Return of the graduates

By Adriana Milian-Hernandez, Reporter

Cleveland High School’s College and Career Center (CCC) put together an event in the library on Dec. 15 with Cleveland graduates from the class of 2014-2015. Graduates returned back to their alma mater to meet up with seniors or juniors who have interests in knowing what life in college is like, and to give students an opportunity to ask questions.

The CCC encouraged students to come by announcing the news in the bulletin and offering free pizza and drinks.

Cleveland students such as Molly Carpenter, a freshman at Oregon State University, former Student Body President and current Stanford University student, Maddie Hayes-Lattin, Ariel Shaw, Lewis and Clark attendee, and Jonathan Christian, PCC freshman, shared their experiences of the first day of college, how they learned to navigate through a college campus, and the advantages of college life.
All graduates seemed to share one thing in common–they learned that even though they were good at a certain subject in high school, it wouldn’t be the same criteria for college. Shaw kindly shared an eye-opening anecdote. In high school, Shaw thought that she was a good, solid essay writer and that the talent would transfer over in college. Her first essay due proved her otherwise. When the essay was returned, Shaw was shocked and disappointed about the grade she received. Still, she made students feel better by explaining that all freshmen are in the same boat, and that college life supplies students many resources to improve their skills. These connections are strengthened if you join a club and form study groups with others who are skilled in the areas that are particularly difficult for you.

The college students also shared that they all wished they had taken a class in high school that tied in with their major. Molly Carpenter had wished she had taken IB Chemistry as a junior or senior in high school before she attempted taking on Honors Chemistry at the college level. Carpenter also stated that she wants everyone to learn from her mistakes so that they can succeed in college without having to struggle on their own.

“I thought [college] was completely impossible, but it’s manageable,” said Shaw.

Carpenter shared some inside information about spending money on college applications and the benefits of a state school. She reassured students that if they applied to their dream school and got rejected, that the image of hope should remain constant. College is just college no matter where you go, and you will be learning, socializing, and having a good time wherever you are. What all colleges grant you is a diploma at the end of your schooling. Hayes-Lattin agreed with her friend and simply added that while she goes to a nice, internationally renowned school, a state school functions for the same purpose. At the end, she did explain that schools like Stanford give you openings and your professors may know top businesses and people, but the same applies to other schools.

The graduates also said that trust in your parents is a key to get to college, because they can provide insightful advice for the best way to stay on track. They also said that having a planner with the deadlines of admissions and financial aid included is extremely helpful so that you won’t forget the dates and score the scholarships. Some great advice from Carpenter was to write your admission essays well before the assigned deadline to avoid stressful situations. She stated that it’s better to get them out of the way so that you can also have time to focus on having good grades senior year, relaxing, and having fun.

Weekends for college kids consist of studying, as well as taking a break from your studies to go out and socialize with friends, and going to frat parties where you can get your boogie on and leave stress behind.

College schedules can vary upon the courses you have, including both mandatory classes and electives. One thing they assured, though, was that you usually have a gap time in between classes where you can catch up or finish homework you didn’t complete last class.

Worrying about who your roommate will be can also be stressful, but the crew cleared up, that it’s OK that you likely won’t end up with your best friend. It’s for the best, because sometimes sharing a room with your close friend can get tiring and having a somebody new in your life that you can get to know is never a bad thing. Also, it is reassuring to know that you can always request a new roommate or simply ignore them if things don’t work out.

A big key point to success in college is that when studying for finals, you can always go to the library and look through exams from past years to get a clarification and idea of how the test in that course will appear like. It is also important to note that reapplication for the FAFSA is required yearly for financial support. The graduates encouraged students not to worry about college because there are lots of resources available to you and TAs and other sources can help you. Joining a club can help you succeed in college and improve your ability to speak to large crowds. Most important, college encourages you to express your ideas and beliefs to others. So don’t be afraid to go to college. Remember, we’re all going to have to go through the same experiences and learn from our mistakes, but we can take comfort in knowing that it will only make us stronger and more eager to learn.