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Chattanooga State Community College

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

If it were possible to advise myself as a high school senior, the first thing I would do is encourage myself to go away to school rather than attending a local school. For many teens the idea of moving away from family and being on their own is scary but college is a time of exploration, learning and personal growth. Facing those fears and going somewhere new lets the student reinvent themselves and make a clean break from bad habits or obstacles they may have had in high school. I feel that it is important for a high school graduate to go to college as soon as possible. Many people want to take time off from school and enjoy themselves once they have high school behind them. I have seen too many young people make this decision only to regret it later. They watch their friends graduate and move on to new careers, making more money and having more choices while they are still working for an hourly wage and taking on ever increasing responsibilities and start feeling trapped and too busy to go back to school. College will do more for a young person than anything else ever will.

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I have been taking college classes since my sophomore year of high school. I have enjoyed the challenge of the extra work and college mindset necessary to complete the work. Now I am getting ready to graduate from Chattanooga State with my Associates Degree to transfer to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for Business Management. I think back to my senior year of school at Middle College High and I wish i could have worked a little harder for the extra A's on my transcript. The one thing i wanted to do was graduate with honors this May 2010. While taking the dual enrollment classes and attending Middle College high, if i would have worked just a little harder and put more effort into my work i could be walking across the stage this year with honors and that golden sash. But, that will not be happening as i needed a 3.5 GPA. I will be graduating with a 3.45. I almost had it. Now, i will set my new goal for my Bachelor's Graduation for honors in my General Business Management degree.

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I am 22 years old, and unlike most of my friends who are graduating this december, I still have over 2 years left of school. I went to a University, i had a terrible death in my family so i dropped out for 2 years, but now im back. Thankfully! But the thing is, there is no rush. The only thing that is stopping me now is funding to go to school, and i am determined to fix the situation that i am in. So, If i could sit down with my high school self i would say, "McKenzi, If nothing else, breath and enjoy yourself. Stay happy, and optimistic, roll with the punches. Things aren't always perfect, but what is most definite about life is that things will change, emotions and times, good and bad, never stay for long. Enjoy EVERY single moment you have. Stay persistant. Make your goals, write them down, and never let them go." and "Most importantly (and most cliche) just be yourself, and left the love in your heart shine for people to see. You are beautiful."

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I know how badly you want to quit now...you want to throw in your towel and crawl out of the ring. You can do that, sure. But think about this: you're going to want to fight again. You're going to want to prove to yourself that you CAN win. If you quit now, it just makes it that much harder to get back in the ring. If you persevere and you keep going, then nothing can stop you. I know that you've been given enough ability to excel at anything you choose to do, but don't waste your time. Look at me! I'm going to be thirty years by the time I finish my bachelor's degree, because I quit. Just like you want to. Trust me on this: that is the worst mistake you will ever make. Keep fighting. Keep carrying the torch, and you'll reach any goal you set out for yourself. When you get to college, you will see that what you wanted to leave had nothing to do with what you were learning. You'll find that you never want to stop learning. So don't.

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I would tell myself that college isn?t as scary as it sounds. All through high school, I absolutely dreaded the college and scholarship application process, not to mention how scary actually attending college sounded to me. I was absolutely terrified of leaving my high school and entering a college environment. It was especially scary for me because I was coming from an all-girls school and I was worried that having boys in class would distract me. But the truth is, boys in college classes aren?t boys, they?re just classmates. They stop being boys when they walk in the door to the classroom. College isn?t a big scary monster. It?s actually a lot like high school. I still sit in the front, speak up in class and study for hours on end. But it?s not unmanageable and it?s actually really fun. I guess what I would say, then, is. ?Relax, Kelsey. You can do this.?

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If I was able to go back in time to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would have quite a few things to say. But the most important thing I could tell myself is not to stress. Just because I may not know exactly what I want to go to school for doesn’t mean I have to choose something right away. It is more important to find a career that I enjoy than to do something I don’t enjoy. I’m young and have a lot of life left in me. There is no reason to stress over it. I did well in high school and I know I’ll do fine in college because I am dedicated to my school work and know how important it is. So just take my time and set my goals to the highest standers and receive the highest degree I possibly can. And always, no matter what, set the Lord first.

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When I was graduating from high school I was planning on going to a military college but during the summer I realized that I could not afford to go there. So instead I changed late in the summer to go to a local community college and then transfer to a 4 year school. So if I could go back in time to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that you don't have to jump into an expensive four year school. It is possible to start your education at a community college and then transfer, that way you aren't paying high tuition rates and you can work a part time job allowing you to save money for the upcoming years at the more expensive university.

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I would yell at myself about the need to do homework even if I can get away with not doing it. Phenomenal test scores don't really do much good when your overall grade has dropped a letter grade or two from not turning homework in. I would tell myself to invest a good bit of time in sports and extracurricular activities instead of trying to get a minimum wage job as soon as I am old enough. I would also tell myself that if I give it my best and for some reason still don't have the grades to get good scholarships, to take my military training very seriously.

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If I could go back in time and give myself some advice about college, it would be to focus focus FOCUS! I would tell myself to take my time and not rush through my classes because they matter and they DO make a difference in my overall career in college. I would also encourage myself to take it slow when making decisions about my career, because college is expensive...wasting time taking classes for nothing isn't going to get me anywhere.

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Use the resources at your campus to assist you in your transition. Visit the career office in your school and learn what resources are available to you in the area of career assessment and the information on resumes and job hunting. Be strategic in your college years, work in realted fields within your major, DO AN INTERNSHIP or TWO! It will help you tremendously along the way.

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