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SHS Alumni Series: Olivia Williams

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“Olivia is a natural talent. She understands the way news works and has a gift for interpreting its value.”  

-Ms. Vanek, Journalism Teacher

For the second addition to the SHS Alumni Series, the Sentinel chose a graduate that holds a special place in the SHS journalism department. Olivia Williams graduated in the class of 2013 with a well-rounded history in athletics, academics, and journalism. As a Sunnyvale graduate and established student- journalist, Olivia offered to answer some questions about her experiences in college for our current seniors.

1.What was your high school experience like and what activities were you involved in?

I came to Sunnyvale in the seventh grade, and I graduated in 2013. I was pretty heavily involved in athletics and cheer. I was a 4-year varsity basketball letterman and cheer captain my senior year. I also did things like Cross Country, Track, Yearbook, journalism UIL, and I was the baseball manager for two years. I knew I wanted to be a journalism major even before high school. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I pictured myself involved in journalism in some form when I grew up.

2. How did you ultimately choose the college you attended? What factors contributed to your decision?

I looked for schools that had good journalism programs, school spirit, and were relatively close to home. Baylor had always kind of been in the back of my mind since I went to a basketball camp there when I was in middle school. I ended up choosing Baylor because when I went on campus I felt very comfortable, and because of its religious affiliation I saw a Christian community here that I could fit into. Baylor obviously is on the more expensive side, but to me, it was worth it, and I still believe that.

3. How did Sunnyvale prepare/not prepare you for your college experience?

It prepared me for college on an academic standpoint. I ended up coming into college with 35 hours from dual credit classes, and I’m thankful for that since  I’ll be graduating in three years instead of four. Aspects like dual credit classes and the senior project really helped me prepare because it makes the work load your freshman year much more bearable. Instead of blindly entering college like the rest of your peers, you kind of know what to expect because you’ve taken college level courses, prepared year-long projects, done research and balanced a social life before. The real challenge was going from a school of around 350 students to a college with around 14,000 students. I had to learn how to find people similar to myself and how to pick the right friends; unlike at Sunnyvale where you know everyone and consider most of the student body your friends.

4. What did you enjoy about your university experience at the college you went to and the activities you were involved in? If you were in any clubs or teams, how was that experience like? Was it what you expected?

I’m a Baylor Baseball Diamond Girl, and I love being active in that. In fact, I’m the captain this year.  My best friends by far are my roommates, and every night in our big house is a slumber party. We’re really close with all our guy neighbors, and I like hanging out with them. Last year we even had a prank war going with some of them, and that was the most fun I’ve ever had. But while you’re having fun in college, you also have to become an adult in a very short amount of time. You have to learn about responsibility, finances, taking care of yourself and planning for the future. All of those things can be really scary. College is so much more than I expected. It is thrilling, but it’s hard. If I had to give advice, I’d say that it’s okay to call home and complain to your parents. It’s okay to have a meltdown and feel like you’re losing. You just have to pick yourself back up and learn from your mistakes.

5. You have had many amazing internship opportunities. How do you get those connections? In the workforce, connections are really important, especially in my major, Public Relations. I got my two summer internships after the Baylor journalism department sent out an email about internship information. Most schools have this option and other options like career fairs to help match students with jobs and internships. Take advantage of these opportunities and always be improving your resume.

6.What advice do you have for seniors that are currently applying to colleges? How did you stop yourself from feeling overwhelmed?

When it comes to applying to college, I’d say to keep an open mind and not be afraid to apply anywhere you want. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. But remember to enjoy your senior year, because as crazy as it is, you’ll miss it when you’re gone.

The Sentinel thanks Olivia for agreeing to help with this story!

 

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SHS Alumni Series: Olivia Williams