Senior Maddie Corrigan reflects on her four years at Northport High School, discusses her plans for the future, and offers advice on navigating high school and the college process.
The following are direct quotes from Northport High School Senior Maddie Corrigan in response to the questions she was asked during the interview.
Q: How are you handling being quarantined and missing the end of your senior year?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of Google Meets and Zooms with high school friends and also new college friends. I’ve been talking a lot with people who are going to the same college as me to get to know them, which helps a lot because it kind of helps you look onto the future. But at the same time, it’s very sad that I’m missing my friends. But I have faith that we will be able to see each other another time! I’m just trying to stay on top of my work and focus on the good things. Just trying to keep myself busy and making sure that I’m focused on the future and knowing that things will end someday and I’ll be able to celebrate my senior year – as long as everyone stays inside!
Q: What have been some of your favorite classes and/or clubs that you’ve done throughout your high school career?
A: I am planning on studying International Relations, but also Musical Performance. So what does that entail? Politics and music. So my favorite classes have been with Mr. Greenblatt: Euro, APUSH, and currently I’m in Comparative Politics. He’s taught me my love for politics and activism. I’ve also loved Dr. Doyle’s theory classes and also Ms. Janke’s orchestra. I’m the president of the Orchestra so the A-Wing has kind of been my home for most of high school. In general, music and history classes have been my favorites.
Q: What are some things you enjoy doing outside of school?
A: Everything I do is mostly in school. I work at Batata Cafe, and I also like journaling and baking/cooking. A lot of the things I do are related to school, like music, practicing my instrument. I’m also interested in participating in activism and going to things like marches and strikes.
Q: What’s your college/major and why did you choose both of these?
A: I am attending American University in D.C. and I’m very excited! I’m doing a double major in International Relations and Music Performance. I knew I wanted to be in a city, and I originally thought I was gonna end up in New York for a long time, but then I realized while searching for colleges that while I did apply to a lot of city schools, I realized I grew up being in the city a lot and it would be nice to see a new city and get to live in D.C. I’ve been there a lot alright so I kind of knew what it was like, and I just loved the city. I chose to study both of those subjects and actually do a double major vs. a major and a minor because I realized I value both of those things equally, and I think it’s really important not to limit yourself in college. Especially because this is the one time in your life when you’re going to be able to go to a place and study anything from Art History to Pre-Med. There are so many options, so never limit yourself to only doing one major if you love other subjects. I love music and I love politics, and I don’t know where these are gonna lead me. We’ll see if I end up choosing one as a career path over the other, but for right now, I’m going to keep up both my interests.
Q: What was your application and audition process like and what advice do you have for Juniors starting applications?
A: Biggest piece of advice: start early. This goes for Sophomores too. So I took my SATs in October of my Junior year, which is very early. For me, taking my SATs early was one thing that I got done. If you plan to start in March or May, which is also the time of your school concerts and sports or AP and IB exams, it just won’t work, and you’ll burn yourself out. But, if you realize you don’t have a lot in October, just try and do a few college tours or get SATs done. Start everything earlier, so you can do everything spread out over time instead of leaving everything until the last minute and stressing yourself out. The application process itself is really not that hard. It’s tedious. The Common App is just putting in information. It seems so scary, but really it’s just your information. Essays are the hardest part. My biggest piece of advice is to think about something in your life that you wouldn’t have already put in your application. I feel like everyone says this, but I wrote my essay about failing my drivers test multiple times, and how it affected me mentally, and how I had to overcome the expectation to fail. I did that because I didn’t want to write something about how I love music, when my activities resume has so much music; they [the college admissions officers] know that. Start early, pick a good essay topic, and don’t be afraid to write more than one essay, even if it’s hard. For auditions, they weren’t that bad. Just make sure you practice! If you have any questions about your schools, learn how to write a quick email too! Also, even if one school tells you no, don’t be discouraged. You have to learn how to cope with rejection. It’s going to happen. I got rejected from my original top choice, and I was really sad, but now I’m going to American, and I’m super excited about it. And I honestly am glad I’m going to this school rather than the school I applied Early Decision to. Make sure you know all your schools’ requirements as well, and don’t stress yourself out! Spread it out. It’s challenging, but we all get through it, and you’re going to be so happy when it’s over.
Q: What are you most looking forward to learning and doing in college?
A: I’m super excited to be able to have the opportunity to explore different subject areas. Like I am doing a very intense double major, so I probably won’t have a lot of time. But also, if I want to throw in a random class that I’m intrigued by, like a lecture, I can do that! Having the freedom to take classes and not have to worry about taking the class just for college, because it is college! I don’t have to worry about the high school mindset of feeling like you have to take AP classes, even if you’re not interested in the subject. I don’t like science, and I’ve had to take advanced science and just bore myself to death. So I like having the freedom to invest myself and my time in subjects that I really care about. Also, I’m really looking forward to learning more about music and being able to see what it’s like to be a professional musician. Even though you’re not a professional musician, it gives you a taste of what the schedule might be like.
Q: What do you think was the most beneficial thing you did in high school to prepare you for college?
A: Definitely taking AP and IB classes prepared me in terms of workload, and my parents have actually joked around about my schedule being so intense, but that I won’t be that freaked out when I go to college. I feel like I did a bunch of things in high school that I did for college, not for my own personal enjoyment. But music, I gave up so much of my time to go to rehearsal and Tech Week, and that was important to me because I learned that I loved music in high school. I already kind of knew that, but I was originally going to take Academy of Finance. But I realized once I switched out of AOF and into Dr. Doyle’s classes that I really wanted to do music. High school made me find my interests and really what I want to study and what I like to do.
Q: What are your future plans and goals for after college and where do you see yourself?
A: Here’s the thing: I think going in as a double major, a lot of people have said to me that I’m going to focus on one thing and the other, and that’s probably true. But honestly my current plan is just to go to college, and if I end up gravitating more towards music or politics, I will listen to myself and do that. No matter what, I am going to get my Masters degree and after that, if I’m still in D.C. and I’m looking to go into politics, I would love to work for a political campaign or get a job in a State Department. And if I decide to be more music leading, then maybe I’ll become a music professor or join an orchestra. There’s an orchestra specifically for graduate students to get a taste of the music world. So we’ll see. We’ll see where life takes me. I don’t want to limit myself yet because I don’t really know. And life has a funny way of leading you to where you have to go. That’s why you should never feel like you have to stick with something.
Q: What will you miss most about high school and Northport in general?
A: I think I’ll definitely miss my friends and teachers. There’s a lot of people in the district and in the town in general that have had a huge impact on me: teachers, family members, friends, staff. A lot of people in Northport have really supported me. I think if I’m being honest, I’m really excited to go to a city and live in a more diverse area. But at the same time, I definitely formed lasting friendships and bonds with people here that make me sad to lose. But you’re never going to lose your hometown, since I’ll be back for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think in terms of the High School, there’s definitely a lot of things I’m going to miss like the Orchestra, Ms. Janke, Mr. Greenblatt, Dr. Doyle, and all of the little Northport traditions, like Tech Week. All the little things.
Q: What would you like to tell those reading, especially any advice you have for freshmen?
A: Looking back on my Freshman self, I hate her. She’s the worst. And I feel like everyone needs to realize that high school is a period of growth. I went from being young, immature, and not really knowing who I was and what I wanted to do. I just generally projected what I thought would make people like me, and what to do to fit in. And I feel like that’s a lot of the middle school/Freshmen outlook, of needing to fit in and needing others to like you. But looking back on my Freshman self, which you do a lot as a Senior, (as it’s only been four years but you’ve drastically changed as a person), my style has changed, my taste in music has changed, some of my friends have changed, and some people I never would’ve thought I’d be friends with are now some of my best friends. People come and go, and that’s fine. I feel like everyone needs to realize that you need to learn and grow, and ultimately, it’s kind of a journey and your final step away from being a child and stepping into a new life. My biggest piece of advice to Freshmen academically is always start early, and you’re going to regret skipping that class and test and doing something else. It all comes back to you. But ultimately, make sure that you’re happy and healthy, because I burned myself out so much in high school, and you don’t realize until you’re out of it how stressed and anxious you are. Focus on your future, but also focus on the now, and know it goes by so fast, so don’t ruin any moments for yourself and take it for granted, because we are lucky to get this education.