The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
#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
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
and celebrating my identity as a person of color on a majority white campus.”
Martinez, Warren Township High School ’14, Vassar
Keeping in touch with home.
Julia Relova, Warren Township High School ’14, Davidson College
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.
Round Lake High School ’14, Muhlenberg
Trying to figure out the
line between what I want to do and what my parents want me to do.
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 beable to maintain all of my friendships
from high school.
Waukegan High School ’12, Haverford College ’16
Something that is overlooked is the weight
gain...trying to control the freshman 15. Its real.
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
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
Bree Booth, Warren Township High School ’15, Muhlenberg College ‘19
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!
Round Lake High School ’12, Denison
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
Alaina Toatley, Warren Township High School ’14, Vassar College
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.
Waukegan High School ’12, Grinnell
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.
Round Lake High School ’13, Lafayette
Any advice, thoughts, or reflections you would like to share with the Class of 2016? Comment below!