You might’ve noticed a small band of Commonwealth students scuttling off to the basement over the past few months. They have been practicing a classic rock hit to be performed at the upcoming spring Hancock talent show, with Lillian on lead guitar, an instrument she picked up over the pandemic. This sophomore from Cambridge has actually been playing music for years, but it wasn’t until recently that she truly fell in love with it, she says, tapping into songwriting, too, as a new and “powerful way to express [her] experiences, concerns, and dreams.” Drawing, painting, and photography round out Lillian’s expressive side—but don’t call her a “humanities person.” At least, not yet. Keep reading to learn more.
Getting to Know You
What is bringing you joy right now?
Practicing for the spring Hancock talent show.
What is your favorite book (or a book you’ve re-read)?
I Lived on Butterfly Hill, by Marjorie Agosín.
What are your favorite comfort foods?
Lasagna, nachos, or brownies.
What was/is your favorite class (at Commonwealth or elsewhere)?
My favorite class would probably have to be English, but I like my Drawing and Painting class a lot, too. I also liked my Biology class, which I took freshman year.
When do you feel the most enjoyably challenged?
Learning new songs on the guitar.
What never fails to make you laugh?
My friends and watching The Office.
What are people most surprised to learn about you?
I play soccer and hockey.
Pen or pencil?
Coffee or tea?
I like tea, especially if it’s bubble tea.
Fall, winter, spring, or summer?
Life as a Commonwealth Student (and Beyond)
What was your first impression of Commonwealth and how has it mapped to your experience?
My first impression of Commonwealth was that it was a small school made up of highly intellectual people. And while this proved to be true, the social environment of the school also turned out to be way more interesting and dynamic than I had anticipated. I didn’t expect Commonwealth to make me feel so comfortable or that I would make friends with lots of people in my grade and in others. While friend groups are definitely present at Commonwealth, I was also able to make friends with people not in my immediate circle.
Commonwealth is a great school for people who are passionate about their education and who really want to learn. That being said, Commonwealth is also a great place to become passionate about your education.
Using metrics besides grades, how do you define “success” in your classes?
I define success in my classes by how much I participate and ask questions or if I am excited and not dreading the homework.
Drawing, painting, photography, playing guitar: tell us more about your work in the arts. What attracts you to these mediums? And when do you feel most inspired?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting, and I’ve found it a calming experience and a way to unwind. In both drawing and painting, and photography classes, I like the feeling that being able to recreate and capture what I see brings me. I feel most inspired to draw or paint when I have lots of ideas in my head and want to just focus on one. I’m usually inspired to take photos when I’m out in the woods. And I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid, but when I started playing guitar and writing songs during COVID, I really began to love music and how it allowed me to express myself and capture my emotions. Combining my thoughts with music can be a much more powerful way to express my experiences, concerns, and dreams.
You’ve helped introduce Environmental Club and its initiatives to your fellow students; what has that experience been like? Why is this work a priority for you?
I like the hope that being part of a group of people who care deeply about the environment brings me. Even if the changes we are making don’t seem significant, I think it’s important to remember that little changes add up to big ones and, hopefully, our work inspires others. Right now we are working on an environmental newsletter (which everyone should definitely read!).
How else do you spend your time outside your classes?
I play hockey for my town team, the Cambridge Falcons, and I love taking my dog to the dog park.
How has your Commonwealth experience colored the way you look at the world? How you plan for your future?
My Commonwealth experience has allowed me to see the world from lots of different perspectives and meet people who both know exactly what they want to do and people who are still figuring it out, which is totally okay. Personally, I’m not really sure what I want to do in the future—whether I’m a “STEM person” or a “humanities person” or both. I think through being at Commonwealth, I’ve realized that it’s okay not to know and that you don’t need to box yourself into one category. I like to keep an open mind and try lots of different activities and classes.
What’s your advice for prospective students considering Commonwealth?
Commonwealth is a great school for people who are passionate about their education and who really want to learn. That being said, Commonwealth is also a great place to become passionate about your education. Don’t be discouraged by the academic challenges that Commonwealth classes bring—they’re a great way to explore and develop what you’re interested in and want to focus on.