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Illinois Institute of Technology

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

If I could speak with the "high school" Bassil, I would tell him this: "Universal truth is scarcer than you think. Those economic models and theories look sexy, and seemingly make intuitive sense, but they discount the intensity of natural chaos and randomness that you will inevitably witness. If you wish to study economics, realize that you may never stumble upon an economic theory that works consistently. Most of your class instructors have taught 'intuitive' lessons and principles; not much of your academic career has been spent with long, disappointing, grinding, or confusing sets of empirical data. As you grow and study economics, you might be very disappointed to find out that the 'money supply model' seldomly produce reliable results. In fact, you may be disappointed to learn that accurate models rarely come by. If 'truth' interests you, the following areas of academic focus will add valuable insight: logic, mathematics, physics (usually), or philosophy. These areas of study will help you embrace and benefit from all the chaos nature provides, rather than to study HOW to eliminate randomness from your world, a very laugable task. You will be much less disappointed in school, and much more accomplished in your field.

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Knowing what I know now about college life, I would advise myself to take advantage of every academic opportunity that was available to me in high school. I would advise myself to take as many Advanced Placement classes possible. Advanced Placement classes prepare high school students for college courses and curriculum. I would advise myself to take advantage of every community service organization within my high school in order to instill a sense of dedication that would only grow and blossom after my transition to college. I would advise myself to build a vast network of classmates, professors, faculty, staff, and friends, which will also be extremely helpful during/after my transition to college. I would advise myself to research in detail, every college I considered attending. I would most definitely advise myself to research and pursue every scholarship and financial opportunity available in order to defer as much college tuition as possible. Finally yet importantly, I would advise my younger self to relax and mentally prepare for a lifetime of memories while in pursuit of academic success. "Marvin, stay focused, set your goals, and achieve them, and have a enjoyable and memorable experience along the way."

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I sit writing this essay at my summer desk job on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. So far, I have updated my timesheet, submitted my application for further financial assistance to IIT’s Financial Aid Office, updated and submitted my resume in pursuit of an addtional job, and brainstormed ideas for the mentorship program I recently founded. I know I will produce a quality draft of this essay before the next Community Desk Assistant arrives to relieve me. Through my college experience, I've learned that productivity paves the way toward limitless success. Productive study habits landed 'Anita Thomas' on IIT’s Dean's List for two successive semesters. My productivity in the classroom earned me a rare first-year undergraduate research position. The list goes on. Soon, I will present my research at several math conferences, serve as Math Club Vice President and Resident Advisor within IIT’s dorms, and I will lead the planning and execution of IIT’s Motorola Math Camp. After I complete my academically valuable IIT experience, I will obtain my Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, serve as the most dedicated national security employee to grace the field, and exhibit model behavior within society.

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There are many positives that I can take out of my college experience most notable of which is my passion for the Information Technology discipline as well as the opportunity to experience the cultural diversity at IIT. I came into Illinois Institute of Technology as a transfer student with a brief background of Information Technology that I had received while studying in India. I am leaving the Undergraduate program with a certainty of what I would like to do for a career, and a desire to pursue a Graduate degree in Computer and Information Security as well as course studies in Web Development. This can be credited to the enthusiasm of the Professors, their passion for their respective specializations, and their willingness to help. Also, the variety of student organizations at IIT has given me a platform to learn about and appreciate different cultures; every culture proudly showcases its identity through events on campus. My involvement with Bridges IIT -an organization that caters to International Students helping them blend in with the American lifestyle -has enabled me to meet people and build friendships that have influenced my perspective on life. It has been a great experience.

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Attending the Rockville campus of Montgomery College (MC) in Maryland has been a culturally enriching experience for me. I came from a Massachusetts community college where the demographics were not vast. Now, in my third semester at MC, I have fostered friendships with people from all areas of the world including Senegal, Columbia and Bangladesh. Each of these new friendships has broadened my horizons. These new friends have taught me about their diverse cultures and intricate languages. After hearing about the beautiful city of Dhaka in Bangladesh my interests have turned to international travel. I have learned that every individual is truly unique. Every person has their own stories to tell about where they came from, how they arrived at where they are now, and what they hope to achieve in the future. My college experience has given me a voracious appetite to learn more. I have taken a heightened interest in Sociology and Anthropology due to my exposure to a school whose student body is as diverse as the seasons. I look forward to harvesting more knowledge about alternate cultures and using it to help others understand and appreciate the differences in humankind.

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In the classroom, I have not delved deeply into my major yet, but outside the classroom I have gained two years of research experience that has allowed me to realize what biomedical engineering really is. My research experience has encouraged me to continue with my major and to pursue a higher degree. Because this is such a small school, I have been able to develop relationships not only with fellow students, but more importantly many of my professors. This has helped me gain confidence in asking questions and approaching a professor any time that I have a concern. Besides that I have been a part of several organizations that has allowed me to meet people and gain leadership experience. Besides preparing me professionally, college has given me the opportunity to befirend individuals from all over the world from countries such as Nigeria, India, Macedonia, Korea, Bulgaria, Bolivia, and many more. These valuable friendships have given a wider perspective on the world without me having to leave the country. Although stressful at times, college has given me the opportunity to indulge myself in new experiences socially, academically, and professionally.

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Aside from the obvious benefits a college experience can give you, such as life long friends and discovering who you are; college has provided something special for me. After highschool I entered into the restaurant industry and eventually became a manager. The allure of a decent salary without having to go to school was for me the perfect solution, or so I thought. Flashforward a few years and after working every holiday, 80+ hour weeks, and being physically and mentally exhausted; my girlfriend told me we were pregnant. One month later the restaurant I was running closed down, and 3 weeks later the engine in my car quit. I was looking at a worse case senario, and I new something had to change. I enrolled in school while working fulltime, and attacked it making a 4.0. I then realized what a college education provides. SECURITY. When i lost it all I had nothing to fall back on. No skills, no college education. I realized that with an education you provide yourself and family security. So that you will have a better job, that you're more valuable in the work place, and that the opportunities available are obtainable .

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Finding the right college for you or your child is a difficult and ongoing process. There are many resources that both high schools and the internet can provide in order to determinepotentially interesting subjects as well as which colleges might offer a degree pertaining to those interests. However, once a college has been chosen, the process does not end. It is quite common to find out that a potential degree is not what was expected, or that another is more appealing or more practical. This is not something to be ashamed or concerned over. The most important thing when entering into a new college is to find where you as an individual might fit in. This might even mean finding a new college. Finding a niche, with new friends, is the greatest new experience for college students, and is one of the best ways to enjoy college. On-campus housing is something to consider, where opportunities are provided for building lasting friendships, as well as learning a bit about how to live on your own. The greatest experience of college is learning who you are and where you want to be when you finally get out into the real world.

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Hey Scott, what your're seeing right now is yourself in the future. I've come back to give you a little advice that you will need when you get to college. I'm going to try and help prepare yourself for not only a huge experience in your life but hopefully help you get over the mistakes that brought me down. Follow these three steps and things will be just fine. The first step is to take excellent notes. Taking excellent notes will prepare you regardless of class; making those sleepless study nights become restfull nights. The second of the three would probably be the most important, that in which is time management. Having your every day schedule lined out for you during the week, will make your school work become that much easier. No stressing due dates or getting to class because you prepared your schedule ahead. The last hint I could give would be proper understanding of APA writing. Of all the essays you will write, this is important. Be honest and keep your ingreity. Good luck friend, and have a blast. Remember proper note taking, time management, and APA understanding. See you in the future Scott.

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Given the possibiility stated above, I would strive to inform myself to take the future more seriously. At the time of high school graduation, I had no positive outlook on my future. I spent three years at a community college, where I frequently changed my mind on what career I should pursue. It wasn't until late in the fall semester of my third year that I met a few individuals who changed my outlook on life. Fellow classmates showed me the wonders and endless possibilities of engineering. I was entranced by the theory which they spoke of, as if a spell was cast on me. These conversations shaped my future and I am now entering my final year at an engineering school. Although my future has brightened considerably, there is still a presence of bleakness. I used up all available funding from the government by exceeding the amount of credits students are allowed. This poses quite a conundrum, as I am currently without means of recouping from such a loss. Therefore, if time travel was possible, I would ensure my future self knows has a clear perspective on what field to study before taking all the subsequent courses.

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