As students apply to serve as prefect for the next year, current prefects spoke about their experience in the role, and advice they had for future prefects.
Jacob Kaiser ’24, Prefect in Fuess House
“[Prefecting has] been a huge lesson in time management, because a lot of times prefectees have requests or favors they need, [sometimes even] in the middle of the night, so I need to make sure I’m available… A lot of the kids in my hall are [younger than me]. Then some of them are my age, and one of them is actually much older than me. It’s tough to draw the line between being their friend, but also being their prefect. There are some times where I’ll need to step in and act like a leader, but then other times, I just want to hang out with them and be their friend.”
Jessica Li ’24, Prefect in Double Brick House
“If there’s a conflict in the dorm, [as a prefect], you can’t take sides. You have to learn how to mediate and hear everyone’s perspective and be as neutral as possible… I think something that I’ve learned from being a prefect is connecting with all kinds of people. [Your prefectee’s] are all your family… I [also] love my co-prefects so much. If the three of us weren’t collaborating on everything and constantly in communication, I think [prefecting] would have been a lot more difficult.”
Mario Calvo ’24, Prefect in Bartlet House
“The most important thing you have to be as a prefect is [to be] responsible. When I say responsible, it’s not just someone who can follow rules, but someone who can, in many ways, embody the culture that you’re trying to build in the dorm… I think the best piece of advice that I can give incoming prefects is to approach being a prefect with intent. Because if you’re just going for the position to add something to your resume, or you’re just doing it because it sounds good, then you’re not approaching it in the right way. To really be a prefect, you have to be someone who cares about the role and is someone who’s willing to put in the time and effort to be a good prefect.”
Agnes Agosto ’24, Prefect in Chase House
“[As a prefect], you don’t have to know all the answers right away. You can ask for help because you’re still a kid too. You’re still a student, and you still have hard classes and things to do. It’s important to ask for help from the house counselors and other adults… I really like doing dorm duties with my prefectees. I don’t do them that often, but sometimes I help out. I like taking out the trash with them or helping them with cleaning the surfaces. I think it’s fun to do that together and just get to chat.”
Ajahla Jefferson ’24, Prefect in Paul Revere House
“You really have to set personal boundaries. I love my children, but sometimes you have to tell them ‘no.’ Know who you are as a person, what you want to get out of this experience and really try and stick to that. One of my personal [boundaries]: my prefectees don’t come in my room. They know they can knock on my door, but the hall meetings will be in the actual hallway or another kid’s room… [Also], you have to give parts of yourself that you want to get back. If you’re not being personal and not trying to have a good time, then people probably don’t want to have a good time with you either.”
Whitney Kanter ’24, Prefect in Isham House
“I decided to be a prefect mainly because I had really admired my prefect from Junior Year, especially Junior Spring. She made the dorm such an amazing place to be and I looked forward to coming home. Even after a long day, I knew that even if I felt really alone, she was there to listen. I wanted to be that for the newer Juniors and the Lowers… I really like doing study nights in my room, sometimes on Sundays after dorm meetings, because Sunday nights kind of suck. Especially morale wise, no one really wants to do their work, but we get together and make studying fun.”
Ryan Chen ’24, Prefect in Taylor Hall
“I’ve learned that everyone’s different. Some people need more support, and some people need less support and it’s really about finding the balance for everyone, even myself… [Another] thing about being a prefect is that you’re living with underclassmen, and there’s not that many people your age, so definitely know that you’re getting yourself into that situation. [My] advice would be to have fun with it, be responsible, and try to make a lasting impact.”
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