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Indiana University-Northwest

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

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to continue striving to fulfill my highest potential both academically and as an active community member. In high school, you cannot rely on only what the teachers tell you or what they expect of you, because a lot of times that is not enough. You have to set your own standdards and have a desire to learn subjects in depth rather than just skimming the surface. In college, professors will no longer baby you and they will expect you not only to learn the material they demonstrate to you, but for you to seek knowledge from other outside sources. In addition, having the drive to fulfill your goals in life is another key attribute that is needed to be a successful college student. Although it may seem like grades and homework is all that matters, that is a major misconception. Just as important is the role that you play in your community. Colleges and employers seek well-rounded individuals that are able to communicate effectively and demonstrate a good-natured personality.

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I would tell myself to really take the time to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. My undergrad degree was in Health Services Management. I then went on to law school after which I practiced law for four years before going back to school to get my masters in accounting. I am now currently seeking employment. Often times I wonder where my life would be had I gotten my undergrad in accounting or bypassed law school and went to work in the health administration field. I think it is difficult at the age of 18 to know what your life holds in five years. It is important to listen to yourself and your own desires and not what others think you should do. Attending class is also VERY important. It is too easy to fall trap to the freedom. No parents around to tell you to get up and go to class. No principals calling to notify your parents you weren't there. No one monitoring your test scores or making sure you did homework. Once you fall behind it is very difficult to catch up. College is very important to your entire future!

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Dakota, I am sending this letter to you from the future and yes, I am you from the future. I am giving you some advice on how the transition to college should be taken to make it the most appealing for us. My first words of advice are to join as many community and social clubs as possible! Any club that has an opening or any volunteering opportunities, you should sign up for it. During my freshman year I wish I volunteered even more than what I had. Giving back to the community is extremely important and you should balance what you can with your studies. More advice would be to never wait until the last minute to do anything. Always give yourself plenty of time to complete assignments. So again Dakota, sign up for extra curricular activities and meet lots of like-minded purpose driven friends! Study a lot and keep school as your number one priority. Do not forget to call your family at least once a week to check in and let them know you are doing well. Above all have fun and try your best. Enjoy meeting new people and get involved!

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I attended college elsewhere for two years with an undecided major. Now that I know what path I want to take, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just start out at this point. I would suggest getting a head start on pre-requisite classes and focusing on getting them out of the way so I could focus more on my core classes while in the actual program. I would remind myself of good study habits because they are a wonderful asset in college life. I would warn myself of the unforeseen expenses of college, such as books and uniforms for clinicals. I would tell myself to work less and focus more on school, because it is very time consuming. Skimming by with a barely passing grade are unacceptable and high grades only come with dedication to studying. I would say to be committed to path I have chosen because it is a wonderful experience, and take the most out of every day, every hour. You will meet people and do things you never imagined. So stay focused, work hard, but have fun and be grateful for the experience.

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Knowing what I know now, I would not change much career as a student, or as a person. I went away to Purdue immediately after graduating high school, I had experiences, good and bad, that I will never forget! I met friends that I will remain friends with forever, and met professors that changed the way I thought about life and what I wanted to do with mine. I also got sucked into typical "freshman on a big campus" life. Drinking, frat parties, and missing all my early classes. My grades suffered, and after one year, I realized I was throwing my education and my own money down the drains. I moved home, took a short break to marry the man of my dreams and long time boyfriend; had our first child, whom I've had the amazing oppurtunity to be a stay at home to for the first two years. Last year I decided it's time to start over and do things right, I re-enrolled in college and received straight A's my first semester back. You see, it's easy to look back with regret, but it's harder to learn from it, and keep striving!

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If i could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself is to stay concentrated, and don't slack off, because even though its your last year in high school, it still counts. I would also, get a job and save most of the money i made, because college life isn't cheap. I would also try to be more independent, because in college mommy and daddy are not there to help you everytime you need them. Another thing I would do is develop good study habits, because in college an exam has more than one chapter on them, they usually have 3-5 chapters, and you can not learn 3-5 chapters worth of informaiotn in one night. Also becasue exams make up 90% of your grade unlike high school where you have homework and other grades accumulated in one. So the main thing I would tell myself is to not stress about college, try to develop good study habbits, but since it is your senior year, I would tell myself to enjoy everylast minute of it and to have fun with your friends you might never see again.

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Before enrolling in classes their are 3 things you need to do. #1 Do some type of survey or test to see what you would be good at (careerwise) that fits your lifestyle and you are passionate about. #2 Search for colleges that are known for your major and have a good graduation rate as well as a high level of job placement right out of school. #3 This is the most important thing you should do before deciding what school to go to. GO TO THE CAMPUS and STAY for a few days. Outside of actually visiting with your family and hearing all about the campus history from a tour guide, find a program that will allow you to stay with a upper classmen. That way you can hear from a student first hand the good AND the bad of the school. Then go to a class with them and take notes, so you can see the classroom size, the type of students, the style of the professor, the required walk or transportation to get to class, the food options, (I could go on and on) but basically so you can feel confident in your choice of school!

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“Advice to High School Self” Dear High School Self, There are so many things I’d like to tell you! One of the most important things is STUDY! And then study some more! I cannot stress that enough. Also, you need to learn better study techniques; because college is a lot harder than high school. There is no time to fool around in college. YOU are the key to your success, with the support of your amazing family. Another thing, you need to spend more time with your family. They are there to support you and help you through anything. Don’t take them for granted. Also, you should know that going to school full time and trying to work full time is a horrible idea. I learned the hard way. So please, do not do it. School should always come first! That is the only way you will be getting to your dream career. One last thing, please do not stress yourself out. You will not be helping yourself. Take a study break and relax by yourself or with friends. Please heed my warning! Love, College You!

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I would explain to myself what a difficult life I created for myself. I would tell her how through a misguided yearning for a 'free' lifestyle (where I moved wherever I wanted on a whim, or went travelling with no direction) led me to 20 years of low paying jobs, no sense of security, low self-esteem, and nothing to show for years of work. It is true that with adversity comes strength and a sense of appreciation for what is important in life. However, while my experiences contributed to the person I am today, I could not say in truth that it was worth the sacrifice of what I consider now to be a better life; one which would allow me stability and security for myself and my mother whom I now take care of. I would tell her that a good education and a college degree will lead her down a better path in life, one where she can use her creativity to make a positive impact on the world, and one which will reward her not just with a sense of security, but also a true sense of accomplishment.

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HIgh School was everything i thought it would be. Everything that is portrayed in movies and books, that i have been watching and reading forever. Hanging out in the hallway, laughing at lunch, joking around inbetween classes, dating and drama as well as seeing kids I have known since first grade doing drugs behind the building before class. Its hard to take highschool seriously. Now in college, everything is different. I love it. I pay attention in class and no one bothers me with who is now dating who. I go home and read my books and I feel like this is what I have been wating for all those years I spent in a classroom where my classmates goofed off and my teacher handed out busy work. College is unpredictable. College is a job i am paying to do and a job that i love. One day i will be a college graduate and become someone sucessful, someone who people will pay to do a job that im sure I will love. A job I may even love more than I love college.

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