This is part 3 of a three part series about college search and college counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Part 1 here and the Part 2 here.

We have been writing about tips and tricks for juniors and seniors searching for colleges this year, but it can be hard to know exactly what the best choices to make are without a 20/20 hindsight view. Although we can’t let you time travel to discuss it with your future self, we offer you the next best thing: life lessons from three Menaul School graduates. All of these students are currently in college, but have very different experiences. Meet Angga, Luci, and Joey. 

Angga Pangestu

What years did you attend Menaul and when did you graduate? 
I started attending Menaul my Junior year in 2018, and I graduated in 2020. 
What college do you go to now? 
I now go to New Mexico State University studying Computer Science. 
Did you have online, in person, or hybrid courses this year? 
So far, I have been doing school in a hybrid method, but after Thanksgiving it will be fully online. although I will still be living on campus for the rest of the semester. 
What is something you learned? 
I learned… how to manage my time better because I’ve been active in a lot of different things here while also taking a decently heavy course load. 
What is a piece of advice someone gave you that really resonated with you this year? 
(Don’t) judge anything by how it happens this semester. This was regarding school and how I shouldn’t immediately “dislike” it because things weren’t like what I expected from college. 
What is some advice that you would give somebody looking for colleges right now? 
“Full send or no send” -my friend. Don’t be afraid of college even if it is going to still be weird because of the pandemic, or you have to move away from home. It’s a big step but it’s always going to be worth it, in my opinion. 

Luci Astorga

What years did you attend Menaul and when did you graduate?
I attended Menaul for seven years and graduated in 2019. 
What college do you go to now?
I am currently attending Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
What are you studying?
I am studying Music with a concentration on Vocal Performance (basically opera) and am currently a Sophomore.  
Did you have online, in person, or hybrid courses this year?
This semester I’ve had hybrid courses for all of my classes. I am glad that the program was willing to be flexible, as music is a little hard to do online. I found the switch to be a mix of draining, exciting, and unpredictable, but I am extremely lucky I get to attend college and get to do so safely, so I don’t have too many complaints.  
What is something you learned?
I’ve learned so much. Within my academics, I’ve learned how to pick up any song in Italian or German and speak it and how to dissect and analyze a piece of music. Something that I’m learning from life every day is that you have to let yourself breathe and you have to be okay with the work you are doing; It’s enough.  
What is a piece of advice someone gave you that really resonated with you this year?
Never let your feelings be unproductive; Allow yourself to feel it, then let it motivate change.  
What is some advice that you would give somebody looking for colleges right now?
Be okay with taking a leap and if you decide to take it, whatever that means for you, let yourself be happy that you have to find your footing— then keep going. 

Joey Gutierrez

What years did you attend Menaul and when did you graduate?
I attended 1999-2005 and graduated 2005.  
What college do you go to now and what do you study?
I attend UNM through their Management Online Program. I attended CNM and got 3 Associate’s and returned to UNM to finish my BBA. I graduate in the spring. 
What is something you learned?
I learned that it would have been easier to finish college right after high school, but in a case like mine, where I went, and then left, and then went back, it is never too late to finish.  
What is some advice that you would give somebody looking for colleges right now?
The advice would be to finish your degree right away if you can. I would not change the path that I took because I learned some great life lessons but I know it would have been easier to finish when I started right after high school.  
What is a piece of advice someone gave you that really resonated with you this year?
Advice I got was to find something I was passionate about with school and a career. This led me to my degree and to a new career path with a non profit*. I would give someone the same advice. School might not be for some but if they find something they are passionate about, it will help them succeed in whatever they choose to do. 
*Joey currently works at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce as a Membership Engagement Specialist 

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