Seniors’ thoughts about college

April 18, 2016

So much to do, so little time!

High school students are expected to know where they want to go and what they want to do as soon as they graduate. High school careers are bent on training students and helping them decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Some know exactly what they want to do from the get-go and some have no idea, but for those like me, there are just too many paths and too many things to study in a measly four years.

Although I have known what I want to study for the past three years, there are so many choices and so many things I want to do. College classes are very specialized and geared toward a certain topic, which makes it easy to become an expert on smaller, very specific topics, but much harder to become versed in an entire subject unless you had previously studied it. For instance, those who are going to study any form of communications, like myself, has the opportunity to study anything from newspaper to broadcast to marketing to creative uses of media. As expected, these choices have caused a fair amount of distress in my choice making process. College is about branching out and becoming your own person, yet students are limited to what they can juggle in a typical, standard schedule. Each college freshman will take about 4-6 classes per semester, which includes core curricula, but I would rather spend my time loading my schedule with every type of media possible.

At the end of the day, double majoring and double minoring just doesn’t seem practical. Although I could spend hours learning about the ins and outs of journalism, I’ve realized that life is completely spent learning—whether wanted or unwanted—even though it isn’t always in the classroom setting. Vandegrift has prepared me for college in more ways than I had originally thought, and not just from classes. COOL week, Pals, Ready-Set Teach, sports and every other organization on campus really focus on emphasizing the main goal: getting to do what you want with your life. So while I may want to study everything now and do everything as soon as possible, I remind myself: I’ve got my whole life ahead of me.

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Roommate Struggles

So you have finally decided where you are going to college, you’re super excited and telling everyone where you are going to school, and then you get the dreaded question… “Have you found a roommate yet?”

Being a girl and trying to find a roommate is one of the worst things. I would say that finding a roommate is actually harder than applying to college.

You want to find someone like you– cute, normal, plans on actually going to school and not just socializing. Is that too much to ask? I compare the roommate search process to online dating. You post on your college’s Facebook page (because the university housing search does nothing for you). You post a little blurb about yourself and that is when the madness begins. It gets very overwhelming, people start messaging you and texting you and friending you and you feel the need to respond to all of these people because you want to get to know them and see if they could be your possible roommate.

I wish that I was confident enough to pot luck my roommate, but with my luck I would probably end up with someone I couldn’t stand. So, I had to endure the pain and heartache of finding a roommate.

It has been a long journey, but I have found my roommates. I am living in a suite style dorm so I needed three other girls to room with. Right now I currently have six, which of course is not allowed.

Here’s a breakdown of my first group of roommates: Roomies A, I found them first and they seem like very nice girls. One is from Chicago and the other two are from Long Island (but they don’t know each other). The only problem with roomies A is that they seem like partiers and that scares me a little. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want a nun for a roommate, but I also don’t want girls that go out every day, all the time, 24/7. However, I did not know this little gem of a fact until we were already pretty deep into the roommate process and after I really creeped on their instagrams. So, like any other normal girl who was unsure of their roommates, I started looking for other girls. If worse comes to worst I could room with roomies A if I had to.

Very recently I found three other girls, Roomies B, all very nice, super cute with an added bonus– they are all from Texas. I will be rooming with group B, but I now have to break the news to roomies A that I will no longer be rooming with them and I feel awful about it. This whole roommate search process has been going on for about a month, and it is now coming to an end and I am jumping for joy. I feel like I have found people that I like and will get along with just fine, but who knows, karma could come back and bite me.

Some girls have a very easy time with finding a roommate and they are the lucky ones. As for all those other girls like me, good luck and happy hunting.

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Going Out of State

I knew for a fact that I wanted to go out of state before I even began to search for colleges. Out of state institutions were the better option for me because they offered a lot more than what an in state college could provide for me. I believe that there is a lot of new experience  in going away to school because I will encounter different people, a unique culture and more independence as I try to tackle all of the struggles that are away from home. While on my college search, I came across Eastern University, where I will be attending in the fall.

It was a big decision for me to go to Pennsylvania since I have never been there before. I visited the school. Additionally, there is the well-known fact that it is really far away from Texas. The more distance, the better in my opinion because there is a freedom that comes with the time it takes to get to PA from TX. Even though it was an easy decision, I had to outway all of the positives and negatives that led me to Eastern in the first place. What drew me to Eastern was the size (below 3,000) and the community that radiated from itself. I also enjoyed the suburban feel of the school, even though it only takes about 20 minutes to get to downtown Philadelphia. I love having the city so close to Eastern because it provides a good amount of activity away from what I will be used to on campus and will give a glimpse of what it’s like living so close to a city. I also enjoy Pennsylvania because of all of its beauty and the winter months it provides to those who live there.

However, the distance made me think about what challenges I will have to face when going to Eastern. I won’t have family close by in case of an emergency or if I need to go home for any reason. It will be challenging to make new friends because nobody that I know is going toto Eastern. Even though it may be hard to find friends, it will be especially complicated to feel as involved as someone might feel when they go to a school in Texas. There is also less financial aid given and can be more expensive to go out of state because of the high tuition that can accompany any fees that the school requires.

Despite the challenges, going to an out of state school like Eastern was the best choice for me. I know I can excel with the independence I will be given and the new friends I can make when I get there. For me, the pros outweighed the cons when I chose to go far away. I know I am ready to attend Eastern in the fall and look forward to all of the ups and downs that going out of state will bring.

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Dealing with Rejection

When I first visited colleges in the summer between my junior and senior years, my head was full of lofty dreams. I could imagine myself walking the campus at Johns Hopkins, or working a double shift at the student-owned bookstore at Georgetown University (in order to pay off my exorbitant tuition costs). In these prestigious places, I believed I could fully reach my potential. So it was absolutely crushing when I received letters of rejection from both institutions. I have now received rejections from multiple other colleges-some expected, others completely unforeseen- and have managed to classify my reaction into several distinct stages. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I believe it can provide a useful guide for anyone, now or later, who is experiencing the same situation.

      First comes the mourning. A staple symptom of this stage is crying profusely. But it’s more than just tears. There’s also the crushing depression that seizes you at the most random moments, convincing you that everything is hopeless and you’ll never achieve anything, but that doesn’t matter because everyone already hates you, so why don’t you just lay in bed until the Second Coming? The duration of this stage largely depends on the desire to attend the unattainable university, and episodes can re-occur long after the sufferer enters later stages.

Next comes the anger. This is typically characterized by a sense of great outrage. Sufferers feel as if there sense of worth has itself been damaged by this rejection. Thoughts along the lines of “How dare they not accept me! Who do they think are? I have a GPA of __!” are common. Episodes can be particularly pronounced if the rejection was unexpected. People attempting to provide emotional support should be aware of potential lashing out.

Anger is quickly followed by bitterness. This stage typically involves a reinflation of the ego. Many rejected applicants begin to believe that the school, which could have been their visualized paradise not two weeks beforehand, is now, upon further examination, simply not good enough for them. Issues that once seemed insignificant are twisted into glaring flaws. Dorms that were neat become dens of uncleanliness; the large, naturally-lit library is re-evaluated as much too bright and open. By rejecting the university that rejected them, the applicant attempts to recover lost self-esteem.

The final stage is acceptance. The rejected applicant comes to terms with their loss of school choice. They realize that despite all their aspirations, it simply was not meant to be. Hopefully, a school has accepted them, and the student can now look towards the bright, infinite future ahead.

I mean, look at me. I’ve been accepted into a renowned university and am completely over my rejections. I can’t even remember why I wanted to attend a school that requires you to take philosophy classes and allows a bulldog to run wild in their dorms. And a motto in both Greek and Latin? If that’s not a synonym for shameless elitism, I don’t know what is.

Okay, maybe still dealing with a little bit of bitterness.

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A Fresh Start

Everyone says that you have the power to start anew any time, day, week or month you’d like. But rarely do you have an incentive or even the means to. It’s difficult to carry through with the task and especially difficult when you are stuck in the same place, surrounded by the same people. Sometimes you need a completely new environment and clear transition to fully change your outlook, and college is the perfect opportunity to start fresh.  

High school can be an adverse experience for most. Of course you meet some amazing people that you may remain in contact with and you begin to plan the rest of your life, but there is an immense amount of stress that comes with that. Beyond the heavy weight of college on your shoulders, there’s also the stress of school and common adolescent drama. It can be hard to break out of stereotypes or look past shallow perspectives, especially when you’ve been attending school with the same people for years .Because of this, leaving high school can be both nostalgic and exciting.

Personally, I could not be more excited. Although I have for the most part enjoyed high school, I am beyond ready to move on. I am thrilled to be attending the University of Michigan this fall, a school I am proud to be a part of and constantly looking forward to attending. I am particularly thrilled to begin working in the stellar theatre program with other people who are as completely serious about it as I am.

I am also ready to embrace the entire fresh start concept. When I move in this August, it’s going to be the beginning of the rest of my life. I will be allowed to present myself however I want to others, which in my case will include a whole lot of just being myself. I hope to find a ton new of lifelong friends, memories and experiences that will help me in my future career. I finally get the chance to start over and take control of my own life, thanks to the opportunities that Michigan will provide for me.

While in college, I can do whatever and be whoever I want and with everyday, I’ll know that I’m moving closer to my goal of working on Broadway and being an accomplished author. I honestly could not be more ready for my exciting, new, fresh start.

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About the Writers
Photo of Laura Figi
Laura Figi, Web Editor in Chief
Laura Figi (though commonly referred to just as “Figi”) is the Web Editor-in-Chief for the 2015-2016 year. She enjoys writing and competing in UIL for the journalism team. Laura is Historian of the French National Honors Society, and a member of French Club and Philosophy Club. Outside of school Laura enjoys playing ukulele, singing, taking pictures of bands and downtown Austin, and playing video games. Laura plans to go to college in-state and study newspaper/broadcast journalism, photography and French.
Photo of Kate Murphy
Kate Murphy, Newspaper President
Kate Murphy is a senior, she has been a writer of the Vandegrift Voice for three years. She is the current President for the Newspaper where she plans events and helps encourage her fellow students. Kate enjoys writing about sports and lifestyle articles, she enjoys writing about her fellow classmates and getting to know them. Go Vipers!
Photo of Zoe Dowley
Zoe Dowley, Feature Editor
Zoe has been on the newspaper staff for three years and loves writing and informing the school of everything that is going on throughout the year. Zoe is a senior and plans to study Social Work in college to help people who need it the most. She will miss Vandegrift and writing for the newspaper when she heads off to college.
Photo of Johnny Morreale
Johnny Morreale, Writer
Johnny Morreale is a staff writer for the 2015-16 school year Vandegrift Voice newspaper. He is fond of the written word and reads frequently, though not as much as he used to thanks to the soul-crushingly large amount of homework he now has every night. When not at school, he swims, studies and works at the River Place Country Club.
Photo of Alaina Galasso
Alaina Galasso, Editor in Chief
Alaina Galasso is a senior at Vandegrift and this is her third year on the newspaper staff. She competes in journalism for Academic UIL and was previously sixth in district for Feature Writing, fourth in district for News Writing, first in district and region for Editorial Writing and second in state for Editorial Writing. She also works as a professional theatre technician outside of school and is an active member of the school's theatre department. She is currently the department's head stage manager but has participated in lighting, run crew and sound since she was a freshman. For her work in theatre she is a 9 star International Thespian and current secretary of Thespian Troupe 7613. She has also been involved in Student Council, the HCEF Inventeam, National Honor Society, Vision Dance Company, AVID and Latin Club throughout high school. She hopes to attend a top university up north and plans on majoring in Theatre Design, Production, and Management with a minor in Creative Writing.
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