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Illinois State University

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

I have had a slightly different college experience than most, though I am not alone in the situation. I began my college career at a four year university and decided that it was not the right fit, so I then tranferred to my local community college. After completly my Associates degree, I transfered again to Ilinois State University. I think if I had to go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to decide on a school that I truly liked, and not to allow other people to effect that decision. Choosing a college is a huge decision, and letting others make that decision for you will not give you the result you want. I would also tell myself to enjoy the situations and places I am in and not to let them bother me or bring me down.

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I would have told myself to spend more time on learning how to study efficiently. I would also tell myself to be involved more with the community and spend less time by myself. Also, I would have told myself to search for more scholarship opportunities in order to not have to spend as much on tuition and fees. I would have also told myself to put my course work first and then spend time having fun instead of putting the work off to the last minute possible. One last thing I would have told myself would be to keep the ties I had with my high school teachers. Keeping those ties I had would have been helpful with some of the classes I had taken as the teachers at the university weren't all that successful in teaching the material.

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So far from my college experience I have gotten so much. I have gotten a sense of accomplishment that I have not felt from anything else that I have done. I have become so much more confident in my skills, and I have become to much more mature. I have aquired the skills learned to volunteer and help others. Knowing that I can take care of myself, and be on my own during college is a huge accoplishment. So far I have made so many new friendships and great memories. The greatest benefit is that I was not sure if I could make it to this school and I did. Also I am getting the good grades that I need, and I am really proud of myself. I realized, because of college that there are a lot of things I can accomplish if I want to.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a senior in high school, I would tell myself to not give in to "senioritis". I wouldn't slack as much as I did because those study habits carry over to college. I would tell myself to stay focused and 100% effort on everything I do. I would also tell myself to get involved. I should have joind clubs or activities my senior year in order to stay active and busy. It would have looked better on my applications and would have given me so much more experience and probably a better outlook on life. I wish I would have focused more on my studies than I did on my social life. In the end, your studies are what matter most. Your friends won't be there for you when you don't succeed in school.

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Make sure to visit plenty places, to apply to many schools, and really think about your decision. Apply early so you have a lot of your senior year to contemplate your choice. I only visited three or four schools and I applied to four. I got into all four and chose the school I would attend by the start of October. I wish I had applied to more schools and taken through the spring to make my decision, because though I like my school, I now understand I could have gotten more money for some other schools, and I may have liked a different environment now that I really see what other schools are out there. So long story short, do a lot of research and don't feel pressured to make a decision quickly or to settle on a school.

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I have gained confidence and self-awareness by attending my university. Before college, I always second-guessed my academic and social abilities. But when I arrived, I realized that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve whatever it is that I want to achieve. This applies to my academic career because I have straight A's right now, as well as my social status because I have realized that I can make friends with anyone as long as I am myself. Although I have only been at school for two months now, it has been so valuable to me because I have learned more about myself. I am so determined to make these four years the best four years of my life so far. I cannot wait to make my family, friends, and myself proud.

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It is very important to visit a wide variety of colleges and talk to staff or graduates of the school. Dont pick a college just because your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend attends it. It is a whole new chapter in your life when you get to college. You will make new friends who will be your life long friends. To make the most of your years at college, join a sports team or a club. Putting yourself out there to make new friends is a part of college, whether you know it or not. Also, putting trust into your teachers helps also. You cant be afraid to talk to them or go to them for help. Whether it be before or after class, or even going to their office hours. I have found that doing this helps you out a lot.

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"Save your money and get a job during school!" My mom and dad are working hard to get me through college, but they are struggeling. I know they are making sacrafices for me, but they are having a hard time helping me. I need to get $3,000 to pay for my tuition in order to attend the college I love. I would tell my senior self that Illinois State University is the right college for me, I am just going to have to work hard in order to attend. I would tell myself I need to get a job during school and apply for scholarsjips every day so my mother does not lose her hair over stressing about me. I love my parents and I am so lucky that they are helping me with my education, but now it's my turn to help them.

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Get involved in campus activities your first semester of college. Making social connections with people interested in the same things as you can open up so many doors. Also, work hard throughout your entire senior year because although you may want to slack off since it is the end of your senior year, college is tough and you will need a good work ethic. During your first year of college put yourself out there to make friends and remember that everyone else is as nervous about starting college as you are. Never sell yourself short because the syllabus for college courses always looks more intimidating that it actually turns out to be. Most importantly enjoy this time because it goes by way too quickly!

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If I could talk to myself at 18, I would say not to rush it. At the time, I was being pressures by well-intentioned family who did not understand what I wanted in life, and I tried and failed at my first semester in college. I was depressed and chose to take time off and think about what I desired, instead of continuing to rush blindly ahead, with no particular goal in mind. Sampling many different things, it took me several years to decide my major -- Anthropology, which I loved before I even knew what it was called! But I am now in the program and loving every single class. I look forward to going to school each day, and I'm happier than I thought I could be at 18. Slow down and consider your options!

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