Edison through new eyes

By DAVID ZHAO, freshman

FOR MANY JP students, Edison is simply home. We don’t think about it much; this scenery of suburban streets and stores is so familiar as to be invisible. But Edison possesses quirks that are quite startling to people who move here.

First, there are the obvious demographic contrasts. In few towns can you exit the highway and immediately see an ad for an Indian clothing store. But besides a thriving Indian community, Edison is also home to almost every other race, and with a population of nearly 100,000, we’re the fifth largest municipality in NJ.

Zooming in, JP Stevens differs greatly from the typical American high school. Junior Astha Saxena pointed out the differences between JP and her school in Torrance, California: “There, the normal class size was around forty, and there were about four Indians in the whole school,” she remarked. “As for the competition, JP is on an entirely different level. At first, the Algebra II class blew my mind because at my old school, some of the classes were jokes. Also, JP people are nicer because many of the kids in my old school were more exclusive or fake.” JP is known for being competitive, but it’s nice to hear that we’re still an accepting crowd.

Freshman Courteney Fung moved from Queens, New York to Edison last year, and shared her perspective on the changes she experienced. “The schools here are much less crowded, and my old school didn’t have a grassy field or a parking lot. The people here are nice, but they’re serious about schoolwork.” Regarding the feel of our town, she replied that “while the environment here is safer, you can’t get anywhere in NJ without a car. In NYC, I could just take a MTA bus and go pretty much anywhere.”

Freshman Vidya Akavoor, who also moved from NYC, agreed. She misses “being able to walk around anywhere, using the public transportation and being surrounded by people and liveliness.” Before moving, she had a “strange notion that the people here would be more rural, but the people in both places are pretty much the same.” Similarly,.Courteney said that she missed New York because “you become attached to the place you grew up in. NYC is especially like that because it’s such an easy place to live.”

Moving from one town to another can be difficult, but the culture shock of moving to another country is even more disconcert-ing. Junior Angie Liu, who recently transferred from Shanghai to Edison, described her old school: “It’s in China, so almost everything is different,” she said. “In Shanghai, school is twelve hours, and, instead of having many different tests, we have eight big tests throughout the year.” While most of the other students I talked to said that JP was relatively tough, Angie disagreed. “Shanghai had a really intensive math program and a class hierarchy system. Also, the people were straightforward and rather blunt. The level of competition is comparable, but I still think the competition at my old school was a bit more intense.” She also mentioned that she missed her friends, the food, karaoke places, and having an optional gym class.

As students, many of us have grown to love Edison for its livability and have become accustomed to its quirks. We take for granted its diverse demographics and its numerous Cash and Carries. But sometimes we need to step back and look at Edison from a stranger’s eyes: the norm for us isn’t the norm for everyone else.

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