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1/3/2013 Notes from the real world:

CCHS grads offer some pointers to members of the class of 2013

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, five Custer County graduates returned to the high school to talk with current seniors about their post - secondary experiences.

Rachel Adams of the University of Alaska, Karen O’Brien of the Colorado School of Mines, Ethan Owens of Colorado State University, Scott Peters of Colorado State University, and Jimmy Wenger of Stetson University in Florida provided unique and first-hand accounts of the college experience.

Over 20 current CCHS students attended the event sponsored by the student council, and arranged by Sam Frostman and Troy Bomgardner. Student council provided lunch and students gathered around the graduates in a casual atmosphere to hear their stories.

Ethan Owens opened the discussion with emphasizing the importance of going to class and getting to know your professors. “Go to class and participate,” said Owens, a sophomore at CSU. In addition, Owens talked about the many free benefits associated with the student fees that you pay at college. Owens encouraged students to take advantage of these free services such as tutoring and counseling among others.

Scott Peters, who is also attending CSU, stressed getting involved on campus as a way to network with other students. Peters mentioned the enjoyment of clubs and intramurals in college and the value of these relationships when looking for a job after college.

Jimmy Wenger and Rachel Adams spoke about the need to be involved and take time to enjoy college.

Wenger and Adams attend college thousands of miles away from home and experienced difficult times in their first months at college. “The first two weeks were miserable,” said Wenger. “Once I made friends, my grades improved and I was much more happy.”

Adams added, “My first month was terrible, I was the only student from the state of Colorado, it was new experience for me going out of state, without a family to fall back on, it was tough.” Adams experience turned around when she found time to have fun and get involved. “Time management was critical in order to schedule study time but also fun time,” said Adams.

Interestingly, both Adams and Wenger found their colleges in a random web search. Adams always wanted to go to Alaska and Wenger was looking for a warm climate. Both are very happy with their choices.

Karen O’Brien offered sobering comments on the challenge of college. “The freshman year at the Mines is meant to weed out those who can’t make it,” said O’Brien. She said you have to try hard and realize that being valedictorian isn’t unique, that you must find other ways to excel other than your high school grades and test scores.

CCHS senior Max Parmenter enjoyed the session with the graduates. “It was great to hear the first hand experiences of the graduates,” said Parmenter. “It was helpful to learn some of their time management techniques and specific tips about campus life and the value of establishing strong social connections.”

Senior Carly Dunlap commented, “The graduates each had different experiences, from attending College out of state to switching majors. The best advice they gave was to find a way to enjoy the college by focusing on classes and having fun with the college experience. “