Following what has already become an annual tradition, on January 7, 2015 WAB alumni were invited back to the WAB High School for a casual question and answer session with our senior students, followed by a networking luncheon. More than 20 alumni from all corners of the world gathered to share their experiences and advice about University life.
Todd Hutchinson, WAB Grade 12 Level Leader welcomed the alumni, students and staff assembled in the HS Amphitheater, and invited the returning alumni to introduce themselves. Later on, HS Counselor Franko Cifizzari proceeded to introduce some leading questions and moderate the exchange with the audience.
Most alumni concurred that WAB had successfully prepared them for University life, and had equipped them with the necessary tools for a positive transition. They praised the value of the IB Diploma program, particularly the ability to reflect and write, producing high quality work. They also pointed out the importance of being organized, manage time, resources and priorities, not procrastinate, and focus on studying hard.
Most Universities offer a wide range of clubs or extra curricular activities to chose from. To this effect, most panelists agreed that they provide a great opportunity to pursue other, non-academic interests. "But don't get carried away. Only do what you like, and make sure you have enough time to study", said Luke Carberry, a student at Bowdoin College, New Hampshire.
The group also addressed questions regarding everyday life – from living with roommates, to cooking, laundry, and sleeping habits. Wei Chi Chen, currently studying at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, pointed out that "in University, you have to learn how to manage your life. It is important to be independent".
When asked about regrets, there were very few answers, but some participants singled out procrastination and partying too much during the first year as things they would try to avoid if they had a chance.
Going off to University is undoubtedly a major life-changing event. Some students were curious to know how the graduates had spent their senior summer. Some graduates shared stories of traveling with friends, taking supplementary classes to better prepare them for the start of University, as well as working to earn some additional money. One panelist emphasized the importance of spending time with family. "During your senior year you are so busy studying, taking exams, and preparing for University, that you don't have much time to spend with your family. Cherish the last summer you will have with your parents and siblings, because you will never have that time together again", she said.
The question and answer forum was followed by a light luncheon served in one of the study rooms, where alumni, staff, counselors and students were able to mingle, laugh, share stories and catch up.
The event is a valuable opportunity for WAB Alumni to give back to the community by sharing their experiences and advice with current seniors, and proved that WAB is able to help students successfully launch and lead their careers.