Harshita Jain

7 Years

at AES

1. What has been your favorite memory at AES?

During my 9th-grade minicourse trip, we were hiking up a mountain when we got stuck in the middle of a blizzard. Add in the fact that my tennis shoes and snow were not blending well; it seemed like a total disaster. It also didn't help that our guide kept yelling, "this trail has a survival rate of 78%, so don't worry, MOST of you will be fine". Of course, he was joking, but back then, I was naive enough to believe him. I was scared, but somehow I managed to pull myself through. When we reached the top of that mountain, we had to take shelter in a police station. Our entire group huddled up into one room, and everyone was exhausted from completing the trek. But let me tell you, a cup of chai and Maggi never tasted better.

2. How has service at AES shaped you?

Over the years, I learned that service is not a selfless act: somewhere deep down, it is fueled by the gratification and "feel good" factor I got from it. AES taught me the importance of accepting this and realizing that this is not a bad thing. Improving an underprivileged person's life while simultaneously enjoying it is a win-win situation and, in many ways, is what the AES service program strives to teach all of its volunteers. 

Moreover, service has redefined what leadership meant to me. Having had some leadership roles within our school's service program, I learned that being a leader meant more than just holding a title (yes, I know that sounds cringe). My decisions as a service leader had real-life consequences for people within and outside our school community. Along with it came a sense of responsibility I never thought I'd have as a high schooler. But it is the same responsibility that pushed me to do my best- I wanted to do everything in my power to help the communities we served. I would have never had the opportunity to experience any of this if I hadn't been at AES, so if you were a part of my service journey, I don't think a simple "thank you" is enough to express my gratitude.

3. What are you going to miss the most about AES?

My friends. I won't say more about this because I believe everyone can relate and understand that some stories are better kept unsaid ;)

4. If you had to create a survival kit for the IB/HS, what would you put in it?

- Starbucks card

- Midnight snacks

- Houseparty app

- AirPods

- Physical calendar

- Exam-mate subscription

- To-do list

5. Which teacher do you wish you could take to college with you and why?

I would definitely take Mr. Collins with me because who doesn't want free life advice and early investment tips. Throw in the meme-filled emails, class debates, and his caring personality (even if he will send me an email later disagreeing with me); it's the perfect package.

6. What is your favorite thing about service at AES?

Being able to build friendships with the Reach Out kids. I have known one of the girls, Jyoti, since 7th grade (when I first joined middle school Reach Out), and getting to meet her every Thursday from then has been one of my highlights of service at AES.