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Illinois State University

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

Sitting in my desk waiting for that monotonous bell to ring to signal the end of the class, I sure remember that! If I could go back and talk to myself as a senior in high school, there are definitely some points I would be sure to tell myself. Starting off, people in the real world can be pricks and unless you are stern with what you want, you will get walked all over. I learned this as I worked out for an entire year and went to try out for a team was told that I was a waste of time to the coach and I did not even get a chance. Secondly, this is your life now and you have to do with it what you want. You will have a mammoth amount of freedom and free time compared to high school, don?t waste a second. Last and most important, keep strong in your faith as you will be exposed to many things you do not wish to do. You heard it said in high school that ?just ?cause everyone?s doing it doesn?t make it right?; well; now you will truly get to experience that.

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The advice that I would give parents and/or students about finding the right college and making the most of the college experience would actually be advice that my band director gave to me when I was college searching. Make sure you only have one "reach school" and then apply to many schools that you are capable of getting into. The right school has a way of choosing you and even if you think you do not want to go there, give it a chance. I did not want to go to my school, which is in the middle of nowhere, because I wanted to be in the city but I ended up loving my school. Fate has a way of pairing students up with the school they are supposed to go to. So, do not stress if you do not get into your dream school because if you did not get in then that school should not be your dream anyway. Also, do not forget to join everything and get involved right away to make tons of friends and do not be shy. This is the time to try new things and be a whole new person.

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One of my favorite quotes is, ?In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.? As I started looking at colleges, I had no idea where I wanted to go. Then I remembered that quote, to be myself, and pick somewhere that I loved, that would work best for me. After all, this decision would change my life, and affect me the most. My advice for students would be simply, make a list of what you want out of a college such as, how far away from home, what major the school must have, and of course what activities there are for you to get involved in. From there all you need to do is look some schools up, go visit them, and from that point on go through an elimination process of which one satisfies you the best. Do not ever let anyone or anything hold you back from doing what you want. This is the beginning of a new chapter, a change. It is okay to be nervous; it is okay to be unsure. Take everything step by step, and I promise you that it will all be okay.

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This is important! You need to think hard about what you want to do with your life and where that is going to take you. Know what makes you happy and don't let anyone pursuade you to do something different from what you want. Don't be afraid to open up, everyone is in the same boat as you are. Be ready for a lot of work, and by work I mean reading. Make sure you approach every class with an open mind and don't be afraid to say what you think in class. You're professor's appreciate hearing your opinion. Don't let yourself get to stressed out. The classes are really hard but nothing is worth an emotional breakdown. DON'T PROCRASTINATE! It is never the right thing to do and will never have a good outcome. Bring warm clothes, and definitely a wind breaker! This is the windiest city you'll ever be in. Don't forget to have fun. College is supposed to be fun and it's suppose to be hard. Just make sure you know the balance of the two and everything will work out!

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Things I would tell myself: Take a deep breathe and stop worrying so much. Don't be too hard on yourself. Grades are important, but embracing the college experience is even more important. Get to know your professors very well. In the end, those people can be some of the strongest networking tools you can have. Immerse yourself into campus community; join clubs, and a lot of them. This will only make your college experience that much better. Make mistakes!! This is the first time away from your parents. Skip class, change your major 7 times, sleep all day...This is the best time to figure out who you are as a person and what you are interested in. Don't be shy. Put yourself out there. Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone. This will only help you once you get out of college and into the real world. If I could tell myself one very important thing I would say, "you don't get these moments very often, so stop and enjoy them!" Most importantly, have fun!

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The advice I would give to parents and/or students about finding the right college is to apply to as many colleges as you want or can. Do not just chose one college and apply anf hope that you get into it becuase if you do not get in you have nothing to fall back on. Take the oportunity to visit these college campuses to get to feel what it is like to live there and how far the drive would be to and from home. To comment on making the most out of the college experience, I would suggest joining many clubs and activities. This will help you to make a ton of friends, some just through college and some that will remain you friend for a life time. This will also help you to keep you grades up and to find people you know if you classes and get together with them to start a study group. One last thing is to always remeber to keep you academic life first and your social life second. there is always time to socailize but papers and homeowrk have a due date!!

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I would tell myself to relax. I came to college very high sprung and worried that I would not make it. I found that college is much easier when you relax and take the time to ask questions. Asking classmates and professors about something you do not understand is very helpful. I would tell myself to get out and ask questions when class materials do not make sense. I would also tell myself to open up more often. Talking to numerous people on your floor, in your dorm, and around campus helps you understand how the campus really works, and it could help you meet those best friends you have wanted your whole life. I would tell myself to be more active on campus. There is a lot of free time during the week. Watching TV, reading, and writing keep you locked in your room. You should get out there and meet new people and learn new perspectives about everything! Without other people, life will be inevitably difficult, especially at college.

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I think it is important for parents to not only support their college students financially but also emotionally. A lot of college students go through phases where they get really stressed and more than anything, they need their parents support. I think it is important for parents to let their students know that they are proud of their students' accomplishments. As for students, it's important to become involved on campus with something, anything. Try to join clubs, inter-mural sports teams, organizations, etc. This is a great way to meet people who may have the same interests as you. It may be intimidating at first, but just be yourself and chances are, you'll find someone who you truly click with. It's also important to be yourself. No matter who or what you are, as long as you are happy, that's what's important. Above all, enjoy yourself and the friends that you have made and the years that you have at college because you can't them back!

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I would tell my senior self to work harder so that the transition from high school work to college work would not be so hard. I would not have taken advantage of the fact that I had it so easy senior year, because now I wish I had it that easy. I would have also told myself that I cannot depend on teachers to tell me how I'm doing. In college, you have to make the effort to find out yourself or you'll never know. I would also tell myself to grow up. If I would have started doing things for myself, instead of expecting my mother to do everything for me, then I would have been more prepared to live on my own and do for myself. I would also have learned how to spend my money more wisely. Being in college is already expensive enough and it is tempting to buy things I do not need because I do not have anyone controlling my spending. I would have definitely prepared myself much better for college if I knew how hard it was going to be.

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The best advice that can be given is spend a lot of time researching schools that you/your teenager are interested in. Once your family has an idea of colleges overall, take time discussing and deciding how much you can afford to pay, large greek system or not, big/small, city/rural, and what your student would like to major in. It is important to go to a school that has a good program in whatever you intend on studying. After the colleges have been narrowed down to realistic choices, visit! Spend time walking the campus, looking at the dorms, talking to professors and current students, and take notes! Apply at 4 or 5 schools that you are the most impressed with, see what kind of scholarship you could be offered, and decide from there. Honestly, all schools have postive sides and negative ones, and no matter where your student decides to go, there will be good days and bad days, but it all works out in the end. Good luck!

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