The class of 2023 gathered last night in the Science Forum on campus to listen — via Zoom — to eight alumni from the classes of 2013 to 2022 speak about their personal experiences throughout the college application process.
“It’s one thing for adults to tell current sixth-formers everything is going to be alright; it’s another thing for the students to hear it directly from Brooksians just a few years older than them,” said Assistant Director of Alumni Programs Sara Bird. “The goal of this panel was for the young alum panelists to show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of college applications.”
During the aptly-named “Life After Brooks: It’s Going to be OK!” event, alums shared tips on how to stay organized during the application process, as well as how to balance the associated workload with classes and activities.
They also discussed their transitional experiences during the first few months of college, how they chose (or switched) their college majors and what piece of advice they wished they had received before stepping on campus.
“They gave some good tips about college,” said Shane Burns ’23. “I feel like now, I’ll go in and I’ll know I don’t have to join all this stuff — and I don’t have to know what I will do. It’s OK to not have everything figured out right now.”
The student/alumni connection committee, a subgroup of the alumni board, collaborated with the alumni office and college counseling office to orchestrate this young alumni panel.
These teams previously worked together during the pandemic, when sixth-formers weren’t able to visit college campuses. Young alums attending a variety of colleges, video-chatted with sixth-formers interested in attending those same schools.
“Brooks connected me with recent grads when I was applying for colleges four years ago,” said Tianshu Wang '19, currently studying electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Duke University. (Wang prepared to be a panelist on Tuesday but wasn't able to participate when the original date for the event was rescheduled due to a Head's Holiday). “I learned about how typical college daily life is like and what to expect when transitioning from high school to college. I hope the students can understand that there are an unlimited number of paths in college. They should actively discover and use the resources on campus well to further their interests.”
Last night’s panel was the first in a series of events slated for this academic year. Future topics are still in flux, but may touch on taking less traditional paths post-Brooks and what it’s like to be a student-athlete at the collegiate level.
“I think it’s important to give back to the communities that gave so much to me,” Alumni Trustee Sathvik Sudireddy ’15 shared prior to speaking with the current students.
“Brooks was a transformative time in my life and it’s always an honor to offer advice and learnings to its current students,” added Sudireddy, currently an MBA candidate at Harvard University. “I hope that students will take from my learnings that college is an experience in its own right and not merely a stepping stone to ‘real life,’ so I would encourage them to cherish the relationships and communities that they build there.”
In addition to de-stressing her about the college process, Laura Kahu ’23 said the panel was a great reminder that even though she’ll be leaving campus in the spring, Brooks will always be a part of her life.
“The fact that they’re still involved in the community was reassuring,” said the soon-to-be graduate. “It was reassuring, too, that all of them seemed confident in their choices. It showed me that no matter where we are, we’ll be good where we’re at.”