Editor's Note: Lake Forest High School seniors will attend their last class May 23. Starting today and appearing periodically between now and June 2 when Lake Forest's Class of 2012 graduates, Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch has asked the senior class' National Merit Finalists to answer some traditional and not-so traditional questions about their high school experience.
Name: Fritz Arnson
Year at LFHS: Senior
Attending college next fall? Where? Why did you pick that school? If not college, what are your plans?
University of Michigan. I have been around Michigan all my life, it's a top-notch engineering school, and I am excited for all the opportunities a big school can offer.
What was your favorite class in high school, and why?
Calculus BC. I love doing hard math, and the math in BC was so interesting. I have always enjoyed hard mathematical concepts, such as infinite limits, series convergence, and Taylor Series, that make most people cringe. Our teacher, Mr. Aronson, was very passionate about the math he taught, and his passion really carried through to the whole class.
What was your least favorite class in high school, and why?
I have enjoyed the vast majority of my classes, but my least favorite was biology from freshman year. It was not a challenging class, and focused mainly on memorizing information compared to learning skills and processes. I thought it was boring and I barely remember any of the material now. I much prefer the other, more math-based sciences like chemistry and physics.
What class do you wish you had been able to take, and why?
A class I regret not taking was Computer Science. Programming is such a cool idea, and such an integral part of our modern society, that I feel everyone should know how to do it. I know I will learn some programming in college, but I wish I had gotten a head start in high school.
Did you participate in extracurricular activities? Which one or ones?
I have participated in cross country and lacrosse for all four years of high school, and both those sports have been a blast. My teammates from both of the sports were very different, but they both shaped me into the person I am today. I also have been a member of Student Council, and done lots of volunteer work with GLASA (Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association) and the Nuestro Center in Highwood.
Is there an extracurricular activity you wish you had been able to try? Why?
I never got to try the Chess Club, which is a shame as I very much enjoy playing complex strategic games like chess. I played a lot of chess with my friends, but it would have been cool to try it in a competitive setting.
Are your study habits the same as they were four years ago? If no, what has changed? If yes, describe your study habits?
I feel like my study habits have improved, even though I haven't increased my study time in the four years of high school. As school has gone on, my classes have been more interesting, so studying for them becomes enjoyable and less of a hassle. I much prefer understanding the underlying concept behind material, and usually the specifics flow from that, reducing the amount of sheer memorization. I constantly look for ways that classwork applies in the real world, and I feel like understanding concepts as actual events compared to notes on a sheet makes the material much more powerful. The best example is Econ, as Econ principles are very easily visible in any sort of decision-making action.
What advice would you pass on to incoming freshmen at LFHS?
First of all, freshman and sophomore grades MATTER. Many of my smart friends' transcripts look bad because they did not care about their grades in the first two years of school. Secondly, and more importantly, high school is not purely a stepping stone for college. It is a unique experience that you only can go through once. Take classes and do things that interest you and make your experience meaningful, compared to fluff for the resume. Be passionate about school, extracurriculars, and everything else. High school is all about finding your identity, and discovering your passions are the best way to do that and make your four years awesome.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
For me, success is having a job that I would do for free, but that also supports me. My dream job would be working in a think tank where I got to discuss ideas about making the world together. I have always been more of an idea person than a practical person, so a job like that would be truly awesome. I also really enjoy teaching people, so I could definitely see myself being a teacher or college professor. Working as an engineer or scientist would also be great. I want to be on the cutting edge of new ideas and science, as I love new ideas that really challenge the way I think.