Before starting this new adventure you need to heed my advice. Firstly, find and apply to all the scholarships that are available to you. You don’t want to put a lot of financial burden on your parents. While you are looking, do not procrastinate. The teachers will give tremendous amounts of work and those scholarship deadlines will catch you by surprise if you are not prepared. After getting into college, continue the path of not procrastinating. These professors are tough and most of them will not be lenient. You’re grades depend on the amount of time you put writing and rewriting papers and how much time you spend studying. Meaning, skimming three chapters the night before your Chemistry test in the morning equals a failing grade. Lastly, be open to meeting your peers in your freshmen class. This school will be a different environment for you, but it is the same for your peers. A part of college is about the effort put into your classes, but the other side of that coin is about the relationships and bonds that are formed during your fours years there with people who will challenge you into being a better person.
I would tell my high school self, "Do not procrastinate of homework ,especially not essays or projects. All nighters are not fun. In fact they make you hungry and not fully functional the next day. Then they make you very, very tired." I would also tell myself as a senior, "Be bold when you meet the new kids. You never know, they may end up being your best friends. Some of your really good friends you won't even meet until second semester because you met them through other friends. Don't be afraid to talk to upperclassmen. They're nice, in fact, they like most of the younger classes. Most importantly though, I would tell high school me, "Don't forget those rainboots. You'll need those down south." And lastly I would tell myself, "Do not mess with the professors who say they won't tolerate lateness, because they won't. Listen to your professors and your advisor. They tend to like you. They may have new ideas for you that you hadn't considered before, about your future, about study abroad, about majors and minors, even TV and radio shows. They are nice people. Talk to them."
Before you head off to college, spend a little more time figuring out your comfort levels. Decide now if you are going to focus only on classes or get involved in student organizations, and actually go to the student organization fair when you have the chance! Think about possible majors but have a diverse freshman class schedule - take classes that fulfill requirements but also consider different disciplines. Connect with other students coming from your area before going to orientation so you know who you can hitch rides with back home or catch up with when you're home on winter and summer breaks. Throughout all four years, embrace the opportunities that come your way, even if you are nervous or it is so far out of your regular activities or routine. It's worth it! Academically and socially, things will crop up...go for it. Tackle topics in classes you aren't comfortable with - you will grow and learn so much more. Finally, take advantage of your professors and advisors. They are there to help and they want to talk. Learn their office hours and make sure they know your face!
I think attending college is the most important decision I have made in my entire life. I have gained a knowledgeable experience, and I have also found out more about what I can achieve. Going to college is important not only to gain training for the outside world but also to promote myself to have a great career in the future. I started out in a community college, where I received my Associate in Arts in business administration. Then, I transferred to a university in order to further my education with my major, finance. Attending a university has several challenges, but starting off at a community college felt like a good decision because it gave me time to be certain about what I wanted to do with my life. In my college experience, I expect to gain a good GPA, my Bachelors degree within four years, and an enjoyable social life. So far, it has been a valuable choice to attend college because I know I am achieving something that makes me feel better about where I am going in my life. I do not regret anything and it has made me a stronger person, which I am thankful for.
The key to finding the right college is simple: be sure that you know what you want. Are you looking for a small school, a school with great diversity, a school with reknowned academics, a school with a good sports program, etc.? Only you can know what you're looking for in a school, and the best way to start narrowing down your choices is to go to different colleges' websites, or use a college search engine such as FastWeb or something of that nature to compare schools. These sites usually have criteria that you can check off in order to find the college you're looking for. And, if there are mulitple choices, try visiting those colleges. You can learn a lot by being on campus itself, interacting with students and faculty and being able to ask them questions. Many schools allow for interested students to sit in on classes and events, so take advantage of that opportunity if it's offered. Knowing the environment of the school can definitely tell you whether or not you will be happy there, which will indicate your level of success at the college. Don't sweat it, and have fun!
Dear Nicole, No one will care about what you did in high school. Pulling all-nighters is not scary when done with friends. You will make friends. Learn to use a paper format other than MLA. Drink before the party. Once you figure out what you want to do, do not stop. Study abroad. Smile at strangers when you get here, and always hold the door. Do not cut in the lunch line. Attend hall meetings. Take advantage of alone time. The couches in the library are not comfortable. Make flashcards for finals. If the textbook has an online resource page for students, questions from it will be on the test. Attend class. Yes, every class. You will get in a fight with your roommate. You will both get over it. Sweatpants are ok. So are t-shirts. Cattiness is not ok. Neither is intolerance. Bring every costume you own. You will use these. Be completely honest with your academic advisor. It's ok to drop a class if you have to. It's not ok to ignore what you love. Your parents miss you already. Find every scholarship in existence. Most importantly, Nicole, bring rain boots. Carry on.
"Study all of the time.", "Go to every party!", "Be in every club available on campus". These are all terrible advice. Although these phrases may sound like seizing the day or being fully devoted to academic excellence, it is impossible to succeed with any of these pieces of advice. If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, all I would tell myself about college is "Balance". Over the first semester of my new college life, I have had to make a lot of adjustments to find how to best live my life. I have found that balance is truly key when it comes to a time as hectic and exciting as college. I have found it is important to balance studying with having fun, spontaneous trips to IHOP at 3am with eating a healthy diet, relaxation with working out at the campus gym, spending time in the city and spending time in nature. Though everyone's combination for a balanced life is different, it is important for each student to find out how to maintain a healthy balance. For me, balancing my life made my first semester an all-around success.
The first bit of advice that I would give myself is to start saving up money, because everything at college is expensive. Buying supplies needed for the dorms and even quarters for laundry means that with all expenses any money disapears fast. It's imporant to start saving early and to continue to save while in college. Next, I would tell myself to start a healthy sleep habits. It makes paying attention in class a lot easier if you have plenty of sleep. I spent the semester exhausted all the time because I would put my homework off until late and I didn't get enough sleep. My grades suffered at first but I managed to pull off good grades when I changed my habits. It is also important to learn how to manage my time early. Especially when it comes to doing homework earlier and balancing free time with work time. The last bit of advice is to have a way to contact home. The first couple weeks are very busy and stressful and many people get home sick. Adjusting to a new life style is hard, especially away from home and having a familar voice makes it easier.
College is not going to save you. It will not rescue you from the torments of socially awkward situations or the horrors of all-night study sessions. And it will not be a simple escape from the real world and the problems that every person faces as they work and learn to achieve a better life. Having said that, college will afford you new opportunities and perspectives on the world of which you are apart. You will be exposed to new people of diverse background and beliefs. Any student entering into college should be prepared to accept that there are more than one or even just two ways of looking at most issues. You will not be able to get by with just an open mind or simple tolerance. A student of the liberal arts must learn to fully accept diverse populations of people as human beings. It is critical that you be willing to rethink and reasssess some of your deepest reservations and taboos. You will not simply step out of your comfort zone. It will be shattered in front of you. It is an experience that is simultaneously terrifying and postively liberating.
To be honest, I would tell myself that I am making the right decision by coming here. I would tell my high-school-self to remember that education - and academia as a whole - has never been, and should never be, a means to an end, but the end itself. Participating in myriad clubs and campus events has been an irreplaceable boon to my college life, as those have been the venues through which I have met my friends and teachers, classmates and roommates. These people have made my school my home, a combination I have always craved and envied of boarding school students. I would let my anxious and doubtful high school self know this. I would tell her not to go to the cafeteria with her roommate every day, and to force herself to introduce herself to everyone she meets. I would tell her to have no fear from the very start to speak up in classrooms. I would tell her that the knowledge that she is about to gain will change her life. I would tell her that college would make her education more than an increase of knowledge -- it would make it an experience!