Q&A: Tauke Tells Future Frosh, 'Don't be Afraid of the Possibilities That Exist'

National Merit Finalists share thoughts about their high school experience.


Editor's Note: Lake Forest High School seniors finished classes May 23. This is the fifth in a series of Q&A articles 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.

Read the previous profiles: , ,

Name: Sam Tauke

Year at LFHS: Senior

Attending college next fall? Where? Why did you pick that school? If not college, what are your plans?

Next year I am attending Middlebury College in Vermont. I picked this school for a whole host of reasons. First among them is the academic opportunity the school presents. I am interested in studying environmental science and economics in college, both of which departments have strong presences at Middlebury. The location of the school was also a large determining factor. Sandwiched between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, it was by far the most beautiful school that I visited. Add to those factors a great student body and you have an easy decision, at least in my eyes.

What was your favorite class in high school, and why?

My favorite class in high school has definitely been Outdoor Education. The class gave myself and my fellow students the chance to learn about the natural world around us as well as the finer points of group dynamics. This class has been a wonderfully unique opportunity.

What was your least favorite class in high school, and why?

There has not been a single class at the high school from which I did not take at least some enjoyment.

What class do you wish you had been able to take, and why?

I wish that I had been able to take Woodshop. I’ve always envied the students who were able to learn the process of envisioning, planning, and then carry out the construction of a woodshop project.

Did you participate in extracurricular activities? Which one or ones?

I have been a part of the Debate Team, the Ultimate Frisbee Team, and Boy Scout Troop 46.

Is there an extracurricular activity you wish you had been able to try? Why?

I would have liked to be a larger part of Environmental Club. They do a lot of important work around the high school and I wish I had gotten involved before senior year.

Are your study habits the same as they were four years ago? If no, what has changed? If yes, describe your study habits?

My study habits are largely the same as they were freshman year. I try, but don’t always succeed, in working consistently every night. The reality of my study habits is that I work in spurts. Some nights I will work from the moment I get home until the later hours of the night. Other days I go for a more, shall we say, holistic approach to studying. This approach often entails a fair amount of TV watching and not so much book reading. I would say that this has worked for me through high school, but is probably something I will have to work on in college.

What advice would you pass on to incoming freshmen at LFHS?

Get involved and stay involved. Find something at the high school that you enjoy doing and make it your own. If the school doesn’t have what you are looking for, don’t be discouraged. Start a new club, get some friends together, do what it takes to get your dream off the ground. This will help you hugely down the line when you are applying to colleges but, far more importantly, it will make your time at the school more enjoyable. Your time at LFHS will be nothing more than what you make of it.

One other note of equal importance is to remember that everyone else in your grade are freshman as well. They are just as awkward and uncomfortable and say just as many dumb things in front of girls as you do. Don’t get discouraged, go out there and make new friends. Don’t be afraid of the possibilities that exist.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

This is an impossible question to answer. I think a more realistic one is, “Where do I hope to be in 10 years?” First and foremost I want to continue my education past college. Whether that means a PHD, JD, MBA, or whatever it may be, I believe that postgraduate education is hugely important to the development of the mind and to a successful career. The completion of one (or more?) of those degrees should take me to about 10 years from now. From there, I have absolutely no idea. I like economics and environmental science, but I also like baseball and camping. There is no way to determine which way this life will take me, I can but hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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