NASHUA – College students have been home for their winter intersession, and Nashua High School North isn’t hesitant to take advantage of this opportunity.
For the past five years, Renee Crowell, a school counselor at North, has been setting up an event called Reverse College Day for the students.
The event is offered to students of all grades and is held in the lecture hall.
North alumni describe what college is like to the high school students, sharing their experiences and giving advice.
"We try to get students from all different types of schools and grade levels," Crowell said. "Today we have four-year programs and a two-year fire science program. I usually try to get a military presence, as well."
Returning North students included Jessica Schuyler, of Wellesley College; Samantha Nardone, of Quinnipiac University; Mayisha Kahn, of Boston University; Sarah Eaton, of the University of New Haven; Rachael Eaton, of Daniel Webster College; Kerry Brown, of Lakes Region Community College; William Barry and Brian Dezurick, of the University of New Hampshire, John Dube, of the College of the Holy Cross; and Andrew Lambert, of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
During each block, there were two half-hour panels during which teachers could sign their classes up to go listen to the college students. Mostly made up of college freshmen, but including some seniors and sophomores, the students shared their experiences from their first semesters to all the way through their four years.
Students began by talking about how you need to take care of yourself in college.
"I go to a school of about 12,000 students," Barry said. "If you don’t advocate for yourself and get the help you need, nobody else will do that for you. They don’t hold your hand in college."
Alumni talked about the ups and downs of college – the academics, living with others and being away from home.
"Know how to do your laundry and wash dishes," Nardone said.
"And send a proper email," Kahn added.
Alumni discussed why and how they picked the school they did, assured students that it was OK to not like where they ended up choosing, and that nobody can really expect what college is going to be like.
"For me, the biggest part was the program," Brown said.
Financial aid was a main topic of discussion. High school students were curious as to how much college actually costs and ways to pay for it.
Alumni explained about loans, and strongly encouraged students to apply for as many scholarships as they can, even if they are small amounts.
"Schools will also give you need-based scholarships," Dube said.
Alumni touched on how living with someone isn’t always the easiest, and that your roommate can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
"Living with someone and being their friend are two completely different things," Barry said.
Many recommended to "go random," which is when the school pairs you with a random person so as to avoid conflict over whether you have to be best friends with your roommate. They explained how if you go random, you do not feel like you have to be their friend because you didn’t choose to live with them.
The students ended each panel by answering any questions the audience had to the best of their ability.
The event lasted the entire school day, and the alumni talked to multiple groups of students to help give them insight.
Regan Jameson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.