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Colorado School of Mines

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

The past four months at Colorado School of Mines has been nothing less than valuable. My earlier years of high school were probably some of the worst times in my life. At school, I wasn't always the most confident kid, by any means. I always doubted myself in situations and at tasks that I could accomplish. These experiences have given me a better perspective. Being at CSM has supported living in the present, being my best self, not falling victim to what other people think, and to be in control of my own future. As I move forward and try my hand at independence, Colorado School of Mines has been valuable to attend because of the small enrollment and its intimate environment. One of the first steps of living in the present and becoming independent is making the decision of how to be in control of your future. I decided upon the path of engineering because of my interests with numbers and science. CSM supports my appreciation for these subjects and being around others with the same connections is extremely valuable. Confidence, independence, support, and an excellent academic rigor are traits I've received from my first semester.

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My advice would be to take no class for granted. When I became certain I was attending a strictly engineering school, its seemed all the english and history classes would become unimportant. However, while the focus was definitely on math and science, all the history and english continually tied in. In one class, I relied heavily on my knowledge from human geography, which I had taken mainly for a GPA booster, and my writing skill developed in my english classes. While I did not blow these classes off, I never imagined using them the first semester of school. It was these very skills that I used in order to create a multidimensional project that ended up winning several awards. Overall, the value of being well rounded academically and pushing myself even in those subjects outside of my interest created larger opportunity for success. While classes can be taken strictly for the grade, I would tell my high school senior self that it is learning and integrating the information that will pay off in the long run. If I learn to handle the information and use the information, the grade and the learning will take care of itself.

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As I have just complete my 4th month of college I can truly say that it is beyond what I expected. It has made me realize that students who strive for advanced education obtain a wide range of personal, social, financial and other lifelong benefits that improve quality of life and overall well-being of our community. Passing on the importance of advanced education in each family and culture only helps future generations by giving them the skills necessary to achieve at a higher level. My college experience will help me build on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier years. I look forward to engaging in organized volunteer work and civic participation so that I can give back to theicommunity that I live in. It is my goal to complete my college education and acquire the tools to learn to be open to differing views of others, better health and greater opportunities. In my opinion advanced education contributions to both the equity and the efficiency of our society and I look forward to giving back to my community. Education is a process that changes us and makes us better.

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I would tell myself to get ready for the real world. College professors will not take it easy on you because you are having a bad day or because you don’t handle stress as well as others. These professors will kick you to the curb if you are not up to their standards, and each semesters professors seem to have standards higher than the last. I would tell myself to start preparing for the financial stress that you are about to endure for the next four to five years and that if you can work while continuing your education you should do it. Working not only helps ease the financial burden of college but also gives you some time to focus on something else besides homework, projects, and exams. There is no finer career in the world than to become an engineer, but this path will take more work than most. Engineering school will push you very hard. This will be extremely stressful at times, but you will learn so much about your potential to do great things in this world. Finally, I would tell myself to keep pushing for my dreams, especially when they start to seem distant.

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Now that I am into my first year at a very prestigious and academically tough university, I can see where I could have handled things differently in my past life. Coming from a small rural town, I had no dedicated math teacher, math teachers came and went, and we had to try glitchy online classes, which has hurt me greatly in my college calculus classes. My mom, a single parent, had no money to send me to the local college as some parents did but I could have put more effort into some summer online calculus classes that would have set me up better for this first year. I spent a lot of time working full time and ignoring my online summer class before I began college. I would also like to write a letter to the school board to let them know how I have struggled and where I think they can make changes so future graduates can have a better start to their college careers. If no one comes back to tell the school board what went wrong, how will they know? I cannot complain about what went wrong without coming up with possible solutions to their problems.

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Live, Laugh, Love. Three simple words that have been overprinted and commercialized almost to the point of clich?. Yet, a parcel of truth shines through the alliteration and simplicity. It is a reminder of what life should be about, for any college student, adult, or even myself as a high school senior. Life is precious gift that should be enjoyed to its fullest; to what extent it is enjoyed is up to only one person. Fight to make your life what you want, not what others want. Laugh at yourself when you make mistakes, laugh at the world when it tries to bring you down, and laugh with friends to drown your sorrow. The last of the three is possibly the most important: love. Love what you do and follow your passions. Love your friends and family, for it is a lonely existence without them. Love yourself. Be confident in who you are and what you want out of life. Senior year of high school was a time of change, full of stress and worry. These three simple words of advice put the focus on what truly matters in life: live, laugh, and love.

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Dear Matthew, College is very different from what your thinking right now. You are imagining that because of how well you did in High School, and how easy it was that you will find the classes as college equally simple. This is not true. You will be spending hours trying to figure out just one solutiontion to a problem, just to have the proffesor do the problem in five minutes during the next class period. In AP Chemistry last year, you experianced some of this, only that was one class. In college, all of you classes will be that difficult, that time demanding, and that exciting. You will learn more in you first year than you are thinking you will in all four years. Get to know people before you get to campus as well. Make a real effort to form the group of friends that will help you study, and always look to any upper classmen in your dorm. They will be the ones who can help you more than any other individual on campus. Matthew, the best years are ahaid of you. Get scholarship, do well, don't stress as much. Sincerely, ~Matt

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Life is a series of steps. When young, these steps are the literal steps taken to walk. Then, you're off to school taking steps through grades until you graduate high school. Some steps are bigger than others; the step from middle to high school is more of a leap. College is another one of these leaps. Yes, you will be scared. Yes, you will be insecure. Yes, you will doubt yourself. But know that college should be taken as just another step. Sometimes you will need to take steps as small as possible; just getting through the week can seem like a struggle. But even small steps will lead to great things. You contain everything inside yourself at this moment to do great, amazing things. You will feel lonely at first, but take it a day at a time and don't forget that you are loved and your support network back home will never leave you. Don't be afraid to ask for help; you don't learn anything by pretending to know everything. Know that you can and will accomplish wonderful things in college and accept that everything starts with baby steps.

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Forget all the ideas of college and of your future that you have. Wipe the slate clean and be open to new ideas and new opportunities. Have goals and dreams, but don't be surprised if these change and morph throughout the years. College is the time to start figuring out who you are. Who you are at 18 is definitely not who you will be at 23. Dont pass up the opportunity to try out new things. Be that person who says yes to road trips with friends, who agrees to run for student government, who is willing to jump off the stratospher in Vegas, because these life experiences teach you about yourself. Your education is important and will stretch you to be an intelligent person who is ready to achieve your career goals, but only being an academic in college makes life dull. You dont want to look back on your college years and wish you would have tried this, that, and the other. College memories shouldn't be full of regret. They should be full of fun and crazy memories that make you smile and wish you could live it over and over again.

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When deciding on a campus it is important to choose on that has a major that you are interested in. If you are unsure, or have doubts about what you want to do, choose a univeristy that has a range of majors to choose from in case the one you had in mind doesnt work out. It is also important to visit the campus' that you are considering. Seeing it in real life is completly different than browsing through photograhs. If you are able to, try and visit while there shool is in session, it will give you a better feel of how the campus runs and how life is while they are in class and also on breaks. Location is another important aspect, you have to consider the distance you want to be from home (and dont right away say "as far as possible"). Choosing a far distance right off the bat might make for a hard adjustment to living on your own and could affect your academics. If you are going to play sports try and talk to members of the team and get an honest opinion of the coach, and also have them answer any other questions.

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