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Clemson University

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

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to not be so nervous when attending orientation and to not be intimidated during the first couple of weeks. I would tell myself to be confident in my intellectual abilities. During the first couple of weeks, we were told in a lot of our classes that majority of us would fall and three-fourths of us would transfer to different majors. I would tell myself not to listen to any negativity and to not be afraid when I chose to follow my heart and change my major. I would advise myself to not let that decision weigh so heavily on me because the outcome turned out better than I could have imagined. I would also advise myself to take financial aide seriously and to continue looking for aide even while in college, because debt impacts the rest of my life.

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I would tell myself to start over when I got to college classes-wise. AP credits and dual credit classes are good preperation in order to make you more ready for classes at college, but I don't think they should be used in place of college classes. Taking transfer credit from a tech school wasn't a good idea, because it wasn't a good enough background. Classes at Clemson are much more difficult than technical school classes. Even if you'd taken it somewhere else, it would be a good idea to take it again as a refresher. Also, search out the academic success center as soon as you get here, and the second you feel like you need help, go there and get it! The people are willing to help or find someone to help you, there is no need to struggle the whole semester through a course by yourself.

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Do not be afraid to put yourslef out there. Yes, grades do matter, but if you let yourself get too wrapped up in making straight A's you're going to miss all the beautiful things that are around you. Talk to people. I know you think you and your roommate are polar opposites, but you're going to become best friends. Reach out to peope. But do not let these people get in the way of your academic sucess. It's okay to stay in and study so you can do well on that test. You have 4 years here, and plenty of time to do all the things you want to do. The transition will be hard, but make friends who you can talk to about it, and things will be so much easier. Don't go home all the time, you'll miss out on so much and it will make things harder. You can do it, and you will succeed at it.

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I would ask them to find a school where they feel most at home. They are about to spend the next few years experiencing many new and exciting things. They need to find a place where they feel comfortable expressing themselves and becoming an independent young adult. As long as they are able to have a reasonable balance between their academics and social life, they will be able to have the time of their life. If there are opportunities for a person to be a part of some intramural team or some kind of organization, take it. College really is the time of your life and you want to be able to embrace every part of it. You want to be able to look back and realize that this was the most perfect school for you and wouldn't change a single thing about your unforgettable experience.

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The most important advice I would give to myself is to be more open to others and new experiences. My freshman year I came into college with the worst attitude and I regret it fully. If I would have been more comfortable with myself, more open minded to others and trying new things I believe I would have enjoyed college a lot more than I did. Also, this past year I have realized that although I may not enjoy doing school work, it is extremely important that I learn the material in order to get my degree and have a successful future. Being focused is something that a lot of students don't fully understand when coming to college so I would have advised myself to know what is important, to be determined to achieve my goals., and don't let any one or anything stand in my way.

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The most important piece of advice I would give to myself as a high school senior would be to find the college that is best fit for who I am as a whole person and not to make a decision about which school I attend based solely on convenience, whether that convenience is based on the amount of financial aid I receive or the school's location. Another piece of advice I would give myself would be to live at home instead of placing more responsibility on myself by having an apartment and having to work so much which takes time away from my ability to study. The last piece of advice I would give myself as a high school senior would be to follow my heart and not the salary when choosing my life's work; I want to be happy in life, but money doesn't always bring happiness.

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I would have to say look really hard and actually weigh your options. Do not choose a college that does not have you major or costs too much just because you heard it was a good school. Research because what qualifies as a "good school" may not be the best school for you. After narrowing down your list then make visits and do even more research about your particular area of study. Once you have been accepted just make sure you focus on your school work while maintaining a social life. Some of the friends you make in college will be the people you need to get a job or you may need them to help you in other ways. Lifelong friends are made in college so just make sure you cherish every moment and learn from everything and everyone you may encounter.

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The biggest characteristic that I looked for when I was applying to college was comfort. I atttended numorous open houses at schools across the southeast, but there were only two campuses where I felt comfortable, and those two schools were the ones that ended up being my number one and number two choices. Since being in college, I have found that it takes some effort to have a good time. One of the biggest things that has helped make my time great has been getting involved. Between FCA, intramurals, club sports, and the community that I live in, I have made tons of friends and feel like I really belong. The people are what make college fun, so building relationships has become a priority and has helped make life a lot more enjoyable.

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So far, I can say that I have had a great college experience. I would say that I have actually grown-up. When I was in high school and at home, my mom did a lot of the things for me, but now, that I live the campus life, I have learned to do everything for myself. I would say that I am very independent. Even though my mother was there for me, she instilled in me all the tools that I would need to live outside of our home. I would also say that I have learned that everyone will not like me or befriend me, but I still have to be respectful. The most valuable thing that I have learned in my short college life is that I can only change what I can and take everything else like a grain of salt and most of all continue to love myself.

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To students, I would say to find a major that will allow you to study things you actually enjoy. Contrary to popular belief, there are jobs available for everyone, regardless of what their majors were. Don't let job availability keep you from majoring in a field you love. Also, get involved with some kind of extracurricular activity, whether it's a religious organization, a Greek organization, or something to do with your academic field. But it's important to learn self-discipline early, and make sure your priorities are in order. It's important to have a good balance of work and play, but don't forget that your reason for attending college is to get a good education. Don't let your parents feel like you're wasting their money!

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