Senior Send-off 2017

Jenn Zaratan

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Drowned out by college applications, preparing for college life itself has never been a particularly emphasized topic among seniors at Tino. “Senior Send-off,” a PTSA event in its third year, aimed to shift the focus from the more common college application workshops or presentations to one about navigating college once there. On Saturday, May 20, Senior Send-off was held on campus exclusively for college-bound seniors and their parents to help settle any lingering anxieties and questions.

The event was set up in a panel style with five Cupertino High School alumni, recently returning from their first year in college and joined by their parents; each returning college student shared their personal college experience, discussing basic social and academic matters as well as heavier topics such as drug culture and sexual assault.

“The purpose [of Senior Send-off] is for students to have an opportunity to know what to be prepared for in all those practical ways and social ways, and also for the parents to hear those little tips from other [parents] who are just going through [the same experience],” said PTSA member and organizer Ione Yuen. “We want to cover the academics and the financials: using a credit union, or knowing to get a mattress pad because the mattresses at your college might be all covered in vinyl, or just how to keep track and communicate with your kids — those kinds of things.”

   The five students on the panel all attended different schools, public and private, located close by or on the other side of the country. Their answers to specific questions about classes, research and internships, college party life, and more varied from person to person, highlighting the uniqueness and unpredictability of each student’s experience. However, a few central themes and advice emerged, particularly about making friends and trying new or different extracurriculars.

   “Just try everything — I’m in the Black Student Union. I’m not black,” said Arjun Mathur, a student at San Jose State University, smiling and inciting laughs from the crowd.

   Syrus Parsay, who frequently speaks at college-related presentations, acted as the host and facilitator. The event was originally scheduled to end at 10:30 a.m., but ran overtime as the panel members eagerly agreed to continue answering more questions from both Parsay and audience members.

“It’s very difficult to make the transition from high school to college and have it all figured out,” Parsay said, concluding the event with some final advice. “But it’s not about having it all figured out already, it’s about exploring.”

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