William Becker ’22

William Becker ’22

Dec. 2021

Hometown: Greenville, NC

Home High School: Junius H. Rose High School

What's your favorite part of your job as an Online Ambassador?
I really enjoy the environment that the NCSSM staff and other ambassadors have created! With many schools, I've found that applications and admissions tend to be an intimidating process, but so many of the staff and ambassadors at NCSSM work so hard to ensure that prospective students have a friendly reception and a warm welcome. This friendly, collaborative environment that the NCSSM Ambassador program creates has been so great to be a part of, and it's definitely my favorite part of being an ambassador.

What's your favorite part of NCSSM Online?
My favorite part of NCSSM Online is the diversity of the students in the program. I've found that NCSSM truly has one of the most diverse student bodies of any academic institution I've ever seen or been a part of, and it's really given me a wonderful opportunity to branch out and meet new, interesting people outside of my community.

What's the biggest challenge you've encountered in the Online program?
The courses are very rigorous, and as a confessed procrastinator, I have sometimes struggled to stay ahead of my work. Even though NCSSM Online is a very fun, engaging program, the classes can be very challenging. However, they're still very interesting and much more advanced than many of the classes I can take at my home high school, and the teachers are always super willing to help when needed.

How have you met that challenge?
I've primarily met that challenge by working on my organization skills and keeping a detailed planner with a list of all the due dates for my assignments. This has helped me gain a better sense of how to balance "me" time with classwork time, and it's definitely helped me reduce my procrastination.

What's an "aha" moment you've experienced in one of your Online classes?
Last spring I took Cryptography, which was a very difficult class for me as I am not a mathematically inclined person. I had many "aha" moments in that class, but the biggest was the moment where I finally understood how to to create a loop, which is an essential piece of coding. Though I still had my fair share of rough moments in that class, it was a bit smoother after that.

What are two of your greatest interests or passions?
Two of my greatest passions are films and the outdoors. I am a hardcore cinephile (meaning that I love movies), and I have written over 100 reviews on movies ranging from the 1920s to this year. I find that film is such a uniquely interactive form of art, and oftentimes the only thing keeping me from hours-long movie binges are headaches. I also absolutely love the outdoors and take every chance I can to get into nature. This summer, I embarked on an epic road trip with my dad across the western U.S., and hiked in places like the Grand Canyon and Angel's Landing. The outdoors are definitely where I'm happiest, and I'm always in search of new adventures.

During the pandemic, what have you missed most?
This is probably a bit of an odd answer, but I've really missed using paper. Though more convenient, I've found that our reliance on computers and academic websites throughout this pandemic has made school a lot more stressful than it was pre-COVID. Before the pandemic, I only used my laptop once or twice a day for writing for my school newspaper. Nowadays, I use it in every single class and for almost every homework assignment, and it's a little overwhelming. I miss the simplicity of assignments being a pencil and a piece of paper rather than mazes of Canvas pages, submission buttons, and Google Docs.

How are you coping during the pandemic?
My main method of coping during the pandemic has been inviting small groups of friends over for outdoor gatherings in my backyard. This has allowed us to socialize and catch up while also staying safe. This has really helped me, because I tend to get quite down in the dumps if I don't see my friends for extended periods of time.

What words of wisdom do you have for Online students?
Take advantage of the social opportunities! The classes that NCSSM Online offers are amazing, but you don't get the full experience of being part of the NCSSM community without participating in some social events. Attend Online Weekends, virtual socials, online club meetings, and Discord game nights; they're a lot of fun and you can make new friends!

Why should prospective students and their families consider NCSSM Online?
Prospective students and families should consider NCSSM Online because it can provide students with unique opportunities that they may not have access to at their home high schools. NCSSM Online offers many unique courses that are rarely seen elsewhere, such as ecocriticism, multivariable calculus, and aerospace engineering. But beyond the classes, NCSSM Online provides students with a welcoming and academically curious community of like-minded individuals who have a common interest in learning more. NCSSM Online fosters an incredibly supportive environment, both from other students and the faculty.