By Ziya Patel
Former Mineola High School students recently returned to their alma mater for Alumni Day, in which graduates from the Class of 2017 spoke to current juniors and seniors about their personal experiences in college and gave advice that would benefit the college-bound students in the future.
Erin Meehan goes to the University of Rhode Island, desires to major in communicative disorders and is part of a sorority which keeps her preoccupied in college.
“I think joining a sorority is a great way to make new friends in college,” said Meehan. “Most people think it’s all about partying, but to be in a sorority you need to maintain a certain GPA and have a certain amount of study hours. It keeps me busy in college and I love the people in my sorority.”
Jillian Palma, who goes to Quinnipiac University, is also part of a sorority and enjoys being a part of one. Both of these alumni encouraged high school students to join Greek Life which will contribute to developing a social life in college, since it is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and gain unique experiences that can provide many benefits, including leadership skills.
Palma is a health science major and dreams of becoming a physician assistant. She is currently taking biology and chemistry in college and found that taking AP biology at Mineola High School prepared her for college. Palma also shared her personal experience at Quinnipiac University, which really touched the nervous students who were about to start their college journey.
“I remember the first day of college,” Palma said. “I was so nervous and completely freaking out, but then the second day came along and I wasn’t shaking with fear. It seemed like nothing to me. Trust me, it’s not as scary as they make it seem.”
Palma mentioned to students that there is much more freedom in college which comes with some serious responsibility, however. College requires students to do a lot of stuff on their own without having to be reminded. Homework isn’t a big deal in college, but the tests count a lot in determining grades which is why the alumni emphasized staying focused and staying on top of things.
Monika Waszcuzuk is another alumni who is majoring in biology and is currently on a pre-medicine track. Waszcuzuk goes to Hofstra University and commutes to college and assured high school students that commuting is not so bad.
“People don’t want to commute to college because they think they’re going to miss out on that college experience, but that’s not true,” explained Waszcuzuk. “Staying close to home doesn’t mean you won’t get to live the college life. It’s the same thing except you still get to feel the comfort of your home where your family is always there to support you and that works for me.”
As a commuter, Waszcuzuk shared with the students that her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t be able to make any new friends at Hofstra, but her doubts were proven wrong as she has made plenty of new friends. To add to the benefits of staying home, Waszcuzuk is also saving money.
Annie Cripps, who goes to University of Delaware, has a roommate from Carle Place and absolutely loves dorming. She finds it comfortable and joyful living with someone who’s close to her hometown.
“I go to college with John Keyes and we do everything together,” said Cripps. “We go to class together and we go home together. Most people say college separates you from your high school friends but I think it only makes you closer. Even if you aren’t at the same college, you still want to stay connected with them.”
Tori Ondris, who goes to Regis University and is majoring in psychology, gave some advice to the high schoolers as well.
“APs are worth it so you should take them, but you shouldn’t take them just for the heck of it,” said Ondris. “You have to do well on the APs too, which will earn you a number of credits. In the end, these credits will save you a lot of money.”
—Ziya Patel is a student at Mineola High School