Recently, Diane Abcede, a 2006 graduate of Sigonella High School, took time out of her spring break in Sicily to speak to the high school AVID classes. Her own brother, Carlo, is a senior in AVID this year.
Diane attends the University of California at Irvine and is double majoring in pyschology and sociology. She also belongs to an Asian sorority, works part-time at a call center, and plays club soccer for recreation.
Diane, who was one of the top students in her graduating class at Sigonella, described her transition to college life and college-level coursework. She recommended living in a dorm in order to meet people, especially if you are a DoDDS student and don't know anyone at your new school. She advised students to always go to class, because it is easy to lose focus if you don't and will have long-term consequences. She told students about her large general ed classes of 200-300 students and how important it was to attend, take lots of notes, and stay organized. She advised getting to know your professors, even though you would have to seek them out. She talked about the frustrations of living far from family and of not being the straight-A student she was in high school. Diane told students to build their high school resumes now by focusing on academics and leadership in extra-curriculars.
Some of the questions that students asked Diane concerned such diverse topics as the benefits of a sorority, the size of dorms, the best majors, adjusting to roommates, financing college, and coping with the transition.
Diane described the costs of college and how she and her family are paying for it. She said that food (outside of the meal plan) is a major expense because "food is a social activity." When you meet someone to talk or even study, food may be involved. "Watch out for the Freshman 15," she told students.
We are very happy to have had Diane take the time to talk to both of our AVID classes. Diane was and AVID student herself for one year when she was in high school, and she still used the organizational techniques to stay organized. She described herself as "highly organized."