By: Will Levy
Students often worry about what the experience will be like leaving Beaver for a term to attend the NuVu program in Cambridge, MA. Will I see my friends? Will I feel disconnected? What will it be like when I return? For many students, prior to making their decision to attend NuVu, they will ask themselves these questions before deciding to partake in the program. This article focuses on an interview with a 2019-2020 school year first-trimester NuVu student, Andrew Daniels ‘21, who recently experienced first hand what it is like being off of the Beaver campus for a whole term.
“You feel very disconnected from the Beaver community.” Daniels believed that Beaver could do a much better job incorporating NuVu students so that they feel part of the community. “Even missing upper school meetings makes it hard to stay informed,” and does not allow students to be aware of future opportunities. If there was a way that NuVu students could stay connected, they might not feel so disjointed from their school. Possibly an email summary of key events at Beaver might be useful in keeping current NuVu students informed.
Before returning, Daniels was very excited to come back on campus but sensed that he was behind the fast-paced life at Beaver. He also felt that he was socially disconnected. It takes time to reintegrate back into the community after being away for so long. Daniels had not taken Beaver classes since the Spring and felt it would be an adjustment to refocus on the curriculum of the classes in which he is enrolled. Eventually, he feels that he will reconnect socially and academically, after being back for a few weeks.
Even though transitioning back to Beaver might be somewhat challenging, Daniels regarded that NuVu was an overall positive experience, which was worth the time and effort. “NuVu allowed me to open my eyes to new tech tools and the creative process as well as out of the box thinking.” He described the program as an open-ended experience, which entailed a lot of nontraditional and innovative thinking.
Overall, Daniels said that he was glad he went to NuVu, even though there are parts he wished could be changed. The program allowed him to learn about the creative process and new tech tools that he can apply at Beaver, as well as into college and beyond. However, he believes that NuVu might not be right for everyone.
“The experience is dictated by a person’s mentality.” If they take their work seriously and do not look at the experience as “time off or vacation time,” they will gain new skills. Daniels believes that the most important mindset at NuVu is not being afraid of failure. Throughout the design process, you will need to keep refining or redoing a project. If you do not accept the fact that you can “fail,” you will not get anything out of the iteration phase of each project.
“The second project of the term turned out to be a trainwreck.” Daniels attested to the fact that sometimes the creative process does not work, and students have to be ok with that. He could attest to one studio, which did not have a goal or something to work towards. Even though this studio did not turn out as expected, Daniels commented on a project that he loved. During this project, Daniels worked with a partner to design a guitar that could be played by a man who suffers from disabilities, which prohibits him from playing the instrument.
“This experience was incredible because we were able to work with the client very closely.” This experience was his highlight from the term and is one experience he will always remember from NuVu. Daniels is an avid guitar player, and this brought his passion into the work he was doing, while also positively affecting the life of another person. “Life at NuVu is more interesting if you factor in one of your passions and interests.”
During a trimester at NuVu, there are many ways to stay in touch with friends, such as organizing out of school times to see each other or participating in an afternoon activity with them during the term you are away. Also, you might go to NuVu with some friends, and meet new acquaintances through the experience. Feedback has shown that NuVu is worth the time, and is a great learning experience. After all, it is only for one trimester, and it will positively benefit the way you approach school work for the rest of your learning at Beaver, as well as in college.