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Aquinas College-Grand Rapids

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What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

When looking for a college a student should not go where his or her friends are going, but where their dreams are going. Everyone makes new friends in college and you can always see your old friends as time goes on. College is an experience that is short lived and long remembered. Students should pick a college that fits your personality and a college that will accept you for who YOU are. Going to college is about developing your mind, so use your mind to decide on your school. I see many people go to school to be with friends, girlfriends or boyfriends, and settle for a school that does not suite them, and they do not live up to their full academic potential. I now attend a school that none of my friends from high school went to, and I value my education, and still hold close connections with my friends. I encourage parents to help educate their children on their choices of schools applicable to them. Help your child choose a school that they like, that also challenges them intellectually and will provide a desirable sustainable future for them. Do not forget that the choice is ultimately theirs.

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My roommate’s alarm goes off, I wake up, get dressed and the two of us head out the door for our 8 AM Biology lecture. We walk through the forest-like campus, exchanging greetings with familiar faces as the sun comes up. I sit through the fifty minute lecture about the Nervous System and stay a few minutes after class to talk to my professor about last night’s episode of The Office. This description was a typical morning on my small college campus. Going to a small school was better than I ever imagined. Being a Biology major, I was able to talk to my professors often. They really cared about me and my future. For me, college was not only about academics, but about relationships. The relationships I made in college have helped me grow into the person I am today and helped me to achieve my professional goal of becoming a Physician Assistant. Without my college experience, I would definitely not be where I am now—getting ready to start graduate school. I am grateful that my experience has changed me in many positive ways and I have my Aquinas College community to thank for that.

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College has taught me who I am and not only allowed me to polish my talents and abilities. It has assisted me in learning my flaws and understanding ways to grow and mature from them. I have gained friendships that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. College has also taught me how to adapt to my environment without changing who I am as a person. I have learned how to be diverse around others and interact without losing my identity. College has been a growing experience for me and Aquinas is a great school. I have gained education that I do not believe I would get anywhere else. Mentally I have grown and been able to hold conversations with many different people with different views. I have been taught to think outside the square and sometimes to even consider the grass on the other side before making hasty decisions or comments. Looking at the overall picture of something and what it says to someone else, can help you see what the artist was attempting to portray in one simple stroke. College is an amazing experience that I learn from every day and love it.

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Really, you only get one shot at making a choice about which college or university to attend, for starters. That's the hard part. I believe as parents you need to encourage your students to dive into what the love, who they are, and what the hope for in life-because their universities will help to develope and foster these things. As parents it is important to remember that their child's choice may not be theirs, and that they all need to work together in the decision. As students, listen to your parents, remember to tell them that you love them and appreciate their advice, but go with your gut. Go with what feels right for you, and remember to discern what you need, want, and hope for in a college. Then, make the decision and don't look back (even if family gives you a hard time!). Once you get to college, live on campus at least the first two years, dive into extra-curriculars, walk as much as possible, and try new things. Don't be afraid to feel a bit uncomfortable . Remember to make friends, exercise, work your butt off as a student and have fun!

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Dear Abbie, Transitioning into college life is going to be more difficult than you think. I know you think being farther from home isn't going to be a big deal. You think that you'll be perfectly content away from your family and your friends. Abbie, you'll be wrong. The transition into college is going to be a difficult one. You're going to miss the people that you spent your entire life growing up with. You're going to wish you chose somewhere closer to home. Don't give up. You'll make it through. You're a strong and confident girl-don't ever forget that. Make friends you can trust and have fun with. Don't succumb to peer pressure and don't put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Remember all that you were taught growing up. Don't forget about your life in high school, but don't dwell on it either. Thinking about how great your life was back then does not change your current situation and only makes things harder. Embrace where you are in your life because college is going to fly by even quicker than high school did. Good luck!

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Relax. Pick the one that feels right. Bring sunscreen and extra whiteboard markers. Go out and meet people even when you don't feel like it. Rearrange the furniture as much as you want - you'll never have modular furniture again, so it'll never be easier. Stand up for yourself but also be willing to compromise, especially in roommate situations. Do your homework. Talk to your professors - they really do want to help you. Don't be afraid to ask for or offer help. Play in the rain. Celebrate birthdays exuberantly - decorate with toilet paper, if possible. Watch for bargains. Buy and sell your textbooks online. Animal crackers, salsa con queso, and homemade fudge from your roommate's grandma will become major food groups. Use the resources available at the library, career center, financial aid, and the department office of your major. Investigate grad school early. Take advantage of the cafeteria unlimited salad bar. Drink lots of water. Wear warm boots. Take a minute to appreciate warm sheets, fresh out of the laundry. Thrive.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, what I would say is, "Cole, stay focused in the here and now. Take care of the things that you know need to be done. Remember not to be so lazy about your homework and the assignments you think are "dumb!" The fact is that many will benefit by your success. You will open new doors to greater potentialities than you thought possible. Effort is required. There is no free lunch. You should still have fun, but rather than procrastinate and put off your studying until Sunday night- why not get it done on Friday? That way you will be able to enjoy the weekend without having to worry about failing the test coming up on Monday. Remember that these are the crucial months where you must decide how you are going to stage your emergence into the world at large. Make them count. For every individual that receives an education- the world is one small step closer to a time where both the young and old, the rich and the poor alike, can fulfill their total potential."

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Finding the right college for your son or daughter is extremely important. Visiting campuses is very helpful in making the right decision. If your son or daughter feels comfortable at a college it makes all the different in the world in how they are able to perform at that school. Therefore, going on plenty of college visits will help your son or daughter see the differences between schools, first hand, and can help them make their decision. Just because a school sounds good on paper, doesn't necessarily mean that it will be right for them in the end. Really explore your options; college is too expensive to have regrets! The college experience is something that is very important and it goes far beyond classes. It can include: living on your own for the first time, balancing school, jobs, and/or sports, making new friends, and exploring new cultural venues that may be offered through the school or city. Dicovering what the world has to offer is very exciting and is often emphasized in colleges across the country.

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In my opinion the most important part about choosing a college thats right for you and your family is to visit and stay over the night if possible. This is a great way to find out what you do and don't like about the college. My advice to students looking to make the most of their college experience would be TO GET INVOLVED. Think about what you're already or may be interested in and see if there are clubs or groups that involve those interests. If there aren't then don't hesitate to start your own club. It's much easier than you woud imagine. Also just be open to new things and people. College is a great experience to branch out and find out what your interests are. For parents, I think it's important for them to understand that college is a time for their children to grow and learn about themselves. It can be a hard transition for students and even harder for parents at times but as long as you let them know you love them and will always be there for them every thing will work out for the best.

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If I had to give advise to someone about a college choice, I would tell them to keep in mind that it should be the best choice for you, not necessarily your friends choice or where your friends are going to be. It has to be what you want. College is supossed be a big change in your life because of the new experience you will have. You should not go somewhere that you do not want to go or feel comfortable going. You will meet new people wherever you go. Your experience should be a good one, but keep in mind that you are there for a reason, to get a degree that will help find a job for the rest of you career life. If you are not sure right away what you want to go into, then I would suggest a community college or non-so-expensive college to start taking your general education classes to see what kinds of classes you may want to take later on. Also, part of the experience of college is not just about the education, you should also have some fun while you are there, make the best of it.

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