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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?

If I could go back in time as a high school senior I would give myself some very valuable insight. I wouldn't tell myself to try really hard on my AP Bio test in May, or to make one last attempt at the SAT. After spending five short months here at college I know exactly what I would tell myself. "Be confident," this is what I would tell that worried, scared, stressed senior at Topsail High School about to leave home, leave her comfort zone, and step out to embark on the next chapter in her life. I would tell myself that instead of wasting time being worried, or uncomfortable with leaving-instead be excited and thrilled at the thought of a new chapter, a fresh start, a clean horizon. College is about growing up; it?s about making yourself and making your mark. As I have grown so much in the past few months away at college I have learned that confidence is key, I now know that I am important, valuable and I have the power to make my life into something great, whatever I want. So "be confident, be you," is what I would tell myself.

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There is no such thing as being too open minded. It is important to try new things and push yourself to talk to new people. Actively try to make friends, even if you are reluctant at first. It is often easier to meet people in the beginning of semesters because everyone is as relatively friendless as you are. Remember, you are all called Freshmen for a reason. Put in the effort to approach your neighbors in your classes and dorms. Chat with someone at the lunch table. You never know who will have the same interests as you, or who is just looking for a good friend. Think about what you would have done without friends in high school and now imagine how hard college life would be without at least a few dependable guys and girls. Sometimes friendships may not always last, but at least you gave yourself to opportunity to find someone you can have fun with. To help find others that you may be compatible with, mix up where you eat, when you work out, what you do for fun, and who you hang out with. A friend of a friend can be your friend too.

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If I had the chance to time travel and talk to myself as a high school senior so I could have a more worthwhile college experience, I would advise myself to avoid procrastination, always plan ahead of time and don’t be afraid to take risks. “Be sure to use your precious college time wisely so you can feel relieved when you graduate and ready to move on into the real world,” I would tell myself. Remember what your dad said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” “Make sure you have a backup plan because sometimes things won't always happen the way you want them to. Also remember to focus on what is in front of you but also don't forget about what potentially could happen.” In addition, I 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 when you look back on, will make you feel proud of yourself." “If you choose to follow this advice, you could have an internship for the summer, not be at home and be one step closer to reaching your career goals.”

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Dear Matt, As you make this transition from high school to college, I want you to keep a few things in mind. First, you need to work on your time management skills. When you get to college you will have to keep up with various assignments, papers, exams, and labs. The professors here are not like your high school teachers, meaning that they will not remind you of these tasks on a daily basis. You must learn how to effectively budget your time to keep up with your classes and extracurricular activities. My next piece of advice to you is to get involved. Join a couple of clubs or organizations that you?re interested in. These groups will let you make connections with students that have similar interests and you never know what benefits may result from your involvement. Finally, I just want to remind you to enjoy yourself. You've landed yourself at a university with plenty to offer. Take advantage of all that is there and make every effort to appreciate every day. Good Luck, Matt

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I would tell myself the people you are in high school with are not your friends. College is where you will find your best friends that truely care about you. College is where you need to be and high school does not define you. There are more people out there like you who are hard working and driven to do the right thing. Your relationship with your parents will get better and you will miss them more than you can ever imagine. Life will get harder in some aspects because your grandmother is going to pass away the first week of college and you will feel helpless but you will get through it. The loneliness that you felt during high school will subside into laughter and many cups of coffee with some of the best people in the world. Professors are not scary people. They are just normal humans who put their shoes on the same way you do and they can give you oppurtunities of a lifetime. And yes your first semester freshman year you will help write a book, and your name will be published on this book. The door is open so run to your new life.

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So you are about to go to college I hear? Well, I have a little advice for you. Be sure to apply to as many scholarships as you can. take any AP or duel enrollment classes you can. Even if you get a low grade, its still good to try. Also, be sure to spend a lot of time with your family. They will not be around nearly as much once you leave for college. But, most importantly, make sure to spread out your group of friends. You may have plans to go to college with your best friend and think that will be plenty of friends in college, but plans my change, friends may move away or decide to different colleges. Having a large net of friends increases your chances of knowing at least a few people in the first few weeks of college. For the first few weeks, even months, having a familiar sight will allow you to adapt quicker and easier to college life. Soon you will make new groups of friends, but staying close to your old highschool buddies is extremely important. Most all, good luck and may the class curves be ever in your favor.

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Making the college transition was much easier than I thought it would be. However, there were still many challenges that I faced that I did not think I would in college. First of all, I was a straight A student in high school and I did not need to study in order to make A's on all of my assignments. Coming to college, I used the same attitude for my first semester, and it did not turn out the way I wanted. If I were to go back and talk to myself, I would definitely discuss how the challenging cirruculum of college is much more challenging than high school. I would tell myself to not give up on studying in any class, no matter how boring the material. I would also let myself know that I would be able to make friends without any difficulty and that everything would be fine once I moved into the dorm. There is no more important advice to an entering freshman than to study and work hard right from the beginning. That way, in telling myself to study from the beginning, I would not have to make up for unsatisfactory grades last semester.

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I graduted in 2007 from Sonoma State University with a Bachlors Degree in Communications with emphasis in Radio Broadcasting. This degree opened a few doors for me because I was finnaly on the same playing feild on a vast majority of the work force. However with little work experience it was hard for me to find a job in my feild. Last semester I took a Music Fundamentals class at my local JC and found out that they added an Audio Production for Digital Media Certification Program. I belive this program has the tequinical skill my degree is lacking. My current job is outside of my feild and aside from paying my bills, it doesn't make me happy. Finding the dream job is a high priority in life and nothing could make me happier. Education at the formal level (college) is the only way I know how to achive my dream. I am thankful that I went to college straight out of high school because what I learned no one can ever take away from me. I want to go back for this vocational degree at my local JC to do what I love; record music and sound.

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My college experience has been remarkable. As most freshman entering college, I came in to college intending to have the time of my life and hoping I would get an education. During my sophomore year I was given the opportunity to work for the greatest mouse ever through the Disney College Program. So I left North Carolina to move to Florida where I gain my complete independence. The Disney College Program was college without the classes. So I lived it up and had the best time of my life. It turned out that I allowed myself to have a little too much fun. As my program had ended and I was getting ready to return to school, I found out that I was going to be a father. It was at that moment when I realized that with great freedom comes an even greater responsibility. After learning that in less than nine months I was going to be a dad, the realization hit me that college is way more than having fun. For the first time I understood that getting a quality education was vital to me being able to get a good job and support my daughter.

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You’re about to be a freshman in college, it’s crazy, right? First of all, you need to do what makes yourself happy and be done with all the rest. Too much time I spent worrying about what other people thought and doing things I didn’t enjoy just because I was following along with the crowd. Once you get to college you realize none of that stuff matters anyway. What really matters in life is that you are happy with the person you have become. Stay focused, and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. The transition into college is easy when you just let it happen. Don’t overanalyze everything. You will gravitate towards the people that you get along with, and it will be easy to create friendships that way. Last but not least, you are going to love the university you attend. You will find pride in your university, so much pride you’ll fight for it, knowing now that this is now your second home. You grow up so fast, so I ask that just every once in a while, you stop and consider how truly amazing life is, and appreciate it.

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