Interviews with OIHS Class of ’19 graduates

Jenson in Denmark / Contributed Photo

Tim Jenson

College: Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium in Copenhagen, Denmark

Future Major: Bachelor’s degree in horn

What is it like living in a different country?

‘What has surprised me the most about living in Denmark is how much trust people can have for one another. Danish culture is steeped in trust, and I believe many of Denmark’s successes as a country can be attributed to the fact that its citizens can afford to trust strangers. When you live in a society that trusts their leaders to do the right thing, their companies to provide honestly for [their] customers and employees, their justice system to arbitrate fairly, their schools to value learning and growth, their neighbors to be responsible for their actions, and their police to protect people, you feel safe and are motivated to contribute to the society. Living in Denmark has let me trust people again.”

What has been the biggest challenge in college so far?

“Perhaps the biggest challenge about studying in a Danish college is the cultural barrier. Danes are much more direct than Americans, which can come to outsiders as rude and disrespectful. The first thing one of my horn teachers said after I finished my first recital was, “so that was f***ing awful. Let’s fix it.” Many outsiders forget that Danish culture is centered around people being equals, and that many Danes simply don’t understand the concept of discrimination. What outsiders may interpret as personal hatred is just Danes trying to be helpful and honest.”

Do you like how much larger the college community is?

“Living in a larger community is amazing! As much as I enjoyed Orcas’ tight-knit community, there were many times I felt claustrophobic and unable to escape toxic people. Everyone’s different, but I highly recommend exploring larger communities and what they can offer.”

What is your favorite spot on campus?

“My favorite spot on campus is the tuba room. You can sometimes bring a blanket and sleep in the tuba cabinets. Have I said I enjoy sleeping?”

Do you have any advice for incoming college freshmen?

“You’re probably going to be doing a lot of things for the first time in college, like drinking, having sex, going to crazy parties, and eating ramen for months on end. Find people you feel safe with while exploring your boundaries. If you don’t feel safe, it’s okay to leave. And if you didn’t learn anything from health class, always wear a condom because kids and herpes would suck.”


Parker Landsman

College: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

What has been the biggest challenge in college so far?

“The biggest challenge has been learning how to maintain the right balance between fun, school, projects, clubs, exercising and all, because there are always a million things to do.”

What is your favorite spot on campus?

“My favorite spot on campus is right behind my dorms. There is a mountain with a little green meadow surrounded by oak trees and a stream that runs beside it. It is the perfect place to relax, take a break, or hang up a hammock with friends.”

Do you have any advice for incoming college freshmen?

“My advice is to try everything you possibly can; there is so much to do in college and I suggest you try it all out and explore what you like. Be friendly and introduce yourself to everyone, because finding a community and friends in college is one of the most important steps to enjoying your time there, and it’s always nice to walk around campus and see people you know.”

What do you miss most about Orcas?

“I miss the people the most and being part of such a prideful community that has a lot of school spirit. Sadly, Cal Poly is lacking in the athletic department so I often miss cheering on everyone at sports games as well as participating in them.”

What is your favorite thing that you’ve discovered in the area around your campus?

“My favorite thing that I discovered in the area is this place called Pirates Cove. It is a beautiful, secluded beach that has an awesome rocky alcove where you can watch the sunset over the water.”


Thoron showing off a pumpkin / Contributed Photo

Emma Thoron

College: Reed College in Portland, Oregon

Possible Major: International and Comparative Politics

Do you like how much larger the college community is?

“I definitely enjoy the increased size of my college; however, I go to a school with 1,447 students. It’s much larger than the high school community on Orcas, but it’s still not all that big.”

What are your favorite activities outside of school?

“My favorite things to do on the weekends [are to] go to the food carts with friends or attend the First Unitarian Church with my friend Clara. I like to go to finance club, exercise in the weight room, do yoga, and go to one-off lectures and seminars by visiting professors during the week.”

Advice for incoming college freshmen?

“Find out what your college offers in the way of free tutoring and then take advantage of it. Keep trail mix, fruit, carrots, or other healthy snacks in your room to snack on. Exercise. Move on!”

What do you miss most about Orcas?

“I definitely miss hiking up Turtleback Mountain the most! I also miss my friends, family, high school teachers, and the community members.”

How did you decide on Reed?

“I made a ton of pro-con lists and spreadsheets for months leading up to my decision. Once I got rid of the colleges I couldn’t afford or just really didn’t want to go to I picked the college I had the strongest gut feeling about. It worked for me!”