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Minnesota State University-Mankato

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

Most of the things I would tell my high school self would regard life in general. Having been enlisted in the Marine Corps and being deployed whilst enlisted, I have been endowed with many truths about the world. First of all, I would tell my young self to finish high school and to study extra hard. Secondly, I would say to have fun while doing it and enjoy the little things in life. Not finishing high school is a bad start to a life that offers so much fulfillment. Without a diploma and the discipline to gain it, life can turn into an unforgiving clock. I did successfully complete the General Education Development (GED) tests. However, I believe I wasted a lot of valuable time that could have been spent in the progression of my life in the interim. Having fun in life is key to a successful and fulfilling life. I was once told, "You should not take life so seriously because you will never get out alive." This statement is more of an acknowledgment than advice. The point is, I have seen some difficult things but, out of the worst possible situations, people overcome adversity and remain happy.

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The advice I would give students and parents on picking out the right college to is to look at your options such as what feels comfortable for you such as being safe living on campus or off campus of the college of your choice and where you think you can succeed academically in your classes. You can also look in other alternatives where you can have a social life such as having things to do to fun besides doing school work full time. These activites could include going to fitness center to work out, bowling alley where you can go bowling with friends, going your college athletic events with friends, join any club the university offers. doing work study in your choice of major of study, join extra extracurricular activities the college offers where you can meet with new friends from different town and nationalities and finally when I made my decison on what college that suit my needs I look where I would succeed academically in my major but athletically as well and where I can have a good time with friends out of college when not having class and Make sure you make college years fun and worthwile.

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If I could travel back in time, the first thing that I would tell my high school self would be to go to college with a clean slate. I wound up at a college with some friends from high school and it made it a lot easier for me to stay in a safe zone and not take advantage of all the outstanding prospects that college has to offer. My second piece of advice would be to go to as many events, club meetings, presentations, etc. as you can that you find to be interesting. College is the time to really find yourself, and there is no better time to explore all aspects of life then during your college career with so much diversity and opportunity surrounding you. My third piece of advice would be to take advantage of all the mentoring services available on campus. I didn?t go see my advisor until my sophomore year, and I really regretted it because she was excellent with helping me put together my class schedule and figuring out my graduation timeline. I think that the best piece of advice would be as simple as this. Have the time of your life!

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” These words will help you remember that you are beyond capable of succeeding just utilize all the resources provided if needed. Never be afraid to communicate your struggles because there is always someone around who will be willing to help. You’re fighting hard in your classes? Good, don’t become a procrastinator just because you feel that your struggle has ended when it’s only beginning. You have the ability to make friends; Just don't dwell on what others are thinking. Then you will be just fine.

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I would advise students when choosing the right college to take in the advice of others, but to follow their hearts and choose the right school for themselves. The first year of college is the most important and leaves an impression on you, so it is very important the student is making the decision for themselves and not someone else making the decision for them. The most important consequence to consider is the outcome of your future. You have been blessed with the privilege to attend college which many people cannot say, so take advantage of the opportunity of making your dreams come true. Live life with no regrets. I have found that the first year of college is the most valuable part in a student's college experience. I recommend that students have fun, meet new people, and get involved with school activites/groups because these are the things that will remain memorable throughout life. During the first year though, it is important to stay focus academically and not get too comfortable with the fun part of college because that may lead you down the wrong path.

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The best advice I can give to students preparing to go to any college is get active from the start. In high school I was in sports year round, involved with other student extracurricular activities, and worked at the same time. When I started college last fall I decided to not play sports or take part in any of the student organizations on campus and I just focused on schoolwork, and as a result I became a bit complacent. Fortunately I realized early on that I needed to be more active in order to maximize my experience and ever since I've been having a great time. Last spring I studied abroad in Spain, this year I started playing rugby for the varsity team at Mankato, and I participated in some of the campaign events during the presidential elections this fall. Everything I've just said pertains to my advice about being as active as possible with events and organizations on campus and around the community because it really does make college life more interesting as you are able to meet a wider variety and greater number of people sharing common interests with yourself.

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If I could go back in time, back to when I was a senior in high school, I would give myself three major advices: I could have saved a lot of money by making smarter decisions before planning for college. Second, I would have taken advantage of college credit courses offer in high school like the PSEO program, or AP classes. Lastly, I would first figure out exactly what I want to do in college, before enrolling, to avoid wasting time and money. I say these because, not having enough money my freshmen year, caused me a lot of headache because I could not afford my books. Plus, before enrolling in college, I did not do a lot of research about the finances, so I had no idea how expensive college and textbooks can be. If I was smarter, I would have made this my first priority. Better yet, I would establish a savings account for college by saving $50 on every paycheck. Also, I would tell myself to take enough assessments or explore multiple careers to know exactly what I want to major in, in college. Finally, I should have focused on my academics instead of making friends.

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Unfortunatley, I have not gotten anything out of my college experience mainly because I have not attended college for more than 2 months total. I now understand it is valuable to attend in order to climb the career ladder. However, the three years I spent working in various jobs and working my way through the reastuarant ladder I have aquired time management, patience, a work ethic, and an understanding that you will never be happy in life unless you love what you do. I would not trade these qualities and experiences for a traditional out of high school into college experience. I feel that when I do graduate in four years I will still be ahead of my peers. This is due in part that I will have a degree in the exact major I intend to pursue as a career, and that I have a very extensive track record for someone my age. However, it is valuable to attend college no matter where you are when you graduate high school, because as you get older more "baggage" will hold you back from attending school. Wether it be financial, family, or just a matter of not having the time.

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The best advice i could give to students and parents is to actually go out to the campus and get a tour before making your decision. Campus tours are free and you can learn a lot about the campus and its students by walking around campus for a day. Not one colelge will be completly perfect and there are plenty of colleges around that will give the student their proper education. Also, if the student has an idea of what thier major is going to be they should definetly talk to a professor or advisor in that content area. A lot of students only talk to their advisor while starting their progam (usually year three). But if you talk to the advisors early you can possibly cut the number of classes you will take and graduate sooner. As for getting the most out of your college experience, i believe students should spend more time on campus. A lot of younger students go home every weekend and fail to experiecne life on their own until they live off campus. If you think you might regret somthing 3 years from now , chances are you probably will. so think about the future!

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The advice I give students about finding the right college for them is making sure it is what YOU really want. College is your time to be independent and search for what you want out of life. When choosing a college, don't focus on the schools that your parents went to or that most of your friends are going to. Go where you can picture yourself most and where your interests are shared with your peers. Size doesn't matter when it comes to secondary school, pick whatever setting you're going to feel most comfortable in, yet also thrive in. Making the most out of your college experience is a lot simpler than one would think. First get involved. In anything! Sororities and Fraternities are exciting, but they cost a lot of money. Try a special event planning club, an intramural sports team, or even volunteering with other college students. Everyone says to get involved, but what they don't tell you is to try doing it on your own. It's great to have friends who attend the same school, but you'll never meet new people if you always hang out with the same group!

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