Graduation day is almost upon Burlington High School (BHS), bringing with it the end of an era and many new beginnings for the class of 2018. These seniors will be spreading their wings and going off to a variety of different places after leaving high school. Many plan to attend college next fall.
The transition from high school to college can seem daunting. But luckily, the seniors faced with this change aren’t alone in the process. The Register caught up with some BHS alumni who are currently attending college to find out what this transition is really like.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to feel immediately comfortable. The reality is, you probably won’t be your best self at the beginning of college and that’s ok, you’ll get there!” Becca Berlind, 2017 BHS graduate and current student at Middlebury College, wrote to the Register.
Berlind stressed the importance and the value of getting involved on campus.
“Invest in things you care about AND take time for yourself. Putting less pressure on your social life will make it come a lot more easily,” Berlind wrote.
Oftentimes, leaving home for college means leaving circles of friends from high school and finding new ones with students at college. To some, making new friends might seem like the most difficult challenge of this transition.
Many colleges urge their students to join clubs in order to meet others, but Berlind recommended joining organizations because they seem interesting, not because it’s expected.
Berlind also emphasized that although coming into a new environment alone and creating new friendships may seem terrifying, the entire freshman class is going through the same thing.
“Everyone else is also stressed and anxious about meeting people/making friends and that manifests differently for different people,” Berlind wrote. “I didn’t become close with the people who I now consider my best friends until the end of the first semester, and honestly, I had odd first impressions with a lot of them.”
Khadija Bangoura, a 2017 BHS graduate who just completed her first year at Boston University, says that while meeting new people was one of her favorite parts of the first year experience, it’s not the only aspect of college to focus on.
“Just remember that it’s the learning that matters,” Bangoura wrote. “As long as you’re focusing and enjoying what you’re studying, the work will get done.”
The workload in college is yet another change for students to worry about.
Micah Tremblay, a 2017 BHS graduate who just came home from his first year at Ithaca, says that prioritization is key when it comes to homework.
“It was a lot, but like other homework, I made a plan for getting it all done by the due date,” Tremblay wrote. “My plan was to do the schoolwork before anything else, although sometimes it was hard to concentrate.”
Tremblay also stressed that while college is about achieving independence, keeping in touch with family is important too.
“Be ready for ten thousand questions,” Tremblay wrote. “If you’re confused or don’t know what to do, your family can help you. You’re never too old to ask for help.”
Bangoura also found comfort in reaching out to her family this year at college.
“They were always just a FaceTime away when I missed them!” Bangoura wrote.
In addition to the support of family members these students relied on, they also found many helpful resources offered at their schools. Berlind says that she wished she had known about these options sooner, particularly the free therapy her school offers.
“Prioritizing your emotional/physical needs will make you more productive in general,” Berlind wrote.
Although college can be scary, these BHS alumni have found it to be a rewarding learning experience.
As a last piece of advice, Bangoura emphasizes the importance of something she discovered once she was already at college:
“You don’t need to bring all of your clothes with you!”