Casey Gilfillan’s Great Advice for Seniors

"You will most likely be lonely, and you will miss your friends so badly that your heart will hurt. It's normal, and it's okay."


From Audubon to Washington D.C., this week’s AHS alumni is none other than Casey Gilfillan, the Valedictorian of the Class of 2018. Casey is my previous coworker at a pizza place in Haddon Heights, and whenever we would work together there would be nonstop sarcastic jokes and plenty of laughs behind the counter. She is one of the sweetest people I know and we definitely share a similar sense of humor. It’s been a while since we talked, so I decided to catch up with her:


Sandy: Hey Casey, where are you living now?

Casey: Washington, D.C. on Georgetown’s campus (I’m assuming you mean college-wise).

Sandy: Yes, haha. My follow-up question is where are you going to school and what’s your major?

Casey: I’m at Georgetown University, and I’m double-majoring in Spanish and Government, which is basically political science but they just call it government.

Sandy: That’s really cool, I remember hearing you got accepted and I was so excited for you. How would you say your life has changed since you graduated from AHS?

Casey: Thanks! Waiting for that letter gave me some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever had in my life haha. But as far as my life changing since I’ve graduated, I think there have definitely been some significant changes. Communicating with friends has proven to be a big challenge, and not seeing them for seven out of eight periods of the day every single day has been a really drastic shift in my life. But beyond just relationships and keeping in touch with my friends, I feel that my dynamic as a student has changed as well. College gives you a lot more freedom, and finding out how to balance that freedom can be quite an adjustment. Trying to divide my time responsibly between going to class, doing my work, pursuing leadership roles in clubs, working out, and binge watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has proved to be a real challenge at times, but I think that it’s made me overall much more well-rounded.

Sandy: That’s a great answer actually, wow a lot has changed within one school year for you. You said you don’t get to see your friends as often – do you still have the same friends from high school?

Casey: Yes, I do have all the same friends. I nag them constantly so that they can’t forget me. Surprisingly enough though, I’ve actually gotten close with people that I was only acquaintances with in high school. I talk to a lot more people from Audubon, and I like it because I like feeling connected to the town and school even though I’m far away. I didn’t really appreciate how close everybody was until after I had already left, but fortunately those relationships don’t die right after graduation.

Sandy: That’s really cool, I love seeing your group together. What advice do you have for current seniors at AHS?

Casey: Pace yourselves as you approach the next phase of your life, specifically college. I feel like nobody ever told me about the negative parts of college when I was in high school, and based off of the way people spoke about their experiences, I assume that I would love every second and I dove in head first. That’s not a realistic expectation to have, and it kind of set me up for failure during my adjustment period. At some point or another, you will most likely feel sad. You will most likely be lonely, and you will miss your friends so badly that your heart will hurt. It’s normal, and it’s okay. I’m not saying you should be weary to go to college, but just know that it is an enormous adjustment, and that it might take some time (and possibly some tears) for you to fully acclimate yourself.

Sandy: That was perfect, thank you so much for taking the time out to interview for The Parrot!