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Lower Columbia College

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

The single most difficult and painful transition for me was the studying and homework aspect of college. High school, I see now, rarely challenged me or pushed me. Homework was simple and studying did not happen. What I would tell myself would be to start picking up the books, cracking them open and studying. Start taking notes in class even if nothing is written on the board. Work the homework and then do extra problems. I would tell my immature self that college would require, at the very least, one to two hours of homework per hour of class. Even though I viewed myself as a responsible person, I was not prepared for the level of self responsibility college required. Remembering due dates, class requirements, homework policies, etc., was new and overwhelming. I would tell myself that in college, you only get out what you put in. That I would need to be prepared for each class, register on my own time, pick up my own books, and resolve my own scheduling conflicts. It would be all me. Sure, I heard these things from other people. I heard them, but didn?t listen. Maybe I would have listened to me.

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If I could go back in time to speak to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to save money, apply for as many scholarships as possible, be more involved in activities, and that grades really do matter. At my high school we were not taught much about the real world. So now I am trying to apply for colleges and get scholarships but my family can't afford my tuition and neither can I. Also, I was under the impression that to an extent grades don't matter as long as you earn a degree. This led to me to enrolling in college courses during high school but not taking them seriously and now my GPA depicts this. If my GPA were higher I would have a better chance earning scholarships. I feel that if I would have been involved in more activities I would have enjoyed high school much more. That would have given me a larger opportunity to earn scholarships as well. In the end, I could have made better decisions during high school to help me transition into an easier adult life, especially financially. Now I'm off to invent a time machine!

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If I could go back in time I wish I would have done running start. Running start is a program that give high school kids the opportunity to take courses at the local community college, Lower Columbia Community College, for free. Doing this would have saved me around three thousand dollars, and I would already be going into my junior year of college. Other than that I am happy with my decision to stay at home and go to community college. Though I haven?t had the true college experience I have been able to keep my grades up and develop what I feel is a good foundation for my business degree. I believe that if I went to a four year university I would have had more trouble focusing on my studies. Community college also made the transition better because the class sizes are smaller, more like high school, so it made adapting to the faster pace that much easier. And now with the better understanding of my courses I feel that I will be able to transfer to a four year university without any problem, and still be able to succeed.

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I know that I would tell myself to be strong and to not quit, especially where school is concerned. At 50, I can tell the 18 year old version of myself that there will come a time when you have a choice between giving up and taking the easier road or sticking it out a little longer and achieving the success you deserve. Easier brings quick rewards but they?re fleeting and once taken the easier road usually leads to frustration, boredom, and stagnation. Work hard and strive to make the most of yourself seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it's simply a lot less work in the long run than having to reinvent yourself periodically over your entire career. I would tell myself that the 4-5 years spent getting your education upfront in a field that satisfies you will far exceed the easy rewards and accolades. I once told my son, on the topic of careers and money, you can make a six digit income but if you hate your job it?ll never be enough but if you love it, the amount you make will matter.

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If I could go back to high school and talk to myself I would have so much to say. I would start by saying pay attention. Pay attention to the teachers that are there trying to help you learn information you really will need in college and in life. Pay attention to your parents, they really do know what they are talking about. Pay attention to your books and studies, grades really will count. Looking at your transcripts eighteen years after you graduate will be an eye opener and an ego deflater. I would go on to say that college right after high school seems so hard but it really would be the easier route. Struggling to raise kids and keep the wolves at bay and then playing catch up when you finally get the chance to get back to school is the hard way. And finally, you really are to smart to not show it. Spend the time early and enjoy being in school, there is plenty of time to be an adult. . . after school.

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Relax. I'm neither a gost nor a figment of your imagination. I'm you in four years. Right now you are a senior in high school. This time next year you will be a pro at college life. You will be making new friends, have a job as a tutor in the library and be getting A's in school. I am here not to tell you to try harder to get good grades or to make sure that you get into a certain school, but to tell you to slow down and enjoy your life as a senior. Make an effort to say 'hi' to someone every day, smile at people and don't be afraid of them. Don't pass up an opportunity to make a friend. In everything you do, be fair, be yourself and don't give up, no matter what. These qualites will take you far in life. Just remember, you are what you make yourself. Nothing more, nothing less.

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When I was in high school, I really had no motivation to do well or continue my education. I just wanted to pass. I don't think I would want to go back and try to change my mind. I believe that the choice I made by entering the work force and getting married young after high school made me who I am today. If I just went straight to college from high school, I wouldn't have the motivation I have now to do well in college. I would tell myself to do what you feel is right, and you will make your own path to success. Every path I chose in the past has led me to where I am now, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

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It's not as crazy as it seems. Just trust yourself but don't settle for something you've been told you should do. I promise, you'll change your mind more times than you can imagine, and that's okay. Also, don't take a year off. It's a horrible idea. You'll get bored and drive yourself crazy. Trust me. Just keep going. I know it seems like an impossible feat to get yourself registered and all set up but it's so easy you'll laugh at how nervous you were. Don't be afraid to just go for what you want because I promise, you'll be happy with your choices.

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If I was given the chance to go back and talk to myself, I would more than likely have told myself to take tougher classes. I would have told myself to continue in my AP calc class and to take more AP classes. I would have also told myself not to put everything off, and to just do the things that needed to be done.

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