I remember growing up hearing the phrase, “College years are the best years of your life!” After finishing my first year of college and now well into my sophomore year, I realize what everyone is talking about! The people I have met, the friends I have made, and the education I am receiving is well beyond anything I could have imaged. I feel going to a liberal arts college has helped strengthen and form who I am as an individual. I am constantly being challenged and pushed to the next level as a student and as a member of the community. It’s in the moments of struggle and stress that a person realizes what they can endure and achieve. College has provided the tools for me to succeed by helping me learn to think critically, form life-long friendships, and cease new opportunities. Already, as a sophomore, I have gained so much from my school experience. I can hardly fathom the opportunities that have yet to come, the knowledge that has yet to be acquired, and the memories that have yet to be made.
When I was 18, I would have been most grateful if a 25 year old version of myself came and gave me pointers on what to expect regarding college. Firstly, I would have told myself that being homesick is okay and even expected, but to stick it out. It does get better. I would then impress and double impress the importance of scholarships. Education is expensive. At 18 paying it back seems so far away and almost unrealistic, but alas, it is real. The less debt you have, the better off your future will be. Realize that you will most likely not have your dream job right out of college, maybe not even a decent paying job, so borrow accordingly. Finally, I would tell myself to take the first 2 years of school to decide what I truly want to do. Do not rush this decision, as it will be one of the biggest decisions of your life. After the decision is made, stick to it and pursue it with every good effort you have. Do not flip-flop and wonder if you made the right choice. Have faith that you did, and see it through.
If I could go back in time to when I was a senior in high school, I would give myself a few pieces of advice. First, I would tell myself to be prepared to study more than I think I should; college is a lot more challenging than high school so I need to do a lot more studying. My next bit of advice is to be a "social butterfly." In other words, I would encourage myself to meet as many new people as I could. The more friends I make will result in a more enjoyable college experience. Being outgoing and friendly in college will ultimately help in the future because it teaches me valuable social skills. The same goes for professors; the more I interact with them, the more likely they are to write a good Letter of Recommendation for me for graduate school. Also, I would tell myself to not be afraid to take risks. College is a time of exploration and finding who I am as an individual. Risks may lead to mistakes, but then I can learn from those mistakes. Lastly, enjoy every minute of it because it flies by fast.
Looking back, through everything that I have done that has gotten me where I am, I would first tell myself to pay more attention in your math courses! You might think that you rock in math now but twelve years down the road when you have to take math classes over again you are not going to think that you rock and it is going to be harder for you. Pay less attention to boys and pay more attention to the WORDS that the instructor is saying. The final, last two, words of advice would be to get more involved with activities on campus and more so in clubs on campus. Those activities have possiblities to open doors that you would not think were possible. Also communicate with others. Find out the answers to the questions that you have and do not back down from finding out those answers. Ask as many people you can and search different possibililties. If you do not like the answer you get, ask someone else. Never give up! Keep going and do it with your shoulders back, head high, and with a swagger to your step!
I would tell myself to start early in the application process for college. If you start early then the transition to college will be so much easier on yourself. Applying early will relieve a lot of stress on you than waiting until the last minute when a deadline is due. If you start applying early to colleges and as soon as you get accepted to one that you would like, its best that you start getting your financial aid ready and any other thing you need for college. While applying for colleges you should also apply to multiple scholarships to help pay for your education. You can never apply to too many scholarhips, the more money you have the easier it will be on yourself and your family depending on your wealth. The summer before you leave for college I believe that its best to get a summer job so when you do go to college you wont have to depend on your parents as much. So basically having your own financial security. In a much simpler way, start your application process early and dont procrastinate.
Go for it. Go with your gut. Don't worry if someone else in your graduating class is going to your dream school too. It is YOUR dream school and it is the right choice for you. Do not go somewhere just to make someone else happy. Also, be prepared for the schoolwork. A lot of time that gets overlooked when making college decisions, but make sure you are ready for the work load. But also understand that the more challenging the school, the better the benefits and the job you will get after you graduate. You will make friends and have fun wherever you go, trust me. College is college. You do not have to be 2,000 miles away from home to experience it. There is going to be partying and drugs and everything you do not want to think about right now, but you have to decide how you are going to handle it and where you are going to draw the line for yourself. Otherwise you will be overwhelmed and feel pressured. And most of all, do not let this scare you. It is going to be the time of your life - get excited.
I would tell myself to work on my study habits and lessen my dependency on distractions like Facebook and Xbox. In high school, I hardly ever studied and the adjustment to college classes was very tough. I would tell myself that college is not only as tough as I thought it was, but tougher. I thought I would easily adjust to the work load that I would receive, but I underestimated the challenges that laid before me. Also, I would tell myself to stop using Facebook as much. As I progressed through my freshman year of college, I slowly learned that lessening my use of Facebook greatly improved my productivity and I could get a lot more homework done! Another thing that I would tell myself would be to stop playing video games so much, and cut down to just the weekends. My grades in college improved by leaps and bounds as soon as I cut my video game time to just the weekends. I would also tell myself to not worry about the roommate situation, because I got a good roommate and all my friends are awesome!
If I went back in time and talked to my high school self, I would give him this advice. Do not worry about yesterday's struggles, today's struggles, or tomorrow's mystery. Go with your friends and know that your life is shaped by the people you meet. Every person is different and sometimes you don't like to be hang out with them or be near them, but they can teach you the most about yourself. Sometimes, the person in the back of the room by himself or the person who you never talk to beside you can make the biggest impact on your future. It's because of others that you find yourself and your direction in life. Do not worry about the big things of the small things, but look to help others just as if it was you struggling. We all struggle and the best friends come from helping those that you help. They are true friends who will remember you for the rest of their lives. They tell you who you are and who you are becoming. The rest of your life you will be in situations that call you to be there.
Looking back on my high school days I would have told my high school self to pay more attention to my school work and less attention to what everyone else says about you. In my school there were mainly two types of people - the jocks and the music geeks, I was a music geek. Most the time I got alot more greef from the jocks because I did play sports in high school for the first two years. I played volleyball and was really good at it. However, I also participated im my shools Showchoir. So for those two years I was seen as a very versitile person who was good at both. But then my junior year I decided not to go back out for volleyball. My coach made it impossible for me to participate in both sports, so I was forced to choose between the two. I chose Showchoir and after that my reputation was never the same. However, now looking back I would have told myself to not care what others think, because when you get to college, you are accepted for who you are and no one expectsyou to change that.
I have gotten a lot of valuable things from my college experience, though I believe that I possibly would have gotten more having not gone to Augustana. I was able to learn a lot about people studying religion and now am learning a lot about the "real world" by studying the practical and unbelievably useful elements of business administration. My professors have been very engaging and dedicated to their area of knowledge which has helped pique my interest as a student. I believe that the liberal arts emphasis of Augustana will be very beneficial in a job situation as I will be more prepared for any task assignment as I have more of a broad knowledge base. Though I believe the career advising at Augustana needs to be enhanced, I do believe that I will be able to more easily prove to a future employer my capability and proficiency because of the value of my classes. When I do get my foot in the door for a job, I know that I will have everything it takes to succeed because of my education.