Speaking in retrograde: Advice from Green Hope alumni

Jazmin Jagger and Isabel Westerlund

The start of the school year is filled with college applications, new clubs, new friend groups, and starting new classes. It can be daunting at times, but Green Hope alumni have tips and guidance to help you soar through your years at Green Hope!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to underclassmen?

The most common advice: stay on top of your school work. If you let your assignments pile up, you often build up stress, leading to an unenjoyable semester. The key to happiness is finding a good balance between school work, and your home and social life. Putting too much pressure on yourself to perfect every piece of work can trap you, leaving you with no free time to do the things you love. It’s also important to remember to enjoy high school while it lasts, and find joy in the little things. Megan Setlak (‘22) reminisced on her high school experience and said, “Enjoy high school and take fun classes because it goes by very fast.”

Megan Setlak encourages underclassmen to cherish high school years as before students know it, they’re entering college. (Megan Setlack)

What is one thing that helped you stay focused while studying?

Former Green Hope Football captain Austin Turner (‘22) explained that studying in a group or with a few friends can be beneficial in many ways. Turner found studying with students who were taking the same subject or had expanded knowledge on the subject provided a different perspective, allowing them to succeed in the course. Alumni also found it useful to change their studying locations. Mary Tomberlin (‘22) experimented with different ways to focus on schoolwork and noted that completing assignments at the library or a local coffee shop was more beneficial than doing her work at home. “This can eliminate pesky distractions, giving you more time to focus on school work,” Tomberlin said.

What do you regret not doing during high school?

The majority of the alumni expressed the same regret relating to extracurricular activities. They wish they had joined more clubs, seeing them as a great way to branch out and meet new people who shared common interests. Megan Setlak stated, “I realized that the small things were actually more important than I thought.” High school years tend to go by very fast, so creating lots of fun memories is a great way to make the most of your time.

Mary Tomberlin Highlights that studying in a quiet public area is key for getting school work completed. (Mary Tomberlin)

What is something you wish you’d known before applying to college?

Giving yourself enough time! Alumni emphasize that applying to college is a big commitment that requires a lot of time and perseverance. Additionally, Bryce Mcguire (‘22) expressed that enrolling in college classes sooner rather than later is a must. “I wish I’d known to select my classes earlier. I ended up taking classes that required a large travel commitment at inconvenient times that I could be using for study time instead. I got into Wake Tech so the commute back and forth each day isn’t great,“ Mcguire said. 

Did extracurriculars help you, would you recommend any to other students?

The alumni concluded that extracurriculars added value to their high school experience, and they encourage all students to join clubs they take interest in.  “Extracurriculars were the most enjoyable part of my high school career,” Austin Turner said. “When looking for an extracurricular, listen to yourself, there will never be any judgment from your peers and others around you. I joined the football team in freshman year, it turned out to be my passion and I will keep the relationships I made with my teammates throughout my life.”