PHILIP CLIPPINGER, Baldwin Wallace University
PC: Honestly, rather lackadaisically. It’s a whole new ballgame living at a university. Then again, how could they, though? College is so much different from anything I’ve ever experienced in life so far.
JT: What was the hardest part of the transition from high school to college?
PC: It took me an eternity to get adjusted to the social schema of Lebo and find my place. I only felt really welcome in the community by my junior year. You start college with a blank slate, and some of my social problems reasserted themselves as a result. For a while I felt uncomfortable, unwelcome and quite lonely. Make no mistake, though: you meet some of the greatest people in your life when you go to college, and they’re all wrestling with similar issues. They’ll cushion your fall. Being in college causes you, for better or for worse, to confront feelings and things about yourself that have gone unchecked for years.
JT: Is college less or more challenging than high school?
PC: Depends. In the area of my major, things could get quite challenging. Getting good grades is quite difficult if a subject doesn’t completely come naturally for you, which means you’ve got to go the extra mile if you want to be rewarded. On the other hand, the core curriculum was pretty easy, albeit annoying. I would definitely say that academically, my first year of college was quite a bit more challenging than high school.
JT: How do you balance academics, extracurriculars and a social life?
PC: Being a music major, it’s hard to believe that my social life and extracurriculars are existent, and yet I somehow manage to have time for both of these. It helps to recognize when you’re exhausted or overextending yourself and take a break. If you want all of these to be stable, you have to be mentally rooted in a firm and immovable way. When your body is worn out or you feel like you’re going out of your mind, absolutely pay attention to your problems and fix them. It’s crucial. Know that there are some days where you just deserve some rest.
JT: What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you?
PC: You’ll only be satisfied if you’re making your own choices. Choose only the most wonderful people you know and push the toxic ones out of your life.
JT: What’s something you wish you had done your freshman year?
PC: I wish I’d rented a bike. By the way, I recommend this fully to everybody.
JT: Are you glad you left Pittsburgh?
PC: I don’t give it much thought. When I’m at school, it’s impossible to believe I live at home. When I’m at home, I can’t believe I go to college. I tend to be focused on the moment like that.
JT: If you could give one piece of advice to a senior graduating from Mt. Lebanon, what would it be?
PC: Take advantage of counseling. College is stressful and if you let the small things build up, they can pull you under and put you through a living hell. It’s great to succeed in school, but please just make sure that you’re OK above all else.