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Clemson University

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

I think that it is important to take your time when deciding where to go to college. Deciding where to go to school is a big decision and I think it is important not to choose a school because a lot of your friends are going it should be for your own personal reasons. To make the most of the college experience, I think it is very important to get involved in activities that you enjoy and ones that maybe you do not know much about but have been interested in. If I could do college over agian I would have gotten much more involved. Getting involved has so many great perks. For example at my shcool the white water club lets you take out there kayaks anytime you want; the sailclub lets you check out sailboats anytime if you are a member; and the backpacking club goes on great trips. It is important to maintain a balance of social, and academics while in school. It is very hard to do but if you manage to do this. I think you will have a many great experiences.

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If I could go back and have a conversation with the 17 year old me I would first tell that young woman to relax. When I was trying to figure out college plans all I did was stress. I used to think that I needed to have it all figured out right then or else I would fail miserably. The truth is though, even through my excessive planning and researching I still ended up at the wrong school for me and you know what? That is ok. I learned from it. If I could tell the younger me the truth about life it would be that it is not our successes through which we really find our strength and joy, but through our failures and how we bring ourselves back from them. My first college was all wrong for me and at the time it put me into a real low point in my life because I just was not happy, but when I picked myself up and found a new school I have never been so proud of myself. I took a bad situation and out if it found true joy and there is no greater success than that.

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Knowing what I know now, I would tell my high school self to be true to myself. Make friends with people that you actually want to spend your time with—these friends will soon know everything about you and be with you all of the time. Don’t make decisions based off of your friends’ future intentions; if you want to do something, DO IT. Whether it’s studying abroad, interning, or going out for an organization, don’t let them hold you back. You only have a few years at college and you don’t want to miss out on what it has to offer. Just like in the real world, you will meet people that you don’t necessarily get along with—that’s okay. Be courteous and kill them with kindness. However, the great thing about college is that you don’t actually have to be friends with them! You will also learn that friendships will come and go and if they truly mean that much to you, MAKE TIME FOR THEM. No one said college would be easy, but boy, is it fun and rewarding.

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From what I know now, I would like to say to myself to prepare more than what I am preparing for now. Honestly, when I look back I am glad I made the decisions that led me to where I am. Yes, I am a year behind my major, but I do not regret it. I had the chance to meet the people I met and it was all worth it. All the classes I took to transfer in was perfect and the transition was very smooth. I would urge myself to be more confident and ask when it needs to be asked. Anxiety is normal among everyone, but how we overcome them are different. I would tell myself to be not afraid and stand strong. Find a way to provide for my family and study harder. Learn as many study techniques as I can and do not procrastinate. Practice and buy any books that would help me be two steps ahead of everyone. Keep practicing and improve my flaws. The flaws are what may be holding me back/behind everyone, so if I want to be ahead DO NOT BE LAZY. There is no time for my flaws...

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My advice to myself as a high school senior would be to listen to what you think is best for you, not what others opinions of what you should do would be. It is very hard to be a senior in high school. Everyone is trying to tell you where to go to school next and how to do it. Do not let your true self and dreams be determined by what other people think. If you want to go to fashion design school, so be it! If that is not what you want to do, then you do not have to. Going to a school for a major that does not interest you will only make going to college more difficult. Trust me, college can be very difficult. You will have so much homework it will be coming out of your ears. At times, you will want to give up. The worst thing you could do is give up on a dream that you have helped yourself to acheive. Do not end up like your future self by letting others critisism and judgement effect what you want to do. You can make history if you live your dreams.

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I would tell myself that you don't need to try to go into a major where you know you'll make a lot of money when you get a job after you graduate, but you also know you don't really want to do that for your life. I would tell myself to go into something that is a mix of the two. Choose a major that sounds interesting and piques your curiosity but also has classes in subjects that you like and/or you're good at. I would tell myself to avoid random roommate matching and to study every day in the library, even if it's only an hour. Bring headphones to keep yourself focused on your task. I would tell myself to not be afraid to have a conversation with a stranger, you may just end up with a great friend. I would tell myself to go to bed early and wake up early because if you don't you'll more than likely be late. The main thing I would stress to myself though, is to enjoy having the opportunity to learn more. You may not always like it but it'll pay off.

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If I had to give advice to parents or students who are looking for the right college I would say... Before you make any decisions about what school you want to go to you should discuss and think about the things in life that are important to you. Having this list when you visit the campus allows you to see whether or not all of those things will be available once you move from home. In addition, I think all students should visit the campus and find a student that is currently attending and talk to them about the pros and cons about the school. Doing so gives you a realistic idea of what your future will look like. After all of those things are done, I would say just trust your instinct. For me, the moment I stepped foot at my school I knew my blood ran orange, and I knew that was my home away from home. If you dont get that feeling keep looking and you will find an aluma mater that you will be proud of for years to come!

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I have gained a lot so far from my college experience. I've learned a lot about myself simply from being put out of my comfort zone and into a place where i know no one. I am an introvert and was forced to make all new friends and network to make academic advancements. I learned that not only am i capable of doing that, but im fairly good at it. As any good, focused student has to, i also learned how to manage my time well and find success in both my social and academic life. I learned i have a passion for the environment and its well being and have therefore decided to pursue a career in this area of study. College is a trying situation for anyone and i've gained life long friends and a better understanding of the person i want to become. It's a learning experience and i take it for exactly that. I love not only the academia but the process of gaining independence in college to have control over the success of your future.

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I would tell myself to only worry about impressing you. You can't impress others if you can't impress yourself. Make your own schedule that fits your needs and helps you to succeed at your own pace. Learn to manage your time when you first arrive to campus. Having good time management helps everything else fall into place. Make sure to study smart not hard in order to keep your scholarships. Although you may be an outcast, be an outcast with ambitions. You do not have to fit in to make life -long friends during college. Get involved on campus and try new things. Enjoy not having to pay bills because you will when you graduate. Apply for internships early and look at all career choices for you major. Remember that while you're attending school, you are a representation of the way your family raised you. Pick you friends like you pick your fruit. Also, living with someone you don't know is a great way to learn more about yourself.

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I would strongly encourage students to take the initiative to spend time on campus before deciding what college to attend. For me, I knew Clemson was the place for me when I came and spent a night or two with friends who showed me all that there was to get involved in. I would also encourage parents to force their children to think outside of the box. I had no desire to attend Clemson, but my parents made me visit anyways. I am so glad that they pushed me to be open in my thinking about what university to attend. Finally, I would encourage both parents and students to pray extensively about what school to attend. Clemson University was not the school I would have chosen for myself, but it has been comforting and enjoyable to know that I am where God wants me to be. He has given me opportunities to get involved in so many ways here, and I thoroughly enjoy the things that I participate in outside of my academic pursuits.

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