Life as College Freshmen

Class of 2015 graduates Jaryd Sugihara and Sara Utsugi take a moment to enjoy their campus at Chapman University in Orange, California.

As students graduate from high school and become college students, they face a lot of changes in their lives.

Having to deal with more responsibilities, a new environment, and even interacting with new people can make for the greatest, yet difficult time in their lives.

Class of 2015 graduates Chris Caballes, Jaryd Sugihara, and Jarrett Toyama all agree that they felt a new sense of freedom after leaving for college. After being at HBA for years, the feeling of being able to live on their own and of being responsible for themselves can be pretty exciting. Caballes, who is a Mechanical Engineering major at Arizona State, said, “I feel like I can dress how I want to dress. I feel free at last.” Like Caballes, classmate Danielle Woo, who is majoring in English at University of Hawaii, Manoa, is glad for not having to stick to HBA dress standards anymore. “I miss HBA a lot,” she said, “which is probably normal, but it’s pretty liberating being able to dye my hair.”

Gaining freedom after graduating is an amazing feeling, but alongside that comes the challenges of adapting to college life. Sugihara, Creative Writing major at Chapman University admits he’s “that guy with his plate of food awkwardly standing alone and looking out into the crowd of tables for a place to sit.” Sugihara and Toyama, an English pre-med major at Saint Louis University, both agree that the best way to adapt to college life is to become more social and outgoing. As tough as change can be for some, Caballes proudly says, “I was made for the college life. It’s in my blood.”

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“It can be really hard to buckle down and study when all your friends are literally living right next door.”

Alumna Danielle Toda (’15)

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Attending a mainland college might mean sharing a dorm room with unfamiliar people. Class of 2015 alumna Danielle Toda, a Communications major at University of Southern California, shares this insight: “It’s important to not expect your roommate to be your best friend. However, it’s good to just coexist with them peacefully.” Sugihara found a way to make his dorm feel more like home by bringing ornaments and keepsakes from home.

Compared to high school, colleges have a lot more distractions that can get in the way of students and their academics. Since arriving at USC, Toda says her weekends have been packed with campus events, club meetings, and visits to Los Angeles and Santa Monica. “It can be really hard to buckle down and study when all your friends are literally living right next door,” she adds.

Toda and Woo both advised that students fill out college application forms as soon as they can to get them out of the way. Toyama adds that students should go to a school that they feel like they would belong with the people there. He added, “Don’t just go to the best school you can get into.”

As much as students can’t wait to leave high school and go to college, Caballes advises seniors to “live every day of senior year like it’s your last day of senior year—it will go by faster than you know it.”

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