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Clark College

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

Transitioning is often very difficult. It’s scary dealing with so many unknowns and “what if’s.” Not only that, but you must become accustomed to new people, surroundings, and norms. Looking back now, I see that change is a common, good, healthy part of life, and especially a student’s life. The advice I would give to students transitioning into college would be this: everything will be okay. It’s really that simple—in the midst of college applications, the SAT, graduation requirements, and a million other things, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and wonder, “is it worth it?” But, remember that after the hard work, there is often a great reward and that as long as you are striving to grow, learn, and serve, the rest will fall into place. Even as we feel like we are flailing, we are really swimming ahead, making new memories and small progress towards so many adventures—adventures in the form of new friends, places, lessons learned, relationships, and teachers. Regardless of what life throws at you, keep your eyes on the education you have worked so hard for and remember to never stop following your dreams. The rest is history.

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I remember the night of graduation, my greatest and only fear at the time was to not trip on stage. It seems ridiculous to me when I think back and not tripping was my only worry. However, at that time I felt that I was prepared for what College had to offer. Time and time again, everyone warned me of time management and the increased work load. But, I was not aware that those would not be the only things to change. If I could go back and talk to myself before that night of graduation, I would not tell myself of the expected changes but rather the unexpected. Like the unexpected change in relationships. Maintaining relationships with childhood friends and family was a struggle. College kept me busy even on the weekends; and I had spent most of them studying rather than going out. I also, spent a lot of time working to pay for college. The expenditures of college were really unexpected. But, the greatest unexpected change I realized was, how fast college goes by. Before I knew it I had completed my first term. From college I truly learned the value of time.

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If it were even possible to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself college is not like it how it is in the movies. You can't beat the system not that I have tried or anything. What made high school worthwhile was being able to have a social life and being able to connect with other people. In college you are on your own so you have to develop different skills on your own. Study hard and absorb yourself into the material you are learning, relate to the material in one way or another, keep an open mind, try to be unbiased, if studying one way doesn't work for you try something different. Try to develop different study and memorization skills whether you are a hands on learning, visual learner, auditory learn or even all three. Keep good references with teachers so you can get letter of recommendations and be sure to apply for scholarships even though they may seem like a hassle. Keep all your work regardless because you can use it for later reference! Never be afraid to ask questions in class!

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Going back I would tell myself to pay better attention in anatomy and human physiology and "yes this stuff WILL be important later!" To take Algebra 2, because who knew that I would graduate from equine massage school and want to become a veterinary technician. I would advise myself to learn more about nutrition and exercise, so I can avoid the "freshman 15." The walk-in clinic is on Oxford street to avoid that horrible emergency room bill. I would warn myself that high school drama never really ends for some people and to just let the gossip roll off your back. But then again, some of your best friends will be from your college days. Also, don't be so quick to write off that firefighter who wanted your number, he'll save you and keep you going in the end. But most of all I would encourage myself to keep going when the times get hard and frustrating. It's only hard because you're trying your best but you'll find a better way to phrase the title of your research paper. Finally I would tell myself to have more fun and enjoy college life.

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Chelsea, you are on the right track! Keep focused and dedicated, because your burning "yes" for your education goals is far greater than the "yes" that you have for recreation and economic independence. All things will come in their right time. First, realize that you are surrounded by resources. Find a way to attend running start while college tuition is fully-covered. Also, begin applying for as many scholarships as is humanly possible. Finally, keep your work schedule to a minimum while living at home. Use that free time for more study. Second, you are not invincible! You may tell yourself that you can do absolutely anything, but your mind and body must be respected and protected from the effects of stress. Life is long, relax and move at a pace that is sustainable. You can get by without working two jobs and attending school full-time. Again, the most important thing is to stay focused and look at all obstacles on this journey as opportunities to grow and cultivate your critical thinking skills. You really can do it!

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I see myself sitting at home quietly studying. I still have a week before the test, but I?m never unprepared. I can see that I haven?t changed too much, at least academically, which is a good thing of course. Now I watch myself from afar as the teacher secretly grins and politely lies the graded mid-term on my desk. As I am about to turn over the paper, I am whisked away to one of the many volunteer activities for the local youth I help with. As I watch myself defending a young boy from a flying dodge ball, I am again drawn away to the view of a glorious sunset on the not-so-aromatic Vancouver Lake. The water would have been perfect, but the mirror was warped by the tiny ripples of my scull streaking through the sheen of the disappearing sun. Finally, I see myself looking back at me. I tell him, ?I?ve seen your future. Keep doing what you?re doing, and you will transition well. Also, remember this: soda is expensive in college. Quit now!? He chuckles, knowing that he?ll soon be in the same position saying the same words.

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I would tell my high school self that grades are important but not as important as learning the concepts at hand. Getting the full understanding of the material and nurturing the spirit of intellectual curiosity is what makes for a rich and full experience, not a letter in a grade book. From a tactical prospective, I would tell my senior self how critical it is to develop strong time management and organizational skills to combat the ever present, teenage staple of procrastination. While I always seemed to pull it out, turn in the paper, get a good grade on the test I crammed for, I have learned that waiting until the last minute might appear to work in the short term, but it?s only cheating myself and causing undue stress. I would tell myself to be prepared as I transition from the comfort of my parent?s household out into the real world because there is so much to learn about being an independent and responsible adult. Finally, have fun, live your life fully, and appreciate your parents in the last year of high school.

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First and most importantly, I would tell myself to get started on financial aid, scholarship and grant applications as soon as possible and stick with it. It is all well and good to support yourself entirely out of pocket, but that gets wearisome after a while, and it is far better to accept as much help as you can while you can. Second, I would tell myself to start working on prerequisites to the nursing program before too long so it doesn't take longer than necessary. The last bit of advice I wold impart to my past self would be to keep my eyes open for new and better job options. There is nothing wrong with the job I've had since graduation high school: it is enjoyable, straightforward and has decent enough pay that I've been able to carry myself through college thus far. But it is always a good idea to find a job in your area of interest and fast food is not as close to the medical field as would be beneficial for me in that respect. But above all else, remember that life is a journey, not a race to the end.

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Your education is in your hands. Take hold of it right now. Do not wait for college to begin, or someone to come along and show you the way. If you want to get a degree in agriculture, start learning about it now. Go to your library and ask about local opportunities. Check books out on the subject. Track down local experts. Experiment and grow something. Do anything and everything you can to take learning into your own hands. You will get out of it exactly as much as you put in. This is the crux of college education. It can be an amazing and powerful experience if you are prepared to take charge, take responsibility, and take action. If you are not prepared and self-motivated by the time you arrive, you will soon be overwhelmed. This advice may seem obvious, trite, and passing. I guarantee you, however, that it will be vital to your success, not only in college, but presumably throughout the rest of your life as well. Also, don?t forget to enjoy the ride, you?ll do great.

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I think it is really important to know where your wanting your life to go before starting college. If I could tell my high school self one thing about college, I would say to wait and find what you really want to do. In high school I did not know what I wanted to do with my life but I felt like the next step had to be college. I thought about being a teacher, but inside I knew I was just picking a career to get it done. After high school I ended up getting a job and my own house. I honestly believe this was the best thing I could have even done. In high school students are told that college is needed and going to be their next step in life. This can make students feel lost and very stressed if they do not have a life long plan at the young ago of 17. In short I would tell myself that while college is importent, poeple should never feel like they need to rush into it. I would say waiting is okay and that college is amazing when you have a goal you are working towards.

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