From Left: JJ Moore '22, Juliet Cramer '20, Makayla Sileo '19, Connor Wolfe '22, Michael Malley '22, Erick Hernandez '22, Cooper Quatrochi '22

College Alumni Panel 2023

When classes resumed in early January, Senior Class Dean Gabe Bernstein, along with the College Office, hosted an alumni panel for current Seniors, held in the Schotters Music Center. In attendance were seven CA alums who provided a wealth of perspective. 

Enormous thanks to this year’s panelists for sharing their time and wisdom: Makayla Sileo ’19 (University of Colorado, Boulder), Juliet Cramer ’20 (Macalester College), Erick Hernandez ’22 (Gonzaga University), Michael Malley ’22 (Indiana University),  Jaden “JJ” Moore ’22 (Harvard University), Cooper Quatrochi ’22 (Colorado College), and Connor Wolfe ’22 (Vanderbilt University). 

With courage and openness, panelists shared their experiences navigating the challenges of Senior year, choosing a college, and adjusting to college. Here are a few of their thoughtful observations:

  • You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Everyone is in the same position as you; everyone is new. It’s about being open, not closing doors without walking through them first.
  • I chose my school because it felt like a home away from home. It sat well with me in my heart, and I fell in love with it. 
  • I wanted to be anonymous and do my own thing.
  • Being on campus and talking to people is huge and bigger than you think. Trust your gut. You know where you’re supposed to be, if you like the vibe.
  • Be open. You have to prioritize certain things, but you have to understand that things have to change a little bit.
  • Student-teacher relationships at bigger schools are very different: In huge lecture classes you have to be more accountable to yourself, and you might have two to three tests that are your whole grade.
  • Curiosity is really important in your learning experience. You really want relationships with your professors, and you can find that. CA prepares you well. 
  • There was a lot to “unlearn,” they said. Unlearn perfectionism, being intentional, how you use your time. 
  • Use office hours to get to know your professors. Even if you think they don’t know who you are, you can make them know who you are!
  • It’s okay if you’re not really good friends with your roommate! 
  • You grow, and not always in the same direction, and so you pick new roommates. I have a single now. I keep downsizing, but I love it.
  • Regarding roommates, alumni advised Seniors to “set boundaries,” develop a “roommate contract” to decide who will vacuum and who will take out the trash, etc., and to make a point to act like adults and talk out issues that arise. 
  • Last but not least, everything is figure-outable.