Liars. Oh, and eating. Can’t forget about that.
Q: We have always appreciated your zeal for life and learning! How has your life changed since you graduated from Gray School? A: Academically, I’m the same. I still like joining lots of clubs and still like doing my homework on time. But the biggest changes have been my experiences. Before I started high school the most exciting thing I could do on a school night was invite someone over to watch TV. Now I think the most exciting thing I’ve done on a weeknight is go to an opera downtown (really cool experience if you ever get the chance). I’ve had so many more opportunities, experiences, and have even expanded my food palette.
Q: You’ve gotten into a really prestigious school! Can you give us 3 keys to your success in life? A: First, try new things. One day freshman year I went to an Asian American Club meeting just to see what it was like. I’m now the president of it. Trust me, I’m as surprised as you are. Secondly, don’t be lazy. This is self-explanatory. Third, like what you do. Have fun. You can be successful and not like what you do but it’s a lot easier to find success if you’re having fun.
Q: We have a lot of aspiring students at Gray. What advice would you give to students who are applying for high school and college? A: Don’t stress. Easier said than done, but a lot of kids put pressure on themselves and that can be dangerous. Most of that pressure probably comes from your parents. Just remember that regardless of where you end up you can make the best of it and still be successful, and just because a school is a big name school (high school and college), it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right school for you.
Q: It’s been awhile since you’ve been at Gray, can you share a favorite memory you have of Gray School? A: One of my favorite memories of Gray were the weekly MathCounts practices we’d have in the morning in the math lab. Solving MathCounts-y type programs were always super fun and the free donuts were also a great motivator to get me to get to school early.
Q: What future career are you pursuing and what motivates you to enter this field? A: When I go to college I want to major in computer science. I’ve rationalized my affinity for computer science to be attributed to my love for math and my love for learning languages (I take two languages at school, Spanish and Latin). One of my first experiences with computer science was actually at Gray. Columbia College was doing a partner thing with us and we had to make a game using this online program called Scratch which, coincidentally, MIT made. It’s fun to build things and programming is essentially virtual building, which is one of the reasons why I like it so much.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories in high school? A: In general some of my favorite memories involve celebrating birthdays within my friend group. We tend to go all out for birthdays. Sophomore year my friend Amanda had gotten a new phone so she was constantly sending bad typos in our group chat. My friends and I, being the good people we are, would often screenshot them because not only were her typos incomprehensible, they were downright comical. For her birthday we gave her a cake that had a collage of her best typos with her face flat in the middle and her face when she saw it was priceless. Hands down totally worth the $16.99 that I paid for the cake.