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Excelsior College

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

By attending Excelsior College, I have received knowledge of not just biology, but of all life forms and scientific investigations, from introductory biology, to biodiversity, to genetics and microbiology. In July of 2008, I was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. My sister and grandmother became my sole providers. I was not able to work, drive a car or attend school due to the heavy doses of medications. But I continued to earn credits through Dantes credit by exams. I could not find a job because I live in a small town in eastern North Carolina and I no longer had a car. So I decided to go back to online school, and get a degree in biology, which is perfect for me because I love science, have a lot of biology courses, I don’t have transportation to go to traditional classes and it cost a lot less to attend many online colleges. Excelsior College was perfect for me because I could attend class any time, day or night, and I don’t need a car to get to class. I am dedicated to finishing my undergraduate degree; I am currently in my senior year and have a 3.8 GPA.

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My college experience has taught me how to be disciplined but yet flexible. As a single mother of three children I have to be flexible with my time between school, work and taking care of them. I have to be disciplined to accomplish my work. I have no deadlines for finishing any of my courses, so if I'm not disciplined my courses will never get completed. It has been a great experience for me returning to school after tens years. It has been an huge transition now that I am older and have other responsibilities. It is valuable for me to attend college so I can obtain a degree in nursing. I am currently a fire fighter/paramedic and want to expand my capabilities of helping people. I love helping others ! College is valuable because returning to school has made me make time to read books again. Thus making me think and reason more. It has increased my knowledge base and given me essential skills to prepare me for my future endeavors. Without this experience I would be unable to achieve my goals of becoming a prehospital registered nurse.

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College is a proving ground, the speed and pace will surprise you, and as you move forward it will become more and more demanding, so start working on your confidence now. It will also be a lot of fun, so stay focused. Different professors will have different ideas of success, so learn to politic and how to listen very carefully from the get go, most will tell you exactly what they want, and your job is to give them what they need from you while getting what you need for yourself. You have everything you need even though at times you don't feel very well equipped, so don't let that feeling stop you from doing anything that you can imagine yourself doing. The future is real, and you're right at the crest of moving towards it in high gear. There is a lot of talk around you about what the word means and the best way to move into the "next stage", etc,.., and it seems vague and a little stressful without necessarily offering you any insight on the best direction to take, so I'll tell you - go forward.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior and give myself advice about what to do to be successful in college, I would have so much to say. One of the things I would stress is not to let anything hold you back from your goals. My freshman year of college, I had the aspiration of being one of the top Cross Country and Track runners on the team, I was very far from that goal. The stress of struggling to complete those goals, and people telling me I couldn't do it drove my self esteem down into the ground and made me ready to quit. I realized later that in order to improve, I had to get all those little thoughts of doubt out of my head and start listening to the positive voice inside my head. If I would have gained this knowledge earlier, I would have been able to complete my goals. Another important lesson I learn that I would tell myself is to be your own person, don't feel like you have to follow crowds just to be cool. Be youself and follow what's right.

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If I could give advice to my pre college self, I would advise myself to re-take Intro. to Functions during your senior year and put more effort into the class. You're about to take College Applied Mathematics your second year of college and you haven't had a math class since junior year of high school, it's going to be tough. To take an AP class at high school to give yourself a better idea of how the college level of education would be like and to save money. I would tell my self to save more money through high school for college; college is as expensive as it's acclaimed to be. High school comes to an end before you know it and you will have to face the financial challenges that come with the education. Less free roaming at the mall with friends and driving around wasting gas just because you could. I would tell my self to start applying for scholarships now instead of waiting until your sophmore year of college. College is important and has it's challenges, so get ready.

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To myself as a high school senior: You are so young, and you have absolutely no idea what you're about to get yourself into. Do not go to college simply because it is where your family and friends want you to go. Do not take out student loans like they're free money (they're not, and you have to pay those back someday). Do not waste time in school when you are unsure of what to do with your life; instead, take time off, find your place in the world, and then go back and pick a major you love. Sometimes what is normal or typical is not right for everyone, so do not be afraid to branch off from the beaten path and make your own. The transition to college can be scary, but it should not terrify you, and it should never make you feel like you don't belong - if something doesn't feel right, that's because it's not. Take your time in life, younger me, and you'll start to figure things out. You will never have all the answers, but you're getting through life just fine.

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Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. –Socrates I would ‘gift’ this quote to myself as a high school student taking that next step to college. I would tell myself that thinking positive is like a camp fire, the more wood you add to the fire the longer it burns. I would tell myself that positive thinking alone will not change my life rather it will keep the ‘motivational fire’ burning and keep me taking action toward the things I want in life. I would tell myself to set realistic goals. If I find some things like assignments difficult, then do not just give up. Instead seek help and set a deadline for the projects. Anyone can retain knowledge but it takes determination and a deep desire to stay motivated. I would tell myself that I only have one life to live and that I need to stay positive and add figurative wood and straw, i.e. goals, to my ‘fire of success’ to keep it burning.

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I am currently 42 years old and I am currently taking courses to get my Associate Degree in Nursing. If I could go back in time and speak to myself as a high school senior I would encourage myself to take college seriously and I would encouarged myself to work hard and get my college education sooner. Had I known the importance of a college education when I was a high school senior I would have graduated from college a long time ago and be settled into a career. I would stress to myself the importance of a college education and what it would mean to my future. I would also tell myself that it would be harder to transition into college as an older adult. The transition into college life would be easier as a high school graduate. As an older adult in college I feel as though I have wasted many educational years and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself all of these important things.

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"Stop, take a few steps back and a deep breathe. Look into this mirror...this isn't you. Happiness doesn't come from that bottle in your hand or that light at your lips. I miss that smile of yours. Where did it go? I saw it on the court this past fall, when you were with your team...why did you let things change? You are trying to hide the hard stuff, I can see that. But you know, it's not as hard as you think. You have this built up image that 'this year is the end, so go out with a bang!' Little hint...it's not. This is just the beginning. These people are just as scared and anxious as you. So set that bottle down, pick up your bag and get in there...You'll regret it if you don't. I have faith in you, so do your family and friends. We've always seen the potential. The only one who refuses to see it is you. " P.S. Practice starts Tuesday at noon...I hope to see you there

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Pursuing a bachelor's degree is necessary in life today. In today's world having a degree simply put's you in the arena of life. Once you've obtained a degree you are now eligble to enter the arena of life. A college degree doesn't make you successful, but allows you now to compete with the other players in the arena. A college degree doesn't guarantee you will win the arena game of life, but your now equal to the other players. Without a degree you aren't allowed to enter the arena, because you don't have the "ticket"- the college degree. Most companies today require that you have at least a bachelor's degree and many companies now require a master's degree. Don't severly limit your potential of success by not pursuing college. Prove to yourself that you can succeed at the game of life by getting your degree!

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