Miramonte Alum Just Can’t Get Away

1. What’s the best thing about college?
Brenna Casey: The best thing about college is the amount of opportunities. There is so much that you can do and I am trying my best to take advantage of everything. There are hundreds of clubs you can join, places you can go, sports you can play, events you can see, foods you can try, people you can meet, etc. Sometimes all the opportunities are overwhelming but there is never another time in your life when there will be SO many opportunities being thrown at you.
Elaine Tanski: I think one of the best things about college is being able to take classes you are genuinely interested in. The dining commons are pretty awesome too.
Sean Haufler: The students. Everyone here is accomplished and interesting (There’s a guy in my class who discovered two species of dinosaur). It’s an intimidating, albeit motivating feeling, and it creates a great learning atmosphere. The weekly five-day weekends are also a major plus.

2. What’s the worst thing about college?
Brenna: Ironically, the worst thing about college is the same thing that I would not change. The hardest part of college, especially freshman year, is the lack of comfort. For one, it’s very hard to be so far away from home. I didn’t think the miles would affect me as much as they do. But again, I wouldn’t change it. No one knows you in college-you don’t have friends that went to Sleepy Hollow with you anymore and you don’t have the same group that you hang out with every weekend. You have to re-establish this. So if you hate Miramonte and you are looking for a new beginning, it is definitely your time to change who you want to be. Or, if you were like me, and you loved Miramonte and your amazing group of friends, you have to realize that it takes a long time to get to the level of comfort that you had with your Orinda friends. You can’t compare your college friends to your high school friends because the two are so different.
Elaine: The worst thing about college is having to be paranoid about sickness. I caught swine flu the week of midterms and it was so horrible.
Sean: You have so many options during college; there are too many people to meet, too many classes to choose from, too many things to do. It can be overwhelming sometimes. (But I guess this could be interpreted as a positive).

3. What is your biggest regret from high school?
Brenna: My biggest regret in high school was definitely putting excessive energy into the college process. Being here, I now realize that it really doesn’t matter where you go to undergraduate school. Most every college has amazing professors, fabulous programs, parties, and opportunites. In high school, I was WAY too into the college process. I knew everything about every college, thought about my admissions essays too much, and got way too upset when I got rejection letters. It’s not that this was a waste of time, but it just wasn’t worth it. I wish I didn’t get so into the process because, seriously, everything does work out and I believe it all works out for a reason.
Elaine: One thing I regret from high school is not being appreciative enough of my parents. I know that sounds corny but when you’re all by your lonesome in college you might find yourself counting down the days until you see your family next.
Sean: I can honestly say that I don’t regret anything I did in high school.

4. Are you happy with the college you chose?
Brenna: I am SO happy with Vanderbilt. It really is a perfect school for me and things are going really well. With that said, however, I can honestly say that I am sure I would have been just as happy at several other universities as well.
Elaine: I’m very happy with UC Davis. It’s really laid back and everyone’s pretty friendly.
Sean: Yes.

5. Looking back, what was the best move you made in the decision-making process to be where you are now?
Brenna: I am glad I chose to go out of state and experience something new. When you leave California, you are definitely out of your comfort zone, but that is when you grow and learn the most. This was definitely not the most comfortable environment that I could have chosen for myself, but that is what I like most about it. It’s an experience for sure, and that is what college should be about.
Elaine: I’m so glad that I decided to be a student athlete because it’s a great experience and I’ve gained a lot of really close friends from it. I think joining some type of organization in college is a good idea in terms of meeting people and having a solid structure to fall back on.
Sean: I went on college visits during the summer between sophomore and junior year. I recommend visiting college campuses as early as possible so you can get a sense of what schools you’d like to apply to before the application process begins.

6. What advice can you give to junior and seniors who are thinking about/applying to college?
Brenna: Take the college matchmaker test on collegeboard.com. Establish a relationship with your regional admissions officer for the schools that you are really interested in. I will say that applying early decision helps A LOT. Schools love to know that you are in love with them! All and all, it sounds stupid, but seriously don’t freak out about the admissions process. People who you think don’t deserve to get into good schools will get into amazing schools. And people who really should have gotten into their top choice Ivy could very well not get into some of the UCs. The admissions process does not make sense a lot of the time, but you really just have to believe that everything will work out in the end!
Elaine: Everyone makes the college search process into some huge stressful life or death situation. Just do your best and be open-minded. The last place I ever thought I would be was UC Davis and now I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
Sean: Apply early to college. It will make your senior year a lot more enjoyable. I applied early and committed to Yale by mid-October of my senior year. It was great to be able to avoid the stress of regular decision applications.