College Advice from Past HHS Graduates


Kaylee Oppenheimer, Editor-in-Chief

As many seniors embark on the path most travelled after Hastings high school, college, they will be treading on unfamiliar ground. I reached out to some Hastings graduates in search of advice pertaining to the first year of college. 

For Ani LeFevre, a freshman at Prescott College, “transitioning into college is something every person [thinks] they are ready for. They’re ready to move away from home, to get some space from family or friends, and ready to have more freedom. The thing is a lot of people don’t pay attention to the responsibilities that come with moving away from home. You have to feed yourself, you don’t have parents constantly telling you to get your homework done, and you have to take care of yourself physically and mentally.”

For other freshmen, college has been defined by the people they have met. For Jen Caruso, a freshman at Binghamton University, the connections she made and the bonds she created ultimately determined how well she made it through the first couple of weeks, which were “really hard and busy.” Jen Caruso recommends that incoming freshmen, “Keep [their] door[s] open the first week so people can come around and say hi,” and “try to stay out of [your] dorm so you can make friends.” She also explains how, “the transition to college level work is scary but the professors know that and can be understanding as long as you talk to them. Go to office hours!”

Nia Doughtery, a freshman at the University of Maryland, attributes her involvement in clubs, organizations, and sports as what allowed her to bridge gaps and transition swiftly to college life. She also echoed Jen’s advice: “Throughout the first week of school, my roommate and I went down my entire floor (and some of the other floors in my dorm building) and simply knocked on every door just to introduce ourselves. I surprisingly have made some of my best friends just by doing that the first week. People want to meet you just as much as you want to meet them.”

For other freshmen in college, taking advantage of all of the resources the school offers is one of the more important aspects of college. Blaise Rohan, a freshman at the University of Miami, realized that “Miami gives access to all Adobe products like Word, Illustrator, and Photoshop, and they’re fun to use.” 

Other students I spoke with embarked into the world of sororities and fraternities. Isabel Duchin, a freshmen at Syracuse University, said that “rushing,” which is a period during which interested students can learn and try out for different sororities and fraternities, was “super fun because I met so many great young women and can now make connections with women who graduated to find work and internship opportunities I might not have had before.”

Michael Limitone, a freshman at Springfield College, recommends being open to new opportunities and realizing that all incoming freshmen are in the same boat, a general consensus held by most of the students I interviewed.  

For many freshmen, college is an opportunity to craft who you want to become as a person. No longer held back by the confines of traditional education that aims to apply to the entire student body, college allows for both individual and communal growth. 

“Take advantage of the next four years to shape the person you want to be,” said Catrina Spinnozi, a freshman at Coastal Carolina University  She also recommends that incoming freshmen should “take opportunities that you wouldn’t usually say ‘yes’ to, such as hanging out with new people and joining organizations on campus, because you will be so surprised by the amazing new people you will meet.”

Ani LeFevre also wants incoming freshmen to accept and embrace what they can and cannot control, and to create a balance between what they can handle and not getting overwhelmed. She recommends that incoming freshmen do not overload themselves to the point that they lose themselves, and get into “bad habits like one meal a day and trying new drugs.” 

She goes on to say that “you might make friends right off the bat or you might not, and that’s okay. You might struggle with schoolwork or you might surpass your own expectations, and that’s okay…Whether or not you feel prepared to go off to college, there are always things that come up you don’t expect. You must remind yourself that you can only do as much as you can handle, and that’s okay too.”