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Bemidji State University

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

I don’t have much time, so let me be straight with you about some things that will save you future grief. Let’s talk about the facts first. You grew up in the Rockies; were from a single-parent-home and one of many bullied, smelly-poor-fat-kids. Your mom died of cancer when you were eleven, you moved in with your legal guardians, then in with your father, then across the country to Door County, Wisconsin back with your aunt and uncle. You will go to college at BSU in August, and in November, your dad will also pass and soon thereafter, the grandmother that raised you. As an eighteen-year-old your tribe is mostly gone. You’ve seen your fair share of loss and it’s complicated and shaken your adolescence. Never let anyone convince you that you are broken. You are whole. You will graduate twice with honors just because you wanted to, not because anyone pushed you to do it. You will be independent, published, loving, and proud. You will make a commitment to lifelong learning and sustainable happiness. Go through these years with humility, independence, dignity, love for yourself, and inspired tenacity.

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Dear Laura, May 2009 Hey stranger! You have worked so hard these last four years and that hard work has definitly paid off! You are going to Bemidji State University this fall and I know you're not sure yet if you've made the right decision. The only advice I can give you at this point is: indecision should not rule your life! Weigh the pros and cons, think about your options, and then stick to your choice! Too much time has gone by pushing things aside to think about later. Seize the opportunity while you have it, otherwise it will disappear and who can say if you'll get it back? Sure you'll make mistakes, but thats all part of this wacky ride that is the college experience. JUST DO IT! GO FOR IT! Sometimes crappy advertising does give good advice :). And your major? You still have no idea? Thats totally fine, believe me you'll figure it out. And then its smooth sailing from there! One last thing, friends will come and go, but remember your family will always be there for you. Well bye younger me! Laura

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I would advise my past self to go take Calculus I over again. I took AP Calculus in highschool, and passed the AP test, but I believe it would have been good for me to retake the class. Starting out in Calculus II as my first college math course on campus was difficult . I may have done better in the class if I had known more what to expect. I have matured in my first semester of college and would have handled the course better to have waited just a semester. I would also advise my past self to not go home as often. My home is only about eighty miles from campus, so I ended up going home quite often. All college freshmen are scared their first semester, I should have stayed in Bemidji and participated in activities. I sometimes wonder what would be different if I had chosen my top choice of colleges. Concordia College in Moorhead was my top choice, but even with financial aid I could not afford tuition. I would advise my past self to go ahead and spend the extra money for Concordia. I like Bemidji, but I loved Concordia campus when I visited.

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Without my college education I would not have provided with the many different opportunities that I have had, including working in corrections, working with students of all backgrounds in the education system, and working in a unique partial inpatient setting for youth. I thank my college education for that, but also for providing me with a chance to meet new people, network with others who have similar interests and gain a more realistic view of life. College also taught me the value of different literature, writing skills, speaking skills, studying skills and diligence. Allowing myself the chance to attend college and ultimately graduating from college has brought me awareness of the importance of imparting these skills to my children and the children I may work with. Without an education you begin to limit your opportunities and a chance at finding and maintaining a successful career, but more than that, a person without a college education loses out on social, physical and mental experiences that college can provide.

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Going back to myself as a senior, I would tell myself to not do anything different. I went through a lot of struggles my first year of college. I struggled to balance my personal life and my school life. I struggled to hold onto my identity and struggled with the inevitable changes happening in my life. But sitting here now, after I've done a lot of growing up and changing, I've realized how much I have learned from it all. And because of where I am today - and how wonderful things have been going and how great I feel - I wouldn't change a thing about the past and those struggles. So, I'd tell myself: Go to Bemidji State University. Take each day one at a time, try your absolute best, keep your head up and remember to smile. No matter how hard things get, I can promise you, they'll turn out exactly how they are supposed to and they will turn out great. Every mistake made is just a learning experience to be used in the future. So don't regret anything - just learn from it. In the mean time, be thankful for each day.

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Like a storm hitting you initally, college can feel overwhelming. You have to really learn to stand on your own to feet as a newly freed young adult and a lot of the time people don't fully grasp the reason they're at college. I know I was blown away the first few weeks of school, I was 16 years old and a new mother starting PSEO. It was in a word, terrifying. I'm now a sophmore and I've got the flow of this storm tucked under my belt. My experiences are amazing with new people, teachers that know their stuff and are blunt, and the atmosphere. The freedom and depending on yourself, pushing yourself is what counts. You need to learn that valueable lesson or you're never going to make it. College teaches you to be your own person and find your own way, whether it be through mistakes. You realize that there is so much more that just your "small town," that you're used too. College is also become a necessity in our times, and being a single mother? I work hard knowing it will make both our lives easier in the future.

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Dear Samantha, I know you're really distressed about leaving high school, but I just want to let you know that it'll all turn out great. You're scared that you'll miss out on friends. You're afraid that you'll become homesick and not enjoy the college lifestyle. And, you're also worried you won't be able to succesfully share a room with another girl! But trust me with this one; it doesn't matter that you're the only one from your school going to Bemidji. You're going to love it there! Bemidji is simply beautiful, in the area, the lake, and within the people. You're going to make a lot of friends and recognize tons of faces all across campus! You're going to collect hundreds of unforgettable memories with your roommate and classmates in just this first year. College is going to be so much fun! Just remember to work hard, and never forget your greatest dream. Of course you'll miss home, but you'll realize how much you love Bemidji when you find yourself excited to go back next year. Love, Your Future Self

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I have gotten a lot of experiences out of going to college. I have recently transferred to BSU from Concordia College because I couldn't afford the high tuition costs anymore and they didn't have a very good physical therapy program there. So transferring has been quite an experience in itself, making me more independent and more prone to ask questions when I don't know what to do. Before I transferred, college helped make me more independent from my mother. I finally had to fill out paper work for myself and do everything on my own without her help. I lived in the dorms at Concordia the last year and a half, and in doing that helped me become an adult and start doing things on my own. It was like that middle step from moving out of your parent's house into your own house minus paying all the monthly bills. So in doing that really helped me and now I am living in my own place paying my own monthly bills and I think it was good timing and I feel like I'm ready to be more independent.

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The advise I would give myself would be to get as much college credit done and over with in high school as I can. Not having to pay for those classes in College would be a huge help and also easy on your pocket book. Also to not be afaid to talk with the teachers, they are there to help you and and are not that scary. Another thing that I would say to myself is to be more active in High school. Get out there and be more involved in your school activites. Attend football, baseball, basketball games and cheer for your team and show school spirit. But the most important thing I would have to tell myself and those attend college soon would be to know who they are and stick up for what they believe in. In college, wether it is with new made friends or in your classes, you will be pushed to the limit about what you belive in and you need to have a back bone and facts that help you out where you stand. Know who is going to be there for you and trust no one but yourself.

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If I could go back to high school and give myself some advice from what I know now, I would definitely tell myself to look further into the colleges you are choosing. I personally just chose the school I go to without much knowledge on th school and no I know that I don't really want to go here because they don't offer what I would like to do. I would also tell myself to look into the major and decide on what I would like to do as soon as possible and not just go to school not knowing much about what I would like to do. I have learned now that I would like to do something else than what I went to college for in the beginning and now I am transferring, therefore that is the advice I would give myself if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior.

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