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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?

Hey Nick; it's you from the future. Hard to believe, I know. But just trust me, and listen up. Don't make such a quick decison on college, man. take the time to really get to know the undergraduate programs available at the schools, and look into every facet. A little bit of resarch will go a long way. Don't rush into a college decision, or you're going to keep transferring. It's just going to bring you stress and cost you money. Base your decision off of what will be best for your future, not which one has the most prominent name, or which one seems the most fun. The college experience will be what you make it, wherever you are. Oh, and another thing. Work on your time management and organization before you leave. These are the two most important skills to have in college. Know what is expected of you, do it in a timely fashion, and put forth the effort to make everything you do reflect your ability as a student. Good luck, and find your passion. Chase your dreams and make them a reality. Go get em'.

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Figure out what you want to do after college, and find a college that will prepare you for that. If you want to be trained in a skill or trade, choose a college or university that focuses on doing that. Don't settle for a University or college that does that thing on the side if you are serious about it. GO MEET THE FACULTY AND SEE THE FACILITIES before accepting an offer to enroll! Go talk to other students during the week days. If students are not receptive to you walking up to them and talking to them around campus when you are a senior in high school, and asking questions-- like at the lunch hall, or whatever, then they will not be receptive to you as a freshman in highschool, either. I visited NCSU several times before attending, and met faculty, toured facilities, I even went to a summer camp here to stay in the dorms before moving into them. I talked to students who were assigned to talk to me-- and random people I met in common areas. Be friendly, focus on your goals, and college is fine.

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The things that I have gotten out of my college experience thus far is that it is a far cry from high school. In high school, one can sometimes be successful without requiring a lot of studying. This not the case in college. In high school, you find friends and you are together for most of your high school career. This is not the case in college. The valuable thing that I have learned in college is that life is not about skating along. In order to be success and achieve goals of significance, one has to work hard. This was something that I found out transitioning from a high school in a rural county to a large school such as North Carolina State University. It has been valuable also to attend this college because one quickly learns that no man or woman is an island. When attending a large campus one meets lots of new people and receives lots of networking opportunites. It prepares you for adulthood because this phase is the start of thinking and making the right decisions independently.

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As a high school senior, I spent the majority of my time preparing for a life-changing event- the birth of my daughter. At the time, I was very anxious and worried about the changes that were about to take place. If I could give advice to that "me," I would tell myself that everyone goes through some kind of struggle. I would say that hard work pays off, no matter how tough the process was. I would also take a minute to encourage myself to keep going, and to not worry about the negative predictions others had. I would tell myself that being a student is hard, and being a mother is hard, which makes being a full-time mother and student incredibly difficult, but that I would be able to manage it. I would also tell myself to focus on being a parent first, and student second, and a worker third. I would tell myself that it is okay to make mistakes because I would one day learn from them. I would tell myself to work hard for good grades, but never put too much stress on myself. Life will be rewarding.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, the advice that I would give myself about making the transition from high school to college would be to learn how to keep working hard in order to achieve my goals in life. College is not an easy place to transition into from high school. In high school, I had to work pretty hard to keep my grades up but the classes are not nearly as challenging as the classes that I am taking now that I am in college. I would tell myself to just keep working hard and to keep my mind on the ultimate prize which is to become a great meteorologist. I would also tell myself that, when a difficult class comes along and it is very hard for me to understand it, I should not be afraid to ask for help. Most of the people that graduate from college had to have tutoring help for at least one of their classes. Most importantly, I would tell myself to never give up and continue to work hard in order to acheive my life-long dream of being a meteorologist.

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Sometimes, you just won't be the best. In high school, I wanted to be perfect. I was the perfect "A student" and never got a C on anything. I seemed near invincible! Unfortunately, I faced a harsh reality when I came to college. I already knew college would be difficult; but, I honestly had no idea. I still remember talking to one of my upperclassman friends about my goals for first semester and she laughed and said "Eboni, you may have gotten a 4.3 GPA in high school, but here at State, you'd be lucky to get a 3.5". Despite my better judgment, I let her advice go through one ear and out the other untilI had a rude awakening just a few weeks later. I've always viewed my communications class as a breeze until I received an 81 on my recent test. I wanted to burst into tears. I've never had experience getting a grade so low. After a long talk with one of my teachers in high school, I realized that it's okay to not be perfect all the time, but I wish I learned that a long time ago.

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Next year be different. Do not go into this thinking you can continue to not study and get A's, or thinking your teacher will curve the test. You need to work hard and be proud of the grades you achieve and not allow yourself to put your social life first. That being said, have a social life. Go out meet new people on the weekends, they will be who you go to when the stress of class becomes too much or when you just cant figure out that physics problem. Yes, you will be taking physics, math, and a lot of chemistry. However, so will most people you meet. They will become some of your most vaulable resources and will be there when you will inevibly get a grade you are not so ok with. This grade, be it a C, D, or possibly even an F, is ok as well. You are not perfect and one bad grade, while an idncator you need to study more, will not ruin you and your college career. Just remember to get enough sleep, to put forth effot, and to find good study partners to suffer though the classes with you.

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If I had a time machine allowing me to journey back in time, I would tell myself about the future, and how everything will work itself out; I would just have to wait and see. I had ADHD, so the school kept testing my brain’s functions, charting how smart a machine thought that I was, and turned out that the testing thought I was dumb. I then would advise myself to trust my intelligence, and not let ADHD limit me. I would remind myself that I had the power to overcome any trials, and that no one, not even my mother could make me feel inferior unless I give them consent to make me feel that way. I would tell myself that I can do anything as long as I keep my eyes on the sky looking upwards toward my Higher Power, and let Him lead my life so I can conquer anything I set my mind to. I would just tell myself that life happens, and sometimes it is hard, but it is a great feeling just being alive. Just slow down and enjoy: it is rough and kind, and unfair, and wonderful all rolled up in one.

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I would say to follow your dreams, but make sure that you're chasing them for yourself rather than because everyone else wants you to follow that particular career choice. Make sure to find two or three good friends so that you will have someone to hang out with and talk to in your free time, in you have any. Don't try to take too many credit hours at a time because you will burn out quickly if you do. Remember to take a few minutes each day to just breath; and remind yourself that you are smart, even though you may not feel like it at the moment, and things will get better. Understand that courses are more fast-paced than you're used to so be prepared to work harder and learn more on your own. Learn better ways to study as soon as possible because the tests will kill you if you don't. And, most of all, take it one day at a time and have fun when you can because it will be over soon. I would rather have a degree and life-long friends than one saying I gave up friendship for grades.

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If I could go back in time and give myself advice on college, I would say make the decision that is best for your future, financially and socially. I had applied to a few out of state schools, and while they were great, it really came down to the cost. While it would be great to attend an out of state school where you do not know many people from your high school, you have to look at the big picture ten years down the road. No one wants to graduate with over eighty thousand dollars of debt from student loans. Though it may seem if you go to a college in your own state or near by that you will already know everyone there, however, I can say that even though I go to school thirty minutes from my old house, I do not see these people all the time. You make new friends and introduce yourself to people who you thought you would never come across at a fraction of the price of an out of state institution. A social life can be developed whether you're close to home or across the country.

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