Former alumni returned to their roots at Hopatcong High School for a senior assembly on January 7th to share their college experiences and answer questions during a Q and A session.
The alumni, Cammille Manlapig (Rutgers New Brunswick), Jennifer Mero (San Diego University), Amari Schooler (Moravian), Molly Bond (Ramapo College), Cassidy Sandry (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Paige Garland (Marist College), Vishal Ardeshna (Rutgers Honors College), and Shannon Clarke (Sacred Heart University) were all invited back by director of guidance Ms. Jamie Walker to speak to current seniors about college and what to expect during their first year.
“Because you have so much more time than high school, it’s so much easier to fall behind,” Ardeshna said on time management. “Time management is the most important skill to learn. [And] make sure you eat. This is harder than it seems.”
The students pointed out that college demands much more work than high school. Grades are usually based on 3 or 4 grades, and you don’t normally know your final grade or what you got on that paper until the end of the semester.
The topic then changed to socializing while in college. Ardeshna commented, “Leave your door open the first week you are there. It’s all about networking skills.”
“You’re going to be alone the first two weeks of school.” Schooler followed up.
Sandry then jumped in, “Don’t cut people off you knew from Hopatcong that are going to your same college.”
On the subject of socialization and people, what about roommates? Ardeshna and Sandry agreed that investigating your roommate beforehand is best. “Try to find a roommate,” agreed Clarke, “with the same major. It helps with studying.”
It was made clear that every person’s college experience will be different from someone else’s. Sandry commented that she was pleasantly surprised when she found that a few fellow HHS alumni would be joining her at Farleigh Dickinson; meanwhile Bond, who commutes to Ramapo, pointed out that being part of an Honors Program forced her around the same students and helped her meet the upperclassman. Mero gave her experience on homesickness, which is prevalent in many new college students, “especially during the first few months.”
By the end of the meeting, the message was clear. Whether you’re in honors programs, a community college, just a few miles away from home or a few thousand, your college experience is what you make it. Do your work, don’t be afraid of getting all the help you can, and remember to try your best to have fun and enjoy yourself at the same time. “If you want to be comfortable,” said Schooler, “make yourself a part of campus life.”