This week marks our second week without our wise seniors gracing our Science Park Campus hallways. As they celebrate their graduation ceremony, enjoy their first summer as AISG Alumni, and prepare for college life, we sat down with academic whiz Gilia Wu for our last Senior Spotlight feature of the year.
Check out Gilia's interview to learn about her 7 years at AISG, how she found the perfect balance, and how it felt like to get accepted into a top university.
When did you first start at AISG?
I was born in Canada and moved to China when I was ten years old. When I first got to Guangzhou I went to a local boarding school for two years. After that, I started at AISG in 6th grade and have been here ever since. It's very different here than at boarding school. Different in a good way.
Which IB Classes did you take at AISG?
I took IB Economy, IB Music, IB Math, IB Language and Literature, IB French, and IB Physics. Out of all of them, IB Physics was definitely the most challenging.
How are AISG and the IB Programme different than the schools that you've gone to in the past?
At AISG there's a lot more freedom in what you can do and what you can choose to do. It teaches you to be more independent. The schools I've been to previously already have the decisions made for you. You don't really get a lot of options. As for IB, it really teaches you about time management and prepares you for challenging situations and the college-level coursework that we are all going to be dealing with soon. It's been really helpful.
What are some things you've learned in IB that you feel will help you in the future?
Well, time management, obviously. Before the IB I had poor time management and it was easy for me to procrastinate. Like, I would procrastinate a lot because I kind of had a tv addiction. I would be like 'ok, I'm going to watch tv first and then finish my work later' and then my studying would start around 11 pm. But with IB, it's not the kind of work you can just finish overnight. Our teachers here encourage us to set goals every single day to help us stay on task and offer constant support.
Would you say that academics are important to you?
Academics are definitely important and up there at the top of the list, but I think maintaining a good social life is equally as important. I try to make sure that academics aren't the center of my life. There's definitely a balance and now that I've developed better study habits I find it easier to make time to do other things that I like. I'm into music, hanging out with my friends, going out to watch movies…
What other activities were you involved in on campus?
I was in both the Wind Ensemble and IB Music, Roots and Shoots People, which is a community service group that helps raise funds and awareness for important issues like earthquakes and hurricanes, and I've done the musical several times. I think being in different activities and organizations helps you to broaden your horizons. It helps you to develop characteristics that are just as important as academics, helps you to get connected with society, keep up with current events, and helps you maintain a healthy balance.
I will be attending the University of California, Berkeley. Due to the way my program is laid out, I won't choose my major until my junior year but hope to focus on media or business. It's all up in the air right now and I'm open to exploring all of my options.
UC Berkeley is considered one of the top universities in North America, were you expecting to get in?
I filled out the application not really knowing if I would get in... I just didn't want to have any regrets. I was actually pretty shocked when I got accepted. I still remember the time and day that I found out, the morning of March 28. I couldn't sleep the night before and kept waking up in the middle of the night. By the morning I got notifications from a few other colleges and then about a half an hour later I got the notice that I had been accepted to UC Berkeley!
I'm excited about college because it's going to be a new experience, but also nervous because I'm going to be spending so much time away from home. I've never been that far away from family and friends before. My family is going to fly out with me and help me move into my dorm. I'll have a roommate and we will be getting our housing assignments any day now.
I'm a little nervous for the workload at college and don't want to fall back into my old bad habits, but a lot of AISG Alumni have told me that the IB Programme here really helps to prepare for that. Depending on how I score on my IB Exams, I will get to skip some of the required courses which I think will definitely make things easier.
Favorite AISG memories?
I don't know, I can't really choose anything specific because I've had so many great memories here. I just really enjoyed those little moments. The little moments with the people here and how much they've made me laugh. Like when we were filming the music video in the plaza on campus and everyone was having a dance-off, or when we did the Senior Prank and seeing everyone's reaction.
What will you miss most?
Well, we only have 66 people in our graduating class so we are a really close community. In college, there's going to be so many people and I might not have that tight-knit community that is so easy to find here at AISG. I'm also going to miss that bond that you can make with the teachers here. They always make it clear that they're available for help, even outside of class time. If you're struggling, they will reach out to you and do their best to help. The teachers here are very observant, they always know when you're doing great or if something's wrong. As for life off campus, I'm going to miss the food and the people of Guangzhou.
Congratulations, again, to Gilia and everyone in the Class of 2019!