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RHS Alumni Return to Campus to Offer Valuable College Advice to Current High School Seniors  

Alumni panel members shared their insight on college life with current RHS students on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, in the high school auditorium.

“Always assume you have more to do than you think you have to do,” cautioned RHS alumnus Matt Karl (’20), who is currently a senior at James Madison University.  

Karl was one of 18 alumni who returned to RHS earlier this month to offer advice to current high school seniors on what to expect at college. The assembly, which even featured a few current RHS seniors’ siblings as panel members, was held in the high school auditorium on Friday, Jan. 5.

Also sharing the RHS auditorium stage were Stephen Kudriavetz (RHS Class of ’21); Noelani Quinones (’21); Kenidi Lewis (’23); Ella Sharkey (’23); Chris Petit-Frere (’23); Bryana Ruiz (’23); Sasha Saltus (’22); Nick Scanzera (’23); Giovanni Ricupero (’22); Mario Pompeo (’22); Julia Malino (’23); Gilad Krasner-Cohen (’21); Claire Doto (’21); Maddie Madolo (’22); Alexa Manolis (’22); Gavin Einfeldt (’20); and James Keaney (’20).   

All 18 alumni dug deep to answer a variety of questions about the college experience. Topics included dorm placement, food plans, education, social life, time management and more. Thanks to the easy-to-understand answers from the members of the alumni panel, current RHS seniors said they left the presentation feeling better prepared for the college years ahead.  

School Counselors Jessica Averill and Lauren O’Toole, Humanities Supervisor Brienne Valvano, and Dean of Students Lindsay Reilly organized this year’s assembly, which has become a perennial favorite with students. “I think it’s important and insightful for our graduates to hear about life after RHS from students who have literally been in their shoes,” Reilly noted.

Here are some top takeaways from the assembly.  

On Making New Friends

“I joined club tennis to be able to stay active, and it surprised me how many friends and connections I was able to make.Joining a social sorority also allowed me to meet new people and become more in tuned with the campus.” –Maddie Madolo, University of Connecticut sophomore  

“I was able to get a job in my dorm. This allowed me to become closer with all of the RAs in the building, which made it easier to find my way around campus.” –Kenidi Lewis, Temple University freshman 

On Selecting the Right School

“Biology offered a big research opportunity at the school. I also liked that my school was liberal arts; it gave me a lot of different paths to take.” –Claire Doto, College of William & Mary junior

“Making a checklist of what is important to you is necessary in determining the college that you want.”       –Gavin Einfeldt, Boston College senior 

On Managing Time 

“It’s really important to maintain self-awareness when balancing your free time with the time spent on academics. Stay regimented and have a schedule. It’s up to you how you want to manage yourself.” –Gavin Einfeldt, Boston College senior

“Always assume you have more to do than you think you have to do, so plan out details, every hour to hour, of what you’re doing.” –Matt Karl, James Madison University senior

On Transitioning from High School to College

Having a studying pattern is a very good idea. You may be able to get away with not studying for exams in high school, but college is a whole new ball game. You get out of it what you put in.” –Mario Pompeo, Baylor University sophomore

“I don’t know if I studied hard for any test I had in high school. But in college, if you don’t study, you will fail. It’s so different from high school; you need to study.” –Matt Karl, James Madison University senior

“If you don’t start strong, you won’t finish strong. You need to end the semester with the same effort or more than you started with.” –Chris Petit-Frere, County College of Morris freshman 

“You have a lot of more free time in college, so it is important to learn how to manage that time, so you don’t fall behind in your classes and organizations.” –Sasha Saltus, University of Pittsburgh sophomore

On Getting Academic Help 

If you want more of a connection to your professors, a smaller school has a smaller staff-student ratio, allowing for that one-on-one connection.” –Giovanni Ricupero, Case Western sophomore 

“Your teachers want you to ask questions and use their office hours. Taking advantage and reaching out with what you’restruggling with will help in the long run.” –Mario Pompeo, Baylor University sophomore 

“I got close with my TA for my philosophy class, going to office hours and asking questions. I attended every class up until this one time I overslept and missed an exam. Luckily, because I had developed a relationship with my TA, he let me take it still.” –Ella Sharkey, University of Virginia freshman

“Many schools like Purdue have counselors who will make scheduled appointments during office hours to help students with whatever material they need help on. It may be embarrassing at first, but I promise there’s nothing to be afraid of, and it is completely normal.” –Julia Malino, Purdue University freshman 

On Taking Time for Oneself 

After I got my school work done, I was in the gym every day. There’s a time for school, and there’s a time for enjoying yourself. Playing basketball and getting some shots up always relieved my stress.” –Chris Petit-Frere, County College of Morris freshman 

“Surround yourself with the right people. Finding the right friends at college aids your experience so much.” –Kenidi Lewis, Temple University freshman.

“Sleep is very important. You’re not going to retain any information from studying if you don’t sleep.” –Bryana Ruiz, Monmouth University freshman 

On Volunteering 

“Before I graduate, I need 100 service hours, and it sounds like a lot, but I get hours through my sorority and from different volunteer opportunities.” –Alexa Manolis, West Virginia University sophomore

“A lot of connections come from volunteering. Making these connections gives you a bridge to different people that can set you on a certain career path. Without volunteering, you wouldn’t know who these people were.” –Claire Doto, College of William & Mary junior 

On Experiencing Dorm Life

“If you’re in a dorm, you have to get used to being around people. It’s something you must get through. People are going to be in your face; you’re going to be sharing a bathroom. It would have been a new experience for me if I hadn’t gone to camp before.” –Sasha Saltus, University of Pittsburgh sophomore 

“It’s a very good idea to put effort into finding your roommate before arriving on campus, whether it’s through social media or the university.” –Maddie Madolo, University of Connecticut sophomore 

“Set boundaries. Sharing a room, you need to understand that you both need privacy and some rules to keep the peace.” –Kenidi Lewis, Temple University freshman

On Eating Campus Food 

“The food is horrible. Temple has three dining halls including a family buffet style, and the one closest to me has a bunch of fast-food chains. Eating fast food all the time gets old very fast. Eat a vegetable. Eat some fruit. Have a healthy diet.” –Kenidi Lewis, Temple University freshman

“Ohio State offered a wide variety of food that usually satisfied all my friends and me. That’s one of those things that all depends on the certain school you eat at. If you aren’t happy with what is on campus, you can always venture off campus to a place you know and love.” –Gilad Krasner-Cohen, Ohio State University junior

On transitioning from having a full day of classes in high school to having only one class on certain days in college

“For me, it was kind of hard at first, I didn’t know what to do with my day. I would sit in my room wondering what to do with myself. It depends on everyone; I know people who go to the library all day. It also depends on your workload. Use your time wisely.” –Sasha Saltus, University of Pittsburgh sophomore 

“It’s really important to maintain self-awareness when balancing your free time with the time spent on academics.” –Gavin Einfeldt, Boston College senior

About the Contributors
Chisom Okoye
Chisom Okoye, Staff Reporter
Senior Chisom Okoye recently joined the Rampage staff and looks forward to writing more articles this year.
Joey Viespoli
Joey Viespoli, Staff Reporter
Staff reporter Joey Viespoli is a senior at Randolph High School and a part of the Randolph football program. Joey has been with the program throughout all four years of his high school career and was elected team captain this year. Joey is a leader on the football field and in the classroom. Apart from this, Joey has been working since he was 14 years old and spends a lot of time with his friends and family. 
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