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Collin County Community College District

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

If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would make many recommendations. First off, just because a good amount of students at your high school are able to afford a four year university, this does not mean you have to attend one. Angie, check out all of your options, use your resources, just because others have an idea of what they want to do or where they want to go, doesn't mean they came to the conclusion on their own behalf. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Talk with your parents about what might be best for you. Realize that you don't have to be embarrassed when it may take you longer to finish your education, if you allow yourself to get embarrassed you won't continue with your journey. Consider a community college as a REAL option, not a go between to be able to say you're in school every couple of semesters. If you use it as a "go between" and not take it seriously then you will end up where "future Angie is today." Nine years later finally figuring out, that it can be done!

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I would tell myself that College wasn't as hard as I thought it would be in the first place. College is totally different from high school, you can create your own schedule and you are paying for your education, so it's in your best interest to try your hardest. I would also add that College was more liberating than high school with the open schedules; I could pick all night classes and sleep in or work during the day. I would also remind myself to not get caught up in the partying crowd, because the only place they will end up is at the bar or in jail. I would tell myself to focus on making one good friend in each class, that way I could call/email them to study or just have a close friend to share the semester with, who knows, it might end up being a lifelong friend. I would remind myself not to get emotional and wrapped up in boys, and to remember to stick to a plan for education and my future and it will work itself out. Most importantly, I would remind myself that everything takes time and nobody is perfect.

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If I could talk to myself at 18 and tell myself what I know now, I would say, "pace yourself". I would tell myself that college is not as scary as you think, you just have to pay attention to detail. If I could go back, I would study harder my first semester because you can't just float along like you do in high school. And I would tell myself not to lose heart when I failed Beginning Algebra. But more importantly I would encourage my 18 year old self. College is about pulling all nighters, living on dreams and making friends with all kinds of interesting people. What I didn't know as a senior in high school is that delayed gratification is the best there is. When you work this hard to achieve something it means more than all the riches of the world, because you did it with your own two hands. The one piece of advice I would give myself is simply, never stop fighting. Sometimes its tough to not give up on certain classes, but if you keep at it you'll get there. College is a test of endurance, so hang in there.

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To be honest, I think I did really well in my high school decisions. I do think I could have took a little more time out of my week to do more research on scholarships. I now realize that money doesn't grow on trees. As for my family, they really don't help out much with my spending costs as they used to when I lived with them. So, that makes me want to apply myself and time to apply for more scholarships. Also, I think I could have lowered my standards from looking at universities and just looked for cheap community colleges. They do the exact same thing as a University, except cost a lot cheaper. I had my mind set to the University of Texas at Austin, but when it came down to it with no financial aid, I realized that community college was my best choice. I also would have pushed myself to learn how to study. I didn't really have to study much in high school because I understood in class. You really have to learn how to juggle your studying, with your social life and your job. After that, it's a breeze.

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Amanda, Stop. Stop. Stop. I know what you are doing, I've been in those Converse sneakers and skinny jeans. I know how important shopping is to you now but trust me, it is not important than your upcoming AP English exam. If you don't do well tomorrow, you'll have to take beginner's English your first semester in college instead of getting another class complete. And I know, dual credit classes are hard. No one wants to get up at 7 AM but it will pay off. A year after graduation you will be transferring to a four year college as a junior. See, those AP and dual credit classes really do pay off! And trust me, it wasn't the clothes that did it. Don't allow yourself to be beaten down when your friends go off to big colleges while you take community college classes. You are going to succeed as long as you believe in yourself and I hope in knowing that you'll stop spending so much time taking your anger out on your credit card and more time with your face in a book. Best of luck! Your biggest fan, Amanda

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This is a great question. I would tell myself to get off my lazy butt and start applying for scholarships and schools!! I was a very good student in highschool. I was blessed with all the good qualifications and was very involved in school and my community; i was the Senior Class President, a member of the National Honor Society, I won a few State awards for Music and Art, but I had "senioritus". I could have gone to any four year University in Texas and I blew it. I'm struggling now on my own to pay for school with the little money I make working at a Child Care Facility and going to school full time. I would tell myself that "now is not the time to relax, your future is very important...You can do it!!!" I would encourage and motivate me to do whatever I could to go to the college of my dreams! I had the chance and now I'm paying for it. However, going to a two year community college has changed my life and has prepared me for a four year university. I have to take this blessing and accept it.

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High school graduation was a monumental moment for me. However, it took growing up and many, many years later for me to fully appreciate the fact that I had graduated from high school. I didn?t do very well in school back then and it was only by a couple of points that I managed to acquire a diploma. I now have a thirteen year old daughter who is about to go into high school. She has struggled in the past. I have made it my goal to make it her goal that she will be involved and practice good study habits. Unfortunately, regret is what comes to mind when I reminisce back to those years and remember how uninvolved I was. If I could go back and give myself advice I would tell myself that I needed to work harder and to take the time to study more. I would tell myself to get involved with school projects, sports, clubs etc. I would let myself know that I can do it and to have more confidence in myself. My daughter definitely has an advantage and that is parents who will always support her.

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I am 28 years old and have just now decided that I want to be a music therapist. I would tell myself to go to college right out of high school and not wait so long to get started. However, I would also tell myself it's okay not to decide on a major right away, if I'm not ready, but to go ahead and get some of my basic core classes out of the way. I would also tell myself that I should definitely consider taking some elective courses in areas that I am not sure I am interested in, because I might discover that I like some things I never thought I would like, simply because I was exposed to them and they really grabbed my attention. I never thought I would like classical music, but after one semester of music literature, I am now hooked on some of the greatest composers. It's ok to try new things, and meeting people my age who like those things to really makes me feel like I fit in. I would tell myself the world is full of many interesting people and to embrace those differences with passion.

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Don't get so strung out about dance department auditions. This is not your path in college and there's no reason to be upset. Work hard in all of those art classes you're taking right now and take advantage of the access you have to materials. When you get to college, you have to pay your own way for the same materials sitting in the art supply closet, and they're expensive. Don't focus so much on what's to come, and try to live in the moment. Work hard on the classes you're taking now as opposed to planning what classes you'll take in the future. I know it's fun to plan ahead and make lists, but sometimes you just need to get back to reality and sort out your current priorities. Don't worry about finances or losing the house. Dad will get a job soon and everything will work out the way it's supposed to. Also, don't apply to transfer until your sophomore year. You won't have enough credits to transfer before then, so don't make yourself believe that you do.

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If I could go back in time to my high school senior year, I would give my past self the advice to kick my butt into gear and work on winning scholarships because I have found it very difficult to find scholarships that apply to me and the few large renewable scholarships I have found applied to high school seniors only which I have had the unfortunate luck to miss out on. I would still encourage myself to attend a community college, at least for the first two years and take all of the transferable classes for my intended university for my major since the costs would be low and I could live at home without worrying about finding an apartment. It would give me time to adjust to college life from the comfort of my home without the stress of a new environment and new experiences. I regret not earning scholarships my senior year and I want to emphasize how much easier and stress free it would have been for me if I had just applied for them the first time.

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