A Kindergarten to College Journey

Told by PHA Alumna Julia Pinto

My name is Julia and I am a Freshman at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. My incredible journey to college began when I entered Prospect Hill Academy as a Kindergartener fourteen years ago.
I have so many lasting memories from those early days at PHA, like when my entire 4th grade went to Nature’s Classroom. Even now, I can clearly remember how excited I was to sleep away from home in a huge room with my PHA friends, to go for a nature walk late at night, and to discover salamanders.
6th grade was when we really began to think about college. I especially recall when we were asked to write letters to our 18-year-old selves. I tried to imagine my life in college but really had no idea. Neither of my parents went to college so there wasn’t anyone outside of PHA who could tell me what to expect.
During my junior year, I still felt nervous about attending college when PHA arranged an internship for me. I had a great experience learning what a professional job looks like and the interesting college and career paths people took to get there. My internship mentors taught me that the skills and experiences I will gain in college are more important than the major I choose.
Still thinking that I was not yet ready for college, two things happened:
  • I had to complete my Graduation Portfolio Defense that required me to reflect on and publicly present what I had accomplished in high school. It was hard but it gave me the confidence boost I needed. Looking back, the challenge of that project is exactly what is expected of me here at college.
  • I took a Sociology of Gender class which blew my mind and exposed me to a new higher level of thinking. This course helped me realize that I really wanted to go to college and study Sociology. 
Throughout my senior year, I worked with our amazing college counselors who helped me find the college that was the best fit for my personality, my interests, and my financial situation. They helped me get into Holy Cross and they were right - it is perfect for me and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I love it.