Assuming I could return to advise myself as a high school senior, there is one lesson that I would have benefited from immensely. After graduating, I was unsettled about my lack of career and education plan -- I had assumed the path would have become clear by then. Consequently, I spent two years fretfully considering a course of action, feeling as though I had to race to make up for my tardiness. I was unaware until later that this was a common struggle among recent graduates. Were I able to return to that worried eighteen year old, I would explain to her that there is no right or standard path to be taken, that finding the best path for me might take some time, and that education is, really, a journey that should be continued throughout life. I have learned the important lesson that this journey does not end abruptly when the standard stopwatch runs out of time. If I could advise my younger self, I would tell her to take her time, that it is okay, there is no rush. This is one lesson that I would have benefited from, and I want to share it with current students too.
"Don't feel you have to put up with something negative that you have the ability to change." I was placed (as a single child and native Vermonter) in a dorm room with three extremely bossy and disrespectful girls from Massachusettes who all had siblings. This was too much to deal with on top of settling into college and keeping up with my academics. Although my grades didn't slip, my social life was essentially non-existant. I would go home for a weekend to visit my family and get away, and I would come back to find dirty dishes and laundry all over my bed and my space that didn't belong to me. I became very depressed because I wasn't making friends. This was a really dark time for me. Eventually I decided that I'd had enough and made a room change by the second semester. I began making friends and am now currently living with a best friend and roommate of over two years! Having the power to change my environment to suit my needs was a valuable lesson I learned my freshman year, and what a difference it has made.
Dear Colleen, At 2:00 PM today, you will officially be a high school graduate. At 2:44 PM, you, still in cap and gown, will be at the town transfer station, selling cold soda in an entrepreneurial effort to make the $2,000 you need to accept your place at your first choice college. Graduation parties can wait—you need to be sure down to the last lucky penny. Don’t worry. You’ll make enough to pay your first semester, and second semester, you’ll pull three nine-hour-days a week to pay it again. And still, don’t worry. Come junior year, you’ll spring the $400 to travel for Spring Break and you’ll make eight new friends working with Habitat for Humanity more than one thousand miles from home. And you’ll still have enough to send home when Rachel has the accident, and you’ll still, somehow, have $2,000 to your name when you start applying for scholarships again before your last year of college. Money isn’t everything. Money isn’t even anything. Make your living, and live your life—don’t worry. Love Colleen
Some advice that I would give to parents and/or students in finding the right college is to make sure you do all your research. I did not realize how important of a decision choosing a college is. I wish I had looked more into the school. You should research what kinds of classes you will be required to take, how big your class sizes will be, what the workload is like. If possible I would also recommend talking to a student that currently attends that college. Hopefully they will give you their honest opinion about what their experience has been like. Some advice for making the most out of your college experience would be to speak up and talk to new people. Don't just make friends with people in your dorms, expand your social networking to people in your classes. Also, join a group on campus! It will give you an even greater opportunity to meet new people! It's also very important to be responsible and make sure you leave time to do homework. Find a good balance between your social life and homework.
Your closest friends still sometimes make mistakes. Don't write letters when you are angry. Sometimes understanding your perspective means abandoning their own, and they can't just do that because you ask them too (even if you think you are right). If someone is unwilling to bend to fix a problem, you should not be so concerned with your relationship with them. You should not have to bend over backwards for someone who won't bend for you. Your family will be your best friends if you let them and your worst enemies if you don't; get your attitude right. They will always love you. When you need to rock the boat, make sure you don't capsize. It is okay to eat your feelings every now and then, just don't make it a habit. It is okay to revise your beliefs once and a while. It is healthy to admit you are wrong on a regular basis. Ask for help when you need it. Try new things, it will help you get over your fear of change. Enjoy your life, because it is actually pretty cool.
College is more than the campus you walk through and the classes you take. It's a time of your life the flies by faster than high school ever did. It's the last time you will ever be made to read and write and do home work. You might feel elated by this as a high school senior, but let me tell you, as a college senior, you are saddened. This is the last time you will ever be made to read and write and do home work. The last time. So enjoy every second of it! Enjoy the all-nighters and the twenty page research papers and the chapters upon chapters of reading, because this is it. Delve into everything your teachers give you. Don't brush it aside. Live it and learn it and question it with vigour. Treat everything you're taught like it's the last thing you'll be taught because in four years that feel like four days, it will be. When you're finally on that stage and you get that diploma, feel grateful and take all you've learned and promise yourself that this is not the end, but the beginning.
I sometimes think when looking back on my highschool career, I wish I took more time to spend that extra few minutes on studying or more time on homework, I tell myself that I would be placed with more opportunities. This is all true but I also believe that everything happens for a reason and I was given the opportunity to attend the great school that I am at now. If I could go back and talk to myself as a senior I'd tell myself spend less money,save for all that was needed to be paid for. I'd say dont stress out, get things done as they come, to make friends and to have balance. Lastly I would tell my little senior self to spend a massive amount of time with my friends and family, especially my family. I found that I missed them far way more than I thought I would have, my school is a almost 5 hour drive it is hard to get home when I just want to give my parents, siblings or pets a big hug. I would give myself a small tip, bring a lot of quarters for the laundry machines.
Diz, You got out of that house and have your freedom, but you need to make sure that you don't loose focus. I know having three roommates is not ideal but you just need to find other places to relax and get work done (your dorm has a great stoop with big stone steps and a bench!). Don't get caught up in new romances with people, especially not ones in your dorm because then you will dread doing laundry, because it will not help you in the long run. You will face challenges that you need to overcome because if you want to work for the federal government they will know what you did. Trust me, they go there. And as much as I don't want you to repeat high school where you worked away so much of your time, you need to prepare for the troubles to come. Also, just sell your car. It is going to die within the next year anyways and let's be honest it has been nothing but trouble and sucked up all your money. Buy a horse.
College is an important and exciting time in a persons life. It is important to consider the size of the school that will best fit the persons learning style. I have ADHD so the small school in which I attened was the perfect fit for me. It is also very important to visit the school , talk to some exsiting students, and get a real feel for what the school is about. College is a time for learning and matureing into adult as well as a time to have fun. You must choose a school that you think would allow you to do both of those things. Many parents are afraid of sending there kids far away to go to college. My advice would be to leave it up to your kids. It is important to give them a chance to learn and grow on their own. To spread there wings and see what happends. This is a time when people grow the most and they need to grow into the people they want to be not the people there parents want them to be.
Though I've only finished one year of college, I've learned much more than what appeared on my courses? syllabi. Life in college should be 50% academics and 50% life. While the checks and loans are technically paying for the ?education?, no dollar amount has yet been imagined that can buy the stimulating, inspiring, and purely human based learning that takes place at a college or university. In other words, find the school that offers the right courses prepare you for a life at work, but also be sure to find the school where you feel comfortable among the students. Half of what we learn in college cannot come from a textbook, but instead is only available in the form of human interaction. We learn from our missteps, our successes our networks, and the unique minds of everyone around us. Don't send an introvert to a party school.