WHS alumni offer advice to seniors transitioning to college life


Angel Zhao

Class of 2017 alumnae Esther Tzau, Angel Zhao, and Sarah Yi pose together at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

Adi Saligrama and Megan Malur

As WHS seniors prepare to graduate, they will soon move on to the next chapter of their educational or professional journeys. Historically, WHS alumni have been successful in completing this transition, and as they reflect on their time at WHS and at college, they offer advice to graduating seniors.

Class of 2018 alumna Grace Wang commented on the major differences between high school and college.

“Rather than taking a structured five subject schedule, you have the freedom to mold and shape your schedule based on your interests,” Wang said. “It’s a unique environment in a short period of time that everyone is experiencing their first freedom and independence together. You don’t know what life in college is like until you go through it yourself.”

Similarly, Class of 2017 alumnus Isaac Struhl felt that the most jarring difference between high school and college is the difference in one’s daily routine.

“In high school… school and home are very distinct,” Struhl said. “In college… you choose when to be in school mode and in home mode. It’s pretty jarring for the first month or so. Eventually, you get used to it [and can]  switch between the modes very quickly–but it’s weird initially.”

Even though there is a major difference between high school and college, Class of 2017 alumnus Zixuan Huang noted that college is an environment for personal growth.

“It is rather a process of finding your own place instead of knowing exactly what you are looking for,” Huang said.

Class of 2017 alumna Esther Tzau remarked on how easy it was for her to make friends in college compared to doing so in high school.

“In high school your closest friends are in class with you, but since you take a bunch of intro classes freshman year, you probably won’t find your best friend in a big lecture hall,” Tzau said.

Similarly, Class of 2018 alumna Julie Jesurum advised that one can find new friends through extracurricular activities in college.

“Many first years tend to find people and attach quickly, but it’s still so important to branch out. It’s never too early or weird to join clubs or meet new people,” Jesurum said.

Wang noted important lessons she learned on how to maintain relationships in college.

“Because everyone is so busy in college, it is so important to just listen and be there for someone, which is key to maintaining any friendship,” Wang said.

Class of 2017 alumna Angel Zhao also commented on the experience of making friends in college.

“You will find your group of friends. It may be immediate, or it may take a few months, but there are so many different personalities at college,” Zhao said.

Wang spoke about the importance of making the most of one’s time at WHS and applying lessons learned in high school while transitioning to college.

“Enjoy every moment you have right now. I have so many good memories from the end of senior year that I still cherish today,” Wang said. “Take everything you have learned from high school and apply it to this new environment. Take everything one step at a time; you will gradually find your footing.”