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Kent State University at Kent

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

During the course of my college career I have been involved in various types of courses. All my classes have opened my mind to knowing more about myself. Everything I learn is valuable. I have watched myself change and grow into a better and stronger person with each semester. This started with the first basic English essay course. Just reading Alice Walker when I was going through a difficult home life brought me wisdom and understanding. It moved on from there. I am now in Communication classes. I cannot walk out a Communication class where I do not put what I have just learned into practice at my workplace and life. Interpersonal Communication showed me ways to help with my coworkers. Gender Communication showed me the subtle ways we tend to treat each other and ourselves with disrespect. The Communication theories educate us about ourselves. As a detail oriented person and a non-traditional student, I notice how all I learn is useful in everyday life. Learning builds on what came before. So, the quality of an education is not the end product of a job or vocation as much as the immeasurable worth of knowing oneself.

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As I would be talking to my self, I would say: Justin, congratulations on your interest in continuing on with your education. There are a few things to keep in mind while you embark on this academic journey. 1. In high-school, the class content is typically covered by the teacher, as they will read the relevant chapter inside the classroom and follow a rigid curriculum. However, in college, the professors controll the class content. With this is mind, it is very important to read the chapter before you attend the corresponding class. This way, you will be able to participate with the in class discussions and perform very well. 2. You are deciding to attend college. It is not a mandatory thing. With that in mind, plan on attending events and talks regarding your major. College is here to help teach you how to learn independently, and it is worthwhile to begin appealing to your academic interests right now. Do not be afraid to speak with your professors if you find something within the class particularly interesting, as your professors will be more than happy to speak with you. That's it! Again, congratulations. The hard works begins now.

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Knowing what I know now about college, and the "college life" I would have taken a few specific things more seriously. First and foremost I would have taken advantage of the post secondary opportunities at my local branch campus as this is proving to be a prudent financial move for students and their families. Secondly, I wouldve devoted extensive time outside of the classroom towards studying. I believe this wouldnt have only enabled me to be proficient in my high school coursework, but it wouldve been a realistic depiction of what my college years would be like. Thirdly, I would have worked hard to try to get a sense of what I was really drawn to career wise before I entered college. I would have done a better job of positioning myself to shadow, volunteer, and work under those whose professions I admired. I believe that had I been determined to devote my self diligently to these three things, I couldve better positioned myself to have a more financially stable and academically enjoyable experience. I would be in a better position to take classes for enjoyment rather than obligation. I appreciate your time and consideration on my behalf.

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I believe that the college experience has helped me grow both mentally and socially. Since attending I have been able to completely immerse myself in the whole college experience by living in on campus, joining school organizations, and participating in small honors courses as well as lecture based classes. These things have not only helped me grow intellectually, but also socially. Having the skills necessary to make bonds with people and form close friendships is vital for your future. I also feel as though I have become more independant and more sure of myself while at college. Going to college forces you to meet new people, talk with professors, make adivising appointments, and take care of your own issues. This experience is golden and cannot be achieved any other way. I feel like the social aspect is just as important as the learning apsect. College has not only helped me prepare myself by learning about my field of study, but it has allowed me to learn how to carry myself and make connections with other people. Learning how to live on your own and motivate yourself to be successful in college is a life changing experience.

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Im sure you have heard the saying "college is not for everyone". We as society are enduring a struggling economy and question, are things are going to get any better? The answer to this is desire, knowlege and commitment by hard working college students. Personally, I believe that college is for everyone. College is a place to grow, learn and develop a future for oneself. It is a time for exploration, enlightenment, and perseverance. In making the crucial decision to attend a college I believe one should follow their heart and make a personal decision that does not involve their friends, or parents. Find a school that appeals to you. Whether this may be a small, medium or large school. A diverse, liberal, or conservative school. Money should not be an option when choosing a school. Fill out finanial aid, apply for scholarships and everything will fall in place. After choosing your school do not be afraid of anything and plan for the future. Get involved, meet people, join clubs, talk to your professors! College opens a new chapter in life. YOU will be the one doing all the work, thus YOU should make all the decisions!

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to get more involved in extracurricular activities. Not only does it increase the chances of being awarded a greater selection of scholarships and grants, but it has an important role in one’s social life as well. Being more involved in activities drastically expands the world one lives in. There is a better chance of meeting others that share common qualities, which is important for building life-long relationships. It also teaches the individual well needed people skills, which will be used in every aspect of our lives. Being involved greatly increases one’s confidence and boosts their self-image. If you feel good about yourself and your abilities, you may feel better equipped to set and fulfill life goals. There are countless ways to build self-confidence, but I feel being involved in extracurricular activities while in high school is a sure way to brighten ones future. It allows one the opportunity to earn money towards tuition, meet interesting people, build confidence, and so much more. My advice to high school students is: get involved!

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I once told my college counselor that college was unlike any educational experience I had ever had. I told her that instead of being told to memorize information I would soon forget, I was asked to explore a depth of knowledge and understanding of concepts that stood behind my previous learning. The college experience to me was a path that forked into many mysterious channels that led me to understanding that my world was much bigger than I had been made to believe. Every lecture, exam, handout, and debate held a special stepping stone, eventually leading me to success, and an understanding of who I am . The college experience was a wakeup call for me to open my eyes and see the world; pass the parties, shopping malls, and forced opinions by former high school teachers. College is the quintessential making of an intellectual person. As students, I learned to use every resource at my disposal, and expand my typical style of learning to include the various forms of teaching by the many professors that I learned to love, and sometimes hate. The point of college is to open up and dissect the small attributes that make life interesting.

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In order to be successful in a college, students should make exceptional effort in visiting and getting to know the on-campus staff and current students. Walking around the campus, talking with students and asking them about the ups and downs of the university, checking the town in which the campus lies (crime factor, property damage, annual income of residents, hospital ratings, etc) should all be apart of finding a good school. This will be the student's new home-away-from-home and should be treated as such. No one would move to an area that they did not extensively check out beforehand, and a college visit (preferably several) should be no different than looking at relocation. Also, as in high school, there should be regular, set study days/times so that work is finished in time and that there is still enough time left for recreation. Yes, a student is in school to learn, but the brain can only process so much information at once without having an outlet, else stress sets in and the student's health and grades suffer. In addition, finding one friend per class is beneficial as well for notes, studying, and companionship.

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If I had the opportunity to go back and prepare myself for what was ahead, I would stress three main points. The first would be maintain high expectations for yourself and set realistic yet challenging goals concerning academic achievments. It is important for students to push themselves to achieve greatness. Ambition is the key to success. It excites students to further their education, attend class, complete homework and pave the way to a bright future. The second point I would stress is to appreciate everything your parents are doing. My parents agreed to pay my tuition under the condition that I maintain a high GPA, involve myslef in extracurricular activities and find a job. Luckily, I achieved these three things and will be debt-free at graduation, which is more than many students can say. Now that I am in my second year of college I can see the struggles my parents have to make to provide this further education. The final point I would stress is to go with the flow and accept change. College is about discovering your greatest talents and your true personality. There is no need to stress about your identity in high school.

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Knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition, the advice I would give myself as a high school senior is to avoid procrastination at all costs. No matter how tempting it is to procrastinate, I would advise putting off for tomorrow what should really be done today. As a high school senior, I prided myself on my willingness to burn the midnight oil and stay up into the wee hours to complete my work. There were times that the sheer volume of my often college-level work in high school would warrant studying well past the midnight hour, but all too often, my procrastination was really the culprit for my lack of sleep due to my laboring over school work. It is vitally important to closely examine all classes, upcoming assignments, exams, etc. and truly map out due dates on the calendar. But even more importantly, once those due dates are placed on the calendar, it is absolutely essential to strategize the plan of attack in comfortably pacing completion of the work. Procrastinating on assignments in college will result in sleep deprivation. It is best to resist the temptation of putting work off for tomorrow.

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