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  • Writer's pictureOscar Amos

Home for Christmas: An Interview with College Freshmen Genevieve and Hugo

Updated: Jan 8

As winter break ends and everyone returns to school, college freshmen are traveling back to campus to commence their second semester of college. Parker’s Class of ‘23 alumni range within 5,000 miles, from Hawaii all the way to Boston. With alumni living so far from “home,” this interview explored diverse perspectives from students Genevieve Savage (Class of ‘23), and Hugo Amos (Class of ‘23). These students took their studies to the East Coast, experiencing colder weather, seasonal atmospheres, and fresh faces. Genevieve studies English and Political Science at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, while Hugo studies Music at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. This article discusses the pros, cons, and everything in between of college life. 

  1. Having lived and graduated on the Big Island, have you experienced any culture shocks in your new life?

Genevieve: Absolutely. As you're probably familiar with, people on island share smiles with each other on a day-to-day basis even if you're strangers. So if you get a drink at Starbucks, and you can walk in the door, someone will probably hold the door open for you and pass on a smile or say good morning. In the city, that's not the norm. So I've had to get used to a few one-way smiles each day, but finding friends in the city that will smile back at you always makes it better.

Hugo: Um, not really. Like my area is pretty suburban. The only big difference is the prices of groceries really, and toiletries and stuff like that. Otherwise, not really.

2. What are some similarities between high school life within your college experience? 

Genevieve: I always appreciated Parker's encouragement to join clubs when I was in high school, and I feel that same encouragement at college. I think there's a really good club atmosphere where even if there isn't a club available that you are interested in joining, you always have the option to make one yourself, and you will get school funding, approval, and support in order to jump-start that. So that sort of fostering of creativity and inclusion is something that I'm very grateful that I also had in my high school experience.

Hugo: Um, I think that friends are definitely, like, the way I interact with my friends is pretty similar. We still all eat lunch together, we meet up after classes, etc. And I think that another similarity is having a set schedule. Lastly, signing up for classes is a little similar to picking electives in high school and stuff like that.

3. What's the weirdest or most unexpected thing you've learned so far in college?

Genevieve: Oreos are vegan

Hugo: The most unexpected? Hm…people use public showers with no shoes on.

4. If you could take any class taught by anyone (real or fictional), who would it be and what would it be about?

Genevieve: Oh, Professor Snape from Harry Potter. He teaches defense against the dark arts, in particular, potion making. I would totally take that.

Hugo: Probably Music Production. It would be interesting to have it be taught by Anderson Paak.

5. Do you feel that your motivation for school has changed since leaving high school?

Genevieve: Yes. Because I don't go to a liberal arts school, all the classes I'm taking are ones that I chose specifically for my career path, meaning that I'm taking classes I'm really passionate about and there's no room for tediousness there. It also means I have to be especially driven early on so that I can discover whether or not those classes really are my passions and if my career path is really for me.

Hugo: Yeah. I think I'm much more motivated to work on my subjects outside of class because I'm doing music and I'm working on songs and just working on honing my craft on my own.

6. What is your favorite place on campus to do schoolwork?

Genevieve: ISEC. It's a large research facility on campus. It's about 8 floors high, and it's completely open and really modern looking. So if you get a spot on the top floor, you can actually look over the banister and see all the way down. It’s just a super cool place to do work late at night, and students kind of flock there on the weekends to catch up.

Hugo: My room or the music studio.

7. Have your time management skills grown stronger or weaker?

Genevieve: I'd say stronger because I am more protective of my sleep in college than I was in high school. So I am more driven to finish my work so that I can get a good night's sleep–more so than I was in high school. 

Hugo: Definitely stronger, but I think that's because I have more time. So it's not like I'm rushing to do homework for eight different classes in one evening.

8. Do you prefer going to a school with a bigger or smaller student population?

Genevieve: This is a tricky one. Coming from a small school, I always believed that the forced proximity aided me in making and nurturing friendships. Coming to a bigger school meant that I had to actively assert myself in order to make friendships and there would be multiple failures and many incompatibilities that I would have to navigate myself and decide if I ever wanted to see that person again. Although it was a big shift, I think that being at a bigger school provides more options or flavors of people and their interests, their compatibilities. It's easier to find people who are like you when the pool is that much bigger. When the pool is smaller, I believe sometimes you have to compromise on your own values and hobbies so that you become more likable to other people. And I think at a bigger school, you're more likely to find people who have the same weird habits as you or think the way that you do.

Hugo: I think I like somewhere in the middle. I like having more students just because it feels like even though you've been there for a while, I seem to meet new people every day.

9. What was the deciding factor in choosing your college?

Genevieve: Northeastern has a nationally recognized co-op program that makes students complete 2 jobs in their field during Undergrad before they graduate, meaning that by the time you graduate, you have items to put in your resume that are doing work in your field, which you can't say about a lot of other colleges and universities. So as someone who has known what I wanna do since I was a kid, I knew that Northeastern was gonna help me accomplish those goals faster than other schools because I'm gonna get that work experience as I'm learning about my career.

Hugo: I decided on Urisnus because they have a strong contemporary music program.

10. Lastly, do you have any advice for students entering their final semester of senior year?

Genevieve: I would say that I think the most special time of high school is the second semester of your senior year, and being really intentional with that time, packing that time or not packing that time, using it in a way that is fulfilling and respects all of the hard work and energy you've put into your college applications in the first semester is so important. Senior year is a stressful time, and I think that making an effort to do the things that make you really happy. I would say throughout my 1st semester of college, I have thought many times about countless moments during my second semester of my senior year that I wish I could replay over again. So I would advise making those moments really count so that you have fond memories to look back on.

Hugo: Spending time working on things that you would like to do for your potential future and getting a head start on something that you might major in in college. Whether that's gaining more knowledge on a topic or just having more experience and exposure in your field.

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