Haverford Alumni Offer Advice to the Class of 2022

We invited alumni to share their wisdom with first-year students on move-in day. From academic mentorship to navigating party spaces and from forming friendships to exploring extracurriculars, the advice they gave is practical, whimsical, and very Haverfordian.

We invited alumni to share their wisdom with first-year students ahead of Move-In Day. From academic mentorship to navigating party spaces and from forming friendships to exploring extracurriculars, the advice they gave is practical, whimsical, and very Haverfordian.

Aaron Levine ’14: “Always use cold water when washing darks and lights together! And try to be mindful of when your laundry is finished; your dormmates will appreciate it and your clothes won’t be strewn about the laundry room by an impatient peer.”

Alex Lafrance ’16: “Eat right and get a solid 7-plus hours of sleep. Especially if it’s your first time on your own (and with everything going on) those are usually the first two good habits that slip, but life is a helluva lot better when you take care of yourself!”

Alex Snow ’18: “Keep your mind open to new things, but don’t let that motive cause you to lose your sense of self.”

Alexander Mirarchi ’11: “Expand your horizons and engage with the world, not just the Haverbubble.”

Alison Crawford ’11: “You do not need to bring your own futon for your Gummere dorm room—it will not nearly fit! I learned this firsthand and I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Amy Zamora ’18: “Be open to trying new things. You never know when you’ll stumble across a new passion.”

Benjamin O’Neil ’14: “Get sleep!”

Benjamin Burke ’18: “Say ‘yes’ to things often. When opportunity knocks it is seldom obvious, you never know when your future favorite thing about Haverford is about to come into your life.”

Benjamin Goldstein ’18: “Join as many groups and clubs and events as possible and see what sticks. You need to put yourself out everywhere before you can find the many places you belong.”

Brian Keller ’18: “Be yourself.”

Bryan Wang ’16: “Talk to juniors, seniors, and alumni about how they found their passions; think about and write down what your life goals are before what you should major in. When you truly understand why you are learning instead of just mindlessly following a standard path, you will be more motivated to do well in class.”

Candace Vance ’10: “You chose Haverford for a good reason. You just have to find out who can help turn that reason/hope into a meaningful college experience. Lifelong friends and mentors are there. Service activities are there. Really great academics are there.”

Caroline Steliotes ’18: “Keep your mind, heart, and ears wide open to all in the Haverford community, but particularly to your peers. There is so much to learn from each other. Everyone comes to Haverford with different lived experiences, and I believe those who leave Haverford best ready to make the world a better place are those who listen to, validate, and work to understand the wide array of experiences of their peers. There are lots of special people here. Don’t be afraid to find them! Strive to live up to the ideals of Haverford and of the Honor Code, and support others to do the same.”

Carolyn Oehrig ’15: “My advice is to be as brave as possible at First Drinker! I met my husband for the first time that night, and I may have never talked to him that night if I hadn’t resolved to be really bold and introduce myself to everyone and anyone who would listen.”

Chandler Todd ’18: “Make sure you get Campus Corner’s number in your phone early and make sure to try out the Fat Cat, it’s probably the best thing they have but also the worst thing for you. Also Insomnia Cookies are pretty awesome. Be yourself and have fun.”

Charles Collett ’07: “My advice would be to take a few classes that just seem interesting outside of your regular course of study.”

Charles Atkins ’90: “Schedule your parties like you schedule study time: plan ahead and not last minute!”

Christine Hwang ’11: “Don’t be afraid to try new things and take courses that you are interested in. You never know where it will take you, so take some risks and enjoy your time at Haverford!”

Christopher Richards ’18: “If you’re a student athlete, make an effort to connect with people outside of your team and other teams. Haverford is full of amazing people and it’s worth while to get to know as many as possible. To anyone not participating in organized athletics, Haverford athletes are certainly intimidating in a group but they still are very ‘Haverfordian’ on the whole and I think you would be surprised if you take the time to get to know them as individuals.”

Clara Abbott ’18: “Explore Philly! And also to take leadership in a few groups/offices rather than having a foot in every door—quality over quantity!”

Cole Beecher ’18: “Everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t be nervous.”

Danielle Rette ’18: “Don’t be afraid to actually go to different events, even if they’re outside of your general interests or comfort zone. Some of the best memories I have with my first year hall were when we did trivia together, went to midnight breakfast, and Nerd House.”

Danny Vasquez ’16: “Schedule an appointment with the Office of Academic Resources to work on time management, reading strategies, and note-taking as soon as you can!”

Danny Tomares ’18: “No matter how much fun you’re having, remember to actually go to class.”

Darwin Keung ’14: “Take time know the community, faculty, staff, peers, and most of all yourself. The more you connect with different people and places the more you learn about the person you are. Most of all, take it slow. Take everything in. Appreciate the little things. You won’t be at Haverford forever, but you’ll take Haverford with you wherever you go.”

Dave Parker ’02: “For sophomore year, dial it back and spend your time on your passions.”

David Poolman ’06: “Push yourself to try and see new things. Haverford, both on campus and in the world beyond, has such a diverse array of experiences to offer. Good luck to everybody!”

David Harris ’14: “Use the Nature Trail for a walk with friends, a run, or some solitude amidst the hecticness. It’s one of the things I remember most fondly about the Ford, especially in the fall!”

Diana Schoder ’17: “Everyone is new, and so everyone is open to talking with you, learning about you, and maybe even becoming friends! Take some time out for yourself if you need it, but don’t be afraid to really engage with people as well.”

Emily Anderson ’18: “Did you just trip in front of a few people? No one cares. Are you lost? Don’t be afraid to ask a random person. We don’t bite!”

Emma Bracker ’15: “Figure out where your classes meet BEFORE the first day of class.”

Eric Kissinger ’09: “Explore campus early and often, get to know as many people as possible, and cherish the next four years!”

Eric Smith ’15: “Try new things, make a new friend at every event, and go to professors’ office hours.”

Esme Trontz ’18: “Spend a lot of time in Philly. It is a fantastic city with a deep American/old immigrant/new immigrant history and culture. Plus it’s super walkable and cheap and has delicious food and fun stuff to do!”

Fran Knechel ’04: “Get to know some of your professors. Do not be afraid to ask questions and let them see you are working hard. Also, enjoy the luxury of living with friends and being relatively able to focus on passions and academic pursuits.”

George Ordiway ’16: “You’re guaranteed to spread yourself too thin in the first few months, there are simply too many groups and opportunities to take advantage of. So it’s important to learn what you want to dedicate your time towards and understand that you will have to let some things go. It’s more important to give 100% to three groups, clubs, singing groups, or sports than to give 50% to six groups.”

Graham Barrett ’15: “Be sure to study but make sure to take a deep breath and enjoy your time at school, the time there slips by.”

Hannah Lonky ’10: “Put yourself out there and be open to making new friends! Everyone chose to go to Haverford which is a unique place, so you automatically have something in common with everyone you meet on campus. Plus, you never know when you’re going to meet your future husband!”

Henry Wiencek ’08: “Enjoy every second!”

Ioannis Rutledge ’18: “Don’t be shy! Go out and make as many friends as you can. Ask around. Have fun!”

Isfar Munir ’18: “Four years is too short to spend half of it worried about grades. Take advantage of summer when you’re out of school. The most valuable perspective you’ll ever get on the value of school is when you’re on the outside.”

James Kittler ’09: “Play Ultimate, spend all your free time in the library, and major in history. Also Bryn Mawr is a great place for classes and food!”

Jean Leighton ’18: “College has endless opportunities, so do not be afraid to try something new. You can only make more friends.”

Jenna Brower ’15: “If you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, ask for help. CAPS is amazing and should absolutely be used if the transition is hard.”

Jessica Koshinski ’18: “My best advice for you is to not be afraid to branch out and try new things! Haverford has a lot of opportunities to get involved, so don’t be afraid to jump into something that you are passionate about or want to learn more about!”

Jessica Blitz ’18: “Take a class you never imagined you would. This is the only time where your job is to learn!”

Jia-Ling Tuan ’18: “Time management is important, and it is best to be able to fit in academics with fun!”

Jordan McGuffee ’18: “Don’t be afraid of things that make you stand out. I know that moving to college forces people to reconsider many of the things that make their identity unique and in some ways, we all just want to fit into our new environment. However, as someone recently entering the workforce, I’m glad I did things at college that many others didn’t or even thought were strange. They make you stand out to future employers and show them that you aren’t afraid to adjust your environment to fit your goals. Also, even as a first-year, you should not be afraid to contact alumni! They are always happy to talk and can be great resources for career advice or even if even if you just want to learn about living in a particular city!”

Josh Fried ’18: “I would say enjoy college, embrace the classes, the friendships that will be made, the social relationships. It all moves super fast.”

Josiah Legaspi ’18: “Go to class. It’s takes far less time to actually go to class than it does to teach yourself the material.”

Julia Fortier ’18: “Extra sleep is sometimes better than extra study time.”

Katherine Dopulos ’13: “I would say that you should stop for a few minutes every day and reflect on who you’ve met, what you’ve learned, and how far you’ve come. The first few days and weeks of college are a whirlwind and they can feel long and short at the same time—taking intentional moments to reflect can help ‘seal’ the experience and to give yourself a little grace, too, about tricky or embarrassing moments or mishaps.”

Katherine Fisher ’01: “Learn how to make fake Rice Krispie treats in the DC microwave (bowl + Rice Krispies + mini marshmallows + butter = ooey gooey perfection).”

Kathryn Dorn ’14: “Have some time—exercise, group sports/martial arts/other clubs, pleasure reading or writing, etc.—where you can’t focus on classwork.”

Kevin Gillespie ’15: “I guess I’d say spend some time the first year meeting people and getting involved outside your customs group. Will payoff adjusting to second year and beyond!”

Kirsten Larsen ’13: “Shop a class that’s outside your current core knowledge base, even better ask your UCA for their recommendation for a solid intro class that appeals to a wide range of people—I did, and it ended up as my major!”

Kirsten Solberg ’92: “Trust in yourself. You’ve got this! Relish your classmates as a huge part of your college experience and thus formation in your developing life, and see recent NYTimes article about how to get the most out of college. I hope this helps!”

Lauren Benedetto ’18: “I took the first semester to focus on school, hear about what some clubs and organizations actually do, and then joined my second semester after I had a handle on academics. I became president of two of the clubs I joined so don’t think that will set you back in any way!”

Lee Weinstein ’05: “Haverford is a wonderful place, but don’t be afraid to venture off campus and explore the rest of Philadelphia. Lots of great history in the area. And from a local Philadelphian, enjoy Philly sports.”

Lincoln Satterthwaite ’18: “Join as many groups and clubs and events as possible and see what sticks. You need to put yourself out everywhere before you can find the many places you belong.”

Liz Heaton ’18: “Take breaks and deep breaths and be gentle with yourself. This is very hard (for everyone in different ways) so don’t be surprised if you get physically or mentally tired more easily.”

Mary Glaser ’18: “Come in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to reach out to people, even if you barely know them. Though four years seems like a lot, it will fly by, so make the most of your time with some of the best friends you will make in your life!”

Mary Beth Melso ’18: “Be confident in your abilities—you got into Haverford for a reason and you are fully capable of the work that lies ahead. Don’t stress about making all of your friends right away. Customs is a great way to meet people, but there are other avenues like clubs and classes where friendships form.”

Matthew Sherman ’17: “Pack an umbrella just in case. It poured on my Move-In Day.”

Micah Walter ’14: “Explore who you are, but don’t try to change what you like to match the people you ‘should’ hang out with.”

Michael Schwarze ’18: “Take a wide variety of classes and truly embrace the liberal arts education. I truly believe the liberal arts education gives you a more holistic picture of the world and, with that, teaches you to more empathetic and understanding. I think these two skills are incredibly valuable in all paths of life, whether that be in your career or with your family/friends. Don’t be afraid to speak up and engage during class discussions. This is something that I wish I would’ve done more. I think it teaches you to stay engaged in class and to be confident in the ideas that you discuss. Both of which are incredibly useful after college.”

Michael Bueno ’18: “A piece of advice for you would be to try to ask juniors and seniors what professors are good. Get to know the upperclassmen that you connect with naturally since they probably have a feel for how things work at the Ford, most of the serious academic/routine.”

Mitch Hagan ’18: “Enroll in a philosophy class taught by Joel Yurdin.”

Nate Vestrich-Shade ’16: “Welcome to an amazing place!”

Neil Adige ’09: “Savor your time at Haverford and get to know as many people as possible. I met so many people who inspired and continue to inspire me when I was there.”

Nic Marcotrigiano ’18: “I’d say take the time to explore new ideas and new activities!”

Nick Barile ’18: “It’s not until you graduate and enter the real world that you understand the things that matter most from college. Spoiler alert: it’s relationships. Go to office hours. Hang out with your professors. Get involved and go the extra mile beyond class. The best feeling after graduation is knowing you can pick up the phone, call up your mentor, and pick up right where you left off—as if you were 18 again. The relationships you make at Haverford are the best foundation you can ask for as a young adult in an uncertain world. Don’t waste your chance to build them. Enjoy the best four years of your life!”

Nicole Deuber ’97: “Follow your bliss and enjoy the journey!”

Oliver Maupin ’18: “Don’t stay up late finishing assignments all the time. Sometimes it’s better to just get the sleep.”

Olivia DuSold ’18: “Use peer tutoring early and often. The service is supplemental, not remedial, and it’s a great way to get the most out of your classes, no matter who you are. You can make isolated appointments, so you don’t have to commit to weekly meetings. I can’t emphasize enough what a great resource peer tutors are.”

Oscar Wang ’14: “Get engaged in Philadelphia. Go have fun! Take the train and get to know the city, its institutions, its people. Philly is a place of grand beauty even as it struggles against enormous problems. And when you are ready to act or start something, do not be afraid to simply begin by talking to someone. Everybody at Haverford, from the President to the arboretum staff, is willing to hear you out. You never know where a few conversations will take you and what you’ll learn along the way.”

Patrick Phelan ’11: “Say yes!”

Paul Minnice ’09: “Don’t worry about your major when you get there. Take classes that interest you even if they seem weird or random. You may find that your direction changes unexpectedly and for the better.

Rachel Romens ’18: “Getting outside your comfort zone always makes for a good story and you’ll learn a lot about yourself every time.”

Ralph Boyd ’79: “Open minds. Open hearts. Enjoy the journey, in all of its various manifestations, including perhaps especially the more challenging, even painful ones. That’s where the real learning occurs.”

Rebecca Fisher ’18: “Enjoy your time at Haverford! It’s a wonderful experience that will push you. Keep your heart and your mind open. Make good friends, not fast friends. Don’t be intimidated, you are deeply capable.”

Ricky Sanchez ’18: “Looking back I’d say the best advice is to enjoy each moment while you can because every year goes by faster than the last. Make an effort to talk to everyone on campus, especially faculty and staff—simple hellos can build great relationships. And don’t limit yourself to just focusing on academics because there is so much more to Haverford than classes and grades. It’s all about the people you meet and the memories you make.”

Rob Wingate ’91: “Above all, have fun!”

Robyn Himelstein ’16: “Take advantage of Haverford’s excellent resources like the OAR and Writing  enter!”

Russell Nicholson ’18: “Haverford has an eternal light; now you get to appreciate it, learn from it, and add your brightness.”

Ryan Kopelowicz ’18: “Be open to new experiences and sometimes get out of your comfort zone to get to know yourself better. Try everything at least once (that can be interpreted academically as well as socially).”

Sarah Brody ’15: “It sounds cheesy, but college (especially Haverford College) will be some of the best years of your life. Sometimes your classes and workload can feel overwhelming, but try to keep things in perspective. Part of college is studying hard. BUT it’s much better to come out of college with a well-rounded, fun experience where you made the most of what the school could offer than it is to come out with a perfect GPA. Also, never wear shoes you like to Drinker House.”

Sebastian Dilones ’18: “Stay healthy, stay active in the community, but most importantly stay true to yourself!”

Siyan Wang ’18: “Don’t take bad things or failures personally and accept an imperfect self. Lastly, enjoy! It’ll be a wonderful and exciting trip!”

Skyler Ellenburg ’18: “Hydrate a lot for Move-In Day! Also invest in your Customs experience—your hallmates have the potential to be lifelong friends!”

Stef Pappius-Lefebvre ’10: “Be sure to take at least a few random classes that have nothing to do with your major/minor/career path, or even subject matter that you’ve given much thought to. I took ‘Intro to Linguistics’ on a whim my senior year and it turned out to be one of my favorite Haverford classes. I think back to it often!”

Susannah Henschel ’08: “Leave your door open as much as possible—get out and meet everyone. Make sure you meet people outside of your customs group —just say hi. The time is short and the academics will find you, but don’t forget to make plenty of time for the people around you.”

Tamar Hoffman ’16: “Haverford is full of great potential mentors, and it’s worth taking the time to build those relationships… I still appreciate them!”

Taylor Cross ’18: “Enjoy every minute because it goes by fast.”

Vaughn Papenhausen ’18: “Use the Math Question Center (MQC)! Especially, find a friend group and work with them there on your math homework. If you’re studying abroad, plan a few trips out in advance so you don’t get to the end and feel like there were things you didn’t get a chance to explore.”

Victoria Ribeiro ’18: “In terms of picking a major, I would tell you to answer these three questions: What’s your passion? What are you good at? And what does the world need? Do this all with a mindset of service to others (which comes in many forms).”

Elena Veale ’18: “Advice I would give to first-years is to try to remain as present as possible. There’s always a lot going on at Haverford and schedules fill up, so always be where your feet are!”

William Bassett ’18: “Start getting involved in activities as soon as possible.”

Zacharia Alden ’17: “I made a mistake not learning more from my professors, one on one. You will be hard pressed to find and live in such a dense concentration of experts later on.”