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George Mason University

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

In searching for the ?dream school? you?ve always seen yourself attending, always make sure the main characteristics of the school fit your needs. The certain significant features aforementioned being: school size, location, cost/ financial aid opportunities, areas of residence (on-campus and off-campus), and also the activities offered at the school. As for making the most of your college experience, you can make any college what you want of it. It?s all about your attitude. Going to a new school where you don?t necessarily know anyone can be a nerve-wrecking experience for anyone, and being perfectly aware of that will instantly help you gain friends. Although I am only two years deep into my college experience, I can safely say freshman year will be my favorite of all because it was so nice to be surrounded by people just like me: nervous about being away from home for the first time and ready and willing to make new friends. A friendly, inviting smile accessorized by a positive attitude will be your greatest tool in settling into college life.

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There are surely future plans in mind, but the basic thing is to analyse the effects of those plans by weighing them on the "cost-benefit" scale. I know i am growing up; but still i am naive and inexperienced high school senior. How should I assure myself that my plans are skewed to the benefit side rather than to that of cost's? Hence, i would pay heed on my parents, teachers , or any experienced person's pieces of advice. I need to detect that on which subject i am more inclined. Also, i need to see the praise, complements or encouragement i recieve from people to pursue a particular major in my college life. Satisfying the major-decision issue, i will not waist time on it. Second, being no more in school, i should be mindful the importance of saving-money for the college as it is not free. Therefore, i will utilise my time by having any job. Third, i should realise the importance of time management for the enrollment and admissions in my desired colleges. By that, i will be easily be able to solve the credit or enrollment requirements' issues.

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Try to challenge yourself, and take the harder classes. The easy classes will get you good grades, but not much credit or preperation for college. Learn to study by yourself, and set yourself deadlines. In other words, don't wait till the night before it's due to start working on a class project. You will often discover it will take the entire semester to get the project done, and it if doesn't, you can get it done and out of the way! Once you get into the required classes for your major, it's ALL important stuff to learn. If you have problems with a class, talk with the teacher, explain what you are struggling with, ask for further help, or how to find extra help. Most teachers will want to help you through their class(es) since it doesn't look good for them if students are struggling, dropping out, or failing. You also need to learn to be your own best advocate-- no one knows you as well as you do! One last thing-- be friends with the janitorial/maintenence staff. They can be of great help if you accidentally leave something in a classroom.

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College is the most important part of your life. It is officially the beginning of the practical life. For me the transition to college has been very smooth. My first semester went really well and managed to get a good GPA. College education is expensive. Many times you will feel that you should not have attended this college or have attended community college.The majority of First year college students reported that they had "some" or "major" stress regarding their ability to pay for their college expenses. You may think you won’t be able to pay for the next semester. In the light of my experience,I as a high school seniors would give "paying for college" high importance and think thoroughly on that. Financial Aid or paying for my college has made college scary and haunting for me because even good grades do not pay for your college tuition and fees. Thus, apply to as many colleges as possible giving preference to those where chances and opportuntities for scholarship are the greatest. I wish I could go back and do this, but its too late now.

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As an incoming freshman, I did not know what to expect in college. My experience thus far has been remarkable for several reasons. I utilize the knowledge ascertained in class and relay it to many aspects of my life. One example from my Interpersonal Communications class involves conflict resolution with several tactics, such as perception checking. From Biology, I now recognize the functions of my body. Nutritionally, I made a change to take better care of myself physically. In addition to improving my health, I have lost ten pounds. In my Critical Thinking and Literature class, I have come to further appreciate literature. Now, I can comprehend and analyze works that I otherwise would not have appreciated. Questioning these works has allowed me to inquire about and better my own life. This is not only a practical but a crucial skill for my future career as a high school English teacher. My time at college so far has given my invaluable tools in every area of my life and I am eager to expand my mind and grow in the next three years.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to do research on university clubs and get involved. In high school, I was a member of a co-curricular club known as DECA; I ate, slept, and breathed DECA during my high school career. I knew DECA had a collegiate sector but I had no clue that George Mason actually participated with Collegiate DECA. After getting settled in to my first semester of college, I happened to take a look at the university's club and activities page and I discovered that there was a George Mason DECA chapter and that I had just missed the deadline for becoming a member. Since the career path I am taking is to become a DECA Advisor, continuing my participation with DECA is necessary. Also, being a member of George Mason DECA would have helped me meet new people easier and I would not have the lack of on campus involvement that I do now as a second semester freshman. In summary, I would tell myself to look in to Mason's participation with DECA so I could still be involved with my passion.

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Choosing your college is a really big decision. I didn't realize that when I was applying. My heart told me to go out of state; my parents said that was too expensive and I didn't have a good enough reason. So lesson one: students, listen to your heart no matter what; parents, don't discount the reasons your children give you. I go to school in Virginia but spend all of my spare time escaping a lonely campus environment. I wish I hadn't caved on that one factor. Beyond that, look past the classroom experience to see what the schools truly offer. My major (communication) is a total joke, but I've made up for it by finding a home in the Student Media office on campus. There I've found amazing mentors, learned hands-on lessons on leadership and gained practical experience in my field (multimedia). One amazing program can make an entire school experience worth it. I didn't give college much thought, and now I'm making the best of an okay situation. Let your heart guide your decisions - you don't have to be able to articulate why you love a school.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior about college I would give myself one piece of advice-plan. You have so much free time in college that you need to make a plan or else you can get side tracked and end up pulling the infamous collegiate caffeine fueled all nighters. By making a plan you avoid unnecessary stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. It’s also important to plan time for studying and time for socializing. Socializing and meeting new people is an important part of the college experience but it’s important to remember academics come first. The last secret to having a plan is sticking to it. You can plan your day to the second but if you don’t stick to it your plan is useless. Like everything planning takes practice. There will be times when you don’t complete everything you planned but you can’t let those times discourage you. When it comes down to it college is what you make it out to be. Approach everything open minded and with a positive attitude and I promise college will be the time of your life.

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Knowing what I know now, I would have told myself to be prepared for homesickness. I knew that going to school across the country would be difficult, but I didn't expect to be missing home as much as I did during my first semester. I also would have told myself to get as involved as possible in different student organizations and to meet as many people as possible. I also would have made more of an effort to go to Washington D.C. and do more sightseeing so I became more familiar with Virginia and the Washington D.C. area. In high school, I didn't realize that making friends and a social life was not the same in college. Students have to make more of an effort to talk to people and make friends. It is easiear to meet friends while joining student organizations rather than in class. Also, on a large campus like George Mason University, it takes more effort to become involved and stay informed on the different activities that were on campus. Most of all, I would tell myself that everyone feels a sense of nostalgia and apprehension for the future.

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To put it bluntly, "Your parents aren’t always right and they don’t always know what’s best. I just spent the last two years of college chasing a dream designed by our parents. But they are actually destroying everything that makes you extraordinary. You see Catherine, no one knows what’s best for you but yourself. Money is not the sign of happiness, a smile is. If you continue listening to your selfish parents talk about becoming a doctor or a lawyer, you will waste two years studying gibberish and build yourself so far into debt, you could eat stars. Screw what your parents think, this is about you. If you want to be a nurse, you have the damn right to be one. Start taking chances and do what you feel will make you happy. Take classes that will stimulate your senses to live and learn. If I have to sit through another lecture on wavelengths, I will eat my foot. Take a career path that you want, not your parents. In two years, hopefully, you will be chasing a dream you designed for yourself because I forget what it's like to genuinely smile."

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