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Georgetown University

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

Georgetown University pursues a mission of involvement and a deep understanding by instilling within students the Ignatian ideal of magis, meaning “more.” For me, this knowledge I’ve received comes in two forms - that of academic learning and that of learning as it pertains to life experiences. Through conversations with Jesuits, the ideal of cura personalis, or “care for the whole person” has been further ingrained into my mind and is echoed through university programs surrounding a variety of interests. The Jesuit-based education at Georgetown enabled me to ingratiate the differences of others and understand community problems. Life experience is also of great importance. The only way one can truly grasp the depth and awareness of an issue or problem is through active involvement from within the area or community facing difficulties or hardship. For example, by serving food at a homeless shelter, I have a better understanding of homelessness. My education at Georgetown granted me a greater understanding of society and appreciation for serving others. The mental wages I earned, and the maturity I gained, are incomparable, and nothing has given me greater pleasure than to have the ability to use the knowledge I acquired to serve others.

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Find your comfort zone, and then leave it. In college you will encounter artists, mathematicians, philosophers, future presidents, and other scholars. You will meet and befriend students and professors representing different countries throughout the world community. You will collaborate with Republicans and Democrats, LGBT students, shy and outgoing individuals. As you will come across a broad range of fields, interests, and individuals for the next four years of your life, you should always remember to be open-minded. Every individual has a story and lessons to share, and you should be willing to listen, observe, and absorb. You will feel uncomfortable at times, but discomfort is part of the learning process and molds you into a critical thinker. Through exploring myriad perspectives and through even challenging your own ideas, you will learn how to juxtapose and integrate ideas from different fields into one cohesive understanding. For example, your future self has written essays on the upward social mobility of rappers Nicki Minaj and Tupac Shakur for a Sociology class. She has contacted and interviewed students from Asia for a presentation. Through escaping the threshold of your comfort zone, you will excel in school and, simultaneously, find enjoyment in your work.

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The college experience at Georgetown University is unmatched. It permitted me to freely explore subject areas that I knew little about coming into college. Through this experience, I took an interest in a new subject area and was able to fulfill that interest through extracurricular activities, internships, and alumni mentors. I also tried many new activities outside my comfort zone, such as joining an NCAA sports team that I never would have imagined doing. These experiences enriched me in many ways, both in mind and body and I am ever grateful for the experience. It has transformed me into a person dedicated to serving others and I now have a greater appreciation of diverse backgrounds and cultures different from my own. I was challenged both academically and physically to strive for my best and made many friends, who shared my passions, along the way. These individuals will remain my friends for a lifetime, and the experiences at Georgetown University will remain forever ingrained in my mind, ones that I will not soon forget. I cannot think of a greater place that teaches for the whole person, is academically challenging, yet socially rewarding and committed to success. Hoya Saxa!

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"Breathe, Bridget!" I wish I could scream to my seventeen-year-old self. As a high school senior, living in the aftermath of seemingly endless exams, applications and obligations, it is tempting to sprint to the finish line. I counted the days until my college decisions arrived, until graduation, until I could finally start my freshman year. My mind was anxiously fixed on the future, leaving me no energy to appreciate my final year at boarding school in Switzerland, a beautiful place filled with amazing people that I miss more and more each day. This preoccupation only intensified when summer came, when I became obsessed with picking the right professors and the perfect roommate. Although this preperation and motivation is necessary, I have gained a new appreciation for living in the moment. Freshamn year flew by, and I expect the years to only continue to accelerate as I begin internships and studying abroad. College is a delicate balance of intense experiences of both work and leisure, of transformation and development. In order to extract the best of each, you must prepare by understanding how and when to take a deep breathe and decide how certain experiences will shape your identity.

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Find a school where you feel welcomed, yet not completely comfortable- whether that means moving to another setting, or simply finding an academic or athletic program that will challenge you. Get involved in activities- both ones that you have an interest in, and more importantly ones that you never thought of before coming to college. Interact with people beyond your own racial, religious, or economic group. Don't just say hello but get to know their stories. The growth you gain from watching the sun rise after spending a night learning about the culture and values of another individual is exactly the kind of incredible growth experience you should gain from college. Learn that everyone has their own stories, their own strides, and that you as an individual have your own path too. College is aboad finding out who you are relative to the incredible diversity surrounding you, and gaining the confidence that will assure you that you have nothing to hide from. In highschool there is an incredible pressure to conform and not stand out- at the right college, you will have the chance to define yourself on your own terms, and shine through your distinctions.

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The most important thing for parents to remember during their child's college application process is to step back and give their son or daughter some breathing room. This period is one of the most competitive and nerve racking experiences that we as young adults have to go through- there is enormous pressure from our classmates, teachers, college guidance counselors, and when we come home at the end of the day, we are looking for a place to relax and feel comfortable with ourselves again. Because there is so much external pressure involved with this process, often times students loose sight of their true and unique personalities as their aspirations are tainted by those around them who become inextricably involved with the application process. I know that a parent's involvement usually comes from the desire to help their child succeed, but the greatest gift a parent can give their child during this time is trust. Trust that your child is smart and creative enough to decide what type of school interests them, what subjects they want to study. Encourage them to make their own decisions, independent from the ubiquitous expectations of those around them.

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When choosing the university you are going to attend, be sure that you give the appropriate value to the different aspects of a university. Aspects that are important to consider are academics, availability of you major of interest, prestige, alumni involvement, school area, size of school, amount of students per class, among others. You need to make sure you do not let the fame a university might have, opaque your necessities and what you want out of your college years You might be chosen at a school that is more renown than another, but perhaps, is not the right fit for you. When choosing a university, you have to be objective and really ask yourself what you want and expect from you college experience. The important thing is not to be influenced by outside sources such as friends, boy/girlfriends, parents, regarding which college you should go to because of their attendance there. The decision of what college to go to is very personal and should be made with constant communication with you parents, since they will want the best for you and they will also be the ones financing your education. Be objective and the choice should be right!

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Hey! You! Yes, you, the poor unfortunate soul living safely on top of the world. Be wary: the fall from the summit will be tumultuous. Stay enevloped in your cocoon. Don’t wonder what lies outside of Virginia. Are you even listening you insolent fool? Ignorance is bliss. Let the stress frcture that ended your running career be the end of athletics. Immediately seize your rowing on the ergometer. Forgeit the illusions of grandeur that you hold of collegiate athletics before you learn that those that you venerate are just as human as you. Be frightened of pretentious private colleges. You think just because you graduated top of your class in your world full of nobodies that you can compete with students from Taft and Exeter? Sublimate your drive into indifference. Find a nice, homely girl, marry her and spend the rest of your life clocking in at a sinecure. But your fate is electable no matter how LOUD I yell. You’ll still amble mindlessly towards the slaughterhouse you stupid sheep. Brush off my advice as platitude. Just know that you’ll end up convinced that even an immigrant kid like you can have an impact on the world.

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It is important to keep your goals in mind and understand that you are going into a completely different environment with completely different people. Do not be intimidated by this, take this as an opportunity to learn more, meet new people and build a network. The transition to college life will be filled with temptation, but you must realize that although you are a very smart student living in a low income community your high school education has not adequately prepared you to continue directly into a 4 year institution. The qualities you posses should not be undermined, as they are irreplaceable and will serve to get you through the transition, life has thrown many hardballs your way and I know that the strength you have gained from experience will only help you overcome any obstacles in college. Never undermine yourself, the amount of books you?ve read does not matter, at the end of the day your desire to persevere and appreciation for education will lead you to success. Know your options, financial aid is available, do not limit yourself, and tell everyone you know that funds exist to make graduating from college a reality.

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College is a different world. Nothing can prepare you for the adventurers and experiences you are about to embark on. There are no parents, teachers, or counselors breathing down your neck, calculating your every move. You are now granted the freedom that you have probably been itching to have. You now control your life. You call your own shots and only consult with your parents, professor, and advisors. That is a lot of power for a 17-18 year old to handle. Don't let it go to your head. Remember there is a monetary investment in you and your completion, so use your new found freedom and power wisely. You will now be a Freshman and what a perfect name for embarkers on higher education, being that you will be fresh to life without familiarities- different environment, different people, different atmosphere, etc. Use that freshness to learn your environment and the people you will be sharing that environment with. Don't be afraid to ask questions and share your ideas. Take on challenges, BE INVOLVED. Don't just go to class to get a degree. Go to college, be active in your classes and community and earn a degree.

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