On Challenging Yourself, Making Friends, and Starting Something New

We asked Champlain College alumni to offer some words of wisdom to high school graduates who are planning their own college adventures. Turns out, it’s pretty solid advice for anyone starting something new.

“Don’t compare yourself to other people.” “Don’t be afraid to ask.” “Do something that’s going to challenge yourself every single day.” These are just a few of the things the students had to say.

When it comes to finishing up high school and starting college, high school students are likely feeling excited, anxious, and everything in between. Applying to college—never mind starting college—is a big deal, and it may feel overwhelming. Hearing from people who have been through it—but aren’t too removed from the experience—can help. So we asked a group of recent Champlain grads to let us know what they would say to themselves if they could go back in time to their first day of college.

Anthony Mahon ’19, recently graduated with a degree in Creative Media and a specialization in Sonic Arts. He now works at Scout Digital as an Account Manager.

Advice for New Students:

“Everything is going to be okay. Don’t panic. Take your time. What you start with is not what you’re going to finish with. I was petrified about changing my major at first. But I learned that it’s okay to adapt, it’s okay to change. The most important thing I would say to myself is, ‘Do something that scares you every day—within reason! Do something that’s going challenge yourself, that will push you out of your comfort zone. You’ll be a much better person for it.’”
—Anthony Mahon ’19 // Creative Media

“During Orientation, I felt very pressured to make my best friends that weekend. I thought if I didn’t make friends right away, I would never have them. Now, I would tell myself, ‘It’s okay. You’re going to have friends. You don’t have to worry about forcing something the first few days. Let friendships form organically. By talking to people and hanging out, you’re going to have shared experiences. That’s how you make friends.’”
—Quinn Kanner ’19 // Professional Writing

Quinn Kanner ’19 // Professional Writing, was hired as a Content Marketing Specialist at New Breed in Vermont.

“Don’t compare yourself to other people. You’re going to grow and learn and develop in a different way than others. And it’s not necessarily going to be better or worse, and you need to be okay with the path that you’re going to take.”
—Brennan Howell ’19 // Game Art & Animation

Brennan Howell ’19 // Game Art & Animation, was offered a job as an Environment Artist at Velan Studios before he graduated from Champlain.

“Oh my gosh. I would say to young 18-year-old Emma, ‘Don’t be afraid to try new things. Push yourself. You’ll find what you’re passionate about soon enough. Try and do as much as you can—it’s really important.’”
—Emma Katz ’19 // Marketing

Eduardo Fernandez ’19 // Game Production Management, is a Product Management Intern/Co-op at Aktana in San Francisco.

“I would say to my younger self, ‘Don’t miss out on opportunities that are offered—even if they are not explicitly offered to you. Follow up. Ask some questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. You never know how far a small question can go.’”
—Eduardo Fernandez ‘19 // Game Production Management

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