Student Spotlight: Elaine Pu

Nihara Lijan, Writer

Throughout high school, Elaine has always been described as a devoted and goal-oriented person. Elaine will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall. She is not 100% sure what she is going to study yet but she is eager to explore more topics like psychology, art, biology, computer science, and Latin. 

Considering that she is the Class of 2021’s salutatorian, Elaine believes people would be surprised to hear how she manages her time.

“To be completely truthful, I don’t think I manage my time really well … I make to-do lists on Google Docs to keep track of tests and assignments, which was very helpful, and taking Psychology helped a lot with my time management as well; I remember my class reading and talking about learning, memory, and study skills.”

She also includes some of her study habits that she used when taking many AP classes. 

“I took a fun personality quiz and found out that I’m a visual learner, so I like to take notes, highlight, study Quizlets, etc.”

In addition, she states that she also likes to plan and she would try to plan out when she would study and set apart time for each study session for different classes. “Sometimes my plan breaks down and I end up watching shows and movies for the whole day!” she remarks. 

Elaine with her bunny that she loves to include in her artwork! (Elaine Pu)

Elaine says that she has had tough times with classes just like everybody else. She says that sometimes the amount of homework and assessments can be a little overwhelming, and there are always concepts that are challenging in each class, but she says that she is lucky to have had teachers and peers who are fun and encouraging, so most of the time, classes were very interesting. 

As far as pressure of being salutatorian, Elaine explains how she “didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I have very supportive classmates and I feel that the atmosphere in my classes and this school, in general, is more collaborative than competitive.”

She adds that she still isn’t sure how she became a salutatorian but she states that she couldn’t have done it without “the incredibly kind and supportive teachers and classmates at FHS. I’ve met so many amazing and talented people during these 4 years, and I’m truly honored to be a part of such a wonderful class.” 

Elaine on her ski trip! (Pu Family)

Over the past years, Elaine has loved a lot of classes and appreciates that FHS has classes across many different disciplines. She says that she would “recommend Psychology. I got to discover things about myself and people in general which changed my thought process and perception in many ways. I also really enjoyed my art classes”. She took portfolio, drawing and painting, and sculpture, which taught her how to think creatively and flexibly, which she believes was immensely helpful for other classes as well.

Ultimately, Elaine believes that her motivation came from one of her favorite quotes from the show, Frasier, that being, “In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took.”

She believes that this motivated her to always try her best even though she might not do well, but she says that sometimes this isn’t enough; “I remember sometimes being discouraged because I didn’t understand a concept or didn’t do well on assessments, but my teachers always encouraged me to keep trying and even took time out of their schedule to meet with me before or after school to go over assignments and questions, which I am very very grateful for.” 

Thank you so much Elaine for sharing the path to your accomplishment and we wish you the best of luck in college!