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College of the Holy Cross

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

College is about a lot of things, but most importantly it is about learning and growing into a more educated adult and finding a job that allows you to follow a passion, yuse your mind, and add value to society. When choosing a college you need to find somewhere that allows you to both be comfortable and stretched. You learn as much from the students and professors that surround you as you do from the courses and curriculum. It is important to take each lesson you learn in the classroom -- be it political, historical, lingual, or technical -- and find away to incorporate it into your life. The opportunity to work volunteering wih refugees in Worcester allowed me to use skills that I learned in French course, in African politics courses, in psychology courses, and childhood education courses. You need take your classroom growth and make something tangible out of it in order to cement your knowledge and figure out which skills you like to use outside of the classroom. Whatever college you choose, you need to make sure that there is an infrastructure that will allow you to gain practical experience through alumni connections, internships, community service, and your peers.

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I once heard the quote, “I always wanted to be somebody until I realized I had to be more specific.” Stephanie, you don’t have to walk into college being specific of what you would like to study or want to be. Challenge yourself in taking time to explore the curriculum and taking courses that seem interesting or that catch your attention. Who knows? You may discover a newfound passion. Take advantage of all the opportunities the college has to offer whether they extend to immersion trips, research projects or volunteering. Remember to be yourself! Educating yourself is more than just pursuing excellence in what you are learning. It is about educating the whole person. That means engaging in dialogues that require you to challenge and encounter new ideas, discovering where your talent meets the world’s needs and finding our common humanity. Lastly, the thief of joy in college is eagerly wanting to fit in that sometimes it requires losing ourselves. Don’t try to fit in. Try to standout by being your best self! As the first person in your family to go to college, I couldn’t be more proud of you. Congratulations!

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My experience at Boston Latin Academy has been the most rewarding in my life. During that period I spent too much time trying to hang out with friends and too little time hanging out with my books. As you can imagine this decision had the predictable consequence of lower grades, grades that kept me away from my aspirations. Yet, the experience was not totally self-defeating. Though I struggled with my school work, I learned the power of being an individual, and not letting the forces around me direct my life, as I did sophomore year. After my failure in high school, I decided that it was about time to stop living a life of mediocrity and to start living a life of fulfillment. Refusing to let the prior experience be a prologue to my future, I began visiting the libraries of Boston, reading anything I could that would help me in my quest of enlightenment. With each book I read, I was presented with a different window through which to see the world from. Of all the windows, the one with the clearest image was the one through which I live my life today—spectacular preparation precedes spectacular success.

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Dear High School Senior, You think you are very young-and you are- but you can take some time to think critically about your future while still having fun and relaxing. These decisions include your college major, and the type of friends you would like to have for the next four years. The courses you take and who you surround yourself with are the two biggest factors that will shape your undergraduate life. Moreover, it's never to early to think about what kind of career you want after you graduate. These ideas will put your entire college years into perspective, and will make the transition from high school much smoother. Knowing your values, what you stand for, and what you will not stand for, are essential before entering college. It will decrease anxiety and create a sense of optimism and confidence in yourself. Having said that, feel free to explore acitivities beyond your comfort zone, and befriend at least one person with a different set of opinions than your own. It will broaden your mind and open up a whole new outlook on life. Don't hesitate reaching out for help when you need it- good luck!

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Grades are important, but getting the most out of your school is more important! Holy Cross is an incredibly demanding college, with a monstrous workload and professors who truly challenge you. As a former straight-A student, it was difficult to adjust to the idea that I was working harder but getting lower grades - it took me some time to accept that a 75 was a good grade on an organic chemistry exam. It took a semester or two, but once I allowed myself to believe I was still excelling academically with a 3.4 GPA, I was much happier. I allowed myself to pursue my passion - music - by participating in six ensembles over my 4 years at Holy Cross. While this took significant time away from my studies, it also allowed me the well-rounded experience I was looking for, including once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like singing at Lincoln Center in New York City and the Vatican in Rome. At the end of the day, I still got into my first choice graduate program - the highly competitive Accelerated Master's Entry track in the Boston College School of nursing, where I got my nursing license in 11 months!

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When I was a little girl I have a dream of becoming a scientist. I use to be curious about the earth and the solar system. I use go outside and look at the moon and the stars in the sky. I use to ask myself is there life on the other planets? I studied astronomy when I was in the third grade . After I done my research about the solar system I discovered that planet saturn have six rings instead of one ring around the planet. Recently the scientist discovered that there are planets on the other side of the milky way. Science is an interesting subject. Every year science and technology are always evolving. When I studied physics at Central New Mexico Community College last year, I read in my physics book that the astronomers discovered that pluto is not a planet. The scientist discovered that pluto is an astroid that is made out of gas. NASA sent a satallite to study the atmosphere on pluto last year. Albert Einstein life story has inspired me to go to college and study earth science. Albert Einstein has ADHD. He became a scientist despite the odds that was against him.

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In life, when we see others who are not making the same sacrifices as ourselves, we have a tendency to reject and rebuke them: judging them in order to justify and secure our state of control and relative happiness. However, we have no right to judge others based on the assumptions we make about them. The basis of our judgement stems from a irrational fear of the unknown, which we have the ability to overcome. If I could give my high school self one piece of advice, I would tell him to fear not what you do not understand, for one day you will, and then you will regret your mistakes. I made the mistake of judging others in college because I was afraid of potentially being negatively influenced by them and changing into the antithesis of my ideal self. So, I erected my mental shields and tried to stand isolated and unwavering in the face of the unknown as a symbol of higher morality and maturity. Ironically, my extremist actions proved that I was neither. For it is reasonable to be steadfast in one's beliefs, but it is ignorant to shun others based on their different ideologies.

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If I had the chance to go back and talk with my high school self I would tell myself to give up my pride. It was my pride and my desire to fulfill a certain image of having everything together that held me back from my potential. It was my pride that kept me from asking for help when I could have used it and my pride that kept me from taking chances or joining clubs alone. I restricted myself because I feared what my peers would think. So much of high school is spent worried over an appearance which ultimately prevents making the most of high school. If I had relaxed and not worried about what others would think I believe I would be more confident and more experienced in how to deal with life; not to mention I probably would have enjoyed the overall experience more. Looking back I regret having fears because I missed out on opportunities to improve myself and grow as a person. In the end I realized that I was only hurting myself. In fact had I shown weakness or stepped outside of my comfort zone I actually would have built a better image.

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"Okay, Jhonnyboy, just relax" is what I'd say to my past self. All the worrying, constant trips to teacher's offices for recommendations, and the everlasting fear of rejection. I remember having all those emotions and the feeling of everything closing in on me. The funny part was that I was all worried for nothing. I'd continue saying to my past self that even if you don't get accepted to your 1st choice school, it doesn't matter because getting into college is a huge accomplishment, so be proud of that. Just pay attention to the deadlines and you'll be just fine. Once you get accepted you'll realize, "oh that wasn't hard," but then you'll come to tackle you're next fear, leaving home. It's hard to say good-bye to your home, after all you lived there for 18 years. That's why you should always bring something from home. Also the first couple days of school might seem overwheling, you've always been told to get involved, but first take a few weeks to see how your classes work. You should get a feel of balancing work and free time.

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Holy Cross has enabled me to take classes that have made me a more well-rounded student and is preparing me for my future career as a research biologist in the field of marine science. I am currently conducting research with a professor at school and we are in the process of writing a manuscript to be published regarding manatee migrations. One of the most important things I have gotten out of college so far is the ability to network with other scientists and aspiring scientists as well as learning about myself and what I want to do in my future. Attending this academic-focused college will help me become a competitive applicant for graduate school to further my passion in the biological field. By attending Holy Cross, I know that I love biology and conducting research and I have some of the necessary background needed to conduct my own research in my own lab after receiving my PhD. The professors who I am networking with and seeking out advice have opened doors for me regarding internships and career path advice, which is invaluable.

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