AMHS Class of 2016: College Transitions

The class of 2016 has only been gone from the halls of the Bonds-Wilson campus for three months but these new alumnae are already on the next chapter of their lives. From as close as College of Charleston to across the pond in London, these freshmen are getting ready to start the new school year.

At Clemson University, many former Raptors are adjusting very well to their new environment. “So starting with move in, it was hectic. So many people trying to do so many things at once. It was exciting because I have this whole new space that I can decorate myself, and surprisingly is more functional than my room back home,” says Erika Hoskins. During orientation, Katie Hulsey had the best time. “Last night we went to an a cappella show where people from Pitch Perfect performed,” she said. “On move-in day, Nikki Haley was on my hall because her daughter lives across the hall from me.” Erika Hoskins was very excited that they “GOT TO MEET DABO SWINNEY.” Anne Dosher describes this transition as “a huge adjustment.” She has already learned that even when you want to do so many clubs and activities, you can not do everything. “Clemson has a bunch of fun activities planned and job fairs and different kinds of meetings that you have,” says Anne. “If you want to get to know someone you have to take initiative and exchange numbers or go to lunch, otherwise you meet someone and maybe talk in the beginning of class then you don’t have class with them again until next week.” College definitely has its perks for these students. Evey Adams loves that she works at “the Fike (Clemson gym) as a group fitness instructor,” so much that she feels that “it is probably [her] favorite part about being [at Clemson] so far.” Evey strongly advises that anyone who is able to should get a job.

At the University of South Carolina Honors College, roommates Hallie Roerden and Mika Sakamoto love their new environment. “You have a ton of freedom which is really weird after having structured school days and strict parents in high school,” says former Talon staff member Mika Sakamoto. “Move-in day was super hectic but having your own cute little space is so fun and if you just walk around in the hallways there are people to talk to and make friends with because all the freshmen are desperate and have no friends.” Both Mika and Andrew Alberg participated in “Flotilla,” where a group of the Honors College students went kayaking down a river.

At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Sarah Hand has had a great first week of school. “My room is absolutely enormous because it’s a corner room, and decorating and organizing everything from the beginning with my roommate and my family was really fun,” says Sarah. “I absolutely love my roommate and my suite mates, they are the sweetest most considerate people ever, I got so lucky! UNC does a Week of Welcome which means the school and the various clubs on campus put on countless events throughout the week from a cappella in the quad at sunset, to a swim-in movie at the pool. There’s tons of free food around everywhere too, which is great.”

864 miles away in Ithaca, New York, Grace Rieflin is going out on her own at Cornell University. “Move-in day was really fun, and during the first bit of time before classes everyone is really outgoing and eager to meet as many people as possible,” says Grace. “I would say that having a roommate you can at least initially bond with is crucial, especially if you’re going to a school where you know literally no one.” Grace also finds the dining hall intimidating at first, but loves the immense variety of food choices. In New York City, John Pavlides is just starting his freshman year at Columbia University. “Cars were allowed to drive from Broadway onto campus in front of Low Library where movers and current students helped pack and direct first-years to the elevators of their dorms,” says John. “Best advice for Move-in Day is to pack only what you need, arrive extremely early so you can avoid lines, and remember to be open and polite to everyone helping you and everyone you meet.”

ATTENTION JUNIORS AND SENIORS: Thesis pays off in college!! Erika Hoskins says that in her “English 1030 class, [their] only major assignment is doing all the steps for a thesis, no kidding.” “What I’ve noticed is that syllabi are similar in format to the thesis timeline that you find in the thesis handbook (except there are no extensions…ever),” says Grace Rieflin.

These college students have some advice for the future college students at Academic Magnet. In regards to the stressful transition to college, Emily McGee says that “The transition was not too bad, but you have so much more free time so it’s great.” Grace Rieflin advises that you “make sure you know how you best study or at least figure it out before your first exam. If you take a more upper-level class with some upperclassmen, they will have already figured out the exam system and how they know how to study for it, so definitely try to get that down.” Evey Adams’s take on the university dining hall options is “the key to finding food in the dining halls is to get creative. There is a ton of food and most of it looks nasty, but if you get a little bit from each section and make your own meal it works out. There is also a section for gluten free people, but anyone can get food from it, and it is way better than the normal food.”

The following is additional feedback from the recent graduates:

Mika Sakamoto, USC Honors College:

“You can just go wherever whenever”

“Orientation sucked it was exhausting and I hated everybody”

“Going to a state school where there are a lot of magnet kids makes it hard not to cling to people you already know but it’s still easy to meet new people”

“Being responsible for yourself is exciting but also really hard like I actually have to seek out food every day”

John Pavlides, Columbia University:

“Best advice for meeting people is this: you are starting over in a completely new place with people you’ve never met. This is the chance to start fresh and to be who you want to be. Leave behind any weight you were carrying from high school and be confident. Everyone is in the same boat and is worried about finding friends. Even if you weren’t super confident in high school, start out being as confident and kind and open as you can and people will flock to you. Don’t think about how people are perceiving you. Think about them and getting to know them.”

Evey Adams, Clemson University:

“Email is your best friend. I check mine every hour. You ned to get good at sorting through them. TAKE RAIN BOOTS. There was a torrential downpour today, and it flooded everywhere, so having boots was a lifesaver. Finally, get used to being around people all the time. “Alone time” is essentially when you don’t have anyone talking to you but are still surrounded by so many people. You are rarely alone and that is what takes a lot of getting used to.”

Sarah Hand, UNC Chapel Hill:

“Some of my favorite people in the world are now in California, London, and Australia. But, we keep up as well as we can and I love hearing about how they’re first few weeks of school are going too, we’re all having such different, but at the same time very similar, experiences.”

“Support is key, when you all leave for college, just remember to call your mom, and your dad, and your brother or sister. You may not think you need to but it really helps to stay grounded in the whirlwind of the first week of college.
Theres SO much to do here, and I’m really excited to experience all that I can in my time here. I joined more clubs than I can count at Fall Fest and I’m taking the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken in my life.”

“Seniors, I know you hear this over and over again, but enjoy your time left at Magnet and living in Charleston and your final year with your parents and siblings and pets and high school friends, because everything is about to change and it’s going to be great and exciting but just really enjoy the time you have now, the last few months of high school and the last summer before college are some of the most carefree and happy times you will ever have! Enjoy it! I hope to see some fresh Magnet turned Tar Heel  faces walking across Polk Place this time next year!!”

“P.S. If anyone is thinking about coming to UNC Chapel Hill, I haven’t spent much time here but I am of course willing to talk it up or give you a tour or share some quickly obtained insight etc. etc. Just let me know!” (Ask me for her number if you want it!)