College Preparedness from the Perspective of a Current Senior and Recent Alumni


My senior year has finally begun, and now that the majority of high school is behind me, I am looking toward the future of graduation and beyond. The senior class and I have been diligently working on our college applications, writing personal essays, and collecting letters of recommendation over the past few weeks with feelings of excitement and nervousness throughout. I know this last year will fly by fast which leaves me wondering when I will ever be ready to go out on my own and start this new chapter of my life. 


Academically, I feel more than prepared. I have loaded up on AP classes this year and the last, and these rigorous courses will help put me ahead in my college learning. I have found a method of studying that works best for me, and I know how to manage my time fairly well. I am always on top of all my assignments, and I know how to juggle school with all my other extracurricular activities. These qualities are good to cultivate early to establish some good habits before tackling more challenging courses like the ones I will definitely encounter in the future. 


Socially, I feel a little less prepared. The thought of being in a completely new environment, much bigger than any previous school I’ve been to, is quite daunting. I worry about not knowing anyone and whether or not I will be able to make close friends like the ones I currently have. It’s especially hard considering I am a rather shy person who tends not to approach people often. At the same time, I am bound to meet many more new people from all different places and backgrounds which can be quite exciting. By interacting with my classmates and joining clubs and student organizations, I am bound to meet like minded people with whom I can cultivate lasting friendships with. 


Mentally, I am far from ready. When it comes to choosing a major, I can’t help but wonder if I will be happy with what I pick in the long run and if I will be able to get a good job that I actually enjoy. I know for a fact that I will change a lot over the next few years, so it makes me wonder if that will make me want to change my career trajectory. The last thing I want is to regret picking the path to medical school and feeling like I wasted years of my life as well as bucket loads of money. This is a time of my life where I need to start making major life decisions, and that can be pretty scary. However, it is something I know I need to get used to as I move on into adulthood. 


After ruminating over these thoughts for a while, I decided to interview a few alumni from the Class of 2022 to get their opinions on their first few weeks of college. I asked each these four questions:

1) How prepared did you feel on your first week?

2) What is the best part about college so far?

3) What is the hardest thing about college so far?

4) What is something you wish you’d have known back in high school?


Martin Gonzales at Ave Maria University:

1) Very prepared

2) Meeting new people

3) Review of stuff I already know and waking up in the mornings

4) Nothing. I’m satisfied with how high school went. 


Alessia Prenda at Rollins College: 

1) I felt prepared, but I didn’t know how to feel about being far from home for the first time haha. I think I was as prepared as you can be.

2) I’ve made some awesome friends, especially my roommate and some people across the hall. I love having so many people to hangout with and talk to. 

3) The hardest things are homesickness and trying to find a routine, I think. I tend to stay up late studying, but my roommate likes to go to bed earlier so I’ve had to find ways for us to both work that out. (I got some fairy lights that give me enough light to work but won’t be too bright for her to sleep). 

4) I wish I had known that it’s ok to not be 100% sure of what you’re doing. At first I thought I had to go really far away and be totally independent, but now I’m realizing that it was a good call to stay in state at least for my first two years so I can get used to living on my own. And then if I decide to transfer somewhere out of state, that’s okay too. I wish I had known that it’s ok for plans to change, because people change. 


Grace Donath at University of Florida:

1) Unprepared. I left behind a lot of stuff that my parents had to ship me and that I had to order from Amazon. 

2) The best thing about college is the freedom.

3) The hardest thing is trying to figure out what to do with your time. There are a lot of opportunities and sometimes you have to pick and choose. 

4) I wish I had known that it’s never too late to try new things. 


Maxon Hernandez-Trujillo at University of Central Florida: 

1) I felt very prepared academically. 

2) The best part about college so far is the freedom compared to before. 

3) At the same time, the freedom is the hardest thing about college since I have to manage my time differently. 

4) Something I wish that I’d known back in high school was that everyone is in the same boat as you; most people are freshmen and adjusting to a new lifestyle. 


Hearing from people just a year older than me helped alleviate some of my worries about college, and I hope it does the same for others in a similar situation. It’s alright to not know everything now, and sometimes it’s better to take things one day at a time instead of worrying so much about the future.