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Illinois State University

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

Approaching my second semester as a sophomore in college, I have boatload of advice I would give myself as a high school senior. First of all, I would tell myself to do more research on careers & majors. I thought I had done enough, but I have changed my major/minor twice, & I am still uncertain of the path my college career will lead. To give myself more time to think about this I would also tell myself to take gen eds first, when I got to college I was excited to learn about my major so I took major classes that probably should've waited. I did well in those classes, but some of them do not count towards my current major since I decided to change. I would tell myself to consider community college, it would help my parents and myself save money. That reminds me that I would've told myself to save money as soon as I applied for college or earlier. I now live off-campus and the price of rent, food and basic necessities, and books for class make me stress. To cope I have a job, but that interferes with my ability to learn.

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As a high school senior, I would tell myself that real knowldge doesn't come from a book, but from the people around you. I was once told by a professor that elementary school was a social setting rather than an education setting because the students learn more from each other than they do from the material being taught; This idea still applies in college. I spent a lot of time working on homework instead of enjoying life because I felt I needed to work hard to succeed in college. The truth of the matter is that it's not about what the classes teach you; It's about the people you know. I spent my first two years in college with my head in a book and missed meeting many interesting people who are now doing interesting things. New knowledge comes from people; old knowledge is in books. Althoughg they create a good foundation for later discussion, the focus should be on the people, not the paper. I was lucky enough to meet some of these people during my last too years, but I could have met more had I known what I know now.

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My advice to myself would be, to stay opened minded. When you are going to a new place and don't know many people it is scary, but it is also important to be open minded and willing to try new things. College is all about new experiences and it is important to be willing to experience the different things that may come your way. I would also tell myself to make sure to deticate time just for your school work, there is a lot more work in college to do than in high school. From personal experience with having a learning disability, I know the importance of asking for help when you need it. Many teachers are more than willing to help you and may even make accommidations for you, if you happen to have a disability or just in need of help with your school work, all you have to do is ask. Overall my advice, is to be willing to experience new things while entering a new stage in your life, it will be worth it in the future when looking back at your college experience and realizing how much it made you grow as a person.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior and knowing what I know about the college life transition, I would tell myself to start off my maintaining a high G.P.A and to get involve with as many activities as possible. When you first start of in college the classes that you take are usually general education courses that you have to take before you start going into your major focused course classes. It?s better to make sure you get good grades and maintain a high G.P.A that way when classes further down the road start to get harder a B or C in those courses won?t really affect you because you started off so strong. Another tip is to get involved in many clubs, activities, and volunteer opportunities on campus as much as possible. It looks great on resumes when you need to apply to your major or when you have to apply for jobs. Getting involved is also a great way to meet new people and network because the way the economy is going who you know will definably benefit you in the upcoming future.

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Lynnette. Do not get married at the age of 18, you are so young. You have college and travel and partying, and so many other things to do. Lynnette, don't have a baby at 18 1/2, children will keep you so busy it will steal away your own youth. Once you have a baby your childhood ends as a new person's childhood begins. Why did you start college and not go back? Don't have another baby, your only 20. And look at your life, your working as a waitress to make ends meet and getting help from the govement for food stamps and health insurance. Lynnette you finally seem to have your marriage and your finances togather about the age of 25, you bought your first house, your husband has a good job. Why are you not back in school, why did you have a 3rd child? At 26 your husband becomes permanatly and totally disabled from a car accident. Here you are. No college education, no way to pay the bills, the husband can't physically do it. You have 3 little kids counting on you. Get back to school. Lynnette finished AA '05.

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First and foremost, I would say be very open to introducing yourself and talking to new people all over campus freshman year. Everyone is in the same boat with not knowing very many people and wants to make new friends. Chances are that there at least a few people on your dorm floor that have the same interests as you. Even if they do not have the same interests they may be a good person that ultimately you could end up being friends with whether it is in a class or a club. I would look into as many social networks as possible including clubs and greek life, being involved will keep you busy and find you many friends. While it is very important to find new friends that you can build relationships with for the rest of your life you still have to focus on school. If you party hard, you have to study just as hard. As long as you keep a solid head on your shoulders you schould be able to go out whenever you want because you will have more than enough free time during the day to get your homework done. HAVE FUN!

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If I were able to, one thing that I would definitely tell myself is to get a job in the summer. I knew college was expensive and all, but I had no clue how expensive everything really was! The old saying about appreciating the value of a dollar really does apply in college. Another tip I would give myself is even though we might not like it, you're going to lose some good friends when you go off to college and sadly there isn’t much you can do. Sure, when first semester begins your going to keep in contact with your friends from high school, but overtime people will start going off and begin doing there own thing which is okay. Sure we don’t like losing anyone, but that just provides the opportunity to let new friends into your life. And the last thing I would say is that no, you don’t know everything. Once you go to college you’re going to make some mistakes and get embarrassed from time to time, but that’s okay! Were all human and humans make mistakes. So just keep your chin up and keep on strutting your stuff.

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You are about to transition into a point in your life where you will question everything from your upbringing to your sense of style. For so many people college is about finding themselves. However, there are a few people like you who have already found themselves. The person you are is not predicated on clothes or money. It's who you are when no one is watching and there is no one to impress. Poor is a description. It's a classification. It's not who you are. The person you are is beautiful inside and out. You are honest, loyal, humble, and teachable. You're every bit the person you were meant to be. You have to grow, embrace enthusiasm and live for yourself. Stay true to who you are. Life is not meant to be lived easily. If it were that simple, it wouldn't be worth living. You're the first person in your family to attend college. Some people will support you and others won't. Get over it. There's no need to dwell on things that are out of your control. Live life to the fullest. No one else can do it for you.

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I'd say ...Dear Melissa please don't let things stress you so easily, now that you are a senior try to focus as hard as you can on preparation for college. Start new study habits, and along the way give yourself some alone time to relax or just be young! Educations the most important thing and in college there really isn't anyone to hold your hand. So now that you're still in high school, reach out to all your teachers and resources get as much help now as you can, learn to have good study habits, and when you're feeling stressed talk it out with someone because you're not alone in this journey and when you get to college you will realize life moving at a faster pace, so do well in high school, and once you begin college realize that you're smart and can do anything regardless of financial barriers, or no support from others, you WILL get far in life an be a college graduate. Enjoy your young life, but don't forget the things that really matter. Your education, so focus and be strong because you're already smart.

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The advice I would give myself is to learn what down time was. As a high school student I pratically lived at the school. I participated in marching band, symphonic band, orchestra, choir, theatre, and I ran track. Most days I would leave home for school at 7am and arrive back at home at 12am. Of course when I got to college all my advisors felt since I was a freshmen I needed to learn time management so they limited me to two extra curriculars. While my fellow classmates were stressing over finding time to do homework and study I was trying to find what to do with the extra 10 hours in my day!! My body and mind were trained to do homework as soon as I possible and survive from 2 hours of sleep. So of course in college all my homework was done three weeks early and I stared at the walls at night. Although I thought that much spare time was unbearable I found it to be quite soothing. I finally had time to think and get to know myself. I finally had to look in the mirror to plan my future. Here I Come World!!

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