College Consultants: Advice from grads about college life

Shorewood graduates share their best advice for seniors

by Kaylee Logan, Staff

Moving to college is a huge transition for many seniors. Whether you are staying in Seattle, moving to a new country, or anything in between, the transition can be exciting as well as scary. College bound seniors often have questions about what to bring, what to expect, and how their lives will change. To answer these questions we reached out to former Shorewood students to hear their advice for current seniors making the move to college. 

Shorewood graduates Jade Doerksen (‘22), Hayley Trimmer (‘22), Robert Olomon (‘21), Col Cook (‘21), Darby O’Neill (‘22), and Nazlee Radboy (‘17) agreed to give their best advice to Shorewood seniors. Doerksen is a former Tempest Editor-in-Chief who now attends Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts outside of Boston. Trimmer is attending the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. Olomon attends the University of Washington. Cook is in San Luis Obispo attending Cal Poly. O’Neill is a former Art Director for the Tempest who is at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Radboy was an Editor for the Tempest, and she is attending The American University of London for her Bachelor’s degree and University College London for her Master’s. 

What is your living situation like? Any dorm decor?

Doerksen: “I am in a double with a roommate that the college chose for me based on a form I submitted when I committed. My side of the dorm is highly decorated with posters, art, and more!”

O’Neill: “Living with a roommate is way less awkward than I was afraid it would be. My roommate and I get along great and do stuff together all the time! We can hang out but still have our own space and friend groups. It’s perfect. Our dorm room isn’t split down the middle either- we share a lot of stuff and all of our decorations make it look like one cohesive living space. Pro-tip: rugs are an excellent way to make the dorm room feel more lived-in.”

What should students be sure to pack and what should they leave behind?

Trimmer: “Bring your passport with you if you’ll be close to Canada or Mexico! Also be sure to bring things to keep you entertained if you ever need a quiet night in. In general, I would recommend thinking carefully about the cost of shipping your stuff to your college versus buying all new stuff once you’re there. You can find a balance of bringing things from home and buying new things at college.”

Doerksen: “Bring art and photos to make your room your own! Leave behind any excess clothes and room items. You won’t have much space and you really don’t need much.”

Radboy: “Things to remind you of home like digital prints of friends, sheets from your bed, your mom’s homemade meals to stock your freezer with, etc. Please don’t make the same mistake as me and bring five bags worth of just clothes… it will be impossible to wear them all.”

What are your best tips for trying to make friends at college?

Doerksen: “Join an organization or activity, especially if it’s over a shared identity (race, religion, sexuality, etc.) or a shared hobby (theater, sport, art, etc.) that way you can find people that have some similar experiences to you when you are far from your support system.”

Radboy: “I found it helpful to speak up in class because folks will often remember you and spark up conversation later based on what you said.”

Trimmer: “Join clubs! You’ll meet a ton of people that way! Also try to make friends with people in your dorm building and on your floor, because it will be much easier to hang out with them than someone who lives on the other side of campus.”

Olomon: “Join a club and make study groups for your classes.”

Are you still in touch with your friends from high school? 

Radboy: “Yes! High school is so formative that the friends you make there feel like a special category of friend. They know you in ways new friends may not. With that said, it’s important to remember that college is a new chapter in your life, and a chance to meet people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. While high school friends may always hold a special place in your heart, it’s important to be open to new friendships and to embrace the opportunities that college has to offer.”

Olomon: Not really. If you want to stay in touch, you have to be very intentional about reaching out and talking with them. Unlike in high school, you can’t just rely on proximity and convenience to keep up with your friends. It’s just natural that you’ll eventually meet new friends and drift apart from old friends.

What is your number one piece of advice for students moving away for college?

Doerksen: One: Know yourself and your boundaries. Take this time to decide who you want to keep in contact with and who you don’t. Two: Experience everything that new place has to offer. Go to concerts, go to tourist traps, have fun!

Trimmer: Try to make some sort of schedule for yourself. It helps to feel like you know what you’re doing, so that if you ever feel lost or overwhelmed, you have something to ground you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help — there are so many resources available to you!

Olomon: Attend your lectures! It’s easy to skip lectures when attendance isn’t required… You can easily fall behind, and once you’ve fallen behind it’s hard to start attending lectures again because of what you’ve missed.

Cook: Make sure to take care of yourself, eat balanced meals, and eat regularly, otherwise, you may start feeling more exhausted and start struggling more in school.

O’Neill: Everyone is having a hard time, whether they talk about it or not. If you’re homesick or overwhelmed, don’t feel like you’re alone.