Dozens of alumni from the Classes of 2020 through 2023 returned to Ransom Everglades for lunch with students and faculty at La Brisa on January 11, a high-spirited reunion that took place after the Young Alumni College Panel for RE's junior class. That panel discussion on the college process and college life featured thoughtful advice and reminiscences from six alumni: Julia Buckner '20
(Wellesley), Lucia Rose Dahn '23
(Brown), Alex Dray '21
(Duke), Jack Fitzpatrick '20
(Wake Forest), Ana Gonzalez '23
(Princeton) and Yuhan Liu '21
(University of Pennsylvania) in the Lewis Family Auditorium. Photo Gallery
Juniors, seniors and RE teachers welcomed the alumni on winter recess from their colleges, meeting with them over pizza and salad during RE's mid-day break. The casual luncheon followed the more formal panel in the auditorium; there, the six alumni answered questions from moderator Jason Locke, RE's Executive Director of College Counseling, touching on topics including managing the stress of the college process, deciding where to apply, planning college essays, engaging in co-curricular activities. and more.
"Do I see myself in this place? Is this an environment that is collaborative or competitive?" Dahn urged juniors to ask themselves as they learned about schools. "Would I thrive with these people? A part that can play a huge role in this is college visits, whether you do YouTube videos online, virtual tours, or go in person and set foot on campus. Asking yourselves those questions, and bringing that second layer of reflection, will make a huge impact on your college list."
Dray told the 11th graders to listen to their hearts, resisting the pressure of expectations.
"There is definitely a lot of social pressure and social expectations for ... the type of school you 'should' be applying to," Dray said. "Don't feel pressured by your friends or by other third parties, to apply to a school just because that is where they see you, or just because that's where you 'should' be applying ... Listen to yourself. You know yourself best."
Several alumni also told students to engage in activities because they love them – not simply to have a line on a resume or a topic for a college application.
"Truly, never do anything for the sake of college," Gonzalez said. "Never, ever. Do it for enjoyment and true passion, because that will be reflected in your college application."
The alumni also talked about college life, and they encouraged students to explore new interests.
"In college there is no pressure," Fitzpatrick said. "Do things that sound interesting to you. Do things that sound like a fun time ...Take a whim, take a chance. College is the time for that."
The event served as a table setter for juniors as they begin to enter the college process with RE's college counseling office in earnest. On January 13, they will attend a College Admission Symposium with college admission officials from schools around the nation.Photo Gallery