Opinion: College Advice from Seniors


Photo Courtesy Kyly Clark

Kyly Clark, Managing Editor

Some of us seniors feel as though we’ve magically made it through four years of college by the skin of our teeth, and nothing but luck. While others of us have confidently navigated a path unique to us, and found ourselves swiftly prancing along towards our destiny, taking advantage of every possibility along the way.

College is a huge feat, there’s no doubt about that – no matter what college you go to and what field you study. And in the end, it’s something to be tremendously proud of completing no matter how you get there. So I’ve talked with my peers and they’re leaving you with a few wise words after their experiences here at Sierra Nevada College to help you learn from their mistakes and be successful too!

First things first: Choosing your major is the most important part about college… DUH!

Do what you have to do and take the classes you need to take to figure out your path of study, but don’t dilly dally too long. I can’t give much advice here because it is such a personal decision, so choose what’s right for you, whether it’s a self-designed passion degree, or a safe career to put you on track for retirement. And stick to it. There’s no right answer! So make this experience yours.

Keep track of your own degree audit from the start, and keep it updated.

This is crucial to graduating in time for your glamour shot. Though we have a “within 9” policy at graduation, eliminate the need to fall on these I.O.U. credits or pay for an entire extra semester by knowing your requirements well and how to fill them. Senior English major Nicole Ross says it best: “Be your own advisor first, and get a second opinion from your academic advisor next.”

Find out which classes are offered when, and roughly plan out your schedule for that year. Don’t put off requirements and take them when they are offered. Likewise, get in those electives that you are excited about and figure out the logistics to make them count. And if you have transfer credits that aren’t counting for anything, work out how to get course substitutions.

Senior sustainability major Andre Chevalier says, “Being that SNC is a unique college experience and the structure of SNC is very laid back, I would say don’t limit yourself to the classes and requirements that the school says you need to do. There are so many ways that I could have tailored a unique and individualized education with course substitutions and independent studies.

“Although SNC may not offer exactly what you want to take, it is very flexible in the classes that you can take. Push the boundaries of what you’re told you can do.”

When you are on a roll, don’t stop and smell the flowers. Get the job done and then go play. Senior Emily Chichester is an interdisciplinary studies major in art and sustainability. “My best advice would be to arrange your schedule around when you work best and when you are the most creative,” she said. “I am the most creative in the morning, so I mostly have morning classes. And don’t be afraid to take off some time and travel abroad or just travel solo.”

You’ve all heard the saying, “You get what you put in,” and this couldn’t apply more at SNC.

“It’s easy at SNC to get stuck in a rut of being unproductive and messing around in this playland that we have. But one thing that I could have done is really taken my education to a higher level,” said Chevalier.

A similar saying goes for financials here at SNC. You can get out of it what you put in even in terms of tuition.

“I see all these emails for scholarships and I feel like there are definitely opportunities for outside financial aid – it just takes work and time,” said Chevalier.

And although it does cost a lot of money to go here, if you’re motivated enough you can get the most value for your investment. He gives the example of double majoring for the same money that you’re already paying.

“Utilizing the resources that SNC gives you also counteracts this high cost of tuition, including clubs, school trips, and non-scholastic events that you can be a part of because you’re an SNC student. You’re paying for it, so take advantage!”

Ultimately, your college career is about taking full advantage of the resources at your disposal. Senior sustainability major Weston Park says, “Put yourself out there and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. You might as well try something because if you fail you’re in the same position as when you started (not doing it) so put yourself out there and just have fun!”

Lastly, senioritis is no joke.

When it hits, it hits hard. So set yourself up and get the hard stuff over with so you can focus on life after college when you get to your senior year.

Assistant Registrar Jane Rainwater suggests taking at least 15-18 credits per semester to graduate within four years. “The worst thing is receiving a graduation petition and having to say, ‘I’m sorry you don’t have the requirements to graduate,’” she said. She once had a student who owed 35 credits! She advises students to triple- check their work and if a student has transfer credits to be sure to send those transcripts to the registrar’s office to be accounted for.

Many students complain about advisors “messing up” their schedules or their long- term graduation plans, but ultimately it’s on you to work this out.

“If you have a problem with your advisor you can go talk to the department chair,” Rainwater said. She also welcomes anyone to her office to get another opinion.

Having deadlines, working with professors or with other students, keeping track of your college financials, AND working outside of school can be a tremendous task on top of finding time for yourself, your friends, and the things you love to do.

My last words of advice are:

1. Stress kills. Spend less time stressing and just do it! Do everything in your power to avoid this.

2. If you know you’re a motivated individual, take a year off! Work. Catch up. Be sure that you are on the right academic path and let yourself WANT your degree. There’s really no rush.

3. Take good care of your physical and mental health. You need to be healthy to be productive.

4. Respect your teachers. Get off of your devices. Listen. They are here for your success!

5. And speak up, write those evaluations, ask for what you want and need out of your education. You deserve it. This is your future!