#31 Your College List: Social Fit Transcript



Grace Yi  00:00

You will find your place at these institutions, you will find a place and you will find your people. Remember, it’s about what you want. It’s about figuring out what you want out of the school, we get so stressed with what schooling surpasses what you want school too. And if you put yourself out there, good things will happen. And you will be able to surround yourself with the people that you you want to. And so I guess my biggest advice would be not to stress too much about it. Because it’s not as it’s not as nice to a particular school as you think I can guarantee that most holiday students could find their place at almost any institution out there if they tried hard enough.


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:37

Fighting you your teen social fit on a college campus is our second focus and our month long series on building a college list that fits your unique family. Social fit might be the first thing or even the only thing your teen is thinking about in terms of college. Honestly, it is the really fun part of college. It can be a wide variety of things from athletics to Greek life to clubs and recreational pursuits. My guest today is Boston college sophomore at Grace, yay from Cincinnati. I met grace when she was only 15. And I started working with her. In that time, I watch great struggle with finding a campus that fit her. And for a period of time, she even moved into the very frozen mode of flight fight or freeze. Because this is common in your team might also struggle with this too. Grace is the perfect guest to talk about how she overcame these challenges to find her fit. And guess what your team can too. I’m Lisa marker Robbins and I want to welcome you to College and Career Clarity, a flourish coaching production. Let’s dive right in to a great conversation. It’s my pleasure to welcome Grace ghee of Cincinnati to the podcast. Her story is going to inform and inspire families that are on the college bound journey. I first met grace when she was oh gosh, a freshman or sophomore in high school and we started working together she was attending St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated in that class of 2020. Just like my twins did not have fun into the senior year, you’ll hear a little bit of her story about what happened because of that which is going to interest you and how it kind of changed her journey a bit on her way to college. But now she just completed her freshman year at Boston College. She is a biochem major with a philosophy minor at Boston College and the class of 2025. And we’re just going to have another conversation like we’ve done dozens and dozens of times over the last five or six years. Grace, I’m so happy to have a student success story on here. Thanks for coming on to the podcast.


Grace Yi  03:09

Yeah, thanks for having me.


Lisa Marker Robbins  03:11

Well, we should tell everybody you’re home from summer. You just had a fantastic freshman year at Boston College.


Grace Yi  03:17

Yes, it’s been great. Great to be home. Ready to go back!


Lisa Marker Robbins  03:21

Yes, I hear that always. As soon as they get home. It’s like, ah, but I found my place I miss my people. And that’s what I want to talk about today. This is one episode and a four part series we’re doing on building the college list. I teach that there is financial fit, can we afford it? Academic fit? Can I get in college major and career fit can get me to where I’m headed, beginning with the end in mind. And what we’re going to talk about today is social fit. I thought well, who better than a young adult to talk to about social fit? Because you probably have really different thoughts on this than I do. Oh, yeah. How would you define social fit when I throw that term out there?


Grace Yi  04:07

So and the definition of it has definitely changed in my mind for the longest time, I really thought it was a pretty rigid category, just like the other ones that you just described. I thought that social fit meant the institution itself being a fit for you as a person socially. So those spheres of your social life, whether it’s whatever affiliations that you have, and the like the moral philosophy and the moral code that you hold yourself to is aligned with, like the mission statement of the entire university and I really kind of, I wanted to be able to find a way to make it fit, like find categories to try to make schools fit into so that I could say whether or not it was a good social fit. But for me personally now finding a school with a good social fit more has to do with you being willing to put yourself out there. Once you get there and less to do with the general gist of the school. It’s Self, because at most of these schools with such such large and diverse environments, especially because nowadays, M schools are becoming more and more diverse and including more and more opportunities in their social opportunities for students, it’s more about you being willing to try to understand what you want, personally from a school. So more has to do with I think, a lot of looking internally at what you want, and trying to be able to apply that wherever you go, is more of how I would define it currently.


Lisa Marker Robbins  05:29

I love that you’re bringing insight to the conversation of someone who has evolved, that’s changed for you from when we first started working together when you were in high school. And you take a very more fluid and flexible approach to analysis. So let’s go back in time, you and I remember, these days, we were working on your college list and trying to find your fit, and you were doing your college visits, which was really hard to do given COVID complicated things for you. So when you were assessing college fit back, then what were the types of things that you did on this college bound journey, what worked and what didn’t work.


Grace Yi  06:11

So especially initially, there were a couple of boxes that I kind of was looking at to be ticked or not ticked, I knew I wanted a school with relative social life that revolved around sports. So I looked for a school that generally had some kind of football team potentially, which ended up being less important in the long run anyways, but also sighs like I personally kind of wanted a middle sized school, even though again, looking back at that, you since you have such a small pot of people you’re going to know relative to the entirety of the institution, it’s not, again, it’s not going to make or break your experience. In my personal opinion. I also looked at schools in terms of in my social life, that would be potentially near things I ended up, eventually coming to the conclusion that I didn’t really want a school that wasn’t close by to a city or a place where I could do things outside of just on campus activities. So that was something that was pretty important to me. And I also like I knew I wanted a school that didn’t have a ton of Greek life, you’re in someone who is either interested or not interested in Greek life that can play a really big role on sort of your social and extracurricular activities, depending on how important and how involved people are in them on the campus. So I definitely recommend looking into that. Boston College doesn’t have any Greek life at all. So that worked out pretty well for me. But I really, I was looking on the macro scale. At first for sure. I was looking at like, again, the big the big picture of the entire school, and trying to find a way to make myself fit into something that is being applied to a group of generally 1000s and 1000s of students, which, for a while, it felt so impersonal to me, I felt like I wasn’t going to find a social fit. Because it was like it was this really big ambiguous thing of Well, yeah, this this, this checks all my boxes, and it sounds right. But like I how do I know? I can’t really help. These are just a bunch of categories like it, I think I think that’s what I was like, I think that sounds good to me. But I wasn’t really sure how that applied to me as an individual, I guess.


Lisa Marker Robbins  08:14

Yeah. And I remember when we were walking through that process and watching your family and advising you I saw that struggle in you. It was complicated, because of COVID, we should bring our listeners up to speed. So you were you were headed to college as you are graduating in the spring of 2020. And we had I remember I was driving to Florida, we were going over the mountains in Tennessee, my husband and I and I was doing a call with your mom and you. And that call was based on an inkling you had that led to a conclusion that you were kind of changing courses in May of 2020. Why don’t you share with everybody what that was and why


Grace Yi  08:56

2020 was a weird year for everyone. But for me, personally, I had a lot of things changing in my life. And so especially with the impact of COVID. And what my parents, my parents were both physicians, and so they had the idea that it probably wasn’t going to be something that passed in a couple of months, that I wasn’t really ready personally and didn’t really want to have my first year of college going into that fall of 2020. And so it was my parents who brought it up to me, I was actually pretty adamantly against it. Because I sort of thought there was this idea that you go to high school and then you graduate high school, and then you go to college or you pursue some level of a degree and then you either get a further education or you get you go into a profession, but my parents were the ones who were like, listen, well, first off, we really don’t want to pay for online school. And second of all, right, we you know, we really don’t think that you’re going to have the most beneficial and the most fulfilling experience this year. If you do choose to go off to college. And I didn’t plan on going somewhere close where I already knew people and where I already had sort of had implemented myself into the general area so It would be really starting over in a place where I’d probably spend 90% of my time in my dorm room, I ultimately decided that I should probably take, I should take this year off, and I didn’t, I had no idea how that was gonna go. I was pretty anxious about it for a while, because it was the first time in my life where I hadn’t been following the structure that everyone around me was, I was the only one of my friends that I knew of that was taking a gap year, I hadn’t known anyone that I’d taken a gap year before either. So I was definitely pretty nervous about it.


Lisa Marker Robbins  10:30

Wow. And looking back, I remember your nervousness. But once you made that decision, you were fully committed. And you and you ended up having a really great gap year, I remember you volunteered, and you worked. And you went back as a coach at your former high school. So you had a great gap year, we actually have a previous podcast episode that I’m going to link to in the show notes on gap years, and all the different things that you can do with them. But I think can be a fantastic option. And in the end, you didn’t end up regretting it right?


Grace Yi  11:01

Oh, I would recommend gap years to so many people. I think that it made my college transition so much easier. I know obviously, that’s not what this episode is about. But I mean, best decision I’ve made.


Lisa Marker Robbins  11:13

We know what you were initially looking for when you were in high school. And you had a more rigid like trying to fit it into a box or like you said, checking off the list. You go to Boston College last fall, all of 2021, I was actually talking to your sister and you popped in the other day, and you started telling me all the things you’re doing. And I’m like your social fit looks really different now than it looked or we thought it might look in high school. So tell everybody share with us a story of how you found your way on campus and the things that you’ve gotten involved with, because I’m over here cheering you on, and you’ve done a fantastic job, I could not be more proud of you, Grace,


Grace Yi  11:56

thank you well, so when I first got on campus, there, obviously you’re gonna have all types of like job fairs and different activities that are going to like kind of throw everything at you at once during things like Welcome Week, and freshman orientation and whatnot. And so my first piece of advice there is like remember that this is fun stuff, do not let yourself get overwhelmed by all the options, you don’t have to do everything. In fact, in college, they really recommend you pick a couple of clubs and really get involved with them. Don’t be like you were in high school and do 20 clubs, and 15 separate organizations and all of that you’re not gonna first I’m not gonna have time and it’s just not gonna be fun.


Lisa Marker Robbins  12:38

You did do a lot in high school, you were one busy teenager, and you had a very wide variety of things that you did. So okay, I just had to add that. So coming from someone who had themselves super busy, maybe too busy at times in high school, you’re like, less is more


Grace Yi  12:56

100% Less is definitely more. And I would say one of the best things to do is go into your freshman year, if you can, knowing a couple of groups that you want to get involved in, some can be specific to the school, and some don’t have to be, it can be more of a general like, Oh, I’m really, really interested in being involved with a certain social justice organization, or I really want to be involved in a certain type of volunteering. And so I’m going to try to go to campus ministry or I’m trying, I’m going to go with my mind open towards a couple of those specific things that I want to do there. And then you can also again, do school specific things to after you’ve picked your school already. And you can look up online especially like right before you leave just a couple of things that you people you might want to reach out to even email before you go. I ended up emailing and last minute ended up part of this living and learning community that I decided I wanted to do and ended up loving it met some of my best friends through it took my favorite class through it. And so I think being able to try to plan some of that out ahead so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Once you get there can be really, really great. I knew personally back to like what happened for me that I wanted to get involved with something related to singing on campus, I wanted to do something related to either student government, or student advocacy on campus, and I want to try something new. Were kind of my big three things that I knew I wanted to happen in whatever way shape or form that they did. And so I when I went to the club fairs, I put my name on an email list for a couple of singing groups I could audition for. I put my name on a list for a couple of the UG of the undergraduate government, UGC emails so I could figure out which sector that I wanted to get involved in. And I signed up for a couple of random things. Most of those I didn’t even end up doing but just to try to figure out how I could meet people and get


Lisa Marker Robbins  14:55

more involved. I want to reiterate what you just said. You it explored a little bit, you even put yourself on email list or went to the fairs and talk to people. But you didn’t look at that as a firm commitment, it was just exploratory to find your way. And while you did look online before you went, you really couldn’t do a whole lot until you got there to find your fit. So I think sometimes I see in the students that we work with, they feel like if they take a step, it’s a commitment. It is okay to take a baby step, put your toe in the water just to explore. And it sounds like there were a lot of things that you explored. And you’re like, Nope, that’s not for me.


Grace Yi  15:36

Oh, 100%. All of this is casual. It starts out very casual. I think that I was talking to one of my friends. She’s like the president of one of these clubs, and upperclassmen. And she was like, Oh, I think like maybe a third of the freshmen who sign up, sign up for an email list even came to like any of the meetings, there’s no commitment, you’re not signing any contracts, when you sign up for this stuff. If I can give you the biggest takeaway is just don’t get overwhelmed by it. This is fun. This is supposed to be fun. Should be fun. Yeah, it should be fun. And in high school, there was this such as concept of you will you have to get this you have to check this box. And if you want to go to this school, you need to do this club and have this level of rigor and this level of involvement. These clubs are a lot of times just want to cancel. You’re just trying to have a good time and meet people and hang out with their friends. I went to like to ultimate frisbee club meetings. I never did it again. I was terrible. But it was a really fun time. And I met some really cool people there. And there’s a couple of them that I continued, we’d hang out and get like ice cream like twice a week. And I again, I never went to another practice. It wasn’t something that I was doing for anything academically related. It was just fun.


Lisa Marker Robbins  16:41

So you tried that something new it was at your No, but I was so surprised to hear about your something new that you shared with me earlier this summer, share what your something new is. So athletically related, because you we should say you, you were a runner. You were a cross country runner you coached at your high school during your gap year, so you have been athletically inclined. So without further ado,


Grace Yi  17:10

yes. So this ended up happening a bit. I got an email, maybe a month into school. So after everyone was kind of getting settled, and I’d actually started figuring out what clubs I was already involved in. But I still had a fair amount of free time. And I remember I was going to my emails and there was an email from the head rowing coach at Boston College that they do walk on tryouts. For certain sports. It is a division one sport. But for certain sports, especially sports, like rowing, which not everyone can do in high school, they will take a certain number of walk ons that can will be integrated into the varsity sport by the end of the year. And so I remember looking at it, like that seems really cool. But like, I don’t know, I don’t really know too much about it. I was I was pretty back and forth. And like, there were like, the tryouts were five days long. That seemed kind of intense. I was like, Oh, am I even in shape enough? Like, I don’t really know. And I remember thinking like, you know what, who cares? It sounds cool. The coach seems cool. I knew one other girl who was like, Maybe I might go like, if you go, I’ll go. And I was like, You know what, okay, so there’s a funny story behind it. I ended up not having one of the vaccines that I had needed, I’d done it before I was 16. So I had to like run to a CVS and get it right before. It feels a little less spontaneous. But I ended up trying out and making the team and the fall we just practiced as like the group of novices as a group of new people, pretty early wake ups. It was great to get into a schedule of like actually having to wake up early in the mornings. And I’m a more of a night owl, but I feel better when I wake up early. So it was really awesome to have that sort of structure added because in college, obviously you have a lot of newfound time on your hands. So finding things you can structure your life around can make that transition a lot easier, I think. But then by the spring it was we were just fully integrated with the varsity cruise I got to compete and accs I got the novice of the Year award. It was really cool. It was like a really, really fun time. I never, and honestly, I never would have done this a couple of years ago, I would have not put myself out


Lisa Marker Robbins  19:04

there like that, as someone who’s known you for quite a few years. I will agree with that. And that’s I think what got me so excited to hear this because I thought the grace of junior year of high school or even senior year of high school, never would have put herself out there like this with that. And it shows the maturity and the growth and the change in perspective. And that’s why I was like Oh, I love I love seeing it in so many different ways like you found your place and it’s something that you never would have done before.


Grace Yi  19:38

Oh no. And again another thing that you have to read out with college is like these random people that you see this one club meeting you’re probably not going to see again unless you continue to do it so you might as well put yourself out there like there’s no one has any shame. Like there’s no there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re not huddle you’re not these awkward, awkward 14 year olds huddled in the classroom anymore afraid to raise your hand or be the person to speak first. Just go for it take every opportunity you can, because you never know what could happen if you do. And I could have, like, I remember I could have completely just not even clicked on the email, and ignored it, which I do with all of my emails. Actually, I need to I’ve got one of those terrible inboxes. It’s like very cluttered. But I decided to go for it. And I met some of my best friends, a lot of my best friends are on the team. I absolutely love the sport. I’m rowing the summer, I’m doing a summer program here so I can improve my technique and do well when I get back to school. I mean, it’s totally, totally changed my entire experience. And it was that one quick decision that did it,


Lisa Marker Robbins  20:39

I love it. One thing I want you to share, before we wrap up is you’re also starting an organization or a club on campus, which doesn’t surprise me because when you were in high school, you did start an implicit bias club at St. Arslan Academy, and had a lot of passion around that. So tell the story, I was just I only learned it today as we were preparing for this episode. But tell the story about like, what’s your club, but more importantly, how has this club come about, because I think it’s really great as far as not just finding your social fit, but also creating social fit.


Grace Yi  21:18

That’s a really good point. And that’s another thing again, I think that a lot of us have the opportunity in college, no matter where you go to create the social fit that you want to find and find the people that you truly think that you really want to surround yourself with. So I ended up doing this living and learning community. And because of that, I had to take this class, this philosophy slash theology course. But it was mostly philosophically based. And I happen to have just this amazing professor, like truly the best teacher I have ever had in my entire life, changed the way I approached the world and myself and the people in it, just like totally mind boggling. If you know if you would never take a take a class with Professor Pattillo. At Boston College, I don’t know if any of you listening will definitely do. He is amazing. One of my really good friends, I happen to meet in that class, which another thing about college, you will meet friends in the every single place in classes and social things, you don’t have to worry about it, there will be plenty of opportunities, but it’s one of my best friends in this class with me. And he could tell that her and I were really, really engaging with the text, we really, really liked it. And so he ended up asking us to come to his office hours a couple of times just to hang out to talk more mostly just to talk about more about what we thought about the readings, how we felt it could apply to our lives, especially as you know, Gen Zers. And why these Why Why should we keep reading these old white dudes and blah, blah, blah, blah. Eventually, we kind of moved into this chapter in the textbook reading. And we got to one of the books was living Buddha, living Christ. And the intersection of spirituality and Buddhism and the religion of Christianity and a lot of really interesting stuff. And my friend start started a mindfulness club in high school and had talked to him about it a little bit. I am a pretty active practice of mindfulness techniques, I think it’s really important. It’s really cool. And it turns out that he was also someone who was really interested in that. And he’d always wanted to start a group or a club that focused on mindfulness, especially through a Buddhist lens. And so he happened to ask us one time when we were hanging, we were all hanging out, like, do you think you guys would be willing to like, start a club with me on it, you would need a professor and like, I could be the professor for that. And my friend and I were like, yeah, totally. sounds super cool. So we ended up throwing together like it was relatively last minute, we threw together the application and was able to get it all in and start the club.


Lisa Marker Robbins  23:46

That’s so exciting. So exciting. I know you have a younger sibling who is just starting this process. And then two more siblings, the twins are behind them. Very busy parents very busy family, what would be your one piece of advice that you would leave our listeners parents and students with as it relates to finding their social fit on campus.


Grace Yi  24:11

If you look at some of the things that I initially wanted, Boston College would not have been that fit at all. And I couldn’t be happier there. And most of that has to do directly with my social life and how happy I’ve been. You will find your place at these institutions, you will find a place and you will find your people. Remember, it’s not what you want. It’s about figuring out what you want out of the school we get so stressed with what the school thinks of us is what you want out of school too. And if you put yourself out there, good things will happen. And you will be able to surround yourself with the people that you you want to and so I guess my biggest advice would be not to stress too much about it. Because it’s not as it’s not as nice to a particular school as you’d think I can guarantee that most college students could find their place at almost any institution out there if they tried hard math.


Lisa Marker Robbins  24:57

I love that it really aligns with you know those at beginning when I was saying the four pillars of a good college list, I’ve always believed in doing this work for 23 years that you know financial fit, can we afford it academic fit, can I get in, and then college major and career fit can get me the credential and get me that degree to get me to where I’m headed. Like those are hills to die on, those are must haves on a college list. And teens don’t always like that I say the social fit is a one really flexible piece. And so to hear some young adult now, who has evolved into that, it really aligns with our teaching college list. So I thank you for providing the college student, young adult perspective because I think it will resonate more than a bunch of adults talking about it. So we can’t fail to mention that today. The day you’re recording is your birthday. So grace ye and you’re in Miami, Florida on vacation. So I need to let you go enjoy your birthday trip. And thank you for carving out time with me on your birthday. It’s always a joy to be with you grace. Thank you.



It was great to be here.


Lisa Marker Robbins  26:17

I hope you found Grace’s insights and change mindset to be inspiring. For the weekly college bound challenge that I encourage you to finish in the next seven days. I want your family to first discuss what social fit means to your team, perhaps come up with two to three values as my guest Kiersten the decision coach taught in Episode 29 And then use these to guide finding the social that component. Typically well on a college website. The families I work with gravitate to pages for admissions, financial aid and college majors. Those are all the very essential pieces of finding a college list. But this time, I want you to dig a bit deeper and find the more social aspects that grace shared about go on their social media too. And remember, adopt a flexible mindset like Grace advised and be willing to try new things. If today’s episode was helpful to you, please share with a friend who needs us to sharing following the podcast rating and reviewing helps us resource more students to launch into a successful future. Thank you for listening to the College and Career Clarity podcast where I help your family move from overwhelmed, confused, to motivated, clear and confident about your teens future