A glimpse into the future

Touring+college+campuses+during+helps+incoming+students+get+a+glimpse+of+what+their+new+future+would+look+like+post+high-school.++

Laurinne Eugenio

Touring college campuses during helps incoming students get a glimpse of what their new future would look like post high-school.

Laurinne Eugenio, Editor-in-Chief

Blue, sometimes foggy skies, tall trees with lively green leaves and beautiful architecture—this was the environment and atmosphere of most college campuses I visited. I witnessed college students traveling to their classes; some were riding bikes, scooters, skateboards or motorcycles. I thought to myself, in roughly 10 months, this could be my new reality.

During the second week of Fall Break, my older sister’s belated birthday gift to me was a college tour road trip that my family would take. Aside from responsibilities through core academics and extracurriculars, being a senior also entails figuring out which colleges to apply to. Visiting school campuses in person helped me visualize what life would be like post-high school and make college-related decisions. 

It was a foggy, cloudless day and our first stop was Malibu, California. On our way to the school’s campus, we were greeted by thousands of flags displayed in front of Pepperdine University. The Waves of Flags display at the school honors and commemorates the lives lost during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. On top of this, the view of the campus was spectacular; we could see the deep blue-colored ocean and feel the breeze from the sea. The gigantic building with a cross symbol, also known as the Phillips Theme Tower, caught our attention due to its prominence on the campus. 

That same day, we drove to the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara. The campus felt calm and peaceful. Nature, such as their nearby lagoon and the vibrant color of green, filled the school. Some students were reading a book next to a tree and others were taking walks along the trails next to the gleaming body of water. For both campuses however, there weren’t as many students as usual roaming around the school grounds because it was a Sunday. 

co

Afterward, we drove to our hotel in Santa Maria, California and spent the night there. The next morning, we ate breakfast and visited California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO). Numerous trees spread throughout the campus as mountains stood tall in the background. The Monday we visited was a school day so we saw students walking from one building to another. 

Following our campus’s tour around Cal Poly SLO, we drove roughly three hours north to Stanford University. The campus was secluded and has a community of its own. They have their own supermarket, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Panda Express and more. While UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly SLO students were usually walking to get places, I noticed that the main modes of transportation here were by riding bicycles, scooters and skateboards. The campus was surrounded by rectilinear sandstone buildings. I was astonished by the beautiful architecture at Stanford; the school conveyed its school color, red, through its red-tile roofs. 

We ended the day by driving to our hotel in San Francisco. At night, I saw lights from buildings, cars and highways due to the view of the downtown city from our room; and it brought a sense of comfort from the agenda-packed day we had. 

The next day, we started off our morning by eating at a local restaurant near the hotel. Then, we drove to UC Berkeley. The school was right in the middle of the city. On our way, we passed the white Oakland Bay Bridge to get to the campus. The roads were steep and students were riding their motorcycles to navigate the campus. 

Finally, our last stop was the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. Similar to UC Berkeley, the campus was also in the middle of the city. The environment bustled with honking cars and conversations coming from students walking around campus. 

Going on a road trip across California and touring college campuses felt like an escape from the overall stress of high school. Getting out of the house, seeing new places and experiencing new things felt liberating and fulfilling. 

The experience also felt like I was in a time travel machine because I could envision myself living far away from home, in a new environment after high school.”

— Laurinne Eugenio

Beyond that, I felt extremely fortunate for the experience. Visiting campuses in person is now a privilege because for the past year and a half, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges resorted to virtual campus tours for incoming and potential students to help mitigate the spread of the virus. I also felt lucky to have supportive family members who were willing to ask for a leave from their respective work employers and miss work in an effort to accompany me in this experience. 

The experience also felt like I was in a time travel machine because I could envision myself living far away from home, in a new environment after high school. Overall, I am super excited for what life holds in store for me in the next several months, and I look forward to living in an environment that features blue skies, fresh nature and magnificent architecture.