Williston Grads Offer Helpful Advice to College-Bound Seniors


Credit: Williston Northampton Website

As the class of 2021 finalize plans for college, they face an exciting yet intimidating experience. Luckily for them, The Willistonian gathered helpful advice from Williston alumni currently studying at universities.

Jack Long, a freshman at Vanderbilt who graduated Williston in 2020, emphasized the importance of making lasting memories with friends.

“Enjoy your time with friends because you don’t have much time left in high school,” he said. “During my senior spring, everyone was online, so I didn’t get a graduation or a formal occasion to say goodbye to my friends. Because of this, I know how important it is to have good, shared memories. Use this time wisely to make good memories that you can cherish for the rest of your life.”

Jack recommended staying active during the summer to avoid what he calls “summer brain drain.”

“During the summer, if you don’t do anything productive and just hang out with your friends and play video games, your brain will be very rusty when you start college,” he said. “College is a very fast-paced environment, and if you don’t adjust yourself to that pace really early on, it will be very difficult.”

Jack advises seniors to use their summer to figure out a potential major, or simply to “do something interesting every day … don’t just live mindlessly.”

He said once college begins, it’s important students remain flexible and open-minded about their academic pursuits.

“Give yourself enough room to explore, and never have tunnel vision on one area of study if you have any doubts about it,” he said. “Keep asking yourself what you want to do and who you are, and use that to guide your college career.”

Jack also advises incoming college freshman to “Give yourself time to try out different classes, majors, and areas of study. It’s still very early on, and you do not necessarily have to follow what you said you were going to do in your college application.”

Thomas Thibault, a sophomore at Columbia University and 2019 Williston grad, said it’s important to learn how to manage your free time effectively.

“As you transition from high school to college, you have to create a new understanding of what your routine should be,” he said. “Classes aren’t what you’re used to, it’s not an eight to four p.m. You have much more liberty in how you create a schedule (classes at night, no classes in the morning, Fridays off, etc). This liberty in scheduling will give you more time, but you’ve got to learn to use that time. So, start learning a little more about what works for you.”

Thomas also recommended taking the time to enjoy your final months at Williston.

“I think it’s super cliché, but we spend so much time thinking of Williston as something we can’t wait to move on from, especially as seniors, that you forget to enjoy the moments spent,” he said. “Williston is gonna give you some of the best memories in your life.”

He continued, “I still speak to two of my best friends, Solomon [Neuhaus] and Joey [Ford] on a regular basis, and we reminisce a lot about our time together. So I’d tell the seniors to look forward to the future, but make sure to enjoy this blessing you have of attending a great school that you will, whether you know it or not, miss.”