Do college expectations meet reality for SAS alumni?

Wondering about what awaits you in your future college life? With anticipation and fear, many seniors at this time of the year are struggling to find the right college for them. However, don’t be too stressed! College is a place anyone can enjoy and it is another door to a new life leading to better opportunities.

What college are you attending?

List of alums and what college they currently go to

Q: How long did it take you to get used to college life?

Stephannie Yi

A: Both Stephannie Yi and Danny Hong said that it only took them about one or two days to settle. Yoshi Komiya also commented, “It only took a couple of days to actually get to know some people and I think I got used to it fairly quickly because all of the people in my dorm were really cool and fit with me well.”

Danny Hong

However, not all alums could agree. David Koo, currently a sophomore in college, pointed out that he is still in the process of getting used to his college life. He said, “For me there were three factors that I had to struggle with in my new environment – lack of family, friends, and the cold weather. Having spent most of my life back in SAS, I realized that I took certain things for granted, such as living with my supportive family and socializing with friends whom I’ve known for years. But in college, I’ve befriended a lot of international students and have been introduced to great people who are great influences in my life.”

David Koo

David isn’t the only one not yet used to the college life. Bianca Antonio said, “I’ve been here for about a month and a half and I’m still getting used to it! So far it feels like a long summer camp and it’s hard to believe that I’ll be going to school here for the next four years. But all the freshmen are pretty much in the same boat so it isn’t bad.”

Q: What were your expectations going into college?

Bianca Antonio

A: “I basically got a lot of my expectations from movies about colleges, so crazy parties and sports games were things I thought were part of the college experience,” Bianca said. “I expected a lot more independence because we’re living away from home. Also because of the reputation of the school, I expected rigorous academics as well as learning for the sake of learning.”

Yoshi Komiya

Yoshi Komiya said, “Right before I got here, people were saying how UIUC was the number one party school and so I expected quite a lot from it and expected to go out a lot with my friends.”

Looking at the academic side, most alums admitted that they expected a very “competitive and tough” school life. Justin Peterson thought that he “had to do more work in a significantly harder way considering that [he was] in engineering, but also expected it to be really fun.” He added by saying that before he went into college, everyone told him that the first friends you make in college would not necessarily be your best friends throughout your whole college life. After hearing this, he said that he expected the people he met on the first day to be his temporary friends, but luckily for him, he spends most of his time with those people.

Q: What was the reality?

Justin Peterson

A: Although most students expected a very rigorous workload, in reality it wasn’t as bad as they expected. “I love college,” exclaimed Justin.

“Crazy dorm and sports parties are definitely a reality – they even have the red cups you always see in the movies. So is the independence you get by living away from home. No one cares if you skip class or don’t get involved with clubs – it’s all up to you. The academics are definitely more challenging than I expected. The courses are very intensive and the professors move very quickly,”  Bianca said.

Lauren Chan said, “Academically, it’s not that hard if you are able to manage your time well. But basically, what I expected of college was the reality.”

Lauren Chan

David noticed that “students are really passionate about things. Whether it’s art, sports, robotics, social justice or food, people are willing to have long conversations about what they love. The culture of learning for the sake of learning is also very prevalent. People take the classes that they do because they are genuinely interested in the subject, and that fosters a great collaborative environment.”

Stephannie shared her experiences, “It’s not as hard as I expected, but one thing that I never expected that was difficult to get used to was extracurriculars because in high school, as long as you want to join something, it’s comparatively easier to participate in them just because they take place right after school. However in college, all the extracurriculars take place around 8 p.m. onwards. Since no one has a set schedule and because no one ends at the same time, all those activities take place in the middle of your work time.”

Justin summed up his current college life in this way: “College is really fun and I love it very much. Although there is quite a lot of work and may be as hard as I expected, it is a place you can enjoy a new life compared to high school.”

Author: Ashley Hyun

Ashley Hyun is a second year reporter for The Eye. She is a senior and it is her 7th year at SAS. Ashley was born in Korea but has lived in Singapore for 11 years. Her hobbies include listening to music, hanging out with friends and watching movies. She can be contacted at

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