Take a deep breath. In the whirlwind of the first weeks of college, you will likely be inundated by syllabi from unfamiliar professors, requests from new roommates, invitations to social activities, and maps trying to get to class. You will meet new people, learn new routines, and discover new characteristics about yourself. It is amazing. Take each essay, project, and assignment as they come. Go to your professors' office hours, they want to help you. As often as you can, take classes that fulfill requirements, but also intrigue you. Embrace the fact that you will be lost, literally and figuratively, in classes and on campus. You are now competing against yourself. It is up to you to get the most out of your education; you wil not be coddled and you will be held accountable. Enjoy the ride. College can be arduous at times, but it is worth it. You are living your purpose. You are there for a reason. You are on your own parth to success and college is a stop along that road. So in those moments, in which you find yourself on the verge of tears, ready to throw in the towel... take a deep breath.
Dear Lauren, Even though we all know that CSULB is perfect for you academically, both you and I secretly understand that the abundance of cute boys on campus attracted you to this school. Although you hope to gain your first experiences in the dating world during these years on campus, there are a few things I would like you to be enlightened about. First, take care of you and your girlfriends. There will be times when some guys will try to take advantage of you or your friends or your situation. The key is awareness—especially during bouts of "bad judgment." When the time comes, you will know what to do to protect you and your friends. However, don't get the impression that every boy wants to simply get into your pants. If you sense good character in a man, take a chance on him. You may face hesitation from your single friends who warn you about being tied down, but you will soon realize that you must try new things and meet new people eventually. Yes, it will be embarrassing revealing the true extent of your innocence, but it is all part of the process of growing up.
My college experience was extraordinary and I wouldn't change a thing about it. It was exciting, challenging, intimidating, exhilirating, memorable, but most of all it was a learning experience. Colllege was my first opportunity to act as an adult, make my own decisions that directly affected myself, and indirectly affected my family and loved ones. I learned to become more responsible and also the meaning of self-discipline. Throughout high school I was always involved in school organizations. Going to a school with more than 30,000 was intimidating at first, but I knew the only way to get the whole college experience would be to be as actively involved in student organizations as I was in my academics, just like I did in high school. It was important for me to not only learn the material, but also make connections with individuals who I would later become my network in a professional environment. Because of my college experience, specifically at Long Beach State, I was able to accomplish the goals I set for myself and continue to strive for excellence and lifelong learning.
While at CSULB, I had the opportunity to study a variety of my interests and really explore the possibilities for my future. As a music major and marketing minor, I had opportunities to work in the LA music industry. Even though I attended school as a full time student, I was able to balance both my career as a performer and my responsibilities as a student. I toured several times during my school breaks, and released four albums as a solo artist. I feel that my business classes were extremely advantageous for me to take, and I find that I apply the skills I learned from my professors on a daily basis. The faculty at CSULB is extremely supportive of its students, and I still communicate with several of my professors regularly. The most valuable thing I've learned from my experience at CSULB, is what I've discovered about myself. Before college, I thought I would only obtain my bachelors degree and barely scrape by as a local musician. Since, I've been accepted to graduate school in Ireland, and I hope to one day obtain my doctorate so that I may teach and spread my joy for music.
Apply for scholarships. Seriously. I know you may think that I am joking or just doing this to be annoying, but beat down your inner procrastinator and start writing scholarship essays. And start soon because finding scholarships where financial need is not a major factor is hard. College is expensive and you are middle class. You are a great student, super involved, will get great recommendations. Everything you ever wanted will be close to your grasp. But your parents made their dreams come true so now you get to struggle to make yours come true. Give up on the pipe dream that is financial aid and realize that, even though we have a financially stable life, mom and dad don't make even close enough to what you need. And because your parents love you, they won't cosign those giant loans. Loans are scary. So if you really want to go to your dream school, to be surrounded by that family envoronment that you crave to be educated in, with the resources a private school can give you, in the city of Angels where you feel you belong, you will get off your butt and start applying. NOW.
The benefits I've attained from attending Cal State Long Beach have been numerous. I've made life-long friends, learned more than I could've imagined, been given amazing job experience and research opportunities, made connections that will be helpful to my future career, and more, and my time here isn't even half completed. Because it is a commuter school in a port city, I've been exposed to many ethnically diverse people and their cultures, and I feel that this experience has given me an appreciation for cultures outside of my own. A very important thing I've taken from my experience is the quality of my education. The classes and programs I'm enrolled in and participate in are of such high caliber, and I take full advantage of the ample resources offered to me as a student to enhance my academic repertoire. The willingness to help students by the faculty and staff is also a note-worthy attribute of Long Beach State because students at other large public universities often do not get the opportunity to personally interact with their professors, which can be a very useful tool.
I would tell myself three things: first, to not be upset about being rejected from 90% of the colleges I applied to, despite how hard I worked to maintain a high GPA with multiple AP classes while being administrator of two clubs; Long Beach State was the best choice for me anyway because 1) I live nearby, and since it is deemed one of the most affordable California State Universities, so even though I got rejected from any possible financial aid because of my family’s middle-class background, we could still afford tuition, 2) This university has a lot of small seminars up to 25 people, which I will really like, 3) Long Beach State is well-known for its Psychology department, which is my intended major, and 4) the campus is very beautiful and there’s a freshman seminar that I will attend that will help me make a smooth transition to college. The second thing is to be patient and not expect to make new friends so quickly because these things take time. The last thing I would tell myself is to not regret anything I’ve ever done, because those experiences will all be worth it.
As a high school student, teachers and college advisors sweet-talk students about college. They make it seem like it is impossible to apply to, but they never really discuss what happens after the application and admissions process is over. If I could go back to my senior year and advice myself, I would tell myself, to relax and have the basic survival skills. I would tell myself to prepare what mental attitude, financial resources, and living conditions, I would be in my first year. I would tell myself that for some individuals it is hard to transition from high school to college, because both are different playing fields. Sometimes one would have to sacrifice some aspect of the past in order to be able to move forward. I would tell myself not to give up and that if I do tumble and fall, that it is not the end of the world because in college there is support all over, it only takes some searching to do. I'd recommend to be ready to be taken out of my comfort zone, because in college independence and individuality can only get you so far; college is like a group effort.
I would suggest that to do well as an undergraduate, the most important thing is to attend class. College is different than high school in the fact that attendance is not always mandatory. Getting over the fact that your parents are not always making you go to class is the biggest factor that students probably have a hard time with. Once you have gotten in the habit of going to class the next thing to focus on is paying attention. Sit in the front of the class where you will be less likely distracted by peers. Taking notes is another thing that will help a student succeed, and this is easier if you are focused on the teacher, not friends. Finally, the student must avoid illegal drugs at all costs. Drugs are very prevalent in the college environment, but in order to succeed in college, the student must be able to not give in to peer pressure. To parents, I would suggest to stay involved with your child. Communicate with them on a regular basis, and keep them motivated. Having a parent to lean on is very benificial to a student who is entering a new world on their own.
I would tell students/parents that when trying to find the right college to attend they should try to make a visit to the college before deciding to enroll. I would also reccomend that students participate in any new student orientation programs that the school may offer. For students who are coming straight from high school, I would suggest that they live a year in the dorms. I lived in the dorms for two years and met many of the friends that are still my current friends. Another great way to maximize your college experience is to get a job off-campus. I worked at a local grocery store and I learned so much from the customers about what the city had to offer. The best advice that I can give for students attending college is to not skip class! The college semester goes by so quickly and missing class is the easiest way to fall behind in course work. By attending class you get easy participation points and your teachers will see your dedication and be more willing to ensure your success. College has been a wonderful experience and has helped me mature in so many ways.