Courses at Harvard / Harvard Extension School / Harvard Student Life / Harvard Summer School / Jennifer Doody / Secondary School Program at Harvard University

Striking a Strong Balance

Dalya Oprian
Dalya Oprian, a junior high school student from Cleveland, Ohio, spent the summer of 2015 on Harvard’s campus in the Secondary School Program. Correspondent Jennifer Doody asked the track and field athlete about her summer experience, both in and out of the classroom. 

Q: Tell us about your Harvard experience.

I learned a lot in my classes. The faculty were very understanding of the fact that we were in high school and it was our first time taking college courses. But they also had very high standards for us, and they expected us to work at the college level. It was our responsibility to take an idea presented in class and kind of grow that idea on our own.

Outside the classroom, I was surprised at the amount of freedom we had. It really seemed like college. I became really close friends with the people in my dorm, and we spent a lot of time together: we went out to eat, to the gym, we watched TV in our rooms. It was a lot of bonding.

Q: What was the most enriching part of your experience?

The most enriching part was just having that Harvard college experience—to be on the campus of a school that’s so highly praised. The experience also helped me know what kind of college I’m looking for. I’m now looking for a college that’s part of a town, like Cambridge, but close to a big city. I want classes that are open and discussion-based, like my acting class was.

Q: How did the experience help prepare you for college?

I think I’ll be able to handle the college experience better. I know more about time management and how to focus on my responsibilities, while also still having time for a fun college experience. It helps you find a strong balance.

Q: How would you describe the experience in five words or less?

Amazing, inspirational, intellectual, engaging, and expansive. I would definitely recommend it to other students. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, and one of the best ways I could have prepared myself for college.

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