EDISON — Six recent Wardlaw-Hartridge graduates shared their insight and experience with current juniors and seniors at the annual Young Alumni College Day in Upper Snowdon. The panel consisted of Ayna Agarwal of Colonia, a sophomore at Stanford University, Chris Gray of Carteret, a sophomore at Swarthmore College, Jian Bland of Edison, a freshman at Rutgers University, Kayla Kluse of Winfield Park, a freshman at Susquehanna University, Hannah Lipper of North Plainfield, a freshman at Bennington College, and Adina Pearlman of East Brunswick, a freshman at Smith College.
Fellow alumnus Rudy Brandl of Fanwood, Director of Alumni Relations, began the program by welcoming the young alumni back to campus. Brandl urged the students to ask good questions and reminded them that it won’t be long before they may be asked to return to sit on the panel and share their experiences as young college students.
Susan Swenson of Plainfield, Director of College Counseling, asked the six panelists to introduce themselves and describe the positive aspects of their college experience. The young alumni panelists attend colleges and universities of many different sizes and all have been able to find the silver lining in the size of their campus.
Swenson then opened the floor for questions and the students covered a wide array of topics with their queries. Questions ranged from how to adjust to being away from your family to making the difficult academic transition from high school to college to figuring out how to get around without a car.
The alumni agreed that W-H prepared them for college life, especially in the academic arena. Time management and organization are keys to success in college. W-H students are pushed in their classes and are encouraged to be active in extracurricular activities. Managing a busy schedule in a small school environment prepares W-H graduates to be successful in college and beyond.
“The best thing Wardlaw-Hartridge gives you is a work ethic,” Jian said.
“You are well prepared here and you get a good foundation,” Kayla said.
“Wardlaw-Hartridge did prepare me very well,” Chris said. “PT in the Senior Lounge will prepare you for college. It’s just like that – people being noisy playing video games while you’re trying to study or sleep.”
Swenson wrapped up the program by asking all six panelists to answer the question, “If I knew then what I know now, what would I do differently?” The panelists offered interesting replies.
Agarwal: “Take it seriously, but don’t stress yourself out about it. College is a platform, a stepping stone for you to do great things in the future. It’s not the end of the world.”
Bland: “Enjoy your time here. I think you’ll look back fondly at your time at W-H. Try to enjoy it and relax.”
Kluse: “Appreciate your teachers more. In college, you might have professors for one semester. You get to know your teachers here for four years and value their insight. It’s really important.”
Pearlman: “Be aware of what you’re getting into with the school you are choosing.”
Gray: “I wouldn’t change a thing. I like my school and I’m very happy with the position I’m in.”
Lipper: “Juniors, start looking at colleges now because I didn’t. Seniors, visit schools and relax. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get into your top choice.”
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