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CB’s Declassified College Survival Guide

Listen up! “It’s important to have a balance. To know when to go out and have fun and to know when to keep each other in check and hold each other accountable.” This is just one piece of the advice that our very own Ms. Anna Fernandez has for her Christian Brothers seniors going into […]


Listen up!

“It’s important to have a balance. To know when to go out and have fun and to know when to keep each other in check and hold each other accountable.”

This is just one piece of the advice that our very own Ms. Anna Fernandez has for her Christian Brothers seniors going into college. College can be a big bad wolf that we all fear, but with the right bricks to build up our homes, there ain’t nothing that can bring us down. The Talon went to some of CB’s beloved teaches to get their opinions on college and some advice for our stupendous seniors skidding into their futures.

The Talon interviewed Ms. Kelsey Wong, Mrs. Carla Albright ’04, and Ms. Fernandez to help our seniors learn from their college experiences and take in their words of wisdom on how to balance a social life with a school life, as well as managing college and everything that comes along with it.

Ms. Wong recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2015 after studying French. For her, making friends and networking was a breeze.


Ms. Wong raising her Saint Mary’s banner with pride.

“I was fortunate to be in the program I was in; it was tiny, so it was always really easy to make friends that way.”

She told our seniors to try and make friends with kids in the same major as them, as she once did.

“I really tried to become friends with people in my classes so that if I was sick, I could ask them for notes, and I also tried to meet up with my professors a lot.”

However, college does not revolve around one certain major, event, etc.

“Try a little bit of everything,” Ms. Wong says. She went on to explain that everyone enjoys different things, and it’s okay to go outside of your comfort zone. It’s inevitable that you’ll be at least a little uncomfortable with the curriculum.

“You have to feel comfortable to know that you’re not going to have your best friends the first few weeks.”

It’s okay to be nervous when you’re so far away from friends and family. It’s not an avoidable feeling, and Mrs. Albright, who graduated from University of the Pacific, even says to try and go home as little as possible.

“Honestly, I see far too many kids go to college and don’t stay in college. They always come home on the weekends. They need to stay away from home and have their own experiences.”

Most of our seniors are 17 or 18 years of age, heading into this unknown void called life. Ms. Albright explains that to grow up and become mature men and women of society, our seniors must live for themselves.

Similar to Ms. Wong, Mrs. Albright recommended to make friends within the same major and interests so that you can “help” each other. She also encouraged students to, if you have the opportunity, play sports and become close with your teammates.


Ms. Albright reminiscing on her good ‘ol Pacific Athletics days

“All of my friends were all athletes…We respected our time to practice, we respected our time we needed to study, for eating,” she said. “I was surrounding myself with people that also wanted to graduate in four years.”

Ms. Albright also stressed the importance of leaving room for a social life.

“You need a social life because that is real life,” the math teacher said. “It’s a part of growing up.”

But to have a social life does not simply mean to go out and party every night. It can mean to play a sport and make friends there, make friends in your classes, or like Ms. Fernández, who graduated from UC Davis, to join a Folklorico (Mexican folk dancing) group.

Ms. Fernández also shared some of the difficulties she faced in college.

“For me, it was difficult being a first-generation student. I had to find my niche with people I could relate to.”

However, a common theme is seen as Ms. Fernández also surrounded herself with people that wanted to succeed, just like her.

“My friends were all goal-oriented. We all wanted to graduate and pursue a career. We made study sessions and worked together.”


Ms. Fernandez showcasing her marvelous aggie water bottle and banner.

She found the UC Davis curriculum difficult even with a balanced life between school and fun, but she was able to learn from the students that partied too much and studied too little.

“A lot of people I saw struggle was because they did not focus on studying and would rather have fun,” she said. “And then those kids would end up dropping out.”

She admits that socializing has its place but affirms the importance of smart choices.

“Focus on first, your education and studies, then you can worry about the social events because I think a social aspect is important because it keeps you sane. It’s a good stress reliever, but there needs to be a balance.”

The Talon asked our teachers if they had any final pieces of advice for our seniors.

“Remember to text your parents every week or so, and never take out loans, and drink water!” Ms. Wong suggested animatedly.

“Write everything down! Print out your schedule too, so that you can see it on your desk. It’ll help you organize. Oh! And go to your professors’ office hours! It’ll help so much. And get yourself a mini fridge; you can’t go wrong with a mini fridge,” Ms. Albright recommended.

“Give everything and everyone a chance, but keep that balance between social and academic life,” Ms. Fernández advised.

There are only a few more weeks until finals, then winter break, and then one semester left of the seniors’ high school careers. College is right around the corner — whether you know where you’re going or not. It’s time to make the best of the days we have left. Everything will go by faster than we’re expecting. Brace yourselves for those last dances, last classes, last moments together, but also for the new dances, new classes, new challenges, and new moments with new friends and family at a new school. Take the advice of our wise teachers to heart because they have been where we are and where we will be, but now — it’s our time to make our own path.

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