Like it or not, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel for many high school students. After the stress of applications, financial aid and scholarships, there are still many questions about college left unanswered for seniors, namely of which is: What is life like at college? But no worries – CFHS alumni Austin Javallena (Iowa State University), Alex Huffman (University of Iowa) and Kelsey Morris (Elmhurst College) are here to help, offering some insight for seniors as what to expect for next year.

How has freshman year gone so far?

A. J.: Freshman year has been going really well. It’s been a ton of work but a lot of fun. I’ve met so many new people and made a ton of new friends and really like the university I am at.

A.H.: First semester of freshman year went unbelievably well. Every aspect far exceeded my expectations for college.

K.M.: Freshmen year has been pretty good so far, but there is a lot to get used to.

What was the most difficult part of this year so far?

A. J.: I think the most difficult part of the year for me was the middle of the semester. All of your classes are in full swing, and if you’re really involved in your campus, your schedule is probably super hectic. It’s really hard to have to manage your time, and time management skills are a must.

A.H.: The adjustment when first moving into the dorms was probably the most difficult part of first semester. The first two weeks of classes were not too challenging, but coming up with a schedule to live by and trying to make new friends made this time a bit challenging. Attempting to socialize with new people and focus on classes took up the majority of my time.

K.M.: The most difficult part of this year so far has been getting used to the new lifestyle. Being in college is so different from high school. The classes are bigger and harder, and you are completely on your own for the first time in your life. It’s a whole new experience. No one is there to make sure you get up for class or make sure you do your work. It is all up to you. Also part of the new lifestyle involves making new friends and leaving old ones, which is a very difficult thing. You are in a whole new place with so many new people, and you have to figure out how you made friends to begin with.

What have you enjoyed about college?

A. J.: I have really enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. I love that I have my really close friends from CF, but it’s been great to make new friends that I am just as close with as those from CF. The first couple weeks of school are really funny and awkward because it’s literally kindergarten all of over, but with 18 and 19 year olds. You sit there and ask what’s your name, where are you from and want to go to lunch or something just like little kids on the playground wanting to play. Those first days can be nervewracking, but take advantage of them and meet new people.

A.H.: Meeting huge amounts of new people and joining countless new activities on campus was by far my favorite part of first semester. The people you meet soon become very close friends, simply because you spend so much time with them. Friends that live in your dorm become family. You eat together, watch movies and television shows together and join activities together. I never really grasped how fast you could become wonderful friends with someone until college.
K.M.: I really have enjoyed the independence of college. It is really scary to be on your own for the first time, but I also think it is the best feeling. You really start thinking about what is right for you and how the rest of your life is going to be.

What advice would you offer this year’s seniors?

A. J.: I think my main advice for seniors is to make sure they’re comfortable with their college decision. When I was applying for colleges, I really thought about where I wanted to actually live, because if you think about it, your decision this year could decide where you live for the next four or five years. College visits are really important because they give you a feel for the campus and the community that you could be living in. I knew I wanted to go to ISU because when I went on my visit and other visits after that, I could see me living there, waking up, eating there, hanging out there, being stressed there, all of the things you’re not really thinking about when applying to schools. On the other hand, maybe some of the seniors aren’t ready to go to college or ready to leave home. That could be the best decision for them too. Seniors just really need to be comfortable, reasonable and OK with their decision on what to do after high school.

A.H.: One HUGE piece of advice that I would offer seniors is to really think about what school fits you before settling with one. I absolutely love my school, the atmosphere and the city it is located in. I have a few friends that do not like where they went to school. They are spending unnecessary amounts of money in an attempt to transfer to another school.
Transferring, whether at semester or after a full year, is something many college students will do. It does cause a lot of stress and worry, however. Starting over at a new place can be very difficult. I think that really getting a feel for schools that you are interested in by going on college visits is a crucial step in looking for a college that you will love.

K.M.: Advice for seniors is really really think about what YOU want and where you want to go. My parents thought that a smaller school was the best for me, when in reality I hated it. If I would have thought about what I wanted and not have let my parents influence my decision as much, I don’t think that I would be transferring after my first semester. You have to remember that you are going to be the one spending four or more years there — not your parents.

What classes at CFHS have benefited you in college?

A. J.: I don’t think one class benefited me the most at ISU from CF, but the thing I will say about CF classes is that they are structured very closely to college classes. The most similiar thing I have found are the tests from high school to college. CF teachers format their tests in ways that college professor do, so learn how to study. I know a lot of seniors don’t have to study that much for tests, but that will really hurt them in college. In college, your tests cover three-four full chapters of material, not just one. There is no way to be successful without strong study skills. Learn how to study for your tests in high school whether that be notecards, group study, whatever and you’ll benefit from it in college because CF tests are closely related to college exams.

A.H.: Composition and Rhetoric II AP with Mrs. Timmins is one of the best classes you could take at the high school in preparation for college. After completing about 12 lengthy papers first semester, I realized just how much Mrs. Timmins’s grammar tips helped me. Regardless of the major you choose in college, you will write countless papers. The skills taught in that class are universal.

K.M.: I would say that nothing can really prepare you for the work load of college, but the AP classes that I took helped me improve my study technique, which has helped me. Also, you have to write a lot, so any of the grammar and writing classes helped as well.

What do you miss now that you’re in college?

A. J.: . My dog. Enough said.

A.H.: I never really appreciated driving until I had no access to a car. At Iowa, you can bring a car and park it in the Hawk Lot that is about a 20 minute bus ride from the east side of campus. You have to pay a certain amount to park it there each semester as well. It didn’t seem worth it because everything you need is really within in walking distance on campus. The Cambus system at Iowa is also great. You can even text a certain number and find out when the next bus is coming to any stop you need.


What do you not miss about high school?

A. J.: I do not miss being stuck in a building for eight-nine hours every day. It’s so nice to have freedom and being able to do whatever you want when you don’t have class. Freedom is good. Yeah America.

A.H.: I do not miss the long days at the high school. Classes are in different buildings at different times and different days, so the weeks do not become so monotonous. Being in the same building for seven hours plus extra curriculars becomes very boring. You can use time how you would like much more in college.

K.M.: The set schedule and telling you what classes you have to take and when you can take them. I love that when I am done with class I can go back to my dorm and sleep or do whatever I want to do. I don’t have to worry about going to another class right away or not being allowed in the hallway or not being allowed to leave the school.

Has being close to home affected your college experience at all?

A. J.: Iowa State is a really good distance from home. It’s not close enough that I still feel like I’m in CF, but close enough that I could go home for a weekend if need be. I think last semester I went home for Thanksgiving obviously and then maybe two other weekends? I like the freedom of being on my own, but it’s nice to have CF only a quick drive away.

A.H.: Iowa is not too far, but not too close for me personally. I wanted to be able to come home for family emergencies and to visit family and friends in general on weekends that weren’t too busy at school. Being only an hour and a half, coming home is really easy. I was also looking for a college larger than UNI. Iowa is the largest state school and fit all of my needs. I think that living not too far from home has positively shaped my college experience.

Any funny stories so far from freshmen year?

A. J.: One funny story I have was in the first week of school. It was one of those awkward kindergarten experiences. I was at a Greek New Member cookout thing for the Greek Community at ISU, and I told this girl Chloe who went to Valley that I was from CF. She then told me she grew up in CF and went to kindergarten at Southdale Elementary and had Mrs. Primrose and was in the afternoon class. Funny. Me too. We were in the same kindergarten class! But it doesn’t end there. She knew one of my really good friends Sonja, and Sonja’s dog name is Chloe. I didn’t think much of it, but then one weekend when I was home I was holding Chloe the dog and told Sonja, “Oh I have friend named Chloe at school!” Then Sonja told me that a girl named Chloe used to lived by her around kindergarten, and Chloe was so nice that they named their dog after her. We then proceeded to discover that Chloe was actually my friend from school! Small world.


Class of 2014

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