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National University

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

Freshmen in college find themselves on a new path in life, one that forks in countless directions that all lead on thrilling life journeys. Unfortunately, typical students underestimate complexity of the choices that they will be faced with and consequently under-prepare for their first year of university. They enter college with very little real world experience and generally are not fully matured. I was one of those typical cases. If I could give “young me” advice, I would tell him to actively volunteer and make the world a better place. Volunteerism would have given me a new perspective and encouraged me to mature. Like many adolescents, I knew that volunteerism was positive, but I did not realize how beneficial it truly was. Similarly, I failed to understand how much it would make me grow. My first experiences with charity and community outreach came long after high school. Through these experiences, I grew immensely as an individual. Volunteerism taught me to truly value life, and to connect with people in a way that I never had before. These experiences would have been priceless, and they would have made my transition into life as a mature adult for more fulfilling.

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As a high school senior, I would make your counselor your best friend. They will help you with scholarships that are available at your school or within your community. They can also find out what classes are required in college for general ed. There may be quite a few courses you can actually take while still in high school. They will be able to provide you with a realistic expectation of what you can expect from college and help you prepare. College is a whole new world compared to high school (new teachers, new classmates, and new policies and procedures). Unlike high school, your educational responsibility is yours rather that than of your parents. I would recommend attending freshman orientation and asking around as to what classes are fun to take, which one's are particularly challenging, etc. If you are considering working, you may want to take a serious look at your workload at school. I was working full time overnight while taking a 12 unit workload at school and it was definitely challenging. I would advise taking everything into consideration before you start your first year at college to ease the transition.

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In a perfect world, after maintaining a 4.0 GPA as a student athlete who volunteers 30+ hours per month throughout high school, you would attend a fancy college and easily afford tuition with grants, scholarships, and loans. After completing your prestigious degree, you get hired at your dream job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. My advice is to prepare yourself for the “curve-balls” life throws at you. Rather than putting all your eggs into one basket (make choices as if your degree choice is set in stone as a freshman), explore a little bit. Focus on getting your Associate’s Degree first. Take courses that might not be in your area of expertise. Be flexible when you decide that you want to change your major. As a high school senior there is a lot of pressure to be the most completive student, but I would argue that being a competitive person will have a greater impact on your success. You might have to transfer a few times, or possibly take a semester off. Night classes could fit your schedule better. Remain competitive as a person; finish your degree. You will be successful.

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There really is nowhere else to go without a college degree Kawika. You’re arrogance and overconfidence are blinding your vision to see your future. Our future. Do you really believe that because after a reading a few articles of how “computer science degrees aren’t worth the time” with other toxic statements such as “you could learn everything you need to learn online.” True – but at what cost to you? Why struggle when you could maintain the traditional route. The arguments such as “Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are college dropouts. If they can do it why can’t I?” The answer is simple Kawika. It’s because you’re not them. Your over-affectionate mother falsely boosted your confidence, telling you how much “smarter you are than the other kids.” You’ve been feeding off this spoon of deceit, and it’s time you stop being scared and dive deep. We’re living in a generation where ignorance seems to be a choice – at least in the US. We have access to so much information at such little cost to us, but we refuse to use it. This is your time to explore Kawika, don't be afraid.

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As a high school senior I felt as if I had finally mastered my school carrier. Thinking I knew everything, I was foolishly more focused on graduation and prom then SAT's and college applications. If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice for the future I would tell myself that "failing to plan, is planning to fail". As a high school graduate I knew what goals I held for myself, but I had no plan for how I was going to achieve each of them. I should have spent my senior year making this plan and then upon graduation I could have immediately continued working toward my nursing carrier. By not knowing what college I wanted to attend I inevitably prolonged the time I now have to wait in order to enter into the nursing program at National University. In conclusion, if I would have chosen a specific school that catered to my degree interest and applied in high school I would be further along in my college curriculum. By telling myself to create a plan and be proactive in high school I would be setting myself up for future success in college.

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If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now about college life, I would tell Terri to work on better organizational skills; get used to an organizer and using it. I would tell her that being famous for her procrastination skills is really not that special; that when you enter college, and have to work, it is truly a hinderance! I would advice Terri to immerse herself in books and develop a passion for reading; it helps when you enter college and are faced with tons of reading to get through. I would encourage Terri to look at college differently this time around; that it's OK to have fun, go to games/parties, etc., but that there must be a responsibility and a balance between having fun and studying. Too much of one without the other does not make for an enjoyable college experience! I would tell Terri that you do not HAVE to get it done in 4 years. Ideally, that would be great, but realistically, it's not worth it nor is it possible, when you have to balance school and working full-time! Especially if you strive for A's and B's!

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That guy your life revolves around? The one who controls you and makes you feel like less than you are? In college, he does not matter. In college, you'll wish you'd focused more on the important things. You'll wish you weren't so desperate to grow up, and that you'd taken that homework a little more seriously and listened to your teachers when they told you that you were wasting your talent. In college, you'll wonder why you waited so long. You'll feel at home, and blissfully stressed. You'll get used to your classes eventually, and you'll do well, but you'll wish you could go back and tell yourself that the things you feel are so important now are incredibly fleeting. In college, high school feels like a dream you only half remember. Your classes are hard, but not too hard because you're smarter than you give yourself credit for. You should make it easier on yourself. Believe that you're worthy of an education, of being more than what you could settle for. I have just one wish for you, and that is for you to succeed, for yourself.

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Education, experience, knowledge--that's usually what most people say when they're asked what they got out of their college experience. I'm no different, of course; I value my years of education and all of the knowledge I've gained by staying in school. But I have to say that the most important thing I've gotten out of my college experience is myself. When I first started, I didn't really know myself--I guess you can say I still don't. I'm only 21, after all. However, my three years in college gave me back my voice, my ability to express what I want from life, and a plan to get it. Along the way, I learned some pretty important things about myself--such as what I really want to do in life is to write. It doesn't matter where, for whom, or why--it's what I'm good at and it's what I love. And if I have to choose the most valuable thing I've gotten out of college so far, it's the self-confidence I've gained and the knowledge that I will achieve my goals.

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If I could go back and talk to my high school self, I would tell myself to pick a major before you start college. If you go in with no educational goal or focus, then you won't be as motivated to learn. And if you are not certain on your major selection, then you'll end up changing it over and over and take a lot of courses that you don't need. And consequently, waste a lot of money on courses and books that you'll never use in the future. If you can't decide on a major by the time you graduate from high school, then wait before you go to college. College is expensive, so you should make sure you're getting your money's worth and investing your time in a subject that really interests you and you'll use in the future. If you need to, get a job after high school and see what the real world is like and that will help you decide what career you want and therefore what major will benefit you the most in your career aspirations.

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My biggest problem with college was finding a school that fit. During high school, I didn't really research schools, I only toured and applied to local schools. I wish that I could go back in time and visit as many schools as possible. I transferred schools several times and I feel that if I found a school that suited me, then I would have already graduated. Also I would have taken advantage of living on campus. I commuted back and forth from school and I feel that I missed out on the college experience. I think that living on campus and being totally immersed in student life is important. You find who you are while you are in college and being in a school that can help you discover that is priceless.

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