This is just the beginning

  • High School
Richard Hinchman, High School College and Career Counsellor


The moment of graduating from high school and heading off to college is a pivotal moment of life for many young students as it marks the end of one familiar chapter and the beginning of another; a journey into the unknown. 

One can easily remember or imagine what it would feel like and one of the great perks of this job is the chance to live vicariously through the flutters and exhilarations of the experience.  Thinking back to my own graduation, I remember a friend’s father warning us to enjoy the moment as it represented the best time of our lives.  I’d like to think he was completely wrong, but there was something poignant in his omen for the journey to come.  Better times have been had since way back when, but in the moment, the experiences were fresh, new, and absolutely thrilling.

This all-important time marks a significant transition from high school, and with newfound freedom and independence comes great responsibility. No one will tell you to get out of bed in the morning, make you go to class, or remind you to write that essay you’ll inevitably leave until the last minute.  It is scary to shrug off the warming security blanket of home and go out into the world to fend for yourself.  Feeding yourself can be hard, laundry is never fun, and many of your preconceived notions will end up completely off-base.  It can be terrifying, but in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “do one thing every day that scares you,” as facing new challenges and jumping out of your comfort zone is what makes college such a valuable experience in the first place.  Well, that and a nice piece of paper to hang on the wall that proves to potential future employers that you are capable of performing a series of complex tasks over time to achieve a specific goal without catastrophic results.

When we do something that scares us every day, we learn about ourselves and our capabilities in ways that we could not have otherwise. The heart-pounding adrenaline rush imagined here applies especially to the whole college experience. Stepping out of the nest for the first time in an attempt to take flight is that seminal first step into adulthood, with all the risks and associated rewards that entails.  It can be a fantastic adventure and will probably be filled with unexpected surprises, great achievements, and the occasional gut-wrenching failure.  Students today are the best equipped in history for adapting to these challenges and will find a whole new set of goals and associated risks. 

To the students of today, my biggest advice is to experiment, never be afraid to try something new, ask questions, and never, ever become complacent or content with mediocrity.  Get out there on your own, leave your comfort zone, love every moment, and don’t worry about messing up.  There is no rush or set formula for instant success.  You’re on your own.

As for our Class of 2023, I am pleased to announce that our ten graduates have so far been accepted to the following institutions: Barnard College, Colorado College, Scripps, the University of Washington, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Landmark College, City College of San Francisco, University of Toronto, Ohio State University, IE University in Spain, The Culinary Institute of America, Beloit College, Cornell College, Drew College, Denver College, Goucher College, Seattle University, Seton Hall, and the University of Puget Sound. One recent alumnus was also just accepted to Harvard University, Yale University, and University of California, Berkeley, for graduate studies in Architecture.

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