Seniors receive “College Scoop” from East Alumni


Don’t hesitate. Join us. Find your campus resources. Such was some of the valuable advice from Cranston East graduates given to seniors on Friday afternoon at the library’s annual Reverse College Day event.

Led by library media specialist Heidi Blais and school counselor Leslie Conley, the two reached out to college freshmen and sophomores to see who would be interested in returning to their alma mater to share their college experiences. Graduates shared helpful tips with seniors, talked about their favorite aspects of college, and talked about different ways to get involved. The event was originally held around Thanksgiving, but many alumni were traveling home for the holiday so it was pushed back to January when the East alumni were in the middle of winter vacation.

Blais and Conley held two Reverse College Day sessions at the school library on Friday with 90 seniors and about 40 alumni. Blais said this was the first time Cranston East had brought this event back since the pandemic; This was one of her largest turnouts to date.

While adults in the building give students the same advice as alumni, Conley said students are listening more to their peers and their experiences. She added that a pin could be heard dropping in the room on Friday and that neither student had turned off their phones in the two sessions.

Blais and Conley commented on the growth of maturity after one semester of college. Conley added that the school is fortunate to have students who are committed to the East; The school always tells students that they are still part of the community after they graduate and it’s great to see them come back and take the helpful hints and talk about the transition so seriously.

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While students enjoyed hot chocolate and food in the library, graduates shared their experiences in groups. URI students ranked first, followed by out-of-state students, CCRI students, and students from other Rhode Island schools.

Much of the advice focused on not procrastinating and finding resources on campus to help with issues you are struggling with.

“The work ethic that you establish in your life now is the work ethic that you will have when you grow up, and if you really want to be successful in life, you can’t do it without a good work ethic,” Christian Mestre said.

In addition, the graduates challenged the seniors to take the time to figure out what they wanted to do. They added that it’s okay to switch majors and you’re not tied to the degree you’re pursuing.

“Give yourself grace through this process and through your freshman year of college,” said Maurice Holtzman, a sophomore at Syracuse University.

Alyssa DePina, who attends CCRI, expressed a similar sentiment.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. College is a big adjustment and it’s okay if you struggle a little bit, and it’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do because you really have so much time to figure that out,” DePina said.

Seniors also asked alumni questions about how student-athletes managed their time, how they battled senioritis, and what prompted them to choose certain colleges.

College-level football and volleyball graduates suggested student-athletes buy a planner and plan their drills, classes, and when they might need to go to the library to complete their work or studies .

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“It doesn’t matter what league you play in, what school you go to, you go to school,” Jordan Bou said.

As for fighting senioritis, alumni advised seniors to keep their grades high and do what they have to do. They also suggested enjoying the rest of senior year before all the friends move away for their own adventures.

Other tips from the grads included using the FAFSA, getting a job on campus, and communicating effectively with your roommate if something is bothering you.

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