Graduates elucidate upon their college choices and aspirations

| May 30, 2024 | 0 Comments


Sifting through pressure and remaining authentic

Ruby Dunsworth has lived in Brookside her whole life, but, as of August, she’ll be moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend Langara College. The Immaculate Heart senior plans to study at Langara for one or two years before transferring to the University of British Columbia’s  (UBC) Vancouver campus.

Dunsworth opened up about the feelings this last year has brought. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” she said. “People are afraid of saying goodbyes and of moving away from each other. But, at the same time, everyone is asking where everyone is going.” The senior told us she felt a lot of pressure from others and from herself. At the beginning of the year, she said she felt like she should apply everywhere — even to schools she might not have had a chance to get into.

Her advice to next year’s seniors is to apply where they want, but not to feel pressured to apply to certain schools simply because other people are. She encourages people going through the process to really think financially, not just about the school’s name.  Dunsworth told us, “People post on Instagram about schools — where they got in, what they’re going to major and minor in… there’s a lot of social media pressure. It’s kind of like this whole competition thing,” she said.

Though Dunsworth’s first choice would’ve been to start at UBC, she’s happy to know that she can transfer to the bigger school easily from Langara. And now that her decision has been made, she is excited. “I’m an independent person,” she said. “I’m excited to experience something new. There won’t be any uniforms; I’ll be able to eat lunch out… I’ll be living away from home, which is scary and exciting.”

Dunsworth does have family in Vancouver. She has dual citizenship and has visited the city twice yearly since she was a baby, so she feels confident that she will know her way around. Apart from cleaning and cooking skills (“My mom’s an amazing chef!” she said), she told us she feels ready to live on her own. The graduate knows that her natural outgoingness will serve her well. She’ll be calling on her self-confidence to help her meet and talk to new people, which she sees as exciting and scary at the same time.  

Dunsworth will be majoring in management at Langera, specifically marketing communications and advertising. “Advertising and promotion are super interesting to me,” she said. She feels that the major suits her interests and her skill sets, but told us that she is open to other avenues that might spark her interest.


Making music and being there for others

Buckley senior Sam Terr of Ridgewood Wilton will be attending the University of Miami in the fall. He’s a huge college football fan and wanted a big city school that had a strong community, school spirit and a nice campus. He said the U of M was the best school he got in to, and he likes that it has a traditional college feel.

Terr had assistance with the application process and is grateful to the out-of-school counselors who helped him. Many seniors, he said, look to out-of-school college counselors to aid them in breaking down which schools to apply to, guide them through the essay writing process and give pointers for the whole application process in general. 

During his freshman year, Terr took a music composition production and technology course at Buckley and realized that is what he wanted to do for a career. He started playing the guitar at age 6 and now plays the guitar and produces music using digital audio workstations.

Terr makes house and tech house tracks, remixes songs and puts them on SoundCloud (a platform that empowers independent artists). He’s also in a band he co-founded with two others, called Wednesday in Berlin. “We have to figure out what we’re going to do [while we’re all] at college,” he said.

Having done a month-long music production class over last summer at New York University, Terr has had a taste of college life. He also feels that Buckley has prepared him well. “The classes are difficult, and the rigor is there to get students ready for college classes,” he said. But he’s excited that Miami will feel different. He’s told us he’s ready to “start fresh, do it all over and make a group of friends.”

Terr will start at the University of Miami on Aug. 19, and he has hopes to be part of the music program there. Though he feels ready for his new adventure, Terr told us he would like to visit Buckley at some point to see the music teacher. “Mr. Haas really did a full 180 with the music program this year. He changed around the music composition class and the [school] band itself. We did more projects and made our own stuff, which is getting compiled into an album. He even had kids who weren’t in the band come and play.”

Buckley should be easy to visit because Terr said he wants to end up living in Los Angeles because of the ever-changing music scene. But he told us he’s open to travel and would like to see the world. He knows that he can “do music from anywhere these days.”

And what kind of person does he want to be while he’s out in the world? “I want to be somebody who is kind and who can offer a helping hand and be there for anybody.”


Open-minded, artsy and ready to keep learning

Lulu Grieco of Campbell Hall told us that the past year has been stressful, but she realizes that most seniors applying to colleges will say the same thing. The Windsor Square resident and daughter of Nyakio and David Grieco told us that she’s always been very interested in art and has found Campbell Hall’s arts department to be amazing. Grieco participates in visual arts and dance at the school and, although she decided not to apply to any arts colleges, she wanted to include a portfolio of her work with her school applications.

She applied to 22 schools, so getting together the portfolio on top of making sure all the essays and regular submission materials got finished was quite a task. “I’d never had to write in the way that I wrote for the applications,” she said. Trying to “sell your whole being” was a bit of an adjustment, she told us.

Fortunately, Grieco knew what she was looking for in the schools to which she was applying. She had researched them and told us Campbell Hall’s school counselors helped a lot. “We got paired with a college counselor and met one-on-one before the application process started,” she told us. Grieco was a little indecisive at first because she didn’t know what she wanted to do — she still isn’t sure of her desired career path — but she has always been very active in extracurricular activities and remains passionate about many of the ones with which she’s been involved.

Grieco has always been interested in psychology — specifically children’s developmental psychology and forensic psychology — and she knew that she wanted to be on the East Coast. “I want to experience weather at least once in my life,” she said. The senior has visited the East Coast often with her mother and loves that it’s so easy to get around, and she loves the people there.

Her top three school choices were Brown University, University of Michigan and Wesleyan University. Ultimately, she chose to attend Brown. Grieco had done a juvenile forensics psychology and law class at the school for two weeks over the summer, and she has now visited the school three times. Brown’s open curriculum and the fact that students are not required to declare their majors until their sophomore year sold her. “I’m interested in so many things.

“The school’s curriculum is designed to make you not feel trapped. It fosters a community of people who have a variety of interests and are open-minded. You are around people who have so many different opinions and ideas. I love that. It creates more empathy,” she said. Her university is also right next door to Rhode Island School of Design, and Brown students can take classes at the art school free of charge.

“I feel like one of my biggest things is that I never want to stop learning,” said Grieco. After university, she told us, she wants to go out into the world and constantly be taking in new information. She also wants to find a way to incorporate art into whatever she does. “I want to be a creative adult. Being in a cubicle is nightmare fuel for me,” she said.

When asked if she has any advice to give to next year’s seniors, Grieco said, “Start everything as soon as possible, set milestones for yourself and celebrate yourself for each step. Be proud — you’ll make it through.”


Grateful and ready to pay it forward

Aidan Turrill, the youngest of three brothers who live in Windsor Square with their parents,  Dounia and Michael, has attended Loyola High School for the past four years. “I’ve loved Loyola. There’s no place I’d rather have gone,” he said. Turrill told us that the brotherhood at the school is amazing and, as it turns out, many of the opportunities he’s had over his years there have shaped his future goals.

Turrill is the community service leader for the Kino Teens Immigration Club at Loyola. He became part of the club during his sophomore year. It is named after a shelter in Nogales, Arizona (on the Arizona / Mexico border) for people seeking asylum. The club meets once a week to discuss laws that have been passed and how the U.S. is working to help immigrants.

Through the club, Turrill visited the shelter and the border, spending a week preparing meals for, speaking with and listening to migrants. “You can’t see what I saw and forget about it,” he said. On his college applications, he made it clear that he wanted to be involved with equity and inclusion work at the schools to which he was applying and wanted to continue advocating for immigrant rights.

The senior told us he had a great support system throughout the whole college application process. His parents and brothers gave him a lot of input. His middle brother, Luke, attends Loyola Marymount University in Westchester and really wanted his younger sibling to join him there. “I got deferred and then waitlisted for LMU. I was disappointed, but now I think it’s a good thing,” he said.

Turrill told us that he had set his expectations low for the whole application process. “I knew that, wherever I went, I was going to be happy. Whenever you talk to anyone about where they went, they have good things to say,” he said. So, he didn’t let the rejection get to him too much. The fact that he was accepted by a number of schools already helped, and Turrill said that hearing friends talk about where they’d been accepted and rejected made him realize it was all just part of life.

Turrill applied to Penn State as a bit of an afterthought. But the tour he was given by Penn students sold him on the school. “The kids spoke so highly of Penn State. It was almost reminiscent of how Loyola High School students talk about Loyola,” he said. He also learned that attendees had multiple internships throughout their time at the school. Apparently, the head of the communications school constantly sends emails letting people know about internships and job opportunities. Turrill found this to be very appealing. He was accepted to the school of communications under a film production major, but he says that he wants to switch when he gets to Penn. “I want to major in telecommunications and media management, with a minor in film production, because I think that’s broader and gives me more opportunity,” he told us.

When asked what he wants to do after college and what kind of a person he wants to be in the world, Turrill said, “I want to be someone who contributes. I am so grateful for the life I have and am grateful to be alive right now.” The graduate’s goal is to repay everything that he’s been granted — whether it’s by being kind to others or advocating for immigrant rights. “I want to chip away at repaying what I’ve been given,” he said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll be in a position where I have creative freedom over a film or television series. I’d like to do something with the stories of the people in Nogales.”

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