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Fairmont State University

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

One of the most important things when determining which college or university to attend is that "you gotta have fun". I believe that the college experience is what you make of it. College life is not all about sitting in your room or library all day and all night studying just to get that perfect grade point average that you used to get in high school. It's about growing up, learning responsibities, interacting, networking, making life-long friends, and you can't forget the getting good grades part, but most importantly is having fun while doing all that. Many students flunk out because they lack the self-control when they are released into the college world and away from the rules of home and nagging of the parents when it comes to curfews, bedtimes, partying, and drinking. My advice to new students when searching for the right college, is to first determine your priorities. Know what you want in terms of campus and classroom size, diversity, field of study, social life, and surrounding of the campus. Then, enter the college world with the mindset that you must be responsible and have self-control. Remember, "you gotta have fun"!

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I have had a successful educational and career experiences and am now currently pursuing my Doctoral of Social Work (DSW) degree. I started as a non-traditional student and as a single parent of a young child. I modeled for my daughter the importance of gaining secondary education in orderto have better opportunities for my career. My daughter has also successfully completed her Master's Degree program and is advancing within her career. My education has provided me the opportunity to become a critical thinker, a scholar practitioner, and one in turn is a social change agent. My education has provided me with the opportunity to work with terminally ill patients, foster children, combat veterans and service members diagnosed with combat related PTSD, rape victims, and many other vulnerable, disempowered, and disenfranchised populations. This would not have been possible without my Bachelor and Master's Degrees. Now I am currently enrolled fulltime as a doctoral student. For me acquiring and ontaining my education is a life long journey that has now been passed on to my daughter and hopefuuly one day my grandchildren.

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America, the land of higher learning. With so many colleges and universities to choose from, it can be a daunting task picking the right school to further one's education. Parents and students, alike, can always use some tips and a little advice to make the selection process a much smoother experience. For the parent, I would suggest the following: Always think about the safety of your young, up and coming professional. When recommending a school to your child, pick the one that you believe offers the best environment for learning. Every school in this country can have its share of distractions, but some have less than others. Pick the one that you believe fosters a healthy learning environment. Now, the student, I believe, has another priority when it comes to selecting a school. A young student needs to focus on the school that he or she believes will help him or her grow as a person. College is the time when you grow into being an adult, and a young student needs a place that brings out the best. A college that embraces the lifestyle choices and activities of a young student is the right college for them.

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Look around your hometown. Bigger isn't always better. Go check out all of your choices before making up your minds and don't let fast-talking recruiters manipulate you or your children. Check into the school's ratio for non-traditional students, this will give you a pretty good idea of how the faculty and students deal with freshman. I mean, if there are a lot of non-traditional students attending or completing their educational requirements at this college, then the students and faculty must be pretty nice and helpful, otherwise they wouldn't be there! Don't feel rushed! I'm just now starting my "further education" at 48, and I'm dong fine! If a person feels rushed, they will not necessarily make the "best" decision for their life. If a school is right for you or your children, you will know it almost immediately, but don't take any chances! Parents, keep close tabs on your kids' progress, and kids, you don't have to do things you feel are "wrong" just to "fit in". Most importantly, after you find the school of your choice, rejoice in it! Tell others and encourage them to try it!

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My college experience has helped me to become more knowledgable. Prior to attending college I had a one sided view of politics. Through my educational experience I was able to see how differently others feel about the political leaders in office. I learned to respect their opinions, listen more and not feel the need to defend my position. I also had a very rewarding experience of seeing how not to treat those who are less fortunate than myself. I saw first-hand how the homeless are treated in the mall, and it was very disheartening. I was able to learn not to be so quick to judge people based on the testimonies I heard in class and those I experienced first-hand through class projects. These lessons have been very valuable to my future career as a social worker. It is very important for me not to judge my clients based on what they wear, or on their educational background if I expect to be an excellant social worker. I also need to listen closely to what my clients have to say, not only in word, but also with their body language; which will help me understand my clients well.

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The college experience has helped me to grow and become a more mature young adult. Unlike the small high school I attened, I am now among the hundreds of students I pass everyday. With many more responsibilities thrown upon me, it is hard not to learn what being a young adult is really about. It has been valuable in the memories I cannot replace. Situations that arrive in class and out with my friends I will have to take with me and learn from those experiences. I must admit that, yes, it forced me to get my drivers liscense and become more responsible in getting myself to and from school. I finally could make decisions that I could not in high school, and I was thrilled to have so many choices to choose from. I may not be the smartest student or get the best grades, but I put forth the effort. Fairmont State understands that some learn faster than others. They have been a great help in providing classes that meet your needs. Overall my college experience has been about average, but I am just into my second semester and Im sure that there is more to come.

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When it comes to picking your college, make sure you do vast ammounts of research; look in places you would never think to look. While I love the university I am attending and I think it is a fantastic school, I made the mistake of just picking a college within in the state soley for instate tuition. It's important for the student to choose a college that is right for them and that not only has the major they wish to pursue, but also has other things there to pursue happiness. I think a lot of students choose a college just for the purpose of reputation and then find that the size or location isn't suitable for their happiness. To make the most out of a college experience, students need not only study hard, but give themselves time to grow as humans and not just students. Explore every option or events your college puts out, try new things, be very open-minded, and try not to lose sight of your goals. Employers want graduates who are intelligent and have great grades, but that 4.0 average doesn't mean much if you aren't well rounded and adjusted.

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If I could go back in time to my senior year of high school there would be a lot of advice to give myself. The biggest and most important piece of advice I would give myself would be to study harder and concentrate on school and not parties or boys. I would tell myself to stay home some nights and study as hard as I could, to push myself to the limit, and to take my grades seriously. Not saying that I made bad grades or anything, but of course they could have been much better. I would teach myself better study habits and prevent procrastionation as best as possible. I now know how much of an impact your grades from high school have in college and that your bad study habits that you had in high school follow you into college. It is a lot more challenging for me to study and concentrate because I never cared to teach myself the right way to study or do my work. So, I know that I would give myself the advice to work at school and work as hard as I could because it would all pay off in the end!

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I have learned how to put more effort than I thought I could. There is a point when you are staring at the homework monster wanting to give up and cry because you know 90% of this won't be on the final, only 50% will be on the test and in the long run it won't do anything more than remind me of this moment of pain you are having. The teachers know the homework isn't the best way to test your understanding or abilities, you know it, the entire school system knows it. Yet they still want it all turned in word -perfect and right then, at that moment, you just want to give up and give in. Instead you pick the easiest thing first and work it, then the next and the next and the next until all you have left is an essay that is a thousand pages in a style you've never heard of. Next time you pick the hardest thing first and when you wake up late for a test the next morning, skidding into your seat seconds before the teacher, easy is all that's left and that's beautiful.

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The first year of my college experience has been scary and exciting all at the same time. When one is a senior in high school, they think about the parties and fun times with friends; but for me it was getting a better future and the institution I attend really gives me the opportunities I deserve. I get to live at home and study at my own pace, which is a major plus. It is so valuable for me to have a higher education, not only to be the first in my family to graduate from college, but to also know that I accomplised something on my own and without anyone else's help. I have a "do it myself" attitude and even though that shines through most of the time, my teachers and family members are there to back me up anytime I need it. It has also been very valuable because every high school senior plans on leaving home and making it work out in the real world, but I realized that I took my home for granted and I will never forget what my family and I have worked for.

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