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Milwaukee School of Engineering

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

If I were to go back in time and talk to my high school senior self, my first words of wisdom would be, “Create maximum usage of the high school's resources that are available for helping you with college because you will absolutely need it.” I would also emphasize on spending more time applying for scholarships because every little bit helps; especially, when it comes to college textbooks, fees, school supplies, and parking permits. In addition, I would scold myself for not taking the Advanced Placement Calculus AB and Advanced Placement Chemistry courses more seriously; also for not attending more of those tutoring sessions because now I’m paying for those courses when I could have earned college credit for those courses while in high school. Furthermore, I would instruct myself to not plan on overworking myself the first semester of college because transitioning into college life is a huge adjustment that will not happen overnight. Most importantly, I would encourage myself to join clubs that are related to my major, seek out help from professors and fellow peers, and to get involved in campus activities because it will all set me up for a proud and successful future.

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When choosing a college, I strongly suggest not favoring the colleges that offer the biggest scholarship. Make sure to do your research and find out the total amount of tuition that you still would have to pay. I made the mistake of attending a private school that offered 10K/year, but did not realize that it still would have been cheaper to attend a state school. After doing the research, then definitely go on a tour of the school, and talk to college students around you. Make sure to ask some random students questions about the college because the tour guide, even if a student, will more than likely be biased and supportive of the school in most aspects. Once attending college, I strongly encourage you to get involved with the campus in anyway possible; clubs, sports, frats/sororities, on-campus jobs, volunteering. From my own experience, the more involved I got on-campus the more enjoyable my time here became. Plus several studies have shown that students that are more involved with their college perform better academically and make more friends. Life is what you make it. Your actions will determine what you get out of your college experience.

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During my first year at Milwaukee School of Engineering I have learned that the Mechanical Engineering field is not right for me. In high school I accelerated at mathematics and was informed that engineering would be a good field for me. My high school engineering courses were very interesting and I could not wait to continue learning about the field in college. After about one trimester as a mechanical engineering major I learned that it was not what I expected it to be like. I also learned that college math was even more interesting than the math I had previously learned about in high school. This knowledge has since lead me to change my major to mathematics. I believe that this is the most valuable thing that I have gotten out of my college experience so far because it has lead me in the right direction for the future. Without this experience I would very likely be working towards a career that I would not enjoy and not find fulfilling. I do not regret attending Milwaukee School of Engineering and I am very thankful for the experience it has gave me, even if I will not attend there next year.

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What is college? Some people say that college is a time and place for learning. Other people say that college is the part of your life that you use to discover more about yourself and the world. Regardless of what 'people' say, in order to make the most of the college experience, I would strongly reccommend that anyone considering college define what college means to them. There's a lot of aspects that can govern the college experience. Some examples of this are academic standing, average class size, variety of extra curriculars offered, general feel of the student body, the list could go on and on. Think about where you want to be when you get out of college and what environment will best guide you in that direction. By doing this, you will be able to focus in on the parts of college that are really important to you. This will greatly narrow your college search, and you can then further investigate the remaining schools by taking them for a test drive. Campus visits are the best way to forecast if it can provide what you're looking for from a college. Remember, it goes fast so enjoy it!

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In college, it's so easy to be overcome by all the chaos; what's not so easy is standing steadfast and true to who you are and the person you want to be. It all is extremely analogous to the story of Daniel from the Bible. Kidnapped from his native land, he and a few other Israelites were given the rare opportunity to be educated, as their intelligence had impressed the king. They found themselves in a completely new environment, learning completely new things meant to introduce them to Babylonian culture and idols as well as structured education, a situation not at all unlike college. Daniel had three options: he could surrender completely and assimilate into this new culture and religion, he could completely reject it and remain shut up in his room, or he could fight it by actively interacting in a way that bespoke the person he wanted to be: a Christian. Whether or not you are religious, you have the same options in college as Daniel. It's up to you whether you surrender and lose yourself, reject it and miss out on the experience, or use it as an opportunity to become a stronger person.

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You will succeed; there is no doubt about that and there never has been. Remember that, and nothing can stop you. College is hard work, but not the same kind of work you are used to. Get ready to talk to new people and make new friends. Your friends will teach you things you never thought you needed to know. Sometimes you will learn everything you need to know about someone in the first five minutes, and sometimes you will never stop learning from them. Opportunities abound at college; pick and choose your "Greatest Hits". Find the groups or activities you actually enjoy and dive in. You will be much better off than by trying to do everything. Your classes will be challenging, and they will be expensive, but you will be rewarded for the time and money you put in. You get nowhere by worrying about these things, only by doing your best and paying attention. Finally, live life a day at a time. You can never live your life over again, so do it right the first time. Parties only happen once, so make the most of them. Never forget the people who love you. Make them proud.

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If I could go back to my first semester in college and give advice, I would say to myself "Get involved in a campus club as soon as possible." When I transitioned into college I found myself having trouble forming a community. I felt this way because my college has 16,000 students, and unlike in high school, you are in the same class for 3 to 4 months, and then you move on and could potentially never see any of those students again. This makes it difficult to get connected to campus, and made college seem fleeting at first. One day while walking on campus, there was a club fair going on and I joined Intervaristy Christian Fellowship. This changed my entire college experience. Suddenly, I was being connected with people with similar interests and instead of just going to class and then going home, I was building a true community. I also had more opportunities to practice leadership skills, network with people already in the professional world, and discover more about myself. I now know that joining a club was the most enriching decision I made, and it made the transition much smoother!

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Do your research by visiting the colleges that your are interested in attending. Attend any open houses that the school might offer and talk with the professors and current students at the colledge and get their opinions of the school. Particularly, talking ot the attending students at an open house will help to answer your questions you may have about the school and aid in your decision making process. Touring the facility is also desireable. When you do decide on a college and are now in attendance, make the most of all that is offered to you as a student there. Don't be afraid to speak to the professors if you need help or are exeperiencing difficulty with a class - they are human and most often encourage the student to seek help if help is needed. Also, college is first and foremost a place of learning so studies should be taken seriously. Get yourself into a good study routine and also allow some time for yourself to enjoy the extras that the college has to offer as well and you will enjoy your time there and will make friends that will last a lifetime.

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As a college student, I now know what it takes to make the intimidating transition from a high school senior to a full time college student. With the ability to go back in time, I would give myself advice to make this difficult transition easier. First, I would give myself advice pertaining to life at home. This would include fixing any problems with the relationship with parents because soon enough the college student will realize the importance of their parents in their life and it will be much easier communicating with them if there is a mutual healthy relationship. The second piece of advice I would give to myself would be to get involved in the many clubs universities have to offer. This will help build life skills and at the same time allow for social growth and meeting new friends. Finally, I would tell myself to stay on top of the course work divert from all of the poor studying habits, such as procrastination. Procrastination will cause stress and result in lower grades. Knowing this important information, I am now better prepared for the future ahead of me.

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If I were to go back in time and meet myself as a high school senior, the first thing I would tell myself would be to do not take anything for granted. I remember always thinking to myself senior year that I needed to apply for some scholarships, but I only half-heartedly attempted to go out, find them, and apply. I would make sure to motivate my past self into putting a much stronger effort into getting as many scholarships as possible. In addition to scholarships, I would tell my past self to become more involved in as many different clubs and programs as possible. Not only would these clubs help make a difference at the time, but they would also have a very important part in the future as I apply for scholarships and jobs now. Finally, I would encourage myself to apply to numerous colleges instead of just a few. By doing so, I would have a much broader range of programs and opportunities allowing me to have more options to choose from. Apart from academic advice, I would tell my past self to think carefully about what you want to be and do in the future.

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