Checking-up on recent graduates

College Life

The Dial spoke to three 2020-2021 graduates to see how their time at Hackley has prepared them for college. Graduate Audrey Pizzolato is a double major in computer science and operating research at Rice University. Jessie Bard plays field hockey at Bates College. Jonah Gorevic runs on the track and field team at the University of Pennsylvania.

Audrey feels she gains new perspectives from the different cultures Texas provides. She adds that the Texan culture is different from New York and she did not expect there to be a transition from leaving home. With her time at Rice so far, she believes Rice attracts a student who is involved in academics but also has their own interests outside of the classroom. Like many other colleges, Rice has large lectures and the class sizes are greater than Hackley’s, so she finds it crucial to understand the material and self-assess .

Audrey feels that Hackley does prepare you well academically and provides a good foundation of study skills. Hackley’s rigorous English classes were especially helpful. Unlike Hackley, assessments at Rice do not serve as regular check-ins. Instead, she has two midterms and a finals week. Similar to Hackley’s midterm program, she has a week and a half to review prior to taking the test. She has homework assignments frequently and they are graded every week.

Socially, she finds making friends at college pretty easy. “Everyone is friendly and outgoing,” she said. The motto on the Hilltop, “Enter here to be and find a friend” is amplified on the Rice campus, which made it easy for her to acclimate to social life in college. Although she attends college in Texas, keeping in touch with Hackley friends has been relatively easy because they hold groups FaceTimes and text often. When she attended freshman orientation, it was similar to summer camp since she would wake up at 8:00 am and stay up until 2:00 am. At first, she found college to be overwhelming but feels that “everyone ends up settling”. Outside of academics she is part of the club tennis team and helps run the Escape Room club every semester.

Similarly, Jessie Bard, who is a part of the field hockey team at Bates College, has enjoyed college life so far. She believes Bates is a perfect fit academically and Hackley helped her with time management skills making college life easier and the adjustment smooth. She says Bates is a “small tight-knit supportive community and everyone is super genuine”. She adds that Bates is more of an outdoor university with the “right kind of people” who just like her also enjoy hiking, skiing, reading, and being creative.

Currently, she has not declared a major, but her senior year internship where she shadowed English teacher Jenny Leffler may inform her future choice. Now she is taking teaching and education classes at Bates and has fallen in love with teaching. Through her senior internship, being a part of the field hockey and lacrosse teams, and having Ms. Leffler as her eleventh grade English teacher, they have been able to form a great relationship.

She adds that college life is very different from Hackley since she is able to have “a lot more freedom and no one is in your business.” Similar to Hackley, all professors are like her high school teachers and are quite passionate about their work. Being far away from home and her high school friends made her learn that “your long-term friends are based on who you communicate [with]”. Academically there are no surprises, and socially she says she “can have a million different friends in a million different places.” She feels like she can be her own free agent with friend groups not being very prominent.

As a college athlete, she has learned how to adjust to the more intense style of play. At times she found it hard and emotionally exhausting with the intensity of the game but she still really enjoyed playing. This past fall, she completed her first season. Although it was not a winning season, she really loved it. She finds time efficiency to be crucial during the season since there is no time to procrastinate and assignments need to be finished on time. In addition, she has found the time to create a radio show with her friends that airs locally on Sunday nights.

Jonah Gorevic is a part of the track and field team at the University of Pennsylvania. He finds college to be an amazing experience. The notion that college athletes are very busy is true and “it’s tough to be a student-athlete”.

His high school sports schedule with sports was easier than in college since his current homework load is much heavier than it was in high school. His day-to-day schedule includes class from 10:15 am-2:45 pm, practice from 3:30-5:30 pm, then dinner, homework, and bed. With this limited free time, his friends mainly consist of his teammates because it is hard to meet new people on campus.

When asked if college life is very different from Hackley’s, he replies, “in some ways yes and some ways no.” His note-taking and studying methods have remained the same, but he faces the new experience of lecture-based classes, where a class consists of 60-100 classmates and he is being spoken to for an hour. In addition to attending lectures, he has some discussion-based classes that are led by a teacher’s assistant. Socially, he has been able to text with his high school friends often but thinks it would be even better if they could see each other more regularly. One of his main points of advice for incoming freshmen is “to try and figure out where everything is” whether that be taking an online virtual campus tour or walking around campus the first couple of days to get your bearings.

Audrey, Jessie, and Jonah all reflect on their different college life experiences yet a common theme is that Hackley has helped prepare them for their future endeavors.