Travel Buddies: When Graduation Does Not Mean Goodbye

 Whether it’s with cool confidence, impatient irritation, or terrified trepidation, seniors ultimately venture off into the world for internships, stride across the stage at graduation, and, a few months later, bid farewell to Westport to achieve their post-high school goals.

For many of this year’s seniors, however, a piece of Westport will travel with them to their new environments, whether that will be in nearby New York City, or halfway across the country.               

For these seniors, they’ll see some pretty familiar faces on their new campuses—faces that they have, in fact, been passing for four years in the halls of Staples High.

With a graduating class of 424 students, it’s not uncommon to wind up at the same college as a former classmate or two, but there are some extreme cases this year. For example, 12 Staples graduates will be attending Boston University, 15 will be headed to University of Michigan, and 21 will be here in the Nutmeg State at University of Connecticut, according to May 17 statistics from the College and Career Center.

In the opinion of Barrett Kowalsky ’12, who will attend BU, most other Staples students  attending with him share similar sentiments about becoming a Terrier.

“I fell in love with the atmosphere and the sense of community that the school offered,” he said, “and I think that everyone that’s going next year feels the same way. Everyone’s personality really matches up with the students currently attending BU.”

For Dani Kosinski ’12, her chief reasons for attending UConn—the campus, the sports, and, most especially, the financial aspect—also align with the other seniors who will be going there with her.

However, Cindy Im ’12, a future BU student, added that it might be difficult to interact with her previous high school classmates at college due to the large size of her school — BU has nearly 18,500 undergraduate students. But in the meantime, she believes she has grown closer to other future BU students from Staples.

“It’s a bit easier to talk to the others, because we’re all worried about the same things,” Im said.

Future UConn students have also been interacting more, according to Jessica Guo ’12, who recently took a road trip with three fellow seniors to the Storrs,Conn.campus for Accepted Students Day.

“The car ride there and back was a nice bonding experience, because a few of those students were people I wouldn’t normally see outside of school,” Guo said.

However, Guo added that the UConn bond has been strong inWestportas well.

“When I see a senior I don’t know too well wearing a UConn sweatshirt, I’ll ask if they’re going next year, we’ll have a short little conversation, and joke about how many Staples kids are going,” she said.

Ultimately, though, it appears that no group has gotten closer before graduation than those headed toMichigan. They have created a Facebook group called “Staples Does Michigan 2016.” Although it has only recently gained momentum, Colleen McCarthy ’12 believes it will be helpful when she begins her freshman year.

“I think some people were going to put together a seating section for football games [in the group],” she said.

The “big campus” concern that Im professed about BU has also crossed the minds of some Michigan students—the undergraduate population exceeds 27,000 students. But according to McCarthy, this will not hold her back from meeting new people.

“It’ll be comforting knowing some people going in since Michigan is huge, but being so big, I feel like I’ll definitely reach out of the Staples comfort zone,” she said.

Whether a senior is headed to college knowing one person or 13 others, Kowalsky believes that bond helps to ease what will be a significant transition.

“I think knowing that these people are going to the same school with me next year automatically brings us closer,” she said. “We’re moving on to a new community together.”