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Full Length College Conversation with Eddie, Persia, Weston, and David

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The following students volunteered to share their experiences as Viewpoint graduates and current college students. The group of alumni are now attending Williams College, New York University, University of Southern California, and the University of Virginia.

Viewpoint School is an Independent Coeducational School From Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade Calabasas, California. Official Website: | Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube 


Eddie Wolfson '19
Hometown: Tarzana, CA.
College: Williams College

Year In School: Sophomore
Major: Psychology and Theatre double major and a prospective Public Health concentrator.
Eddie’s Places at Williams: The Ephlats a capella group, on the board of our student theatre organization (Cap and Bells), I dance in the Burlesque Club and the Student Choreography Coalition, I'm a campus tour guide, I'm in the Rape and Sexual Assault Network, clinical psychology lab, theatre, Queer Student Union, I wrote two articles for The Record, Williams College Jewish Association, housing system (the Entry system)  pre-orientation group (Exploring the Arts).
Eddie's Places at Viewpoint: Theatre,  Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, was Co-President of the Slam Poetry Association, played the violin, tap danced, and I was in Spectrum (the LGBTQ+ club).
Reach out to Eddie on Instagram: @ewolfson00

Persia Fardad-Finn '18
Hometown: Calabasas, California
College: New York University

Year: Class of 2022 (junior)
Major: Film and TV with a minor in Business of Entertainment Media

Persia’s Places at NYU: I found my friends through my major and through film sets. Internship at the Ellen Degeneres Show. Internship at SEED Beauty.
Persia's Places at Viewpoint: Ap scholar, global scholar, High Honor Roll, Presidential Service Award, Headmaster’s List, Duke of Edinburgh. Member of Dance Team, Member of CORE, Multi-Racial Club, Health Club, Film IV, National Charity League.
Social Media: @ _persiabrooke or linked in: Persia Fardad-Finn

Weston Bell-Geddes '19
Your Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA
Your College: University of Southern California

Year in School: Sophomore
Major: Interactive Entertainment

Weston’s College Places at USC: ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), AVL (Autonomous Vehicle Lab), Photo Club, XRSC, USC Creative Media & Behavioral Health, USC Games
Weston's Places at Viewpoint: Robotics, Founders' Club, French Honor Society, Robotics Honors Society, FIRST (2584) & VEX Robotics (1437), VR/game development internships
Reach out to Weston on Twitter: @westonbdev

David Miron '18
Hometown: Tarzana, CA
College: University of Virginia

Year in School: Junior
Major: Commerce (Business) w/ concentration in Management and Finance, Archaeology

David’s Places at UVA: First-year dorm, University Records (student music club), played in a couple of bands, First Year Players (musical theater org), in my classes, through other friends, pro-bono student consulting club, worked on starting a nonprofit, at sporting events and other "get-to-know-you" events, orientation.
David's Places at Viewpoint: played drums (lessons and concert band), basketball, baseball, volunteered for an anti-food waste organization.
Reach out to David on Instagram: @davidmaxwelll


College Conversation Breakdown

Hashtag Directory: #highschool #background #dreamjob #collegesearch #collegeselection #rejection #summerprogram #roommates #makingfriends #getinvolved #impostersyndrome #mentalhealth #uncomfortableexperience #mentors #people #places  #mostjoyful #advice #studentorgs #leadership  #relationships #academics 

00:00 Intro

00:45 Harlan Talks to Eddie about Williams College. He really enjoys the liberal arts environment at Williams College.

2:05 Harlan introduces Persia, she’s going to NYU and is very far from home. She likes that NYU’s campus is integrated into the city.

2:27 Harlan introduces Weston who goes to USC. The campus is a bit of a ghost town now due to COVID. But he was able to have a nice year and a half on campus before everything shut down.

3:13 Harlan introduces David who is attending UVA. He was born and raised in LA so he was happy to try something new in a new place.

4:11 Harlan asks Weston what he’s looking forward to and what his dreams for the future are. He applied to be on Jeopardy, he has an internship coming up at TikTok, he creates games. He opens a lot of doors and opportunities but not all of them work out but he’s alright with that. He wants to experience as much as he can and try different things. The dream is ever changing. He wants to live in the woods for a long period of time at some point. #dreamjob

6:20 Harlan asks David what he’s looking forward to and what his dream is. David is in a similar boat to Weston as he has also applied to be on Jeopardy. He’s looking forward to getting back to normal and hanging out with friends. He’s going to intern at a management consulting firm. His dream is up in the air but he wants to make a social impact. He wants to work for a non-profit. In college, he tried to create a non-profit to donate school supplies. #dreamjob

9:19 Harlan asks Eddie what he’s looking forward to and what his dream is. He’d like to be able to have an in-person campus experience in the fall. He will be a junior advisor, which is kind of like an RA. He wants to be able to do in-person theatre again. He has 2 dreams. He would like to be an actor or a clinical psychologist. #dreamjob

10:35 Harlan asks Persia what she’s looking forward to and what her dream is. Persia is interviewing for an internship for a major late night talk show. She dreams of being a showrunner or associate producer in the television industry. #dreamjob

13:52 Persia describes her HS self. She says she was a “dance nerd” she was very focused on her academics but was very involved in the dance department. She was on the dance team and danced outside of school. She was also very involved in the film department which led to her going to NYU. She started a club with her friends called multiracial cultural club where they would celebrate a different culture each meeting. She was involved with CORE which was like an honors society. She participated in community service. Harlan asks if she was a stressed out anxious person in HS and she agrees she was but she was thankful for that sometimes because it kept her on top of her work. #highschool #background

18:05 Harlan asks David about his HS self. He was very academically focused. Looking back he wishes he put more time into other things. He spent some time playing baseball and basketball and he played the drums. He says stressing out isn’t necessary to get where you want to go. Looking back at his time in high school, doing the things he enjoyed was more important to making good memories and preparing him for the future.  #highschool #background

20:29 Harlan asks Eddie about his HS self. He was involved in a lot of performing arts. He did a lot of theatre and some dance too. He was involved in about 4 shows a year. He also played the violin. He worked as a sort of tour guide with the admissions department. He says he was a little louder back in HS and less aware of when to reel in his energy. #highschool #background

23:50 Harlan asks Weston about his HS self. He spent a lot of time doing robotics. He spent a lot of time doing independent studies. He learned a lot from his mentors and they helped prepare him for the college experience. He mentions being very driven by affirmation and needing that positive feedback, which you don’t necessarily get in college so he learned to be more self-driven. #highschool #background

26:20 Harlan asks Weston about how you find support and stay confident when you’re at a competitive place like USC. Weston talks about imposter syndrome and how everyone seems to be better than you, or more talented. But if you reach out and talk to someone else, you’ll find out they are just as confused as you sometimes and you have more in common than you think. #impostersyndrome

27:44 Harlan asks if Persia struggled with any similar feelings at NYU. She says since Viewpoint is such a small supportive community it’s easy to feel special and valued. When you get to college that can feel like it’s missing. When she was at Viewpoint she was one of the few students to do film and that was her thing. When she got to NYU she suddenly was in with 200 other people that are at the same level as her academically and creatively. But when she started talking to other students and connecting, similar to what Weston did, she felt more comfortable.  She also had professors explain that as a creative person, storytelling is unique because of who is telling the story. Each student will offer different life experiences to the work they do. She was able to get more comfortable and feel more at home as she met more people, took more classes, and gained experience. #impostersyndrome #firstyear

29:24 Harlan asks Persia how she has found connection on campus since NYU doesn't have a traditional campus. She says even though the campus is very integrated into the city, there’s still a good ten block radius where all the students tend to be. All the freshmen live in dorms which is where she first met her friends. She also says that once Tisch, the art center opened up for classes, it felt like a giant fraternity and all the students there helped each other and boosted each other up. She says most of her friends have been film majors as well. She did a 6 week summer program at NYU before going there for school and she got a good idea of what life was like there. She strongly recommends doing a summer program if you can to explore your college. Her film teacher at Viewpoint recommended it to her.  #collegesearch #summerprogram #makingfriends #places

33:33 Eddie says he also did a summer program. He went to Brown University for his summer program, going into his junior year at Viewpoint. Similar to Persia, it was his first time being away from home for that long. He really enjoyed his time there. He submitted an Early Decision to Brown but didn’t get in. He wonders though, if the summer program accurately represented what it was like to go to Brown, or if it just seemed special because it was his first time experiencing a college environment. #collegesearch #summerprogram

35:18 David talks about adjusting to life at UVA and dealing with imposter syndrome. He echoes the statements of the others by saying it can be shocking leaving that supportive bubble of Viewpoint and then suddenly being in the college space with so much work to do. #impostersyndrome #firstyear

38:28 Harlan asks Eddie if he is at his first choice school, he sent in an early decision to Brown but didn’t get in and is now attending Williams. He was pretty sad to be deferred from Brown. But by the time he was rejected he had already been accepted to Williams. He is very involved on campus and got into the very competitive a cappella group his first year. Eddie continues talking about the burlesque club and some of the fun things he has done with organizations on campus.
#people #places #makingfriends #getinvolved

45:05 David talks about his college journey and whether he got into his first choice. UVA was not David’s first choice. He at first wanted to stay close to home so he applied to a lot of west coast schools. His first choice was Claremont Mckenna, where he got waitlisted. He didn’t even visit UVA until he was accepted. He is really happy at UVA now and couldn’t see himself anywhere else. He said he was pretty sad when he didn’t get into his #1 choice at first but his family helped him through that disappointment. He says now he doesn’t even think about it anymore and he thinks Claremont may even have been too small for him. He couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. #collegesearch #collegeapplication #rejection

51:44 Weston says he is at his first choice now, USC. The application process was tough and nerve wracking. He talks about the application and interview process which has many layers for each specific program. He recommends people document their work, which was helpful for him. He talks about how college has helped him get more in touch with his emotions. He says he thinks the key to getting in is demonstrating a true passion for the work and art you create. It’s easy to sense who might just be in it for the money, and who genuinely cares about the work itself.  #collegesearch #collegeapplication #advice

57:48 Persia adds to the conversation of what she thinks helped her get in. She says it wasn’t just about academics. She had the opportunity to express herself and demonstrate creativity. She didn’t have an interview but she says at NYU they care about passion and storytelling. #collegeapplication

58:23 Eddie reflects on what helped him get in at Williams. He says he thinks the strength of his essay writing really helped. He took some AP courses in high school but he has classmates that took way more than him. He thinks small liberal arts schools have the time to look for authenticity in the writing of application essays. #collegeapplication #academics #collegeessay

59:34 David reflects on what helped him get into UVA. He echoes a lot of the same thoughts the others have offered but he also thinks his essay was strong and very unique to him and his personality. He says his humor revolves around puns and wordplay so he wrote an essay all about that which incorporated puns. #collegeapplication #collegeessay

1:01:52 Harlan asks Eddie what his biggest takeaway lesson from Viewpoint was that helped him in college. He says his string of English teachers who were very supportive and helpful, really made a difference for him. Writing is something he utilizes in all of his classes. Theater also helped a lot with his ability to memorize a lot of information relatively fast. He mentions a few of his teachers by name. #academics #mentors #people #lessonsfromviewpoint

1:04:19 Harlan asks David for his biggest takeaway lesson from Viewpoint.  He talks about a lesson his basketball coach taught him and the sentiment of “what’s the most important play? The next one.” which is an idea he tries to live by in college. He also mentions Dr. Clark as an influence and one of the books he read in that class was Candide. At the end of the story, there is a lesson “we all need to cultivate our garden.” We all need to take care of each other and the world, but we also have to take care of ourselves as well. #lessonsfromviewpoint #mentors #people

1:05:37 Persia talks about a lesson she took from Viewpoint. She had a lot of amazing teachers, she singles out a few from the film department. During her senior year, she was the director of the film IV project. That experience set her up really well for NYU because it helped her build confidence in her creative mind. She also points out Dr. Clark as a teacher who had an impact on her. Harlan asks what makes Dr. Clark such a great teacher. Persia says she has a real passion for literature and helping students relate it to their own lives. She was also very helpful in improving Persia’s writing.#lessonsfromviewpoint #mentors #people

1:07:56 Weston shares what lessons he took away from Viewpoint. He credits his 3 mentors in shaping him in those formative years. He keeps in touch with them and even texts them from time to time and often remembers things they said to him in high school that have stuck with him. He was able to build close relationships with his teachers. #lessonsfromviewpoint #mentors #people

1:10:44 Harlan asks Persia about an uncomfortable experience in college and how she got through it. Persia says that a big part of the film program is criticism. She mentions a directing class she was in and the director asked everyone to select the film of theirs they were most proud of to be shared with the class. Everyone in the class took turns critiquing the other classmates’ work. She says that there wasn’t much opportunity for that type of criticism at Viewpoint. She says it has taught her to reflect more on why she makes the work she does. She has kept in touch with her film IV teacher and she has been supportive, as has her family.  #uncomfortableexperience 

1:14:23 Harlan asks Eddie about his most uncomfortable experience and how he got through it. He talks about auditioning for the improv group on campus and it went badly. He realized improv isn’t his thing, though he loves performing in general. #uncomfortableexperience 

1:16:13 Harlan asks Eddie about how easy or difficult it is to be involved on campus. Do you need to audition for everything? He talks about how some groups require auditions, others don’t. He suggests being open to trying new things, it might not be what you did in high school. Go to the club fair and sign up for anything that piques your interest and see what sticks. Eddie says that his first semester he got involved with a  theatre group and with the E flats. Recently he is exploring more co-curricular stuff to do with his major. #getinvolved #makingfriends #places

1:18:49 David talks about his most uncomfortable experience and getting through it. 

He talks about interviews he had to give for the consulting internship. He felt like one didn’t go as well as he wanted. He felt awkward and off balance for the duration of the interview. He says he takes that as an example of many times in college when you will run into situations where you will feel anxious about the future, but it works out in the end somehow. #uncomfortableexperience

1:22:58 Weston talks about his most uncomfortable experience. Weston talks about putting himself in uncomfortable situations in order to meet people. He says the rejection can be pretty raw when someone says no to a lunch date, but if you keep offering, it eventually pays off. He will strike up conversations in the elevator or when he goes out for a run around campus. #uncomfortableexperience #rejection #makingfriends

1:28:46 David talks about things that have given him pride and joy during his college experience. He says one is music, he has met and played with some great musicians at school and around Charlottesville, before the pandemic. The second is his great friend group who have made time at college, even through the pandemic, worthwhile.  #mostjoyful

1:29:53 Eddie shares what has brought him pride and joy during his time at college. He mentions the E flats again and how that is a great group of people to hang out and sing with, he got lots of joy from that. Also, he has been able to begin a research project this semester on mental health. Harlan asks if Eddie has any words of advice or insight to offer regarding mental health since so many students struggle, especially currently. Eddie suggests students utilize their school’s therapy services if they are offered, look for what your school’s health center offers. He says finding even just one person, for instance, Eddie had his neighbor freshman year. They would often have long conversations late at night. Harlan brings up the fact that Eddie will be a junior advisor and that students should look for people like that who can help. #mostjoyful #leadership #mentalhealth #people #places

1:33:26 Persia talks about what brings her pride and joy at college. She says she has loved meeting so many great people in the film department that she works so well with. She knows she will be working with them in the industry for years to come. #mostjoyful #people

1:34:48 Persia also offers some mental health advice. She is taking a class that talks about the benefits of positive psychology, checking in with yourself, meditating, gratitude journaling etc. #mentalhealth

1:36:47 Harlan asks what Persia would tell her 9th grade self. She says she would tell herself to not care or worry about what other people think or say about her. She says she let that drive her a lot in high school, being concerned about how people perceived her. #advice

1:38:20 Weston talks about what he would tell his 9th grade self. He says “you don’t know who you are until you’ve spent time alone.” He says he spent a lot of time alone during quarantine and he was able to reflect on his thoughts and feelings and views. He would tell himself “you’re not yourself yet.” #advice

1:39:42 David talks about what he would tell his 9th grade self. He would tell himself not to sweat over where he was going to go for college. He says it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of where to apply, what to study etc. Just enjoy the things you like doing, the extracurriculars, the classes that engage you, being with friends etc. as much as possible. #advice

1:40:55 Eddie shares what he would tell his 9th grade self. He would tell himself not to define himself by what other people's perceptions might be or by the people around him. He felt like he had to label himself as a “theatre kid” or his other friends were just academically focused kids. At college, he learned that people can be all of those things at once. He can want to be an actor and a psychologist at the same time and that’s great. #advice