We’re Back! South’s Alumni Return

Photos courtesy of Lance Armstrong Jr.
During alumni day, South's graduates from last year came back to share with seniors their experiences from their freshman year of college.

Aisha Bhoori, Co-News Editor

Nostalgia was abound on Thursday, January 3rd during South’s ninth annual Alumni Day. Hailing from both public and private institutions of higher learning ranging from the University of South Carolina to New York University, thirty recent graduates returned to Eagle country to share their experiences. Groups of six alumni were assigned five different rooms, each filled with members of the senior class of 2013.  The hour long talk began with the graduates answering  pre-prepared questions on time-management and differences between high school and college.

Towards the end of the discussion, current seniors received the opportunity to probe the graduates on topics such as social life v. academia, safety on campus, and the dreaded “freshman fifteen. ”  This question and answer session proved enlightening for the seniors who gained esoteric knowledge from their former peers.
“Alumni Day is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s fulfilling to see graduates display Eagle pride by giving their first-hand accounts of college to current students. This tradition of giving back helps the kids on both ends,” remarked Director of Guidance, Mr. Resnick.
After speaking with the seniors, the graduates flocked the guidance office to proudly discuss dean’s lists and visited favorite teachers to reminisce (Mr. McKenzie had a long, doting line outside his door). At the end of the day, the Eagle Eye was fortunate enough to catch up with four of these former seniors who are currently soaring to new heights on the East Coast.

Q: How easy/difficult was the transition to college from South?
Christine DeSpirito (Rutgers): The transition was a lot more difficult than I expected; in high school, I didn’t have to put in much effort to get a good grade, but college requires more time and hard work. When there is no one to push you and an endless amount of other distractions, it’s difficult to put school priorities first.

Jessica Martin (The College of New Jersey) : Going away was a big transition. When you’re at college, you’re living with your best friends; it’s easy to get distracted. I had to find out where I could get the most studying done and what time of day I’d like to do homework.

Matthew Littenberg (University of Maryland): The transition was manageable.  The kids were friendly, so I was able to quickly make friends and form study groups. The only difficulty was learning to manage my time and become organized. When I first looked at my schedule, I noticed I would only be in class for 15 hours each week, and underestimated the workload. I realized that if I wanted to have a social life, I needed to get homework done fast.

Anna Mitarotondo (The College of New Jersey): I had a difficult time in the social transition to college. In high school, I used to hang out with my close friends, but in college, I didn’t have a tight-knit group of friends to rely on. I had to float between big groups before I met people that I connected with. I also allowed myself to stress out over the workload, so it was initially difficult to find leisure time.

Q: Do you have any helpful tips for seniors?
Christine:  Enjoy the rest of the year, as time flies. Also, once you’re done with college applications, fill out scholarship applications. These give you the ability to expand horizons and are great opportunities.

Jessica: Definitely avoid senioritis! If the lax attitude carries over to the start of freshman year, it can be problematic. Dorm rooms are not big, so don’t over pack; bring only necessities. Also, be honest with your roommates. If they’re doing something that bother you, tell them. Neglecting to do so will just make you snap or will continually drive you crazy.

Matthew: The best advice I can give is not to have too high or too many expectations. I had always played hockey and assumed I would make the team in college. I was wrong.  You may have to make changes in your life that aren’t necessarily bad, just different. Also, be careful who you pick for group projects. Last semester, I spent many night up until 2:00 A.M. writing design reports because my group mates slacked off.

Anna: Don’t get too stressed out about picking a major. In my opinion, college should be an opportunity to learn and explore different topics and disciplines. Picking a major does not have to happen before taking classes in college.

Q: How did it feel to be back at South?
Christine: It was odd to come back to South after attending such a big university; but it was also amazing to walk the halls and think of all the experiences I had in them. Even though I was unable to experience what block scheduling was like, I noticed the beneficial effects of the transition while I was there. It seems as if there’s a lot more school spirit and the students love to be at school.

Jessica: I loved being back at South. It was great to share the experiences I’ve had with my friends who are seniors. I also loved having the opportunity to thank certain teachers who prepared me for college.

Anna: Coming back to South was nice, but it also felt good to know that I don’t have to go back there every day. I like the freedom of college as compared to the restrictions of high school. I think block scheduling was a good innovation for South because it seems students have learned how to manage their time better.