I was very lucky when I was going to college, because my parents allowed me to look into the various colleges and investigate them and do all kinds of research - and they were very involved. But the best advice that I could give parents is to stay involved with your sons and daughters but let them make their own decisions. Talk to them about college and give them lots of resources. There is so much information out there to read and study. My parents had me looking on the internet, and they go me books - they also took me on tours of local campuses and we even had brunch at the campus that I finally decided to choose to apply to as my first choice. The most important part I think is to stay connected and to help them to make their own decision - remember that this is their life - and they need to live it. Help them with the dates for the tests (SAT, ACT) etc, and make sure they get those things done on time, and then make sure they get the applications in on time too - they will thank you at the final graduation!
I would tell myself not to be afraid. Being in college is completely worth it; all the things your teachers and friends already in college are telling you is true. There will be bumps in the road; you will spend hours upon hours styuding for an exam, you will have to learn personal responsiblility through handling your own schedule and working out your own finances. It will not be easy, but one thing is certain- you have Jesus! Mathew 6: 25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Remember this! That college is an adventure that you get to experience! Don't let worry consume you and rob you of your joy- trust the Lord!
Plan ahead. During your first year, make an appointment with academic advising and plan out your four-year plan. Figure out what classes are offered during each semester so you do not get stuck staying in school longer than needed. As far as academics , GO TO CLASS. Not only will actually going to class help with learning the material, but your professors will recognize that you are trying to do well in their class. However, do not stop there! Talk to your professors in person and form a relationship with them. Professors are there to help, and most of them love to do so. Having a good relationship with your professors will make it easier for your professors to help succeed. Lastly, USE YOUR PLANNER. Stay on top of your responsibilites versus spending the whole semester trying to keep your head above academic waters. Get in the habit of studying every night, or finding the methods that work best for you. Take advantage of the services offered on campus as well. Make the school work for the money you are paying them!
If I were able to go back in time, I would tell my younger self three things. Those three things would be: 1. Get more involved, 2. Apply to more schools, 3. Spend the time to apply for scholarships and try harder at saving up money. The first thing that I mentioned was involvement. I would definitely tell my past self to get involved in clubs and make connections. This would not only allow me to make friends and have fun, but it would also help me to decide what I really like and possibly what I should major in. I am not only talking about school involvement, I would also urge my past self to obtain another job or do volunteer work as well. As I second peice of advice, I would tell myself to apply to more universities. As a senior I only applied to one school. This lead me to community college and I missed out on the "dorm life" as a college freshman. Finally, and most importantly, I would convince my younger self to apply for as many scholarships and save as much money as possible as money makes college possible.
I would tell myself to apply for more scholarships. I would also have been more conservative with my money, because it goes fast when I do not have an income. I would have saved more money and not spent my graduation money so carelessly. I also should have worked harder this summer to have more of an income. I would tell myself to consider my family and the price of the college a little bit more. I was really homesick the first semester and missed my family greatly. I also have questioned why I came to California and why I am spending so much money. I have enjoyed the school more this semester, but last semester I was frustrated about why I chose this school. I should have applied to more schools so I could have had a larger selection. I applied five places and wish I had applied to a few more. I would have told myself to have lower expectations, because sometimes the experience is not all I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I am alone in my dorm room and thats not fun. I would not change much else though.
The most profound advice that I would give my younger self is not to slack off. I would tell myself that the most important years of your college career begin in high school. I would express the importance of keeping a high GPA to be able to qualify for financial aid, grants and scholarships that look very closely at that. I would tell myself to know what it is I want to major in and be sure that that is what I want to do. Knowing what you want to do in life early on is extremely beneficial that way you dont waste time and money. I would also begin taking AP classes to get through some of the basic General Ed classes quicker. Although it is challenging in High School, I believe it is important because it weeds out some the general Ed classes earlier on. Ultimately, I would tell my younger self that college is fun, and challenging at times, but it is going to be the best years of your life. You will meet people who wil be long time friends, and relationships are much more significant then, than they are now.
I would say to myself "Hey Ryan! Don't freak out I am from the future and I am here to tell you that college is awesome and you will mature so much. Don't be so focused on being popular but make a difference while you still have time. There are a lot of things on this campus that need to be fixed and stepping up and doing what is right will prepare you for what you will encounter in college. You will be challenged to work harder in your studies and need to start developing those habits with the time you have left. You need to remember that the habits you develop in college will effect the habits you have throughout your life, so be wise and stay focused on what matters most. Most importantly, remember to put God first in your life, the knowledge you recieve in college is valuable, but the only knowledge truly worth having is the knowledge of God for He gives everything purpose and meaning. Be excited for college, you will meet some of your best friends and your life will be changed forever because of it.
If I knew what I know now back in highschool, I would assure myself that there is no reason to stress and fear for the future because life is what you make it. I would tell myself, " If you just take it day by day and one step at a time, eventually you will reach your destination. I cannot stress the importance of working hard and staying focused now, so you can celebrate and enjoy life later. " Also, keeping in mind that I had to learn the hard way that nothing is ever accomplished in comfort zones, I would say, " Don't be afraid to be yourself, don't be afraid to take chances, don't be afraid to create new you's that you've never imagined. Fear is only false evidence appearing real, and fear is the number one reason of failure. " In the end, we all have one ultimate goal: happiness and freedom. With that being said, the last advice I would give to myself is: "To work to become, not to acquire. You can be whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. The only person that can stop you is me."
In all honesty, my high school senior self would not have listened to the advice of older me. I would attempt to explain to my high school self how necessary it is to put a larger effort into my studies. In high school, it is easy to float by without extensive studying and sleepless nights. It is simply not the case in college. I would also explain how it is important to choose a large array of classes to take; especially since my high school self did not know what career I wanted to pursue. This lead to many fruitless years of taking classes I would not need. Yes, years! I would also convey how vital it is to utilize the resources offered to you in the beginning. My high school self did not quickly ask people for help, even when needed. I would attempt to figure things out on my own. This unfortunately turned out to be a major disability for myself. Perhaps if present me could actually speak with high school me, I would not still be in school at the age of 30. Oh well, all things happen for a reason.
Don't ever be afraid of trying new things and following your true hearts desires. Never pursue an education based on what other people feel like is the best fit for you, pursue an education because you see yourself doing something that you passionately love. I have learned that you will fail a couple times and fall down, before you pick yourself back up and succeed. What you choose to do is the thing that you will spend the rest of your life doing, not anyone else. So, chase the dream that you are passionate about and don't ever let anyone else's negative feedback or any opinions hinder you from reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. In the end, when you love what you do as a career, you will never find yourself working a single day in your life. That is what fulfilling a dream is all about. If you see the light at the end of the tunnel, never give up. I found that age is just a number and it's never too late to achieve your goals, so I am doing just that, continuing to reach my ultimate dream.