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Marist College

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

When I was looking at colleges the one thing I had in mind was that I knew I wanted to go away but close enough to home where I could make the trip easily. I say, keep the distance around 2-3 hours and you'll have a new sense of freedom and responsibility. The most important part of the selection process is making sure the school encourages what you enjoy. I'm a bit of a jock myself and I am the president of the rugby team here. I knew going in that I needed a campus that somewhat revolved around athletics. Sports are very big here and all the students get involved somehow in intramural sports or just playing pick-up games with whoever is around. If music is a big part of your life, find a place that revolves around music. Finally, be sure that school and students take their academic life seriously. Students who put their academics first tend to enjoy everything else more and seem to be more enjoyable than those who only care about partying, that said though, make sure that the students are able to relax and enjoy the weekends.

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It's important for students considering college to consider schools that may put them out of their comfort zone. Looking back, I realize now that I did myself a diservice by attending a college with a student population comprised of people who grew up in nearly identical circumstances as I did. My school was so homogenous that I feel as if I could have learned so much more if I had gone to a college that was much more diverse, or larger or further from home. As a result, my college experience, overall, was disappointing. It wasn't until I did an internship and journalism program in Washington DC that I felt I was having valuable life experiences. When I was in DC, I met students from all over the country and the world, and was able to explore a whole different city. I Students applying to college may think they'll be happy at a small liberal arts college, tucked away in the suburbs, but its important to consider all of one's options and figure out what school will provide one with the most valuable overall experience.

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Having completed a year and half of college I know some things I wish I had known as a high school student. The first thing I would tell my high school self is to take a chance. Often friends stick together and matriculate to the same college. Don?t just follow the crowd. College is all about being your own person and the first way to show yourself you can do this is by picking the college you want to attend. The second thing I would tell myself is school is important but so is having fun. You are at college to learn, this is true, but you are there to learn more then what is in your textbooks. Going out and getting involved is how you learn the life skills you cannot learn in the classroom. The third thing I would tell myself is don?t be afraid to talk to the professors because they want to help you get the most out of your college experience. Getting as much as you can out of that daunting tuition bill is most important of all. No one wants all those loans without great memories to help make them more bearable.

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Dear Nicole, Stay true to yourself and do not ever give up on your dreams. Believe in yourself without question. Sometimes life gets hard, but do not let it ever doubt yourself. You know who you are and what you are capable of doing. Stand proud, even if you have to stand alone. You've got the world in your hands, do not let is slip; hang on tight and strive for your dreams. You have so much potential and have come so far on your own. But, do not be afraid of asking for help. Do whatever it takes to fulfill your dreams that will make you happy. Study hard, but don't forget to have fun. Put yourself out there; take a chance. Love your better self, Nicole

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At 38 years old, I have a wife, two children, a beautiful home and I wear a tie to work every day. By all standards, we look like the perfect family and we are with one exception. I work 60-70 hours per week and rarely am able to spend time with my family. I am present for the family pictures and summer trips to the beach but I am missing the everyday lives of my growing children. The reason I work so hard is because I spend my post-high school years “playing it by ear” and waiting to “see what happens. I spent years with no clear focus or path for success. I had planned to go to school during this time but with a young marriage and suddenly a child on the way, I needed to jump into a career to support my growing family. Damion, twenty years younger, you have every opportunity to make solid choices for your future, to make a plan and not be distracted. The most important thing you can do is focus on getting your degree so that you can build a strong foundation for your life and for your family.

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When I first entered Marist College my freshman year in 2009 everything in my life changed. I now had to find a way to live in two different worlds at the same time: my home and my "home away from home". It was probably the scariest step that I've taken. I remember crying for weeks straight thinking I would never make it, I would find no friends, and the work would just be too much for me to handle. Not too long after, I found myself sitting in class and understanding. I was learning more than I ever had before and most of all I was enjoying it. I found myself opening up and putting my fear aside and before long I attained a wonderful group of friends who supports me as much as those from home. In less than one year I had learned the most important lesson of my life. From Marist I took the idea that anyone truly can do what they put their mind to and you'll never be alone. Moreover, I know that my education is the one thing that nobody can ever take away from me, it's with me forever. '

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Choosing a college has not only been an experience that I will never forget. But more importantly an experience that has allowed me to become the person I am today because of the decision I had to make. As a division 1 athlete and and a successful academic student I needed to find a balance. Well not only did I find a match which was both academically sound and athletically superb, but I found a social environment that pushed my career to focus and a social life that kept me involved in college campus activities. I had excellent support from my business professors and fellow students for myself to attain my Stock Broker license while I was still at school. The academics helped me on the test, and the athletics helped me get my mind off it for a while. As a full time broker in the summer and will continue to work from school, this college has given me the flexibility and support to become the person I am today. A division 1 Soccer starter, 4.0 Student, and Stock Broker at JP Turner.

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Don't take high school for granted. Take every opportunity to have fun and hang out with your friends, because soon you will have new friends in a new place. Don't wait until August to realize that you are all leaving and going to a different town, a different state, a different environment. Have absolutely as much fun as you can and don't regret anything. Go crazy. Hug your friends. Hug your mom. Give everyone who is going to forget you after high school a reason to remember you by being the nicest person you can be. College will be fun, and amazing and exciting, but it will also be a lot harder than high school. Don't get Netflix. Don't go to the vending machine at midnight. The freshman fifteen is real. Don't lose your favorite stuffed animal right before college because you will be devastated, but it won't be the end of the world. But you will make amazing friends, have amazing experiences, and become a better and more mature person by going, so make the most of it.

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If I were to go back to when I was a high school senior and tell myself one thing, I would tell myself to work extremely hard. In college you can be easily persuaded to socialize, go out with your friends and pretty much do anything besides your work. However having experienced my first year in college, I would advise myself that I have to have self-motivation and the will power to say no whenever I think about not doing school work. It seems okay to do everything that everyone else is doing however because of my major, biomedical sciences, I cannot allow myself to fall behind because it is important for my future academic and professional career to do well in school and try my hardest. Lastly, I would tell myself that missing an event with your friends a few times or not hanging out with your friends as often is worth it when you see your hard work paying off when you get your grades. My future is more imporant than anything that I might feel like I'm missing out on.

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If I could hop in Doc Brown's DeLorean and give my high school self a piece of advice it would be to take my education more seriously. When I graduated from high school in 2005, I thought that it would be best to take some time off from school and begin working. My mind set was, "If I could save money for my eduation first, it would be easier for me to pay for my expenses". I began working that summer I graduated. I lost sight of how important it is to have a college eduation . I looked at my friends and saw how most of them had already graduated from two year colleges and were either moving on to a four year or even moving on to a new job, I realized I had to go back. Now I feel old. When I look around me in the classroom and the average age is 18, it makes me feel like I wasted my time. If I would have just gone straight to college from high school I would have my four year degree already and would be working in the field I am truly passionate about.

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