HHS teachers share college experiences


Fall is a busy time for most seniors. It is the beginning of their last year of high school as well as a time to apply for colleges. Many students may feel overwhelmed or may be having a difficult time deciding on which college is right for them. Our very own teachers of Howell High School are great resources when it comes to the topic of college.

Some teachers, like Mr. Riordan, chose to go to a private college like Albion University. He did not know his major going in. It’s important to remember that you don’t always have to know exactly what you are going to do with your life to go to college, you still have time to figure it out.

“One of the reasons I chose [Albion] was because it is a liberal arts school and I could learn about everything,”  Mr. Riordan says.

Mr. Riordan also got a unique opportunity while attending college and was able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain which was arguably his favorite part of his entire college experience. He also really enjoyed the fact that he was able to develop strong relationships with his professors and other students on campus.

“My advice [to college bound students] would be to visit the colleges you are interested in and really go with your gut. You’ve got to be happy where you end up going,” Mr. Riordan says.

Mr. Carriere didn’t end up just going to one college throughout his experience, but rather three. He started out at Central Michigan University then went to Schoolcraft Junior College, and later transferred to the University of Michigan.

Mr. Carriere said going into college he knew he was going to be an engineer, however after junior year he decided he wanted to travel and study archeology and philosophy. After that he decided to further his education and become a teacher, graduating from U of M.

“There’s no one perfect way to pursue your dreams, however the pursuit will be the most enjoyable experience of your life,” Mr. Carriere says.

Drama teacher, Ms. Malo, also went to an array of different universities throughout her college career. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Hope College, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Malo also had a unique experience, as she went out of state for two out of her three colleges. She is originally from North Carolina and ended up transferring to UNC because she wanted to go back home.

“I don’t think you appreciate your family until you are far away from them,” Ms. Malo says.

Ms. Malo says she knew going into college exactly what she wanted to do with her life and that she was going to be a theater major.

“My colleges may have changed, but my major did not,”  Ms. Malo says.

Malo also advises college bound students to spend a day at the college they think they may be interested in and to perhaps find someone to go to a class with to best experience the college.

“It’s okay to make mistakes. I think a lot of students have anxiety about picking the right college or major. The bottom line is that you are there to learn and making mistakes is part of the learning process,” Ms. Malo says.  

Our English 11 teacher, Mrs. Cesarz attended Eastern Michigan University. One thing she liked about Eastern was that they had a college just for people that wanted to specialize in teaching education.

Cesarz advises all students to figure out what their passion is in life and then pick a career, and if you don’t know what that is yet, you should go to a community college until you figure it out. Also, the most important thing Cesarz learned from college was that in order to get respect, you have to give it.

“[To college bound students] I suggest to live on campus for your first year, because you won’t regret it,” Mrs. Cesarz says.

Mr. Garlinghouse, our Criminalists teacher, attended Albion University until his junior year and then transfered to Michigan State University. Garlinghouse got his pre-medical degree in biology and chemistry.

For Garlinghouse, MSU offered him a lot of different research jobs that he did as a student. These jobs helped him land a good paying job once he graduated.

“I advise college students to be committed, and have a plan. Otherwise you will waste time and serious money with nothing to really show for it,” Garlinghouse says.

Garlinghouse had a challenging time during his college career. Garlinghouse didn’t have anyone looking after him to do his work and his teachers were poor about caring if their students even showed up to class. It was hard for him to take responsibility for his learning.

Mr. Ash attended many different universities. Albion University for one year and then transferred to Michigan Technological University. Later not liking what he had majored in, Ash attended Eastern Michigan University where he earned his masters in Physical Education.

Ash originally went to school for pre-med , and majored in Biology with a minor in chemistry, because he was interested in health and science fields. Ash’s parents were both teachers and at the beginning of his college career he was not interested in being a teacher. After Ash changed what he wanted to go for a couple times, he realized he wanted to be a teacher. Later, Ash got his masters in PE in hopes that he could work in a field he enjoyed.

Ash found the reality of college to be the challenging part and encouraged college students to get involved in some activity at their college.
“Grocery shopping, laundry, etc., on top of your class work, all had to be done by me,” Ash says. “I had to take charge in my own education. If I needed help, I had to ask and seek it out. You have to be invested in your own education, nobody else is going to do it for you.”