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Kent State University at Geauga

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

Since I was fortunate enough to attend college, I intended on making the best of my college experience. Everyday offers you something new, as well as information and wisdom; wherefore, I gained the sense of taking things around the campus (various group events and activites) with a grain of salt, because you never know what may come from one 10-minute experience. Also, I'm an African-American male in the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, which is a Caucasian-dominant organization. Though that really isn't a factor towards my membership, it's a big part on personal choices as a student and as an African-American, to keep to what I believe, while simultaneously bringing about change to the campus and people's racial views on certain life aspects. Lastly, I'm the backbone of my family on the thought of taking them out “the hood” and making them prosperous. If I don't finish school, I can simply "kiss" that plan goodbye. Nonetheless, my college experience, and fraternity membership, so far has led me to understand the true values of life plus what it takes to truly become a wise adult.

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To date, the hardest period of my life has been the college years. As a 19-year-old freshman I became pregnant; and one year later, shortly after the birth of my son, I started nursing school. Since then, I've also married my son's father and purchased a home with him. The responsibilities we've undertaken have dramatically altered our lives. My husband and I have jumped from being a couple of teenagers living comfortably on our mommy and daddy's dime to being a couple planning, sacrificing, and saving for our own family-- we have BECOME mommy and daddy. Between running a household and caring for my husband and toddler, my life would be much easier without nursing school. In fact, my heart aches to stay home and tend a family. Nonetheless, I continue to attend because I know the value of my (future) degree. The experiences I'm going through as a student are imparting true life lessons in commitment and compromise. Despite the struggle, I have absolute faith that every valley and hill will benefit my character and build me as a better wife, mother, and nurse.

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I am telling you, college is very expensive! Take your SAT tests very seriously and start studying for them. You want a really good score help you earn a lot of scholarships. Also, get your grades up as high as possible and continue to participate in school clubs and community service programs. Next, apply for as many scholarships as you can. I was raised to make the best choices and in my case it was to attend a community college to earn my Associates of Science degree which meant I would be able to transfer to a four year state college to complete my degree without accumulating debt. Most of my college bound friends went off to state schools, but I could not justify the expense when I could receive the same education at a community college. My biggest savings right now is living at home while I go to school. Your parents have worked hard to buy a home, make a living, and support a family. They will help as much as they can, while also budgeting for their future. Earning scholarships will lesson the burden and worry for your family.

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If Marsha 43 could meet with Marsha 17, I believe that she would cuddle the abused and degraded child. While whispering words of self love, she would explain to 17 that she is intelligent, beautiful and worthy of so much more. 17 would reply that her intelligence equals that of a kiwi, her life is worthless and she would never amount to anything. Suicide is the answer. 43 would listen compassionatly as 17 went into her tirad but interject that if that was the apparent answer, how could she be there. 43 would then explain that being in a stable enironment could give 17 the solid base with which to build her life. When Marsha 17 would become 26, her entire outlook would be turned on it's ear. 43 would quickly divulge a game plan. Two years into your relationship, consider an education to empower your new found identity. The medical field has always facinated you. Nursing is in your blood. With those statements, 43 will gently hug 17, wipe away her tears and smile a chesire grin as she vaporizes into the worm hole she came through.

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Hmmm.....this is kind of a difficult question because I was a completely different person then. Young and a bit naive of the world around me, time management was the largest problem for me throughout the first couple years of college. I felt like I was always juggling the role of student with other roles in my life at that time (family man, employee, caregiver, etc...). I was always on the move, from class to work, work to class, then from class back to my family. By the time I got back home to my family I barely had the time to spend with them because it was then "study time". I would say that my time management skills at that time were mediocre at best and a little planning would have gone a long way. After having slept for only a few hours a night for a couple years, it was time to take a step back and focus on how I could improve the quality of life for my family and myself. I finally created a very detailed calendar that I have now been using for years and that I will pass down to my children. Thank You!

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From time to time, I wish I could go back in time and give myself advice. If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I think some aspects of the life I have now would be different. I was not the smartest high school senior. I was having family problems and kept throwing myself “pity parties”. I would slack off and eventually I stopped going. I had two trimesters left to go, but because of how much I had neglected my school work, graduating on time was not going to happen for me. I wish I could go back and shake myself while saying “Graduating high school is such an important part of life! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go!” If I could’ve gotten through to my “old” self, I would hope that she would have found a way to graduate and go to college in the fall. Instead, it took me a year to get my GED and now after three years at a community college, I am transferring to a four-year college. I have never been more motivated to succeed and to finally participate in a graduation ceremony!

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If I were able to go back in time and talk with myself using the knowledge I know now, I would advise myself to apply for more scholarships and work extra hours to prepare for my tution. Before I came to Kent State I went to a community college and was able to make monthy payments on my tution. I paid for two years of my community college out of pocket, worked part time and was still able to keep a GPA of 3.6. When I transfered to Kent State to attend the nursing program I had to cut back on my working hours. Kent State's College of Nursing is extremely intense. Not being able to work as much and paying out pocket jeopardizes my future for graduating. I am a senior with five months until I graduate with a BSN (Bachelor's in the Science of Nursing) and AS (Assoicates in Science) and made it thus far with what I did prepare, but my tution funds are drying up. I am extremly dedicated to the field of nursing and my studies. Knowing what I know now, I would have told myself to start saving for my tution.

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I would have told myself to get into better studying habits before starting high school so that the intense test studying wouldn't be so intimidating. I would have also told myself not to be afraid of college life, but ratehr to embrace it because it will be some of the best years of my life. College isn't as scary as everyone thinks it is. Don't let the fear and stress overcome you. In the end, graduating college is a major stepping stone in life and everyone will need to do it to lead a better life, so it is better to think of all the positives of the suture instead of ofcusing on the negatives in the present. If you have to spend thousands of dollars going to college, you might as well make the most of it. While a college test may require more studying than a standard high school test, the amount of homework given is also minimized. College is a place that everyone needs to go to and being there can actuallybe a great experience if you allow it to be. Prepare yourself and you will do just fine.

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If I could go back in the time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would say do not follow your peers when deciding what college to attend. Unfortunately, this is a social decision rather than an academic desicion. This can lead to great disappointments. For example, now what if after the first year attending college with your peer,he/she decided to drop out? T Of course this is to be a rhetorical question but to make sure that you and I are on the same page, I will gladly answer. You are now attending a college that may have not been the right fit for you academically or financially but because you decided to follow your peer, you are now in a college that doesn't excel in your major, in debt and most importantly (in your mind) NO PEER. Trust me when I say please do not make the same mistake as I have. I followed my high school sweetheart and he dropped out. I am 29 years old now and still working myself out of debt for a school that I didn't want to go to in the first place.

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If I could talk to myself as a senior in high school, I would tell myself to be more focused. I would say “think long term, not short term”. “The job that you are going to get in a couple of months…they pay for tuition and books. Don’t assume that opportunity will always be there. Taking classes part-time is fine. But don’t get bored or impatient and decide to ‘take a semester off’. No, you won’t go back no matter how much you say you will. You will enjoy the ‘freedom’ too much, and then you will get married and start a family. Priorities change and children come first. You will watch them grow up, and all of a sudden you will be 53 years old and lose the job you’ve had for 35 years…the one that still pays tuition and books. You will be searching for a new job, and they all specify ‘BA’ or at the very least ‘AAB.’ Now you will be back at the same college, although it looks much different, and you will be paying your own tuition at five times the price, with no income. Be smart.”

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