Alumni Spotlight: Oliver Finlay

by | Aug 8, 2018 | Alumni

Written by Noelle Iati, Willow’s Alumni Society Coordinator

Oliver Finlay graduated from Willow in 2014. He attended The Peddie School as a boarding student. At Peddie, he was a member of the rowing team. In his senior year, he won the Caspersen Award for Excellence in Crew, and his boat was invited to the U.S. Youth National Championships. In his free time, Oliver loves to read and listen to music. He graduated Peddie this past May and will start school at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania this fall.

Do you have any tips for recent graduates on thriving at boarding school?

The best advice I have for someone going to boarding school is to get into a good routine. The work can pile up, and trying to tackle it all at once or waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster. That said, there will probably be a lot of resources for you if you’re struggling with time management. Use them.

As someone who has boarded for the last four years, you have a different perspective on going away to college this fall. Do you have any advice for fellow Willow alumni who are leaving home for college for the first time?

Don’t worry too much about leaving home. There will be great people wherever you’re headed and meeting them will be an incredible experience. Also, don’t be a hermit for your first month or so in the dorm. That’s what I did at first, and it’s not so fun.

Did you take any lessons from Willow with you into high school?

The greatest lesson I took from Willow was how to be kind and empathetic towards others. I witnessed completely un-self-conscious kindness from many people in the Willow community and make my best attempt to be the same way.

Do you know an alum that should be our next spotlight? Contact Noelle Iati at with your ideas!

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