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North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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

Making the transition to college life an easy and enjoyable one requires being open and inviting to new people and environment. You have to prepare yourself to not bring your entire closet from home, and get used to not spending an hour in the shower. You'll have to get used to running into someone new every day, so make sure you're friendly because they may turn out to be your lab partner or new roommate! However, the most important thing to keep in mind is what you may take for granted now, while you still live at home. First, home-cooked meals. Enough said. Secondly, do not take your quarters for granted. You will have to do your own laundry and pay for it quarter-style, and trust me, the dryers rely on multiple rounds of these coins. You'll use quarters to print term papers in the library and for snacks in between classes across campus. Also, I easily lost track of the number of meals I used per week and my campus cash. So overall, be ready to be warm, welcoming and money-conscious; the time to buy your own groceries starts now!

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"Do what makes you happy." These are the exact words that I would tell my high-school self. I think I've always been really concerned with succeeding in whatever ambitions I may choose in life, but throughout high school I don't think I ever took the time to sit down and decide to spend my life working towards a passion of mine because I was too concerned with pleasing those around me. However, several years ago, I lost my brother, who spent a lot of his time doing what he truly loved: cooking and spreading the love of life to those around him. Ever since he passed away, I've had trouble coming to terms with myself and the path I was taking, though I recently decided that I should be following in his footsteps rather than forcifully hacking my way through a jungle of despair and uncertainty in the present field I am studying. As a result, I have started the persuit of my life-long dream of becoming a concert violinist, and though I hope to succeed in this endeavor, it would have been far easier to make this realization in high school.

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The advice I would give myself is to search and apply for as many scholarships as I could to avoid having to take out loans because I have a fairly decent amount to pay back now. I would also advise to look for books online at sites like amazon or ebay to save money instead of just buying from the campus bookstore. I would also advise to take advantage of all the extra curricular activities or workshops on campus. It helps build community and friendships. It is something I wish I would have done more of. This also helps get the most use of the money you are paying to go to the college. Learning more about how to cook your own meals and shopping smart is another piece of advice I would offer. If you do take out loans that you do so with prudence and make sure to pay on the interest especially on the unsubsized loans since there are no grace periods for these loans and the interest accrues no matter what. This way when you have to start making payments you at least have saved yourself money and can start paying on your principal right away.

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As a senior, I believed that EVERY decision I made would have a lifelong impact on my personal and career. This way of thinking helped me to achieve many goals and get to where I am now ,but at the same time it caused many stressful nights of worry and little to no sleep. Therefore, there are six things I would go back in time and tell myself. Number One: Get some sleep. Sleep is a beautiful thing and I wished I would have taken advantage of the time I had to rest. If I was better rested, I would have been less stressed and been able to enjoy my last year before transitioning. Number Two: Getting an A is not critical to my existance. Sometimes classes can be difficult ,but that is okay. Classes are made to challenge you and to make you think. It is more important to learn the content and have a better understanding than to just learn the material in order to make the grade. Knowledge is more important than any amount of short term learning. Number Three: Enjoy the ride and laugh along the way. Life is too short to have days without laughter.

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If I traveled back to my senior year of high school the piece of advice I would give myself is to ask the teachers I had currently and past teachers what lessons they learned in college and any advice they had to give me. Many people look over the fact that teachers are not only there to teach you the state mandated curriculum but they are also a wealth of knowledge about life including college. Some of the best college advice I did get was from my Comparative Governments teacher and I imagine many different teachers would have sound advice to help ease my transition. Because I lived in a town where people had moved to from all over I could have gotten so many different perspectives to help prepare me for what was awaiting me as I arrived at college. Even such a simple act as asking a teacher to tell you about their college and life experiences can help you not only better prepare yourself for the daunting task that is college but you might also learn some interesting facts about your teachers that you otherwise would have never discovered.

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Don't get frustrated. Applying to colleges and scholarships and trying to find a place to live is so overwhelming. I only wish I knew that stressing out over every little detail wasn't necessary. I have learned over the past few years that things will all work out and everything will be ok. Take one thing at a time. And enjoy the process; this is the beginning to the rest of your life. Believe in yourself. In this world, there is only one person that will always be there for you and that is you. If you don't believe in yourself, then why should anyone else? You are the best advocate for yourself. Fight for what you want and don't dare let anyone tell you no. Never give up. One of my favorite quotes is, "Trials and tribulations in life are mandatory, but suffering is optional." I only wish I knew who the author was. Life sometimes gives you lemons; you just have to figure out how to make lemonade. There will always be speed bumps along any path you choose. Life is about overcoming these obstacles and making the most of it. Good luck!

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Be confident. Be aggressive. Give 100% in all that you do. Choose wisely those things in which you participate. At first, just test the waters; get a feel for the activity or club you are checking out. If it fits you, then jump all in. If it does not fit, be bold enough to say "no" and move on. Definitely make friends, invite new faces to your group(s), and develop those friendships as if they will be yours for life. "Be" a friend for life--to at least one person on campus. Develop a relationship that can be counted on through thick and thin, in good and bad times, sort of like family. Academics DO count. It is a competitive world out there, and economic times are tough, so we must all do our best-academically, finacially, relationally, spiritually, or otherwise. So give your education and the whole experience of college life your all. It is certainly a privilege, an honor, and a freedom that we should never take for granted. Take that approach, and maybe you will make a difference in the lives of many you meet today and tomorrow.

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I would tell my high school self the following statements about his upcoming revelation: Go for it. Don't hold back. College is the time where the greatest of changes happen. These changes will be the best things to ever happen to you. You had your fun in high school, but starting a brand new slate? -- it is priceless. However, there is one thing that you have to remember: work hard. The rewards don't come free, but working hard isn't all that...hard. I mean you've made pretty good grades up to now, so just keep doing what you do! But hey, there's that one habit that you REALLY need to stop doing: procrastinating! In college, assignments have due dates that cannot be changed no matter what, and these assignments aren't always the easiest. So get used to putting pencil to paper instead of finger to video game controller!! I know you; it's like we're practically twins, you and I. Listen to these words of encouragement, and you'll shine the brightest. Remember: don't hold back. The future is yours to grab... will you take it?

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that I should only apply to three colleges and that I should pick the college that I feel embodies my morals, my career goals, and has many activities to be involved in. I wasted many stressful hours my senior year applying to six different colleges. This was not necessary for me to do and if I could do it again I would only have applied to my top three. I feel that it is important to go to a college with students who can relate to my personal morals. I am overjoyed that I didn't go to the same college as most of my highschool peers. I got the opportunity to meet many different types of new people and create many lasting relationships that I wouldn't have otherwise made. It is also important to find a college that can introduce you to employers and give you opportunities to be seen. Lastly, it is extremely important to attend a college that has many activites for students. Pick something new and exciting to do, the opportunities are endless.

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I would advise: "You need to try to avoid procrastination in order to perform your best and feel relieved when you get your assignments done ahead of time. Also, make sure to use the resources you have to your advantage. Furthermore, failing to plan is planning to fail. You need to learn to plan things ahead of time and make sure you have a backup plan because sometimes things won't always happen the way you want them to. Focus on what is in front of you but don't forget about what could happen.” I also would advise “to go outside of your comfort zone sometimes and don't be afraid to take risks. No risk means no reward. Do things that will make you feel proud of yourself." If I had chosen to follow this advice, I would now most likely have gotten some type of internship for the summer and not be at home. I could have gone to the Career Development Center earlier before all the openings had been filled. If I had developed a plan earlier on and focused on that plan, I would probably be one step closer to reaching my career goals.

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