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California State University-Long Beach

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

Going back in time, I would tell myself, as a senior in high school, to take as many units as possible when I get into college. The reason for this is because I hesitated to exceed 13 units because I feared that college would be stressful, at the same time, I hesitated to ask anyone for help or support, and now, as a result, I am trying to catch up on courses because I am a little behind. I would also inform myself about the campus of California State Univeristy and how it is big and incredibly beautiful and that although I did not get into the schools I desired, California State University Long Beach was definitely a college worth experiencing; because CSU Long Beach was my back up college, I felt disgraceful that I could not get into my desired college which was UCLA, however, during the first semester of attending CSU Long Beach, I met people, and interacted with my professors a lot more and eventually I felt welcomed to the school. Since then, there has been no regrets that I have regarding the fact that I attend CSU Long Beach; the school opened its arms to me.

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High school seems like a hassle but it really is a preparation for what college brings to the table. In college, no one will tell you to complete the homework or to study for the quiz. The reality is that you have to be responsible and have balance. At times it will be tempting to skip or 8 am class and sleep in. Other times your friends might convinve you that In-n-Out is a much better alternative to your afternoon communications class. Balance isn't right or wrong, it is what works best for you. Teachers and classmates can offer their advice and opinions but you have to know yourself well enough to know what workload you can and can't handle. However, college isn't only the expensive education you pay for. College is experiencing life from new angles and making connections with people you never thought you would meet. It is making hard choices and growing up. The knowledge you attain isn't only from books but also from your mistakes and the ones you observe. Give yourself time to fit into this new environment but don't lose yourself in the moment, just live it.

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College is valuable to attend for the lessons I learned. The beginning to my future. My so-far college experience has been absolutely life changing. It seems that when I entered college I actually grew up, even though I thought I already had. I never had a broken bone before, but a week before class, there I was, in a cast for my fifth metatarsal being snapped. About two weeks later my laptop crashed, rendering all of my assignments and essays that I completed useless. About a month after that, I had to sell my first car by myself for near scrap metal after the engine blew right on the 91 freeway on the way home from CSULB. Finally, when turning a corner too fast my sister?s car (that she let me borrow) bounded off a 200 foot cliff, three weeks before finals. I could say that I learned to walk down stairs more slowly, to backup my computer every week to a flash drive, to maintain my car, and to take corners more slowly, but the most valuable lesson I gained when I went to college is from Friedrich Nietzsche: ?What does not kill you, makes you stronger.?

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Highschool was like one great flash; as quickly as it began, it was over. Becoming a senior and thinking about graduation made life seem so simple and sweet that I almost forgot what truly was ahead of me. If I had the opportunity to revisit myself in highschool with all of the knowledge that I have now, I would yell these words a thousand times; FOCUS. life is truly about coming into focus, staying in focus, and not veering off the path that leads to one's desired destination. It is easy to lose focus because college life offers so many things. The distractions disguised as good times are unlimited, but you must not forget why you are there. Education is key, so don't leave unless you are holding in your hands what you came for. Do not lose focus, do not lose sight of the goal that is attached to your dream and will someday determine its ability to become a reality. Focus, focus, focus; and when you are tired and weary from all the tests and papers, look at your keboard and remember that someday your ability to focus will result in the unfolding of your dream.

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As I entered college, all I wanted was to see the world. So, i entered CSULB as an international studies major relying on the school's options and people to help me figure out my path. I got more than I bargained for. The college has many different courses to choose from. So, you can explore many options and pick the one you like. The people are friendly and extremely diverse. So, you get to learn in a open environment. The staff are dedicated to helping you, and most are already successful in the field of the subject they teach. Therefore, you obtain knowledge directly from people with life experience doing what you want to do. This school has been a privilege to go to and an important decision because without the things listed above, I would still be lost in this world with no direction or decision. Pablo Picasso once said... "My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso." I believe that with CSULB's help... I can be the Picasso of my field.

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Looking back and thinking about the person I was back in high school seems very surreal. Although high school was only four short years ago, the person I was then is so much different than who I am today. The advice I would give to myself would be concentrated on academia, dedication, and time management. During my high school years the most important aspect of my life was soccer. I would advise myself that soccer is not my only responsibility. A balance between school and soccer would provide maximum benefits. I would guide myself to have an equal dedication for soccer and academia. I would tell myself to manage my time appropriately to meet both academic and sports milestones. There are many things I know now that I wish I knew in my past. Although my decisions may have not been ideal in my past, I do believe that I would not be who I am today without my mistakes I have made. Today, I am truly happy in my life. I have chosen a career path that I believe fits me perfectly. I do not think I would be this accomplished had I lived my life another way.

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Priscilla, you are a hard-working, passionate, and driven young lady. Continue to work and study hard, and make good grades. College is challenging, and much will be required of you. Late nights, long hours of endless study, and grueling exams will come with being a college student. Establish good habits and proper health-care patterns now while you are still in high school and it will make the transition into college manageable. Also, learn how to properly deal with stress. Stress can be the undoing of even the brightest students. An individual’s mental health is arguably their most valuable asset and it must be given the utmost care and respect. Stress can break students down; it can ruin the college experience. Learn to breathe. Take deep breaths and focus on one thing at a time. Focus on the subject at hand. If you are attempting a fifteen page paper, focus on one page at a time. Rise to the occasion, but remember, the college education is a four-year-long marathon; it is not a sprint. Train properly for the race, and I guarantee you will win. Good luck!

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I believe in the power of education; I did not grow up with the belief that I would attend a prestigious institution, or even graduate for the matter. I grew up without a home. The state recognized my brother, my mother and I, as homeless. The opportunity to have a college experience like this one means much more than a possible chance of having a more financially stable lifestyle; California State University Long Beach has provided me with a home. The dormitory is the home I have always hoped for. I have two families now. I am able to study engineering in a safe and prominent environment and this gives me a peace of mind. I can continue to work hard, just as I always have, so that one day, my mother won’t have to. College is valuable in that there are limitless opportunities offered to any and all who are willing to work hard. Education is priceless because it can open up doors for people who are use to having doors closed on them. I value education because it is the stepping stone for me to pull others out of poverty, poverty I am all too familiar with.

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If I were to go back in time to my senior year of high school I would advise my senior self to take deadlines seriously and make them a first priority. In college I have learned that deadlines mean everything and that you can't rely on people's generosity. In high school, teachers tend to keep up with you. In other words, Ms. Johnson from your English class may have said, "Don't forget, your papers are due next Monday." In college however, the professor will state the deadline and usual won't say anything till the day before it is due, so it is definitely important to note deadlines and keep them organized. If I was really able to have this talk to my senior self, maybe I would have realized this lesson when I was first admitted into Cal State Long Beach, because even though the forms said to hurry and apply for housing, I didn't take it seriously. The result of my mistake consisted of being numbeer 993 on the waiting list and spending extra money I didn't have for an off-campus apartment. If only I had known the detremental consequences of deadlines.

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The step taken from high school to college is enormous. From living at home, with my family and the same friends I’ve had all my life, living in the same area, and doing the same daily routine, to living in a dorm with hundreds of diverse and new people, in a different city, where I personally had the responsibility to create and take charge of my own schedule; I was forced to adapt, change, and most importantly, grow up. I have loved every minute of my college experience so far. I have developed relationships and met people that I know I can trust, and have changed my perspective on life. I cannot stress how important and influential it has been to move away from my home town to a completely different environment. It has opened my eyes to what is out there in the real world. Not only does choosing my own classes give me responsibility, but it also provides the opportunity to take classes and learn about subjects I am actually interested in. I have learned more in the classes I took my first semester of college than i did throughout all of high school.

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