Be open to new people. Try lots of clubs and activities. Push yourself. Eat your fiber. These were some of the tips for transitioning to college life shared by a group of BISB alumni this week.
The alumni- Katie Malone, Emily Soemita and JP Borges Santos, all members of the Class of 2015- visited the school during a break from university to share their experiences transitioning to college life in the US and the UK.
Their tips ranged from the funny- ensuring your diet doesn't only consist of pizza and fried foods- to the serious, and offered a glimpse into college life for BISB's high school students.
Katie, who now studies biochemistry at Imperial College London, said one of her best tips for BISB's high school students was to keep an open mind when applying to colleges and universities. Imperial College, she said, was nothing like what she thought she wanted in an institution, but in fact it's been a great fit.
JP, who now studies philosophy at the University of Cambridge, told the high school students that they shouldn't feel badly if their first few weeks, or even first few months, at college are hard. While the IB Diploma Programme used at BISB does a lot to prepare you for college academics, he said, it still takes time to get used to college life.
"In the beginning I thought I had made the wrong choice, that I should have stayed in the US where I knew how things worked," he said. "But once I got out of the library some nights and started meeting people, I was really happy. Don't give up too quickly. Everyone is feeling the same way."
Now, JP said he's been getting involved in clubs and extracurricular activities, and has even become the event organizer for his college's Effective Altruism club, which aims to use reason to determine the most effective way to change the world.
Emily, who now studies Marketing/Communications at Emerson College in Boston, said she, too, found that one of the best ways to ease into college life is to try as many new things as you can and meet as many new people as you can.
While pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone can be challenging, she said, it's worth it.
"It's OK to have some doubts and mixed feelings when you start college," Emily said. "But use these feeling to push you to get out and do some new things that might scare you. After a couple of weeks, you'll settle in."
For Emily, pushing herself has already gotten her involved in a wide range of activities, including working as a photographer for Emerson College's "People of Emerson" group, managing the Instagram account for the Emerson College Fashion Society and working with the admissions office as a student ambassador.
And while the alumni agreed that college was definitely something to look forward to, they also advised the high school students to appreciate what they have at BISB.
"I always felt supported at BISB, there was always someone there," Katie said. "But college is very different. I wouldn't have traded the feeling of support that I got here at BISB for anything. Appreciate how close you get with your teachers here. That's something I really miss."