Emory University Top Questions

What should every freshman at Emory University know before they start?


Do not be afraid of failing courses or of classes being too challenging. Instead, focus on putting forth the time to be your very best. The brain is like a muscle; the more that you work it, the stronger it gets. Intelligence is not a fixed ability; you can excel at whatever you desire. Pursue research opportunities that Emory has to offer.


The transition to college is crucial to becoming a full-fledged college student and if not done well, it could affect your first year college experience as well as your future career. As a graduated high school senior, I felt like I could conquer the world and assimilate to college life easily, especially because I was going to school in-state and my parents as well as many high school friends were relatively close. I was completely wrong to think my life would not change dramatically so the most important piece of advice I could give is to not only expect everything to change, but also to let go of your old life. As a college student, you'll have different teachers, friends, and a different living space. As this is accepted, the transition to college life becomes so much easier. However, stay true to yourself, meaning do not trade your values and morals for anything, which can be tempting when you see yourself alone. The truth is, the other first year students are as scared as you and chances are, you will find a group that share the same interests as you. Obstacles are better tackled as a team.


I would tell past Justin to realize the role of money and the practical nature of money that defy his idealistic aspirations. Private universities are a business, and like all businesses they want to make as much profit as possible. So don't succumb to the temptations of forgetting just how much of a sacrifice his parents are making for the sake of their son. I would also tell him to enjoy the college experience but to never for one second put faith in it. College should not be the greatest period of his life. It should simply be a brief moment of transition towards discovering more about who he is until he discovers his passions and pursues them for the rest of his life.


College will be nothing you dreamed of, but more than you ever expected. I know you have excelled in high school and expect the same at Emory University, but understand there will be some challenges along the way. While your grandmother, aunt, and mom may encounter complications with kidney and heart failure during college, do not be ashamed to seek counseling and persevere so that you continue to excel academically and strive towards becoming a cardiologist that helps prevent and manage heart failure. Also, realize your high school education was not the same as your new peers who may be more academically prepared than your background allowed. You must be dedicated and unashamed to seek tutoring to eliminate the educational gap between you and your peers. However, while college may have challenges and not be as glamorous as MTV movies portray, it will be a time for you to grow, learn, and laugh. Four years will produce an independent, productive young woman who, despite educational disadvantages, consistently makes the Dean’s list, leads community initiatives, and produces research worthy of publication. College will provide you with a lifetime of friends, opportunities, and positive generational changes within your family and others.


I would tell myself that I should plan ahead and be more proactive about my career path. Choosing not to care because the future scared me only made me have to go to a college that I disliked. I would tell myself that the choices that I made right now would affect me in the future. I would tell myself that it's okay to feel scared and anxious about the future and that it's okay to talk it out with people. It won't make me less of a person if I showed these more vulnerable sides of myself with other people, it will only make me stronger.


Do not walk with your head elevated, suspended over a crowd of those you consider lesser than you. Drop your hubris at home and make it a habit to engage with everyone who is a part of the student body, no matter his or her grade level. Having cordial social skills is a requisite to success in university, and if you enter university with your nose in the air and the conviction that you're at the top of the food chain, you will never be a desired member of any student society, lecture or discussion class. Learn to have faith in the qualifications of your teachers; do not get stuck in the mindset that teachers are merely supplements to textbooks, or that more information can be gleaned by reading a paragraph than having a discussion with your teacher. The lecturers at university are there because they have a professed interest in their field, so go to their office during contact hours and engage them in a discussion after class. Admittedly, not all lecturers will connect with the subject that they’re teaching, but regardless, do not make textbooks your sole source of information: seek out knowledge from your professors.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to not be so stressed out and to enjoy college life. I would have told myself that the friends I will make, things I experience and things I learned will be amazing. I really cant see myself anywhere else!


First and foremost I would tell myself how wonderful I was doing and that none of my work was in vain. My genuine interest in the subjects being taught and the extra work I put into classes all had benefits, even if I could not foresee them at the time. For example, my experience with human anatomy classes had me more prepared for my psychobiology course as a freshman undergraduate than other students in the class. Now, I know my struggles in highschool not only revolved around assignments and tests, but also people. I learned immense patience in the presence of biggotry and hate. I learned kindness and calmness in the face of aggression. I learned independence and self-confidence in the midst of a crowd of teenagers, all trying to figure out who they are. I learned value. All of these things have benefited me tremendously at college; have gotten me through the most stressful weeks with ease—I assure you, final's week is no joke—, have given me a positive mindset in an environment full of negativty, and have given me confidence in the face of doubt.


If I could go back in time and give college advice to myself, I would tell myself to look at all of the career options out there and to not rush the decision. When I first decided to go back to school in 1998, I chose a major that I believed would get me a job in any office. Looking back, I don't want to say that I was wrong, but I think I should have looked at different options before making that decision. Now that I am older (and hopefully wiser), I have decided to go back and get into the medical field. My goal is to become a surgical tech at a hospital. Originally, I was looking at becoming a radiology tech, but after volunteering at a hospital and learning about other jobs, I was able to job shadow and figure out what exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life. I believe that I will be happy with this decision.


Most people around you are complaining about how they’re “so over school,” and there’s probably a countdown to the days till graduation on some whiteboard. Of course, you’re looking forward to graduation and excited about college, but when that’s all anyone talks about, it’s easy to let your senior year slip away like grains of sand in your hand. Don’t let that happen. Rather than consume your thoughts with future hopes, focus more on the present—on academics on college/scholarship/financial aid applications, of course, but also on something equally critical. Focus on relationships. You’ll probably never see the students in your classes again; make an effort to get to know them a little more, to laugh with them, even if you don’t like them. Reach out to your teachers. It’s so easy to spend time with teachers in high school--not so in college! Most importantly, don’t forget your family. Even though you’re looking forward to moving out, realize that you will miss home. Do something sweet for your mom. Hang out with your brother. In sum, make the most of where you are right now.