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Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus

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

?Hey Maria I?d,? whisper, ?there is 5000 dollars with your name on it? I?d yell to myself! Going back into time I would tell myself this one thing, make my education my job! I spent my summer and part of my senior year looking and searching for a job in order to help myself with my college tuition. I soon realized that being a full time student is a job in itself. When I say I should have made my education my job, full-time, I should have completed more scholarship applications. Because I spent my summer worrying about finding a job, I found my self not making any money at all! Looking back into that dreadful year I know I could have/ should have earned a summation of money by completing scholarships. Eight hours a day with a pen in my hand and a question to ponder would have made me rich. Better yet I would be worry free, stress free, and better focused on my studies now! The advice I give myself and to any person trying to achieve a greater education is to yell at yourself sometimes and make your education your full-time job!

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Knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition, the only advice I would give myself assuming I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior is to let go! I was very content on where I was my senior year. I was selected captain of the cross country, cheerleading, and track team while participating in many clubs and being an active member of The National Honors Society and Spanish Honors Society. I was a well-rounded student as I was able to participate in sports, have a social life, maintain high grades, and have a strong relationship with my family. I thought I had it all my senior year, and I was not ready to let go. Because I was so tied up on high school, when it came to college applications I lacked motivation which resulted in missing deadlines and even being rejected by schools. If I could have told myself that everything would be alright if I let go and accepted the reality of the transition in my life, I would have not been so timid and made better decisions my senior year in high school.

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One day on my way home after an occupying and exhausted day in college, I sat on the bus on my favorite sit, the penultimate one right next to the window, all by myself where nobody could interrupt my thoughts. I put my head on the glass and started wondering; if I could ever go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, what advice would I give myself knowing now about college life? Many answers came and left my mind but only one stayed and answered my question every time I repeated it in my mind. I would tell myself; “just keep doing what you are doing”. Many of my friends graduated before me so I had the chance to ask them to compare and contrast High School and College. Everybody used to tell me exactly the same thing; “college is not High School any more. There you both study hard and burn your eyelashes or you can just go home”. Those words always scared me but something inside myself always told me that they were saying the truth. I got to taste college where High School was my practice for the big transfer.

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There are a lot of things about college that I wish I knew when I was a senior. I was under the impression that college was going to be a better experience than high school and that I’d enjoy it more. I also believed that the college I chose was my perfect fit which, turned out to be disappointing. I didn’t do enough research into my institution; I based my opinions off of what other individuals said or what I read. By not visiting the campus or thoroughly investigating, I put a lot of undue stress into my life. In addition, I would have liked to know that common essentials needed in high school, such as binders and five-spiral notebooks, were not important in college. Loading up on things that weren’t imperative was like flushing money down the toilet. Lastly, I wish I knew that fun in college was only existent if you were part of the “in-crowd” just like high school. If I could go back and tell myself to keep my eyes open more and do more research, I would have saved myself some of the 1st year disappointments.

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College, so far, has been a experience that is unforgetable. As a first year college student I have benefitted in many ways from my experience, so far. My school has truley inspired me to break my boundaries and go beyond my expectations. I have worked hard to get good grades and keep up with any work that is assigned. Being in college has taught me to stand on my own. I now support myself and work hard everyday. Living away from home has taught me to be independent and to stay motivated. To me, college is valuable to attend because my goal in life is to be succesful. I want to prove to myself, and others that I can become someone succesful in the future. I also think attending college is valuable because with a succesful and happy future I will be able to help out my family. I want to be able to provide them with the help that they have shown me. Graduating college has been my dream for a long time, I hope you can see that this is what I want to do with my life, and that is the most valuable part.

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What I have gotten from my college education is that knowledge is all enpowering. Without an education, it is hard to accomplish anything in life. My future has been impacted immensely since I have been back in school and I have realized how important it is, and how far you can get with it. Not only the importance of education, but I really enjoy the learning experience and believe that I have not limited myself, but I have broadened my horizons. The best part , is there is no limit! I don't want to miss a day of school because each day is so valuable to the person I am becoming and the career path I have chosen. I am returning back to school and was recently excepted in the medical radiography program and absolutely love everything about it. My clinical rotations are such an awesome experience and I am thankful that hospitals are allowing students to have this hands on experience. I have also came to the realization that I want to have a career that I have a true passion for and I have found it.

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From my college experience to this date, I have learned to appreciate education in a whole new way now that I have to pay for my schooling. Having the responsibility to put myself through college is teaching me the importance of determination, and that without it there is little incentive to succeed. Through college, I am getting a taste of what the real world has to offer, as I am now dependent on myself, and that the push to succeed is all on my shoulders now. College is not mandatory education, but going to college is providing me with the tools that will benefit me greatly in a future job and open many new career opportunities that a high school diploma will not. Attending college is a privilege that I hold dearly, as there are many people that do not get the chance to go to college after high school, and I am doing the best I can to hold myself to a high standard that will make the extra years of schooling worth the time and the money.

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I never realized how hard the transition was going to be going from high school to college but the truth is my high school never prepared me for the challenges I would face. Adapting to a new area, making new friends and being away from my family was hard enough for me, and on top of this I filled my financial aid out late and got denied into my apartment because I was only 17 at the time. In my opinion all high schools need to offer a class to teach students life long skills that will help them in the real world. My senior year, I did not take seriously, and because I already had all my credits I took easy classes becuase I figured they would be an easy "A". I did recieved a 3.7 g.p.a. at the end, but if I had to do it all over again I would have taken school a lot more seriously because the scholarship money alone would have been worth it. Looking back I realize how unmotivated I was and how my decisions affect me everyday.

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Visit as many colleges as possible, figure out what programs are offered at each, how it will best applied to you and how it would be paid for. While you don't have to figure everything out in high school it would help to have some direction before entering college and jumping into something you might or might not regret. Have more than one plan, as you will find out the world has several more for you to figure out and without knowing it listen to the advice of your parents, they won't be there for long and their experience is to be much valued, it will help more than you know. Enjoy this time while you can but take advantage of the resources that are provided to you, you have one life to live, and it's yours, don't let anyone else live through you. This is your time to make mistakes and learn from them, and change your mind and your major, nothing is set in stone until you let it be. And enjoy college for what it has to offer.

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If I could talk to my high school self I would tell him not to waste so much time in high school and in college. This is my second time as an undergraduate and the first time, and in my first go around I just went to my classes and got involved with the theatre group on campus and that is all I did during my first college experience. This was probably one of the least informed choices I could have ever made. Once I got out of college, my lack of clubs and activities made it that much harder to find jobs and create network connections. Now, at my current university, I am involved in Student Government, the school newspaper, and I still found time to be involved in this school's theatre group. So when I speak to my younger self, I would tell him to not to put off life by waiting so long to try new things and to get involved in more student activities much earlier then I did rather then waiting for life to come calling!

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