Destiny Discover
Managing the jump from high school to university: a Cardinal Newman student's perspective

By Tamara Jefak
Stoney Creek News (June 23, 2017)

It’s that time of the year again, when high school students are finishing off their secondary school experience and beginning a new chapter in their lives.

Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School student Julianna Marfisi is among those about to step out into an unfamiliar world.

From a young age, the grade 12 graduate excelled in the sciences, advancing to the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair from the school district science fair in grade 7, taking home bronze. Marfisi also received the Director’s Award of Excellence for Science and Technology in grade 8.

Throughout high school, she obtained honour roll each year, always placing in the top 10th percentile in her class, all while juggling rep volleyball and a job.

“Since I was in grade 10, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences,” said Marfisi.

McMaster University played a large role in her decision.

“Figuring out what I wanted to do post secondary was majorly influenced by the teachers I had in high school,” she said. “They inspired me to love science.”

Marfisi had a tougher time deciding exactly what program to select.

“At the beginning of grade 12, I was still debating between two programs, McMaster Life Sciences and McMaster Kinesiology,” Marfisi said. “In the back of my mind I silently pined for the prestigious but very hard to get into McMaster Health Sciences.”

The decision was easily sorted out when Marfisi attended the McMaster Fall Preview.

“I felt like the decision to choose kinesiology came naturally and the appeal to the program, facilities, school, and everything it had to offer has been with me for quite a while.”

Teachers quickly recognized Marfisi’s drive and motivation.

“Julianna is one of the most determined individuals I have encountered in my teaching career,” said Michelle Fischer, a science teacher at Cardinal Newman. “She knows what she wants and goes after it.”

Marfisi applied to six programs, three at McMaster, two at the University of Toronto and one at Western University.

“The biggest challenge in the application process was waiting to get a letter of acceptance or declination,” she said.

After applying, the nerves started to kick in, as Marfisi realized she wouldn’t be coming back to her familiar high school to see her long-time friends.

“I’m concerned that even though many of my friends are attending McMaster with me, that I won’t get to see them that often and we’ll grow apart,” Marfisi said.

She worried as well about the different environment.

“Also, I’m concerned with how hard and heavy the workload is going to be, and how I will be able to adapt to the differences between high school and university learning styles,” Marfisi said.

She adds: “Things will be very different with labs, lectures and tutorials, as opposed to simply one class of each subject a day.”

Julianna Marfisi is looking ahead to her fall term at McMaster University.
Julianna Marfisi is looking ahead to her fall term at McMaster University.