Guiding future generations

Alumni cover topics on mental health and provide academic advice.


Tiffany Lee

Diamond Bar High School graduates visited on Jan. 10 for the annual Calculus Alumni day held by the math department.

Students are constantly receiving college advice from teachers and parents. However, their experiences are different from those of current college students. With this in mind, Diamond Bar High School’s Calculus Department held the annual Calculus Alumni Day on Jan. 10, providing students the opportunity to learn about college from recent DBHS alumni.

With this year’s event came some changes to the traditions established by the event’s creator and former math teacher Howard Alcosser. For example, attending alumni now have to sign up for periods ahead of time so teachers have an idea of which schools will be represented and can send questions in advance, allowing the speakers to prepare answers ahead of time.

Thirty-eight alumni attending a variety of schools had the chance to speak to Calculus AB, BC, HL and MACH5 students about a variety of topics. This year’s focus was mental well-being, with questions surrounding struggles with homesickness.

“I purposely only applied to colleges on the East Coast just to get out of California, but that being said, homesickness is very real the first year of college; I cried every time I FaceTimed my parents,” class of 2018 alumna and University of Pennsylvania student Amy Xia said. “But it does get better with time, and like everybody said, you make your own life and you’re now developing yourself even more in college to the point where it does feel like home.”

Questions were not only focused on mental health; the alumni also gave advice on college applications and academics.

“There were a lot of things that I was told to do in high school, middle school, growing up that I’m glad that I did not do because they would have been a complete and utter waste of time for my mental health and me as a person, and I was right,” class of 2018 alumna and Boston College student Sun Kim said. “If there are things that you hate doing right now, that you can’t wait to quit in college, just stop, because at the end of the day,…it probably won’t even matter in one or two years.”

As many of the alumni attended college either out-of-state or on the coast, they had to find roommates. Class of 2018 alumnus Hunter Baoengstrum attends Santa Monica College, which does not have any on-campus living options, so he found an apartment.

“The first year, I lived with roommates in West LA, and it was OK. We had some disputes, but overall it was a nice experience to live with people who aren’t going to university. For example, there was this one middle-aged couple that was living together to share the cost of an apartment,” Baoengstrum explained. “[I found them through] Craiglist. Use it with extreme caution, and meet them in person multiple times before agreeing to room together…because some people were more than a little bit concerning.”

After the event ended, students could stay during passing periods or after school to ask the alumni any specific questions individually.