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Illinois State University

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

I would talk to people that go there. Stop random people on the quad and see how friendly they are. Spend a weekend there and try to walk to get groceries and have fun. That is one of the most important things, because living on and off campus you don't always have a car. Try to find parking in a bunch of different places. Take the bus around and see where it can get you, and how long it takes. Eat in the cafeterias all over campus to see where you would like to live. Talk to counselors in a few different departments that you are interested in. Sometimes the counselor almost makes more of a difference than the major. Try riding your bike around to see how easy it is. Really think about your biggest concerns and then try them out. Sit in on a class if you are allowed. Really kick the tires of the school! Don't feel like you are being pushy or nosy; you are going to spend a lot of time and money wherever you choose to go.

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"Allie, you need to get online right now and start applying for scholarships,and start saving up all your money now, because within the first three months of school you're not going to know where it all went. Take school seriously; it's not like high school, and there are going to be many tough times, but along with those will come fun times... Just don't be an idiot; you're paying good money to get an education, not to improve your social life. Yet don't let that stop you from making friends and having fun. College is supposed to be the greatest time in your entire life- if you make the right decisions. There will be times when you can go out and havefun, but you also need to do your fair share of studying, and you need to go to your classes. You're going to be confused at times, stressed, miss home, but don't let it affect your grades, because everything you do in the next 4 years will affect you for the rest of your life."

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It's not about the money! Pick a career path that will utilize your gifts and talents, even if there is no potential to earn a lot of money. Think about all of the needs in this world and how you can make a difference so your life means something. So you want to get out of bed every morning instead of hitting snooze five times. Do not sell yourself out! Don't chase the golden calf because you will wake up one morning hating life, hating yourself, and looking down only to realize that you have golden handcuffs around your wrists. Stop listening to your parents, advisors, and family who with well intentions say, "That's a stable industry"....You are going to spend more waking hours at work than any other place in your life. What makes you happy? Find a way to earn a living doing it. And I stress a living, not living on country club drive with a membership. I mean if it means an apartment but your loving life...DO IT!

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College is a great time. People may tell you that because it is the best time to drink and party and experiment. It is fun, enjoy every moment. Even though classes may boring or pointless to your major, go to every single class. The more you know, the more impressive you will look to your future employers. Take time to have fun and don't be shy, talk to people, they are not going to bite. They can even help you if you do not want to ask a teacher for help. I would still consider, if you are having trouble , to talk to your teachers and do not wait until the last moment to write papers or do projects. Participate on class, do not be shy to raise your hand an d it is okay if you are not correct, we 're not perfect. Make friends do not sit in your room, feeling isolated. When you make friends do not think it is ok to not go to class because they did not. Be your own person, be responsible, and be nice to people that hate you.

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If I could go back in time and talk to my self as a senior I would say, "Devan! First, hug everyone you love because you don't know it right now, but things are going to happen and not all of them will be there in a year. The pain you will experience from the loss of your friend and step-mom will never go away, but it is up to you to use your experience to help others in the same situation. Things do get better. Second, enjoy high school because once you leave you can never go back. Finally, college is not just about going off to a nice university, having fun or how cool it looks to other people. Follow your heart and go where you think you will thrive. College is a time to grow into the person who will make you and your loved ones proud. It's the chance to mold yourself into the kind of person who can change the world some day. Go to the school that will do that for you, not just the cheapest, closest or most convienent."

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Whatever you do, do not take a break after high school. You will deeply regret it and it really sucks seeing all of your friends in college while you are stuck working a full time job and doing nothing with your life. Start college as soon as you graduate even if it means less time hanging out with your friends. Do not go crazy if you have not decided your major yet; many people change their majors and minors multiple times throughout college. The best thing is to take your time and take everything one step at a time. Keep the long term goal in mind, but make short term goals and complete one at a time. This way you will not overwhelm yourself. Another great piece of advice is to apply for scholarships all through senior year and beyond. You may not think you will win a scholarship, but it does not hurt to keep trying. Take a deep breathe, take one step, and continue on your path. Everything will be alright, so stay calm.

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If I could go back in time to senior year, I would tell myself to aim higher than I think I am able of because in the past year, I have proven to myself that I am smarter than I think. I would tell myself to not only apply to Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and Carthage, but also to a more challenging school such as University of Illinois. When I was a senior in high school, I never challenged myself to academically perform better, so I never took the "next step up" to achieve more than I was used to. I would also tell myself to start saving my money now because I never gave my financial situation a second thought. Little did I know, my freshman year consisted of my bank account topping off at twenty dollars. While I did have a one thousand dollar scholarship from high school, it did not go very far. With the combination of books, groceries, and tuition, the money was gone within thirty days.

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Make sure that the college is focused more on academics then social life. ISU has great professors but students seem more concerned with trying to get into a fraternity or soriety. Although social life is important and clubs are important it needs to be t more academically oriented. I would suggest going to a smaller school that provides smaller classrooms. Sometimes at larger schools it is harder to get lost in the shuffle and get to know people. College is definiately a great time in someones life and the memories will last forever, so it is important to choose a school that you feel apart of and catters to your needs as a student. Also, it is important to take different classes your first 2 years. I think that there is too much focus on trying to find a major right away but I think it is important to look at all kinds of fields of study. That is what college is about afterall. Trying to find yourself.

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There is nothing wrong with Illinois State, but take college as an opportunity to travel and go away from home. Don't be scared to have new experiences. College is hard to adjust to, but stay strong in what you believe in. Don't let it change who you are. Get used to school your first semester, and then make it a priority to get a job if you can afford the time. Make sure you make time for friends, and dating if you want. No matter what your major is, you need to make time for yourself. Enjoy the moment you are in and don't rush your senior year. You might actually miss high school once you leave. Appreciate your parents, when you go to school you will realize how much they do for you. The freedom is amazing, but the responsibilities can be difficult. Do the best you can to stay close to your family at home, not matter where you go. Do research about what you want to major in so you don't waste time or money.

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“I’m living in Brazil next year.”Those eight, simple syllables uttered from my vocal instructor inspired me; I wanted to experience another country, I wanted to learn about new subjects, I wanted to go places. Now, I did not end up in Brazil, and I do not know if I will ever visit Tokyo or see the Indian Ocean. I am, however, enrolled in college, and college is the potential launching pad to all dreams. I believe of all things college has offered, exposure to opportunities has been my greatest experience. Not only are there professional opportunities, but also the personal learning opportunities are incomparable. I can see the world from a new perspective—a perspective where my aspirations are linked to my determination to succeed.Without college, my dreams had strict limits. I can see now something I could not when my vocal instructor told me about Brazil: similar experiences are possible for me.

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