#ThrowbackThursday: College Scholars and Alumni Reflect on their Transition to College

Next week, the Schuler Class of 2016 will be participating in our annual “You’re Graduating, What’s Next” panel and discussion to help them and their families with the transition to college. College Scholars and Alumni will be in attendance at the event to help facilitate discussion and answer questions. In preparation for the event, we turned to our experts (College Scholars and Alumni) and asked them to share some of their thoughts, advice and reflections about their own transition to college process and first year. Happy reading!

Scholars at last year's What's Next event enjoying treats...

What was one aspect of the transition to college that you found challenging?

Deciding how to manage everything I wanted to do and prioritizing it so I'm not overwhelmed.
Kamila Lada, Round Lake High School ’13, Mount Holyoke College ‘17

I came from a place where I was the best of the best - that changes in college. You are with people who were the best at places that are better than where you came from. You need to work harder to get where you want to go, but it's always doable.
Holly Schiltz, Round Lake High School ’15, University of Richmond ‘19

“Understanding, exploring, and celebrating my identity as a person of color on a majority white campus.”
 Jasmine Raizel Martinez, Warren Township High School ’14, Vassar College ‘18

Keeping in touch with home.
Julia Relova, Warren Township High School ’14, Davidson College ‘18

After my first semester of college, I realized I would have to adjust my study habits and techniques. I could not study the same way in college as I did in high school.
Christian Navarro, Round Lake High School ’14, Muhlenberg College ‘18

Trying to figure out the line between what I want to do and what my parents want me to do.
Michelle Flores, Waukegan High School ’15, Ithaca College’18

Balancing friends from home and new friends in college. I would feel terribly guilty if I wanted to go out with new friends instead of video chatting with home friends. I did eventually find a balance, but it only came after I realized that I would not be able to maintain all of my friendships from high school.
Raeven Jones-Kelley, Waukegan High School ’12, Haverford College ’16

Something that is overlooked is the weight gain...trying to control the freshman 15. Its real.
Batmanlai Ontogtokh, Maine East High School ’14, Yale College ‘18

What was something you thought would be a big challenge that proved to be easier than you thought?

Being away from my family for so long.
 Jose Olvera, Highland Park High School ’15, Davidson College ‘19

Making friends. I didn't think I would find my group of friends, but I did and I miss them so much now that we have graduated.
Claudia Nunez, Round Lake High School ’12, Occidental College ‘16

Academics in itself-- the difficulty did increase, however handling it wasn't that big of an obstacle. One on one time with professors and smaller class sizes played a vital role in this.
Bree Booth, Warren Township High School ’15, Muhlenberg College19

If you could go back in time and give yourself three pieces of advice before heading off to college, what would they be?

1. Hit the ground running! College is fast-paced. If you don't start strong, the entire semester becomes an uphill battle.
2. Don't leave room for "what ifs.” It's your experience. Take control and enjoy it!
3. A bad grade shouldn't determine your self-worth. Everyone struggles. Be the person who turns the struggle into motivation to succeed.”
Richard Via, Round Lake High School ’15, Occidental College ‘19

1. Be patient.
2. Take advantage of all resources your campus offers/educate yourself about those resources.
3. Have fun!
Jocelyn Hernandez, Round Lake High School ’12, Denison University ‘16

I would tell myself to explore as much as possible into topics I didn't have in high school. It will stink to look back and feel like you missed out on something super interesting because you were too afraid to leave your comfort zone. I would also tell myself the quantity of my friends is not nearly as valuable as the quality; these are the people who will be like family to you for the next four years. They're going to be the people who cuddle you on bad days (and there will be bad days) and tell you everything is going to be alright. They're also the people who you're going to make lifetime memories with, so choose wisely. Lastly I would say get involved but balance, whether it's a varsity sport, club sport, Greek life, a club/ hobby. Find people who like to do the things you like to do and do the things you love to do. You WILL have free time, and if you waste it doing nothing, you'll have no great stories to tell but don't make yourself so busy you don't have time for self care!
Alaina Toatley, Warren Township High School ’14, Vassar College ‘18

I wouldn't worry as much as I did; I was worried about time management, making friends, adjusting to college, etc. Looking back, it was a waste of time and energy to worry about something that I: 1) couldn't do anything about at the moment and 2) ended up not having to worry about at all  because the transition was so smooth.
Lucy Stan, Warren Township High School ’14, Colgate Universiy ‘18

1. Meet with teachers weekly.
2. Even when you feel lazy take a walk around campus.
3. Plan better with meeting friends and going to clubs and try not to work so many hours  
4. In orientation it is okay if you forget peoples names and its okay if you meet only one person you connect with, you will find more.
Jesus Acosta, Warren Township High School ’15, Muhlenberg College ‘19

Look for opportunities to move forward always. Ask for help. Take a break whenever you need it.
Catherine Ramirez, Waukegan High School ’12, Grinnell College ‘16

1. Don't be afraid of a professor! Always go to office hours the first week and just introduce yourself. Professors can open so many doors for you during your time at school.
2. Self care is not selfish. Mental health is so important and it can be hard to remember that when all your friends can talk about is how many all nighters they pull. Remember to keep up with your healthy sleeping and eating habits! Exercise is an amazing stress reliever and you can sometimes take free group exercise classes that your college may offer!
3. Don't freak out if your "plans" for college aren't exactly going as planned. You will hit a lot of bumps in the road (cliché but true!) and the plans you used to have will change and adjust to your new passions, interests, and choices. You will definitely learn you can't "plan out" the future and that's okay.
Natalia Nevarez, Round Lake High School ’13, Lafayette College ‘17

Any advice, thoughts, or reflections you would like to share with the Class of 2016? Comment below!


Popular Posts