LZ grads coast-to-coast


Photo by Kyra Keena

Size, cost, and ranking are some of the many factors seniors consider when choosing a college. Location, as well, plays an important role in the career opportunities and atmosphere of a school. Warm or cold weather, college town or busy city, LZ’s outgoing seniors are undertaking their college careers in a myriad of states this fall.


Zoya Hasan

The weather, diversity, and a renowned data science program are what drew Hasan all the way to the University of California, San Diego.

Being in an ethnically diverse environment, Hasan says, “was something I’ve always look[ed] forward to past my high school career; going to a city […] where I can explore different cultures or talk to different people or learn different viewpoints.”

Hasan fostered her interest in computer science through involvement in Girls Who Code. She also spent her senior year as co-captain of track and cross country, President of Service for the National Honor Society, and a FAME leader.

The structure of a high school day is what Hasan says she will miss most, because in college, “You have to be more intrinsically motivated and know that your goals are different.”

Hasan says that high school taught her to look at failure as an opportunity to learn. A lot of students put pressure on themselves to excel, she says, and that she “had that issue with comparison between what the next person is doing rather than what [she’s] doing.”

Now, Hasan says she is less of a perfectionist. Her favorite memories of senior year are centered around time spent with her friends.

“I really enjoyed the moments I shared with [them] during lunch or [in the MRC],” Hasan said. “[In college] you might not be surrounded by the same people all the time.” Going to state with the cross country team, senior night, and being with her team at track meets are things Hasan says are “definitely memories that I’ll miss.”

Ryan Bohn

When Bohn started going on his college search, he knew he wanted his future school to have two specific things: he wanted to move somewhere that was far from home and he wanted to receive an interdisciplinary education. He ended up finding these things at the University of Southern California, where he will be studying mechanical engineering.

“I knew I wanted to be somewhere where I could study engineering, but also study other fields as well. I have interests in the arts and in student government and a lot of far-reaching interests and I want to be able to continue to pursue all of that,” Bohn said. “What I was looking for was just somewhere where I thought that people were going to be really welcoming and open-minded.”

To Bohn, USC felt like it had a “very diverse community.” This was important to him as he had hoped to go somewhere that he could fulfill his desire to have the opportunity to meet many “interesting people with diverse interests.”

USC’s location is something Bohn also hopes to take advantage of to help him be able to find an “out of the box” job in the future. He says he is interested in finding ways to put his engineering degree to use within the entertainment industry, or working at a Silicon Valley tech company.

“I chose [mechanical engineering] because I’ve been really interested in STEM, like all sorts of math and physics, for a long time,” Bohn said. “And realizing how those can be applied in the real world and how I can use STEM knowledge to help people in my career and that’s something that I want to do.”


Andrew Wise

Wise will represent the burnt cardinal and gold of Iowa State in the fall of 2022. While some pursue schools farther from their hometowns, Wise says that he “didn’t apply to any [schools] not in the Midwest.”

Proximity played a significant part in his decision to apply to certain colleges, Wise says. This aligns him with the majority of LZ seniors who choose to remain in the same region, with 71.7% planning to attend schools in Midwestern states.

Besides distance, Wise considered the size of his school and hoped to attend a larger school. He considered multiple factors, including future implications on his career that attending a larger school has. When applying to jobs, it’s more likely that the workforce will have more Iowa State alums as opposed to having gone to a smaller school, according to Wise.

“[Iowa State’s] quad is huge, and even though the quad is really big, it’s really easy to walk around campus,” Wise said. “[Attending a bigger school] has always appealed to me. I wanted to go to a school that had division one sports so that when I’m an alumni I can turn the games on, root for my [alma mater], stuff like that.”

Joyce Lee

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lee says that she prefers “smaller town colleges rather than larger universities.” Subsequently, the total undergraduate enrollment of her future school, Denison University, Ohio, was only 2,258 as of fall 2020, according to UnivStats.com.

“I like that it’s really small, so I don’t have to worry about transportation or commuting stuff,” Lee said. “And I think that some of these smaller universities have better connections, so I can have a stronger connection with the community that’s present in the college, or I can make more close-knit friends than I would in a larger university.”

While Lee states that she wasn’t very adamant about staying in-state and had been looking at colleges in other states, she wasn’t looking to go too far away either. Lee said she wouldn’t have considered going off to schools further than the East or West coast. This was because, for her, travel was one of the big factors that ended up playing into her choosing a college close to home.

“I do think it’s going to be difficult because I’ve grown up [in Lake Zurich] for all my life, so it might be a little hard trying to adjust,” Lee said.

However, although she has chosen to stay close to home, Lee knows there will be things she will have to leave behind and miss.

“I think the one thing I’ll miss the most is probably my mom’s food because I don’t think I can cook that much.”
Despite her few reservations, Lee notes that she’s glad that “the longest process ever,” of applying for colleges is over and that she is “really looking forward to making new friends and really just starting a new life at college.”

Connor Furlong

Furlong agrees that a smaller school is the way to go and says that for him, the Milwaukee School of Engineering had “everything [he] was looking for in a school.”

The private university in Wisconsin spreads across a mere 22 acres in downtown Milwaukee, and enrollment only surpasses LZHS’s population by slightly over 1,000 students.

“It’s a small school with awesome new buildings,” Furlong said. “I like that everything is close together and I wanted smaller class sizes.”

According to Furlong, the college’s proximity to Lake Zurich was part of his decision to attend it as he “didn’t want to have to fly or make long drives to come home for breaks.” In the fall, Furlong will only need to drive an hour from his hometown to his new school.

However, despite going on to attend a school that remains close to LZ, Furlong still has to deal with the common struggles that come along with moving to a new school and moving on from high school life. One of those struggles is having to separate from close friends.

“I will miss my friends since many of us are going to different schools,” Furlong said. “[However] I’m looking forward to making new friends and going out.”


Katerina Kiousis

After moving from California to Illinois her junior year, Kiousis, says that she knew she wanted to get out of the Midwest for a variety of reasons, such as the inconsistent weather, but also that there are “not as many things to do.” As a self-proclaimed outdoors person, she appreciates the options of outdoor activities Pennsylvania will have to offer.

“There’s not that many things to do when it comes to nature around here. I like hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and you can’t really do that around here. It gets kind of boring and it’s just one little lake,” Kiousis said. “There [are] a bunch of hiking paths [in Pennsylvania] and in the fall, the trees are golden yellow and brown, so it’s really pretty. They also have creeks and [there are] hikes that the [soccer] team goes on.”

On top of activities, Pennsylvania also has a “really rich history for the U.S.” that Kiousis is interested in exploring. Pennsylvania’s proximity to other major cities, like Washington DC and New York City, was also a locational benefit for Kiousis, with both cities being accessible by train.

However, the move eastward doesn’t come without hardships, such as being far from home. Kiousis says that moving from California to Illinois was “a really big jump for her” too because of the drastic differences and her having to leave behind aspects of her life. She says that this experience will help make the milestone moment of moving to college easier for her.

“I really had to say goodbye to my childhood [and] memories when I moved here because I couldn’t go to the ice cream shop I grew up going to. I couldn’t go to the pier anymore. So I think it’ll definitely be a smoother transition [moving] from [Illinois to Pennsylvania],” Kiousis said.

William Chialdikas

Choosing between film schools in New York City and North Carolina, Chialdikas chose a school not close to any major cities, a choice that came with difficulty.

Going into film, finding schools near major cities was a significant factor of Chialdikas’, calling them places that he could “find more opportunities” for gaining experience in film.

“It was hard to decide based on the program. Since [University of North Carolina School of Arts] is an art school, it has a better arts program. Whereas the New York school isn’t an art school, but it’s located in New York City, which is a big art city,” Chialdikas said.

Chialdikas ended up attending University of North Carolina School of Arts (UNCSA), located in Winston-Salem. However, he isn’t worried about the lack of major cities in North Carolina, calling it a “kind of random state.” However, what it lacks in opportunities, UNCSA makes up for with connections, according to Chialdikas.

“This school in North Carolina has a lot of connections with big cities. It’s close to Georgia, and in your fourth year at [UNCSA], all the filmmaking students take a trip to LA to get help connecting you with the industry,” Chialdikas said. “In North Carolina, I feel like I’ll have a lot more things to do.”

Excited to attend next school year at a campus with a “fresh vibe to it,” Chialdikas already has some plans on what he wants to do when he gets there. Going to lunch with friends, getting together with kids from nearby colleges, and going to the ocean are all on his bucket list of ideas.

However, although he loves the campus, and is excited to get away from Illinois’s inconsistent weather and lack of opportunities, he says there is still “a bittersweetness” to it.

“I’m excited because I think it’s gonna be a totally different experience. But also I am comfortable knowing that I’ve lived in Illinois for so long that if I don’t love the suburban areas, I can always come back somewhere with a big city like in Illinois, because Chicago does have a lot of film projects. So I know that I have a place somewhere,” Chialdikas said. “I’m going to miss my friends and family […] and honestly, the school because I’ve grown up with this district. It’s a big change.”


Sean Washburn

While most tend to wait for the morning report, Sean Washburn will be broadcasting a new forecast himself at Mississippi State University this coming fall.

“I’ll be studying broadcast meteorology,” Washburn said. “My ideal [career goal] is definitely being on the news someday, especially news and weather broadcasting.”

Due to the university’s focused broadcast meteorology program, Mississippi State has “all the right classes” for Washburn to receive a professional degree that will allow him to become recognized in the field of broadcast meteorology. According to Washburn, the availability of classes was largely why he chose his school.

Although this decision came with concerns, such as being away from major cities, Washburn was able to calm his fears after visiting. Upon visiting Mississippi State’s campus, Washburn says that he was able to find activities to do on campus, such as bowling, movie nights, or going downtown. However, Washburn says adjusting to the different environment is going to take time for him to accommodate to.

“My friends are just scattering across America. I know we’ll all come back and visit, but I’ve always been here. I know this place like the back of my hand, and it’s going to be weird to not come here very frequently,” Washburn said.

While Washburn knows he’ll have cloudy days when leaving home, he knows that this new adventure will forecast clear skies in the near future.

It’s definitely a bittersweet thing I’m having to face,” said Washburn, “but I think I’ll make it at this school, even though it is in the middle of nowhere. I’ll find my people and I’ll find my way.”

Bella Robb

Even though Robb’s pre-sophomore self had no plans to travel south, her pageant experience led her to take a detour.

“At first I wasn’t big on going anywhere in the South, but sophomore year I got into pageants and I wanted to be able to go somewhere where pageants were a big thing. Most of my schools that I was accepted into were in the South. So I was like, ‘Well, I’m kind of stuck in the south now,’” Robb said.

However, after visiting Tennessee for the first time, the South ended up becoming a place she could see becoming a “new home.” Robb credits this to people being “very welcoming”, due to hospitality being an integral characteristic of Southern culture.

“[The hospitality] is definitely different from Chicago […] because they’ll start up a conversation with you, and you won’t even realize that time is passing. They’ll just ask you about you [and say] ‘don’t talk about me, I’m asking about you.’ That was amazing,” Robb said.

However, Robb says she worries about not knowing anyone at University of Tennessee.

“This is a really new start for me […]. No one’s going to know me. I think that’s going to be very difficult because everyone in college comes from different backgrounds,” Robb said.

In spite of worries over new starts, Robb cannot wait to start a new page and is excited to be more independent.

“That’s the next chapter in our life after you graduate from high school,” Robb said. “You need to learn to be independent as you’re going to go to a job and then you have to find all that stuff out financially and so I’m very excited.”