Today in the Cafritz Living Room, Field’s recent past met with Field’s present in an annual tradition that grows richer each year.
Today was the Senior/Young Alumni Lunch, at which recent graduates of Field return to school to talk to our senior class about life after Field—college. We were thrilled to host more than 20 recent alumni, and their shared wisdom was extremely wise and generous. Different alumni brought different and varying points of view, and our seniors asked questions and listened with rapt attention.
Here is a sample of what they heard.
It’s essential to engage with professors outside of class, as they won’t seek you out like Field teachers did, explained Sara Forman ’11 (Boston University). “You don’t need a question or a problem as an ‘excuse’ to visit them during office hours,” added Helen Brown ’11 from Whitman College. “But,” continued Sara, “because you went to Field, you will already know how to talk to them, even if you attend a large university. Even at a larger school, use what you learned at Field to become involved in your classes and with professors.”
Sara talked about sitting in the front row of a 450-student lecture at Boston University, where she gets called on in every class and is known by the professor. “Use the drive to engage that you learned here at Field and you’ll be fine.”
Tucker Kelleher-Brozost ’11 (Colorado College) encouraged engagement through seeking out writing centers, math centers, or tutors where they are available.
Seniors were cautioned that college requires more work and more reading than high school—but that there would also be more time to get work done. Little is more important during freshman year than time management and learning how to apportion time for social things and for study.
Coleman O’Neill ’10, who plays soccer at Davidson College, noted that the time commitment for college sports is serious, but that it helped them to learn time management and to make new friends. Helen Brown noted, however, that making friends outside the team is equally important.
Some colleges, it was noted, are not that different than Field, with flexibility and individual attention. Most schools, however, will not be lenient at all with deadlines for completing work.
Tucker advised students to realize that they might not get the same grades that they got at Field, but that it was okay. Sara, however, urged students to strive for the same kind of excellence.
Emma Gotbaum ’11, at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, noted that it is important to find a support system at college, as there won’t be a build-in system of grade heads and teachers like at Field. This can be difficult, but it’s important.
Nora Colman ’11, who is at Tulane University, explained the start of freshman year this way. “When you first get to college, it’s like camp. Everyone is excited you are there, and there are continual invitations to join clubs and activities. There are so many free T-shirts. But in a few weeks things get normal, and it sinks in that this is where you’ll be living for the next four years.” She added that it can be “hard to hear about things moving on back at Field. It’s hard to start a new part of your life, and to realize that it’s real.”
Sarah Forman said, “The hardest part for me was coming home. I adjusted to college quickly, loved my classes and my roommate, then I came back home and found that I was in a different place.”
Ed Hickey ’96 went to school in a small town and loved coming home. “When I came back I was a excited to see the pigeons and the monuments.”
Forrest Rilling ’07, who recently graduated from Ohio Wesleyan, made this great point: “There are so many choices at college that you didn’t have in high school, and this was the hardest thing. You have to talk to as many people as you can so you can make good choices about classes, majors, and activities. You have to try to take advantage of as many things as you can, because the real world is not as generous as college.”
Regarding the application process, alumni urged seniors to let adults proofread their essays, but they also recommended that students not worry about being rejected from some schools, particularly during the early decision phase. “I’m glad I was rejected by my early decision school,” Jessica McKinney reported, “because it allowed me to wind up where I truly belong.”