Where Are They Now?: Former Blue Valley students share experiences since high school, give advice to students

Maddie Jewett & Hailey McEntee, Features Editor & Co-Editor

Drum major and Homecoming queen 2012 graduate Meera Chakravarthy attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and continues working on her musical talents.
“After trying out a lot of different things and exploring all my options, I think I am double majoring in Economics and Music with a focus on flute,” she said.
Chakravarthy said she experienced different types of classes before finding the right fit for her.
Chakravarthy said her main goal in life is to have a positive impact on the people around her.
“I would say my hopes and dreams for the future have been something that have stayed constant throughout my life — to enlighten and create a positive impact in the lives of the individuals around me,” she said. “I hope the skills that I obtain through my majors will make me more able to make an impact on the people around me. I have dreams ranging from being a yoga teacher — which will happen — and a college professor to a CEO and a flute teacher. My plan after studies is to spend time exploring and traveling the world with a job or some sort of research program before I settle down in my life.”
Chakravarthy has class sizes ranging from 15-400 people.
She said her college experience has helped her figure out who she is and how she wants to live her life.
“I think my favorite thing about college has been learning things about my own self,” she said. “My university is large enough so that I have to make a conscious effort to go get involved, but small enough so that I can have a community if I want that. This has really given me a chance to learn how to just be on my own, learn on my own and live life in a way I want that works best for me, rather than fitting into a mold someone else has created.”
Chakravarthy said BV taught her how to stay connected with her peers.
“In my years at BV, I learned something very important — always fulfill your obligations to others and stay connected to them,” she said. “You will not only make immediate friends, but you will create a community and have so many people supporting you. BV really taught me how to network. It is such a simple, easy thing — just make others feel important in life and stay connected.”
She said her advice to BV students would be to not worry about their future and just to trust that everything will work out in the end.
“Let yourself explore, and don’t feel obligated to pre-plan your life,” she said. “This was and still is one of the hardest things for me to deal with because I know I want to make an impact. I just don’t know what means of accomplishing this task will work best for me. Things do work out naturally to how they are supposed to be. If you just stay active, you will be where you need to be, but don’t stop searching because this is the only way you can become comfortable in your own self.

Student body president and 2012 graduate Evelyn Davis planned to attend Yale University in the fall of 2012.
However, Davis decided during the July after graduation to take a gap year instead.
“My whole life just kind of seemed predetermined for me, and everything had been laid out for me,” she said. “I just really wanted to stray from the typical path and gain some new experiences. After high school I just felt kind of burnt out, and I really wanted to experience Yale to its full potential and enjoy it. I didn’t feel I could do that straight out of high school.”
During her gap year, Davis traveled throughout South America and Europe, including places such as Madrid, London, Barcelona and Ecuador.
Davis said she gained valuable experiences during her travels.
“I learned about what really matters in life,” she said. “Also, I learned about finding the joy around you. It seems like in America everyone is always waiting for the weekend or waiting for the next thing — in these other countries people find joy in everything they do, and they are thankful for every blessing. They really know that life is about the journey.”
Davis said her experiences gave her a new outlook on life.
“I really learned a lot about human worth,” she said. “We aren’t what we do — we are people with different interests and passions. I learned things we believe in are what really matter and nothing else does.”
Davis said coming back to the United States was a hard transition.
“When I came back in the winter, there was kind of a reverse culture-shock,” she said. “While I was gone, I really realized how much we have. In the places I went, they would be overjoyed to even just sit down for a meal with their family, where here we take things for granted.”
Currently attending Yale, Davis said she is excited to learn.
“I love how here at Yale everyone has passion for what they are doing and learning,” she said. “So many of the people have so many experiences like with film-making or traveling or anything. It’s great to be able to learn from my peers.”
Davis is currently undecided on her major.
“In my opinion, college is to learn,” she said. “So I’m here to learn as much as I can about everything, and when the time comes to choose a major, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I’m looking into Art History and Global Affairs, though.”
Davis said there were a few things she wished she knew before graduating high school.
“Blue Valley has a great staff,” she said. “They always tell you to not be afraid to ask questions. I wish I would have taken that seriously. Also, I wish I would have been taught that your success and your life is different from anyone else. Don’t cheat yourself out of living your life the way you want to. Do what you love, and do that with passion, and surely everything will turn out how it’s supposed to.”

Theater student, lead in the school musical and 2012 graduate Alex Petersen was an active member of the Performing Arts department in his time at Blue Valley. He chose to continue this passion at Oklahoma City University.
“I took music theory, creation of music, acting, dancing and piano classes [my freshman year],” he said. “I’m emerging myself in the art.”
Despite the hard work in college, Petersen said he has thoroughly enjoyed the liberal arts style program.
“It’s important to me because I feel like you can only be a smart performer if you’re a smart person,” he said. “I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to turn my hobby into my career. If you love what you do, you never really have to work a day in your life.”
Petersen said the strong relationships made with BV teachers and faculty can’t be found anywhere else.
“I will always have memories from the choir and theater departments at BV,” he said. “I miss how close I was to my teachers, especially [choir teacher] Mrs. [Marsha] Moeller. At my new school, you get one-on-one attention, but it just isn’t as personal of an environment.”
Petersen said the hardest thing about college is finding motivation for the classes he isn’t as interested in.
“Take as many AP and College Now classes as you can, even if it doesn’t relate to your major,” he said. “I’m lucky because I got out of taking a lot of the entry-level liberal arts classes, and now I can take the classes I’m interested in.”
Petersen said he would encourage students to work hard in college and not waste their money.
“No matter what your major is — even if it’s undecided — have fun, but you’re spending your money to get an education, so that needs to be the your main focus,” he said.
Petersen said he has high hopes for his future regarding theater after graduating in 2016.
“After graduation, I plan on moving to New York City,” he said. “I want to get an apartment and a good job. Then I am going to start auditioning for shows. I would like to do both Broadway and off-Broadway. Theater is about all about connections, so I just want to make connections and get to know people in the business.”

Former BV quarterback and 2012 graduate Kyle Zimmerman attends Northwest Missouri State on a football scholarship. He was red-shirted as a freshman last year.
Zimmerman said he likes the freedom he has in college.
“My favorite thing about college is meeting new people, having new experiences and also just the atmosphere of college life is great,” he said. “I like not being in classes for the entire day, and I like the responsibility that comes with that. You have to rely on yourself to do things.”
Zimmerman said there is a big shift from high school football to college football.
“The guys are faster, bigger and stronger,” he said. “It’s the same game, but there’s so much more to know. There are more meetings and more of knowing the X’s and O’s of the game.”
Zimmerman said he loves the brotherhood of the football team at Northwest Missouri State.
“You always know they have your back and will be there for you for anything,” he said. “We have a really close team, and we’re together all the time.”
Zimmerman said he wishes he would have been a little more prepared for college.
“I wish I would have been more prepared for time management,” he said. “You’re out on your own, and you have to know how to manage everything.”
Zimmerman said to enjoy high school while you can.
“Take advantage of opportunities to get to know people,” he said. “Also, find scholarships — there are so many scholarship opportunities out there.”
Zimmerman offers advice to anyone looking into playing a college sport.
“I would only recommend you play in college if you’re totally committed to and love the sport,” he said. “People say it’s like a full-time job, and they aren’t joking. It’s very demanding.”