A group of Hopatcong graduates returned to the high school in January to offer some wisdom and advice to the senior class in order to help prepare them for their graduation process and upcoming college years.
Taking place in the auditorium, a collection of about fifteen graduated students gathered, spreading themselves across the stage before the seniors. Each graduate had returned from various, distinct backgrounds and paths, offering a myriad of perspectives and experiences to share with the students at hand.
Some students had gone off to large, prestigious colleges, while others chose a modest school close to home. The graduates’ majors varied from chemical engineering, to English, to “undecided.”
A small group comprised of four members of the National Honor Society was given questions to ask the graduates. A significant topic revolved around obtaining scholarships; HHS graduate Megan Donnelly recommended that seniors should apply to as many scholarships as they can, as there are many scholarships for obscure and unexpected things, and there will always be something for someone. She stressed how vital and helpful this kind of scholarship hunting is.
When asked about managing workloads in college, many graduates chipped in, telling about how imperative it is to learn to balance your time with your assignments. Regarding the amount of work given in college, HHS graduate Andrew Nee said, “It is more than it was in high school, but you do have more time [to complete it].” Many graduates also added that it is helpful that when in college, students only have certain classes on certain days, as opposed to a high school schedule, giving them more time to complete homework for specific classes.
Several graduates also expressed the feelings of newfound freedom and responsibility that comes with entering college. HHS graduate Daniel Young shared the idea that “college is like a clean slate,” in that you are exposed to a whole new world of opportunities, and that one should take these seriously. Other graduates jumped in to add that college truly is like a fresh start, and that if a senior may have not done so well his/her past four years of high school, this is the chance to start anew; in a sense, the graduates reassured the class that it’s never too late to apply oneself and do well in life.
Discussion arose about how hard it was to be away from home at first, but at the same time, the personal authority gained was uplifting and rewarding. The graduates talked about how it was now their responsibility to contact teachers, explore new resources, and work with other students for help, as well as manage their academic obligations with other extracurricular activities like sports and clubs.
In fact, plenty of the graduates expressed the importance of joining sports and clubs. Graduates spoke of the positives that these activities bring; they look good on resumes, they keep you busy all the time, and they are amazing opportunities to meet people with your same interests. Some spoke about the fact that although a new student in college may not be used to being away from home, he/she is encouraged to keep an open perspective and be up for new experiences other than just academic endeavors.
The graduates also reassured the class that when entering one’s first year of college, most students are extremely warm and welcoming and are all looking to meet people and make friends, making it easy to adapt to the new environment and surroundings.
Regardless of this new life placed before a senior high school student’s eyes, the graduates made sure to include points reminding the seniors to never lose their roots — to keep in touch with friends, to call and visit family, and to never forget where they came from.