Join a club, take advantage of office hours, keep consistent sleep habits, and invest in a weekly planner were among the top pieces of advice offered to the Class of 2018 last week during the young alumni panel discussion. The annual event invites recent graduates back to campus to share their college experiences with the senior class. This year, panelists included: Nathan Bedford (Rhode Island College), Lucy Ehrlich (Scripps College), Ethan Hobson (Boston University), Matthew Marsella (Tulane University), Shaun O'Hearn (Eastern Connecticut State University), Sam Smiley (Washington & Lee University), and Benjamin Stonefield (Lasell College), all of which are 2017 graduates.
The seniors were eager to ask the panel about their professors, test formats, essay writing, communal living, playing on a college sports team and campus night life. Panelists characterized their new college life as a "new level of independence", with copious free time, and "no one telling you what to do." They also warned of the additional responsibility, accountability and organization required. Smiley advised seniors to "stay on top of yourself," by using a google calendar, creating a regular routine for attending classes and studying while also leveraging available resources including student advisors, the tutoring center or partnering with a study group.
While many shared some of their early challenges with the transition to college life - including difficult roommate habits or a lack of an immediate family support system - all the panelists agreed that they felt more than prepared for their freshman year. "I haven't missed a class yet and I did great this semester," said O'Hearn. "I am super prepared."
The panelists also praised lessons from Mr. Dodd and Mr. Cashman for teaching them how to research and write essays successfully. "The way Mr. Dodd teaches you to format essays are what college professors want to see," added Hobson. "If you study the way you learned to study at PCD, then you'll do fine," added Marsella. Yet, equal to their academic success, the panelists also believe their ability to seek help, lean on campus resources and flourish socially are also due to their experiences at PCD.