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Guilford College

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

When I came to Guilford College, I expected that I would fall in love with college life immediately and not have any adjustment issues. This was definitely not my reality! However, I believe that the imperfections of my college experience have helped me grow the most. Homesickness was (and still is!) the biggest issue for me in college. Living hours away from my parents for several months in an unfamiliar place has been extremely challenging. It was both liberating and terrifying to realize that I could no longer turn to my parents for my basic needs; I am now responsible for taking care of myself academically, physically, and emotionally. Due to having a more flexible schedule than I did in high school, I no longer procrastinate in college. I now complete assignments and prepare for class activities in advance. I am also learning how to balance my academics and social life. I am striving to make my life in college better-rounded by spending time with friends, trying new activities, and exploring Greensboro rather than doing homework constantly. Granted, my college experience has not been what I expected, but I believe I have become stronger because of its many challenges.

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I grew up in the backwoods of Georgia on a farm where I frequently daydreamed about things within the limited sphere of what I knew. I looked forward to growing up and leaving the farm, but did not have a specific plan for college. Now, after experiencing college and life in general, I would say to my high school self: Get your head out of the clouds and think forward into the real world. The world is waiting for you to make your impact. Life is not as long as you think, so you really have only a short time to make a difference. Therefore, plan, pray, and progress toward your intended goals. Ask God to guide you. Read more and learn about different cultures. Keep a journal, check your progress along the way, and stay on track. Be confident and realize your value as an intelligent human being. Study more and do not sweat the small stuff. Choose challenging classes to prepare for college. Go straight to college after high school and get involved in activities that help underprivileged youth. After college, go straight to graduate school. Focus on helping people and building community, dispelling racism, classism, and ageism.

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My experiences in college have awarded with a very unique perspective pertaining to the characteristics necessary for a wonderful college experience. I began a college Massachuetts. Due to financial difficulties, I was forced to transfer to Berkshire Community College, and live at home with my mother. I was new to the area and had a tough time adjusting and making friends. After a year I moved back to Boston. I attended Roxbury Community College, and was one of approximately five white students. I lived in Boston two years, I attended another community college, rented a room in a boarding house in a predominantly Hispanic community, and worked in a grocery store. In the summer of 2007, I had to choose either Guilford College or a promotion. I chose Guilford, because something told me that it was my chance to discover myself. The most important advise I can give to students is to not be afraid to strive for what you want but too scared to go for. If I had not, I probably would have spent my life listening to customers complain about the sale prices. Now, I want to go to graduate school, and become an equine-assisted psychotherapist.

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College is not impossible and there are many ways to pay for school without burdening your family. The college offers many ways to help ease into college life and offers transition courses. The class sizes are small, which enables you to interact more with other students and your professors. Education does not come easy and you must be willing to apply yourself and be open to learning. College is not just for partying and being free from adult supervision, it is an opportunity to expand and build your horizons. It helps you to question things that go on around you instead of just going along with the general concensus. College expands your ability to reasearch and locate different sources of information on a wide variety of topics. It teaches you to focus more and be open to different styles of learning. But most importantly it teaches you that you are capable of doing anything you want to do in life and shows you many different avenues for obtaining your goals. It also teaches you to believe in yourself, causes you to gain self-confidence and gives you the tools you need to work toward a future filled with unlimited possibilities.

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The best advice I can offer from my experience is to look around at colleges first based on the degree you/your child wants to pursue and choose colleges that offer that degree. Some students, like myself, wish to pursue degrees that are very specific and not offered at a lot of colleges. Next is to consider how far from home you/your child wants to go to college. College costs vary widely depending on if you/your child attends an in-state (home state) or out-of-state college. Also consider the type of environment, both academically and socially, you/your student wants to be in. This means looking at average class sizes, difficulty of course work load, the resources available through the school, the social activity outside the class, the type of extracurricular activities available, and the diversity of students, among other things. Costs should be considered, but last, because financial aid is usually very available. Find these items in different colleges and link with ones that best fit you/your child, then go visit (a few of) the campuses you chose. A visit is invaluable in helping with the final decision.

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Any choice you make now will have a major impact on your future. Getting a college education now gives you a head start on any career choices you make and gives you an added advantage with any job you apply for. It allows you flexibility in your future career choices. “Birds of a feather, flock together” means that going to college exposes you to other like-minded individuals that want to grow and improve themselves and advance as responsible and productive members of society. Going to college before the responsibility of being a spouse or parent is much easier and you more to offer or contribute to your spouse or children when they come along. It is much easier to continue your education with the momentum you have now than to start later because “an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest”. Once you have gone out into the world and start working a full time job, it becomes extremely difficult although not impossible, to incorporate a college schedule into your adult life. You don’t have to experience a tough or difficult life to appreciate the good life.

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Stay true to yourself. Understand and be one with your morals and beliefs, because it is inevitable that you will be given the option to stray from them. With the variety of people with whom you will mesh, you will be introduced to many situations that you may have never even imagined. Embrace new ideas and new people. Allow your peers to influence, but not run, your life. If you stay true to your morals, you will grow into the person you are. Take chances. Choose your friends wisely, however. You will be associated with the actions of your group of friends whether or not you were a part of it (good or bad); guilty by association. Take time to volunteer and give back to your community. Be conscious of the tasks you take on - stay focused on your goal and don't allow a volume of activities bog you down. When you're sad, confused or upset, express this. May it be a professional or friend, internal struggles will hinder your ability to learn and grow as an individual. Always remember that people grow through their struggles. Everything happens for a reason. Smile and allow yourself to make mistakes!

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The most important thing to remember is no matter what situation you are given in life, it is best to think positively. Out of every life experience derives a lesson despite the struggle it might have taken you to understand it. Stay focused on what you do best, and that is working with children. Take in every experience in the classroom of an elementary school as well as in the college classroom sitting behind a desk. Ask any questions that come to mind, because the only stupid question is the one that goes unasked. There will be professors that frustrate you, but you will see that they are the ones you learn the most from. Keep your goals in mind through every struggle; whether it be emotional, relationships, or family issues. There will be hard times in life, but making friends and creating lifelong experiences that you tell your children before they go to college will be the ones you will always cherish. Lastly, always keep smiling. Even during a bad day, take the time to realize that you have worked hard to get where you are and you are going to show everybody that you can do this.

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To: Students There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, although your parents will help you, it is ultimately YOUR choice to pick the best suited college. If your heart is set on one, then most likely you?ll be happiest there. It is human instinct to gravitate to an environment that one identifies to; however try not to go to the same college as your high school friends. College is a place to make new friends, doing so will add dimension to your personality and will make reuniting with old friends more exciting. Another thing, unless you plan on cooking, or eating Roman noodles for the next four years of college, do yourself a favor and make sure the food there is edible! Lastly, don?t be scared to contact current students of the college questions . They will give you answers, but don?t always take their statements as the truth, just take them into consideration. To: Parents Two things; its okay to let your child go to school in another state, they will want to visit during the holidays. Also, together with your son/daughter compile a list of questions for them to ask the interviewer.

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I've realized that pursuing my major has not been the focus of my time at Guilford, but rather, my focus, or what I have learned the most from, has been my interactions with people from totally different backgrounds, who have totally different views, but at the same time realizing that I am connected to them, as different as they may be, by being at this college, by pursuing further education at such a place that places such emphasis on development and diversity, rather then just achievment and competition. I have come to learn that there are many different types of people, and that I am but one single individual, my way of things is not always the best, and while I am just an individual, we are all connected. There is more to higher education then just education. There's interconnection, helping me become a more aware person. That is what I have been studying, not in a class room, its not tested or set down in front of me, but it is taught by living here, by existing in this diverse culture, and by realizing that while everyone is unique, everyone is different, everyone is also the same.

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