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Missouri University of Science and Technology

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

I'd warn myself of the crippling debt I'll be subjecting myself to by attending a public school on out-of-state tuition. "I understand that dad promises to handle the costs, but that's asking far too much of a divorced and unemployed man of working class means" (because this wasn't obvious enough to my former self, blinded by the idealistic notion of leaving home for something "different"). I would proceed to enumerate the consequences of my irresponsibility: "You'll rack up a tuition bill greater than your cumulative life earnings after two semesters. You'll come home for summer break, optimistic that you'll return in fall. You'll be wrong." So begins the frantic job search. "You'll come to resent the phrase 'prior experience needed'. Options are running slim. You'll join the Air Force Reserve in a futile attempt to mitigate this horrible situation. It won't be enough." That'll bring us to present day. "In following the path of greatest resistance, and while still very heavily indebted, you're finally back in school (one of manageable cost, at that). Save yourself some grief and live within your means, you dumb kid."

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There is no such thing as "the college experience." Those three words are thrown out by college admission representatives, advisors, parents, teachers, friends and they honestly are not definable. Everyone is different and the most important part of choosing a college and making the tranistion from high school to college is to find the place that will help you move forward in your life. There are three things that are crucial about your choice. You should feel comfortable at your school, you should have a plan for paying for your degree, and the school should be able to help you move forward with your career goals. These three aspects seem obvious but I've seen my peers make choices based on acheiving "the college experience" and graduate with loans that they are unable to pay off. Go to a school that you can afford to pay for and make sure that you obtain a degree in an area you are interested in and that will secure you a job at the end of four years. College is about having fun but also about setting yourself up for success in your life. Be confident and make your own college experience.

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If I could go back in time and give college advice to myself as a high school senior, I would advise one thing: stop worrying. I spent my senior year of high school in anxiety, stressing over fears of college - how difficult it would be to succeed academically, meet new friends, and live in a new place away from home. I can still remember my last week before I left for college; I felt extremely terrified, as if my life was about to end, and I was barely able to sleep. When I finally moved into my dormitory and my parents left, I was lost; I was alone in a foreign world without any friends. This negative attitude continued for several months; I barely spoke to anyone. However, as time progressed, I began to realize that college isn't so bad unless you make it that way. There was nothing keeping me from having a good experience except for myself and my high school opinions that accompanied me. I changed my attitude, and I became involved in extracurricular activities, making friends. So, to prevent the bad first impressions of college, I would advise my high school self to stop worrying.

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Attending MS&T has been an eye-opening experience for me so far! I grew up in a rural area and attended a small school. My teachers and fellow students were great, but I was never exposed to a diverse cultural and ethnical population or given opportunities to learn a variety of different life views and perspectives. The faculty and students at MS&T have allowed me to experience all of that. The school is small enough that students and faculty can get to know each other much better than at a large college. By being involved in student government and study groups, I have been able to meet and learn from a diverse population, and that has been an awesome experience in itself. MS&T has also opened my eyes to the huge variety of opportunities out there for me as an engineering major. The school has exposed me to so many different occupations that I had no idea existed in that field. My advisors and professors have gotten to know my interests and dreams and have guided me tremendously towards my educational career so far. The value of my college experience at MS&Thas been unmeasurable!

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Start early in selecting the right college to attend, and keep your mind open. Start off with a list of many colleges that sound like they could work, and narrow them down slowly but persistently by talking to your counselors and teachers who know you enough to help you decide. Try to visit colleges you are seriously considering, or at least talk to students from there that have similar interests; through e-mail, in person, or on Facebook. Take a variety of classes in high school to give you an idea of what to study in college. Only get into a school or field if it seems right for you, not because someone told you to or because you think it would make you look good. Once you get to college do not be afraid to branch out, try new things, or switch majors or even schools if something does not feel right to you. Focus on your studies, and learn beyond the basic requirements of courses that you enjoy. Also, join extracurricular activites and groups; those are important too. Finally don't forget to keep a reasonable social life; friends are important-you can learn from them too.

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I would tell my high school self to not forget the minor details of life. Especially in this generation of extreme fun and thrill seekers, we often travel the road of life for the next big rush. Everything we do, we are constantly seeking that adrnaline rush. Whether it is winning a championship or scoring the highest grade in class or being first chair in band, we are constantly searching for that one awesome experience. In doing so, we often overlook the small details in life that leads us to that point. We often rush to grab a burger or pizza instead of eating a healthy meal. We stay late into the middle of the night instead of getting a full night's rest. These bad habits eventually catches up to us in the end, and we find ourselves physically out of shape, and mentally drained because we neglected the minor details that will allow us to be sharper physically and mentally. Our young body is capable of such neglect, but like any living being, the neglect can only be tolerated to certain points. Take care of the little things in life, and they will take care of you back.

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High School Self, The most important key to succeeding in college, is make a goal orientated plan and stick with it. The best advice I ever received was “You can accomplish anything you set your mind too, with hard work and dedication anything is possible.” Never give up! Always work hard, and try to understand everything with the best of your ability. High school is the easiest part of schooling and don’t take anything for granted, obtain all the information you can, create efficient study skills, and build intermediate work skills. Make sure you have a strong support system because they are your backbone for when you want to give up (Trust me, it gets HARD). After getting settled into the college lifestyle don’t get caught up in the social aspect of making friends (that comes with joining organizations), get involved, build a support system, study hard and make lots of network connections with in your first years. College is the best years of your life, but only because you take everything you learn and apply it to the rest of your life. So have fun, but not too much fun!

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If I could go back and give myself any piece of advice, it would be don't worry about what you want to do with the rest of your life right now. The majority of college is about self-discovery and finding out what truly makes you happy. Research fields that interest you and don't write off your passion just because you don't think it will serve you monetarily. Take more time out for your hobbies, because they will have a great impact in discovering your path to happiness. Try new things everyday, because, as it turns out, you may discover that you love doing a task you would of never considered previously. I would also tell myself to join more teams of any kind, because teambuilding is important for being a futrue innovator and leader. Plus having excellent people skills can greatly aid you in making connections with other students and future employers. Finally, the most important thing I would have to say is, no matter what, just do whatever brings you joy and makes you feel passionate. These are the key steps to making the transition to college life and being successful.

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I enter my bedroom to see myself hard at work on the 16th and final scholarship I applied for during my senior year. My face is contorted in an unattractive way, focusing on the blank Word document on my computer screen. I spin myself around in my computer chair and stare straight into my own eyes. "Calm down and breathe a moment," I say, "I know it can be stressful thinking about college, but everything will turn out all right. Your strong work ethic is to be admired, but sometimes perfection cannot be achieved. Always try your hardest, but don't be afraid to relax and do something you love. Get involved in college, but make sure you join at least one club you'll truly enjoy participating in. Be more outgoing and willing to make new friends. If you smile and have a positive attitude, things will surely work out for the best. Also, be eager to help others because one day they will probably return the favor. Hang out with people that have the same goals as you and surround yourself with positive influences. Keep your ultimate goal in mind, but don't be afraid to have fun."

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Dear Doris, Good college advice Hit those scholarship applications hard. It's painful to see how much money it costs to get a quality education. Yeah you will receive a few scholarships, but it won't be enough. Aside from the scholarships, keep those study habits alive. Those good habits you established have done wonders for me. I didn't have to adapt so much; I only had to build on to what I already did. You think your Senior Year is hard and stressful? High school is nothing compared to college, but I have two vital pieces of advice for you. 1) Don't sweat the small stuff. 2) Everything is small stuff. It's amazing how much this advice will carry you. Instead of worrying about failing that test, think of how much you'll learn from it. Learning is exciting and don't be afraid of it. Embrace the experience. Stay positive and life will be great. Make good friends because they'll help you through hard times and good times. Live with no regret. You don't need a burden like that to root you down while you fly. Have confidence and be free. Good Luck

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