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AHS welcomes back alumni to give college tips to seniors

A group of Arlington High School alumni from the Class of 2022 returned to their old stomping grounds to give seniors invaluable insights into college life. The AHS counseling department held its traditional College Forum that featured a panel of AHS alumni who returned to share their college experiences from their first semester in college.

From study tips and time management to items they should buy for their dorms, the panel gave the Class of 2023 a little glimpse into what they should be expecting in just a few months after leaving high school. But it wasn't all about practical advice - the panel also talked about the importance of finding a community and a sense of belonging in college. Many of them stressed the importance of stepping outside of their comfort zone to join clubs or organizations that connect them to others. "I never thought I'd be the type of person to join a sorority, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I've made so far in college," said one alumnus. "It gave me a built-in group of friends and is providing me opportunities for leadership and service."

"Personally, I'm very involved in the band. It's my life," continued Tommy Ducey, who now attends Mississippi State University. "My roommate is in the band. We have practice every day, so I'm always with them. It's been a major highlight of my freshman year." 

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Academic success was also a focus of the forum, with the panel stressing the importance of getting to know professors and learning how to take notes and studying. "I feel Arlington really prepared me academically for college, but I still had so much to learn about how to actually take notes," said one panelist. "You have to understand that every class only has three maybe four tests the entire semester. That's it - that's how you get your grade, so start learning now how to take good notes and develop better study habits."

Alumnus Chad Cocraft, who is now attending Henderson State University in Arkansas, took the opportunity to dig even deeper with the students to give them a fuller picture of life in college. "Everyone tries to prepare you by telling you to have better study habits and that your parents won't be there to take care of things for you," he explained. "But you have to really tell them how it is with making new friend groups, handling your own finances, leaving behind the umbrella of always having teachers looking after you. You have to tell them the nitty gritty that they won't tell you on the tours."

The hour-long forum, which featured nearly 15 alumni who are currently attending both public and private colleges from across the country, kicked off the final semester for the Class of 2023 as they begin to think about their next step in their education. "It was very helpful hearing from kids who we know and went to school with just last year," said senior Garrett Street. "Just knowing they graduated right in front of us and are experiencing college now as freshmen makes it more real world. It's good to hear about the experiences they're having."