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In the middle of college application season, seniors at Smithfield High School are just itching to leave and pursue their dreams. Or at least what they think to be well thought-out plans. In reality, these notions of the future begin to meld into a fantasy of what the real world is like. To attempt to pull these seniors back to earth and set realistic expectations, Christina Gliottone created and spearheaded an event called “Alumni Day”. Alumni Day was approximately two hours long and consisted of four groups of 5-7 alumni in a panel presenting to the senior class their experiences with life after high school whether things go as planned or completely awry. These panels consisted of people who went to the military instead of college, who transferred colleges, who went to college in state, who went to college out of state, who switched majors, who got rejected from their college, who traveled, and even those who chose not to go to college or take a gap year.
This diverse set of panel members not only presented the graduating class a multitude of options for after high school, but also presented some obstacles that may not have even been on their radar when considering life after high school. Students who may never worried about grades may end up rejected like some panel members and settling for majors that they never really thought about. Or students whose grades were their life may end up hating their top choice college while attending. Or students who thought college and a civilian job was the only course of action when, in reality, they find a family in military like some alumni. Some students who found solstice in speaking their opinions may struggle to find like minded peers on campus. There are two sides to every coin, no matter how bright and shiny it may be. And today, seniors were revealed the pitfalls of real life, of change.
However, this was far from a depressing note, as the alumni collectively agreed that there is still a bright path ahead, and the only way one can dim it is through fear. As the class of 2019 enters the real world, alumni who have walked the same stage before them, have so much knowledge and wisdom whether they graduated 2 years ago or 6 years ago, that all follows one theme: don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid to move out of state. To join the military. Don’t be afraid to follow your passion only to change your mind and your major halfway through. Don’t be afraid to be a change in the world. Don’t be afraid to change yourself if only a little bit. Don’t be afraid to travel or to change schools or to change your entire path. Don’t be afraid of the future. Don’t be afraid to be part of the future.
Alumni day is just one of the many events that Smithfield High organizes to rightfully prepare their students to become the best they can be before and after they cross that stage. Good luck Class of 2019, and remember to be fearless.