Roots & Wings Online

A Leap of Faith - Making the Transition from High School to College

Eva Mazzara reflects on her transition from high school to college and shares tips for making the leap. She says, "You never truly realize how fast time flies until you look back and reflect on a phase of your life."

Hi, my name is Eva and I recently graduated from Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) and now attend Saddleback Community College. Throughout my time at OCSA, I met many incredible people who are my closest friends and participated in ballroom dance events with my conservatory - my favorite had to be when we went to Nationals in Provo, Utah! As I look back on my high school years, I realize that you never truly realize how fast time flies until you look back on a phase or period of time in your life. 

Change can be a daunting experience no matter your age - even if it’s a positive change. As I stepped into my Sociology class, I felt a mix of so many different emotions.  

I didn’t fully realize how fast my high school years had flown by. Before I knew it, I was walking across the stage at graduation, flipping my tassel, and then throwing my cap in the air.  

Fast-forward a few months – I walked into my first college class. 

Change can be a daunting experience regardless of age - even if it’s a positive change. As I stepped into my Sociology class, I felt a mix of so many different emotions.  

A different classroom setting, different campus, different people, even the chairs were different! But within a week, my nervousness took a back seat. As a social person who values community, I made it a priority to involve myself in things on campus I am passionate about. 

Whether it’s at Saddleback College or another campus, there are many opportunities for students to connect with organizations or others who share their interests and passions. Or, discover what they might want to pursue. 

Within a few weeks of starting college, I became the director of publicity and public relations for the school’s Associated Student Government, and I’m also the Publicity Director for the Active Minds Club. I also work for the Lariat newspaper. I share this to encourage you to find something that is of interest. Trying something new is okay – it will lead you to opportunities to learn and meet new people.  

As an 18-year-old trying to navigate her way in life and transitioning from high school to college, I’m the first to say that finding yourself in a new environment can initially seem intimidating. That’s OK, though! It’s completely normal, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. It’s all about perspective. Look at it as a new chapter of your life that is about to be written.

Consider joining or starting a new club. Colleges like Saddleback frequently have club rushes, allowing students to meet new people and engage with the culture.

Although I graduated from OCSA, I still make sure to dance ballroom–it’s familiar, and it’s been a big part of my life since I was seven years old. Continuing to dance allows me to continue something that will always be a part of my life as I venture into the future.

Finding yourself in a new environment or place in your life can feel daunting, remember that college is a huge step. Applaud yourself for taking such a big leap of faith.

If you’re a high school student who is considering starting at Saddleback College, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with a counselor, look at the website, and get an idea of something that may spark your interest. Look at the clubs and programs you might want to join.

Time does fly by quickly and we can get overwhelmed, but remember that patience is key. Allow yourself time to adjust. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have. Everyone is extremely helpful in guiding new students. Remember to take it one step at a time and be kind to yourself and patient.  

Tips for making the transition to college or anything new  

  1. Create new opportunities for yourself; try something new  
  2. Get involved and embrace the culture at school 
  3. Continue to pursue your passions in your new environment; passions can lead to a career  
  4. Take it one step at a time; be patient and kind to yourself 
  5. Meet with counselors or experts, other students, and ask questions 

Eva was recently asked, "How do you cope with change in your life?" Hear how she responded.