Four years of Friday night lights, Milkcan, homecoming, Mr. Chino High, rallies, spirit weeks, invitationals, concerts, Silver Spurs, games, and prom. In a matter of just seven hundred- and twenty-days Cowboys are expected to enter the “real world” and move onto new adventures.
Despite the struggles of college applications, getting a job, and avoiding senioritis, graduation day rolls around every May and what happens after varies drastically from student to student.
Brian Nguyen, for example, assists at a cancer research lab and shared, “After deciding to go to UC San Diego over Yale University, I struggled immensely the first few months in college and was even depressed for a while. At Chino High School, I was always one of the top students, and I had to get used to the fact that, at UC schools especially, so was everyone else. It took some time, but looking back on it, I have grown immensely and I am thriving more than ever.”
Nguyen added, “I work at Palomar Medical Center assisting nurses and physicians with patients, assist at a cancer research lab at UCSD’s School of Medicine, and am on the staff board for an organization on campus. Did I expect to have these things? No, but I expected to work hard for them.”
When describing what college is like Nguyen explained, “Generally speaking, responsibility is the biggest difference. High school has a much more defined lifestyle than college does, and as a result, a lot of the responsibilities are taken off of the students. College on the other hand expects you to function as independently as possible—you are held much more responsible of yourself than in high school.”
Reminiscent of his CHS days, accompanied by a nostalgic tone, he told the Lariat, “I miss the teachers! Going to a large research university, you’re in a lecture with 400+ students, so it’s hard to get to know your professors. I cherished my relationships with my teachers. My favorite memory: we were at the LA County Fair for the parade. It was on the same day as the Milk Can game and with less than two minutes of the 2nd quarter, we sprinted from the buses and performed the show, getting the greatest crowd and energy that I’ve ever felt froma performance.”
Contrarily, alumni Natalie Reyes felt like college was not as hectic as she expected and gives her more control: “I wish I knew before graduating high school is that it’s okay to speak your mind and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so” said Reyes. Despite not getting to see her friends as often, she recalled her favorite high school memory as “getting to travel to Hawaii my freshman year with the band and color guard because I got to go with my best friends.”
Out of state alumni, Tyler Magdych expressed, “High school is truly very different from college for a many number of reasons. I didn’t have to pay as much attention to expenditures while at High School, but now I have to think about food, clothing, groceries, just living items in general. And the classes are much harder, especially now that all courses, aside from general Ed, are now towards my major of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine. It’s very nice as well when getting to make your own schedule and allowing yourself some time in the morning to sleep.”
Although he felt stressed and rushed because of waiting until senior year to figure out applications, Magdych said that his senior year also included his last game of varsity water polo. “I can still remember the excitement everyone held as our current set player, Jacob Ramos, made the winning goal after an overtime quarter was enacted. It just felt so good knowing my last game was a victory, I wouldn’t have played that game any different or with any other players, I know all of them have been playing their hardest since I’ve left and I hope I get to see them all okay again”
Jewel Valdez added, “I wish I knew how much I would miss high school so I could savor the moments more.” While expressing how much she enjoyed the experience of homecoming court, hanging out with friends, and color guard she explained, “In high school you are guided through everything and a lot is handed to you. In college, you’re on your own and it’s up to you to do good.”
Last year’s Mr. Chino High, Gavin Hutson, shared, “Life after high school was not what I expected. I think that it’s best not to have expectations because when you do have expectations, what you are doing is setting them up to fail. The best way to know what happens after graduating high school is just experiencing it.”
Additionally, Hutson told the Lariat, “My favorite memory at Chino High was spending my free period in the morning talking about life with various facilities like Mrs Norman, Lordus, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Gonzalez, Officer Barber, and so on. Another great memory was milk can last year when it was pouring rain. The game got canceled and ASB had to clean everything up. Then lightning struck and everyone started screaming and running, which was kinda fun. Then we had to take all of the ASB stuff back to the asb room so we were running and having a good time. We then waited for a long time for someone to get the keys but in the mean time we played music and danced in the rain.”
Former ASB president, Alexi Magallanes advised, “Always try to be in the moment and appreciate going to such an amazing school. Get excited for the rallies, go to games and dances, join clubs! Before you know it you’ll be graduating and in college there is always a discussion section, meeting, or office hours you have to go to. You are constantly busy and moving.”
These alumni are on new roads doing bigger and better things but no matter how far they go, they’ll always be a Chino Cowboy at heart.