Alumni Sendoffs

Former Lions Give Advice

The Front of Foran High School. Photo Courtesy: Jacob Papazoglou, May 23, 2021.

The Front of Foran High School. Photo Courtesy: Jacob Papazoglou, May 23, 2021.

Jacob Papazoglou

     As the class of 2021 gets ready to graduate, many are nervous about what to do in their first year of college or the workforce.  Advice from people who have already completed their college years is vital. Numerous Foran graduates, ranging from the class of 2020 all the way back to the class of 1995 wish to offer their guidance. With a wide selection of advice, alumni shared many different views and experiences regarding college that will be beneficial to graduating students.

     47 alumni responded to a google form with advice for students heading into their first year of college.

    Foran graduate Dana Edmonson (2018) said, “Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself! Do what you want and don’t try to ‘spare people’s feelings’- roommates, friends etc. You don’t have to always do what other people are.” This piece of advice is great for anyone in life, but especially students going into their first year of college. 

     In college, there is much more freedom. Classes can be scheduled at different times in the day. For example, some students may want to schedule earlier classes and some may want to schedule later classes. Many students have never experienced this freedom. College could be a good time for a student to get interested in their passion and find things that interest them. 

     Many Foran graduates suggested that students get involved in some sort of club or activity. Foran graduate Jo-Marie Kasinak (2007) said, “Get involved with something your first semester, it is the best way to make friends quickly.” 

     Many alumni encouraged students to get involved. Leandra Fernandez (2020) said, “I would avoid being lazy and not taking every available opportunity. Between balancing school, family, and friends, I learned that time management is key.” 

     Many students in high school struggle with time management skills. Learning how to manage one’s time will not only be helpful in college but also in the workforce. Time management is a skill that will help even after college. For more advice, see what alumni stated below.

Former Lions Give Sound Advice – Hear them Roar Below: 

RJ Jackson (2015)

  • You don’t need to know exactly what you want to major in at first. You can take prerequisite courses that you need to graduate and figure out a major later on. 
  • Get involved any way possible. I waited to join the club baseball team but when I did, I met people that ended up being my best friends in college.  

Jake Lambert (2016)

  • Don’t go to a college that your parents or others tell you to go to. Go to one that you actually want to go to. College is what you make it but if you are somewhere where you don’t really want to be the struggle will be real. 
  • Try harder to make other friends. There is a lot of down time in your first year of college and if you don’t have friends to spend time with, it’s going to be really lonely. 
  • Avoid: Rooming with your best friend. Even though it sounds awesome, it makes it really hard to study and stay on track. 

Hope Burrows (2018)

  • Lots of jobs on campus allow you to do your homework at them, like working in a freshman dorm front desk. Find these jobs! You can essentially get paid to do your homework. 
  • Get extremely involved in a club that you’d eventually like to run as an upperclassman or start a club! 
  • Remember that everyone is new, don’t be so shy. Everyone is nervous.

Jessica Foss (2018)

  • Try to get actively involved in something whether it’s a club, sport, organization, or anything else. This will allow you to meet people who are interested in the same things you are and can lead you to some really good friends at college.
  • Take classes a little more seriously. It’s important to set yourself up with a good academic standard as you progress through your courses and especially if you have to apply later to your major. Also if you’re on scholarships a lot of them have GPA requirements so it’s important to do the absolute best you can. 
  • I would avoid prioritizing fun over school. College is about being able to find a healthy balance between the two, but ultimately, you’re there for an education so that should be the top priority. 

Anjae Voges (2019)

  • Don’t stress about figuring out exactly what you want to do in your life. It will all fall into place as time goes on.
  • Go to club events and join the ones you are interested in to meet like minded people with similar interests.
  • Avoid sticking with your roommate or people you meet the first week in. Try to branch out early.

Mark Duffy (2016)

  • The first few people you meet are not necessarily your friends for life! It can take the full first semester to really meet the people you mesh with the best. 
  • Make an effort to go to more events on campus.

Drew Lenz  (2015)

  • Everyone is in the same boat; you’re all there to start the next chapter of your lives together so don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people or talk to people because chances are, the rest of your peers will do the same.

Genevieve Jaser (2017)

  • Go for it. Seize opportunities, even if, and especially when you’re afraid. Don’t rule with fear! And, fake the confidence until you have the confidence. Once you put yourself out there, people will notice and opportunities will come your way
  • Spend more time on campus! Have picnics, hang out at the dorms, get to know campus life and it’s easier to make friends that way

Emily Mager (2019)

  • Making friends is not as hard as you think it would be! Everyone is on the same page, they know no one.
  • I would avoid waiting until the last minute to study and cramming an entire semester’s worth of learning the night before the exam.

Corina Massey (2020)

  • You may feel tempted to make a bunch of friends right away because you see your friends from home posting. But don’t compare yourself. You will meet new people and eventually that will build into friendships. College is what you make of it! Join clubs, go out of your comfort zone, meet new people, study and you’ll be okay!
  • Create a schedule for yourself because you have so much more free time and it’s easy to fall behind.

Amanda Mendillo (2017)

  • Going into my freshman year, I wish I knew how fast time would pass while in college.
  • One thing I wish I did my freshman year of college was to take in my surroundings and realize that where I’m at right now is where I used to dream of being.
  • If I was to go back to my freshman year of college, I would avoid more of the social gatherings and really use the campus resources more.

Carly Whelan (2020)

  • Cherish the friendships you’ve made throughout the years because sometimes you lose touch with them when you go to school.

Maxine Lynch (2020)

  • Don’t stress too much about the little things. Whatever college you choose you will end up loving. Also, your major can be changed and you don’t have to have it figured out right now.
  • Be very outgoing and nice to everyone, make as many friends as possible and then find the ones that make you the happiest. Don’t stress too much about an assignment and miss out on an experience, memories are better to look back on.

Kailey Henderson (2019)

  • A lot of people are going to have opinions on what you should or shouldn’t do, but follow your heart! It’s going to be a huge adjustment and it’s ok if you struggle a bit! Reach out to people and try to remember everyone is in the same boat!
  • If you can make your own schedule, if possible give yourself Fridays off! Gives you an extra day for homework, studying or just relaxing!
  • Avoid being so in your head about everything. People don’t care that much about every little thing you do. Just have fun!

Lucas Burgard (2020)

  • I wish someone told me it was okay if college didn’t go how you planned it to. Spending the first semester of college at home and then living off campus for the second, I had a really atypical freshman year. Like so many other college students this year, it was hard to grapple with that major transition, especially when college didn’t “look and feel” like it normally should. I wish someone told me this was okay, and that it is most important to make the most of the opportunities you do have and enjoy your experience to the fullest despite your circumstances.
  • Being online, I utilized social media and online resources to connect with other students and professors and get myself involved with activities. Even when you aren’t on campus, there are so many resources to take advantage of to meet other students and become a part of your school community. Next year things will definitely be different as schools have an increased campus presence. However, you should continue to put yourself out there, whether online or in person, in order to make the most of your experience.
  • I would not take any 8ams! They never once “made me more productive” or made my day better by waking up early. I was always miserable and ended up going to sleep after. Unless you are an early riser, try to avoid 8am classes as much as possible.