2020-21 Letters to the Editor
For some, X-block serves as a time to cram a study session in or to chat in the alcoves. But for others, it’s one of the best parts of the Nobles day. Each X-block, over twenty clubs meet with students of all grades. Some clubs have discussions on pressing topics such as ways to slow down climate change, the Uigher genocide taking place in the Xin Jiang province of China, or pros and cons of certain political candidates. Other clubs provide an open space to learn more about different cultures, such as French Club or Asian Culture Club. X-block is essentially a time where everyone can find a group to bond over a shared interest.
As you may know, my brother (Paul Apostolicas ‘18) was very involved with Nobles Clubs. In assembly, he would make not one, not two, but sometimes even three announcements in a row advertising the many clubs he was a part of. Before I came to Nobles, I knew Nobles through his experience with clubs. I remember being dragged to his chess club tournaments and sitting in the car waiting for him. When he arrived at matches, upperclassmen would shout, “Paulie’s here!” with a genuine excitement in their voices. Paulie had found a home amongst the chess team. Moments like these made me excited to find my own “homes” on campus.
My chess abilities rank inferior to my brother’s, so I knew chess would not be my space. I decided to venture to other groups, particularly Debate & Model UN and Cogito. I remember my first debate meeting; I was petrified to speak. I was worried that what I said would be deemed irrelevant or get picked apart by the upperclassmen. But instead, my thoughts were encouraged and acknowledged equally to the seniors. Our debates ranged from “is water wet?” to dress code to American immigration policies. Every Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon, I raced to Shattuck 115 to claim a seat for debate meetings. Now, as a senior, I served on the leadership board of Noble & Greenough Model UN (NGMUN) and helped organize a 100+ person conference. I loved FaceTiming other members of the leadership board and discussing Model UN (MUN) things outside of club meetings. Through debate and MUN, I found my voice and the confidence I needed to begin leading others. And then there was Cogito, the International Affairs publication and arguably, the most slick magazine out there. I started out as a writer and thoroughly enjoyed researching current events and putting my own spin on them. When I became Editor In Chief, I learned that managing a 75+ page publication with over 30 students involved is not easy. While most students see just the final product, those on the leadership team see Cogito as a very long multistage process consisting of recruiting writers, writing, editing, finalizing, and laying out the articles, making final edits, communicating with the publisher, and distributing copies. While it’s a lot of a work, the multi-stage process makes me even more proud when I hand off copies to curious students. The amount of work put into the publication also makes me appreciate the work other club leaders do to create such fun and successful clubs.
So, Nobles clubs have meant a lot to me. Clubs have been where I found my voice and blossomed as a leader. Clubs have also been a place of comfort for me to connect with others over a shared interest and form strong friendships. I carried the same viewpoint into my college pre-orientation week. Apprehensive about entering a community of over 6,000 students, I was worried where I would fit in. I lamented to my brother my worries, and he insisted that I attend at least four club meetings. “Four?!” I exclaimed. He said, “You’ll feel a lot better afterwards.” I sighed and agreed to his daunting task. Four Zoom meetings is hard enough, but with kids all older than me who are absolute geniuses at what they do? That was very intimidating. I took the brave step in agreeing to his request. And let me tell you, it was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. I attended the Harvard Financial Analysts Club, Harvard Ventures Club, Harvard Half-Asian People’s Association, and Harvard Christian Impact. Each club meeting felt eerily similar to how Nobles run their clubs. Upon realizing this, my worries were squashed. These kids were similar to me and ran their club almost identically to how I would run International Affairs Club. Through clubs, I found comfort, familiarity, and confidence.
I want my Letter to the Editor to be just another reason for other Nobles students to take advantage of the many opportunities present during X-block. Make that brave step to join a club you’re interested in or one that your friend talks about all the time. You might also find another home within the Nobles community.
Niki Apostolicas (Class I)
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