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CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

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

I remember being surprised by the level of maturity of new students my freshman year. Despite my held assumptions, every person that I met introduced themselves with great humility. All of BaruchÂ’s students seemed eager to make new friends, even if it was with people they might not normally spend time with outside of school. Although I made friends quickly at Baruch, I believe there were other opportunities to meet new people at the schoolÂ’s clubs and events. I would provide my high school self with two pieces of advice before attending college: First, I would challenge myself to be more outgoing when meeting new people inside or outside of school. Second, I would encourage myself to explore and participate in clubs and school events, simply for the sake of trying something new. Often times think we donÂ’t like something before we actually try it. And when we do in fact like something thatÂ’s new, it is a wonderful revelation. As I progressed through college, I learned from professors, students and sometimes by chance that exposing oneself to new people, places and ideas fosters greater intellectual and social growth. To this day, I continue to apply this idea to all contexts of my life.

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Upon graduating from Salinas High School in California, I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship to the University of California at Santa Barbara as a Dance and Dramatic Arts major. After two full years of full-time undergraduate study, I moved to New York City with a 3.49 GPA to pursue a professional dance career, thinking that a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts wasn't completely necessary as a new full scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center would more likely further my artistic and professional aspirations. I can now confidently advocate, that although ceasing and ultimately postponing my academic education brought immediate satisfaction and accomplishment as a professional, internationally touring dancer, it limited my universal perspective and instigated a inner sense of intellectual inferiority. I am happy to now say that these insecurities are falling away as I finished my first semester back in college in pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration to promote and develop the talent management company I created over three years ago. Therefore, my advice to myself as a high school senior would be "Trust in your education. It is truly a gift."

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The transition from high school to college is sometimes misconceived as the transition from restrictions to freedom; I believe it is the opposite. The freedom to ignore responsibilities no longer exists in college. Instead, students have limited comfort and must take the initiative to get things done. This means that success is determined by the habits one possesses. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would reinforce this belief, pat myself on the back, and say ?good job!? Before I came to college, I displayed habits that would help me in my college career. I used time management skills to balance my home work, my job and my personal commitment to run ten miles a day. I also used a fine tuned budgeting ability to separate my checks into their necessary fractions. I would say ?Rey; you?re right on track! Thanks to you I made the Baruch cross country team and I know how to pay my bills on time. I can manage my internship, running, and my studying in a comfortable way. Your ability to be responsible will bring us many rewards. Keep it up!?

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If I could go back to high school and talk to myself as a senior regarding college life I would explain there?ll be late nights studying and doing term papers. Don?t wait three weeks before your assignment is due to begin them, pace yourself. College life will be overwhelming; you'll be pulled in many different directions, but stay true to what you want to accomplish. There?ll be hard choices you?ll have to make about whether you should study or go out with friends. Study! You?ll have time to go to parties after the semester is over. Transitioning from high school to a young adult in college won?t be easy. You?ll want to hold onto your old ways of being part of a group, hanging out with girlfriends who decided not to attend college and saying goodbye to negative influences. Let them go! Find organizations which will make world changes, make new friends and meet people who?ll influence and encourage you to the next level. Your first time in college only comes once in a lifetime enjoy this experience and don?t be afraid to make decisions on your own. Trust YOURSELF!

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Real life and the economy has changed from when I graduated high school. I entered my first choice school, George Washington University, as a freshman in september 2007 with the world still as I knew it from my birth. And then came my sophomore year, september 2008, which coincided with the collapse of the stock market, job losses, businesses closing. As a result, unfortunately, I was asked by my parents to transfer to a more affordable school. So I spent much time that year filling out applications once again. After getting over the disappointment of having to leave friends and a city I came to know, I came to accept my new fate. Now I am a transfer student at City University of New York--Baruch College, making a new transition. For literally a fraction of my previous tuition, I have found that my classes are of the same quality, and the professors accessible. My advice would be to not close your mind to just one school. Being adaptable and accepting of situations out of your control are good attributes to have. More than one situation can be the right one for you.

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When I was a high school senior I was lost. The world seemed like a giant force that was constantly pushing against me. With family and money problems I never thought I would accomplish any of my dreams; especially college. If I could revisit myself in that confusing time I would have a lot of encouraging advice. For example, I would tell my stressed-out self not to worry. I would remind her that even though everything is upside down right now it will right itself eventually. I would also caution her to stay in school and graduate. I would tell her that I regret the decision to drop-out now. However, the most important instruction I could give would be to try and get into college. In high school I canceled myself out before I ever had the chance. I would tell my high school self that there are so many funds for need based students. The future student would advise her to take the ACT and apply herself. I would prove she is smarter than she thinks by showing her our current GPA. Finally, I would explain how much I have grown in only one year of college.

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I was able to figure out my passion from my college experience and that is why it has been valuable to attend. From working as a counselor in the student counseling center, I found my passion for helping others and was able to pursue a psychology degree and am now in graduate school studying to become a professional counselor. I had mentors guiding me towards success in school, these being my professors and supervisors, and I wouldn't be able to have such support if I didn't attend college. In addition to finding my passion, I have made life long friends that I met in classes and I also met my husband in my last semester of college. I have gained maturity, confidence and critical thinking skills from the variety of classes I have taken and I know I am a better person because of my college experience. College has helped me in so many ways both personally and professionally and I wouldn't change my college experience at all. It has shaped me into the person I am today and I continue to be grateful for the invaluable experience I had in college.

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I would tell my younger self to do the research necessary to pick a college to attend. Just because the school is good on paper does not mean you will enjoy that particular school. I would also tell my younger self to try and apply for more scholarships. Trying alone is at least giving yourself the chance to either win or lose but not trying takes you out of the opportunity all together. College life isnt all about partying and having fun. It is the process of learning more about yourself and growing as a person. I would just enlighten him that its not all fun and games. Hard work is necessary to do things in this world today. Senior year is when everyone relaxed a bit and slacked off. I would have told myself to keep working hard in every and all classes. In college you cannot choose which classes to do well in and which ones your not. To get a solid GPA one must committ to the love of learning and tackling every challenge that awaits him or her. That is what college is all about and what I would tell my past self if I could.

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I would tell myself to stay diligent and maintain a steady supply of optimism on hand at all times. What I mean by that is that during my senior year in high school, I began thinking of all that I probably could've been had I applied myself more with academics because many of my peers going went to 4-year institutions right off the bat. UC-this, CSU-that, I even knew someone that made it into both Harvard and MIT. Nevertheless, my decision to go to a 2-year college kind of made me feel discouraged. Luckily for me, I was wrong. Going to a community college has helped me understand the workings of college education (ex: study habits, social life, etc) for a fraction of the cost of a university. Another encouraging factor, for me at least, was seeing some friends of mine come back to community college after initially deciding to go to a 4-year school. Plus, as I'm getting my GE done, I'm learning more about my identity and how I should approach the future. In turn this has made me more hopeful for what's to come; a gift in itself.

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I would tell myself to take advantage of speaking with professors after class hours because I think that is a great opportunity to make the most of your education. Often times as college students we are too eager to leave class that even if we are confused on a subject matter, we refuse to ask for help. In college settings, education is delivered on a less personal basis unlike grade school or high school. There aren't always steady homework assignments or active class participation in all classes, especially large lecture classes which are common especially in the first few years of college. In these types of large class room settings, students tend to lose their train of focus and thought which leads to further confusion in the course's content. However, professors always set up personal office hours where students can receive tailored advice or help on exactly what they are struggling with. Most professors are more than happy to do that and it also shows them that the student is taking initiative in their education.

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