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The Northern Star

The Northern Star

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Northern Valley’s dreams, fears, and hopes regarding college

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

To the juniors and seniors at Northern Valley Regional, it isn’t just the cold that the winter holds in store; thoughts about college float in and about, with many sharing tidbits and thoughts about the schools they dream to attend. So what exactly is on students’ minds? 

A vast majority of students plan to attend a school in close proximity to their homes, with the Northeast overtaking the majority of the locations desired. Many have also set incredibly ambitious goals for themselves, with schools such as Harvard, UCLA, and MIT being set as target schools. Given their intensive workloads and involvement in various extracurriculars and sports, many students believe that it is fitting for them to apply to the top schools. 

The primary dream for the juniors and seniors of Northern Valley seems to be acceptance into a prestigious educational institution. More than half are applying to schools included in the nation’s top ten percent, and a considerable number are looking into schools considered “hidden Ivies”, namely small liberal arts colleges that offer an education and experience akin to that of an Ivy League school. 

Small schools are growing greatly in terms of popularity, with many basing their decisions on wanting to attend a school with a smaller, tighter-knit community. Many students have expressed desires to be taught in smaller classes, to become closer to their professors and to leave college having a more in-depth education than a regular university would provide. 

But it isn’t simply small colleges that students are looking into: while popular, the overwhelming majority of students wish to attend a larger university, precisely one that has a history of prestige and quality educators. 

Many students declare that to be able to attend such schools would truly be a dream come true, with junior Jieun Kim being one of them. “I want to attend any local school that is quite famous, but the school I really want to go to is Harvard,” she said. 

However, setting their sights on such ambitious goals still comes with anxieties and fears. A common concern among students, especially the juniors, revolves around the idea of settling into a new environment, with many troubled by the idea of adjusting to a new schedule and creating new friends. Many others are concerned about how difficult the new courses would be, as well as how comfortably they would be able to adjust to college life. 

Another major concern centers around the idea of what would happen after college; a large number of students ponder what jobs they will pursue post-graduation, and many others wonder how they will be able to begin their adult life smoothly, without too many problems.

Yet another worry revolves around the concept of assimilation: many wonder how they will survive in the new college environment, as well as how they will connect with their fellow students and professors. 

Junior Viktoria Kosa expresses her worries, “I’m going to Hungary for college, and I’m scared of being excluded from the school, seeing as I attended an American high school and will likely have a very different background from the other students,” she said.  

While the juniors remain apprehensive about their future college careers, the seniors are remarkably calm about their college prospects. A vast majority of seniors have stated that the idea of college does not daunt them, with many expressing excitement over leaving high school, and highly anticipating assimilating into college life. 

Many others are full of excitement over the idea of living away from home and are curious as to how their life as a college student would differ from their high school counterparts. Others look forward to various activities they would be able to participate in as young adults, such as voting and being able to legally drink. 

Yet others are excited over the diverse student body they would encounter while in college, and wonder what new perspectives they would be able to hear from in the school. 

Senior Melissa Cen is especially optimistic about her future life in college. “I’m very excited to experience the new dynamics and cultures that college has to offer, and I’m also excited to be taught in a new environment,” she said. 

Worried as the juniors may be, it should be noted that the seniors aren’t the only ones with some hope; many of the juniors, although quite anxious about college, still hold some optimistic expectations for their future schools. Many are looking forward to pursuing their major, and to being able to study a subject they truly like, as well as enjoying independence from their families and the freer schedule that comes with college life. 

Junior Alyssa Kim is especially joyful about the idea of college. “I’m looking forward to the freedom of classes, seeing as you don’t really have that in high school, and just being able to form my own schedule and to do things the way I want,” she said. 

The future seems bright for the graduating classes of Northern Valley Regional. While they may have their fears and concerns, the students of Northern Valley are proven to be diligent workers, with many being incredibly dedicated to their goals and ambitions.

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