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North Dakota State University-Main Campus

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

The decision to find the 'right' college can be extremely stressful. Hours and hours can be spent on the decision. Here are a few tips. First, decide on what major you or your student would like to pursue. A good idea would be to have a few in mind and find a college that has all of them, because once you enter a program you may find it is not for you. After this is done, you have to decide on your other requirements for a school: cost, distance from home, size of population, and just overall feeling you get from visits to the campus. Hopefully, you will find a campus that meets all or most of your requirements. After that process, you begin your experience. Get a feel for how much is required of you and prepare yourself for that committment. Work hard and meet people that will help you succeed. As your doing all this you also have to find the balance between friends and school. Focusing solely on one will lead to places you do not want to be, failed from school or alone. The balance will help you remain happy and ahead in your studies.

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If I were able to go back to my senior year of high school , I would give myself the most important advise I have learned since being in college of needing to "just be yourself" and "strive for academic success". High school is just a small piece of the big puzzle called life. Unfortunately, too often teenagers place more importance on what clothes they wear and what group they belong to vs concentrating on what is important once on their own. These all too important social aspects of high school , are soon lost in the mutlicultural aspects of college life. While in college you are thrust into an environment of people from diverse backgrounds. What matters now is not who you know, not what you wear, but rather what you know. High school students need to concentrate on what they are learning, what they can do for their community, and where they will be able to best use this knowledge vs who they know, what they wear, and where the next social event will be held. Academic performance is the key to unlocking the world around you.

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I would tell myself to take a lot of AP classes and do well in all my classes. Apply for more scholarships and accept more loans so that I can have extra money to buy books and not run out. You should always check if your professors give good notes and how well they teach at ratemyprofessor.com. Talk to other upperclassmen in your major about which classes to take and which professors are the best. Always stay organized and make sure to always stay on top of your assignments becasue you're expected to do your own work. You need to take responsibility for yourself, in college you have to propel yourself to study a lot more than you do in high school. Take extensive notes and study a lot before test. Due to large lecture halls you don't always have the opportunity to talk to professors so you should go and talk to them and don't wait too long to get help when you're having trouble. Join a club so that you can make new friends. Always stay optimistic, a good attitude and knowing how to handle stress is very important for your success.

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When making the transition from high school to college, I did not have any trouble moving from home and meeting new people. However, there has been trouble getting over old habits. Having the ambition to do the things that I ought to do, like exercising and completing homework, is more difficult now that no one is there to see it through. Without that external authority figure, it is much harder to force myself to get things done and the impact of not doing those things is evident. I wish that I had the drive to put them into some kind of routine before coming to school. The more important thing that I would to my high school self is to say that I am worth it. I deserve to get into my major of choice because I am going to put the effort into it. I deserve to attend a good school. I deserve to be surrounded by amazing people. I deserve the life that I make for myself. This is most important because this kind of attitude creates an unstoppable force. One that cannot be reckoned with. That is the kind of person I should strive to be.

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When thinking back to my high school self, I notice many different changes. The first thing I would tell myself is your research. By that I mean when selecting which college to attend, where you want to live, and what major you want to persue make sure to get all the information. Making these decisions is alot easier when you are fully informed. I would also tell myself to keep an open and accepting mind. When going from living at home with your parents for 18 years to moving out into a big unfirmiliar world with a lot of new things and people, its easy to get a sour taste in your mouth when things do not always go in your favor. Each person you encounter on your journey has a story, so it is important to remember that before forming an opinion about them. Lastly I would say, even though this period might be scary and nerve racking, enjoy it. Times seems to go by faster with every passing year and these moments that seem daunting or uncomfortable right now will be the ones you look back on as "the good ol' days'".

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Attending college has made me grow as a person. I have learned so much from stepping out of my "comfort zone" by meeting new people and participating in classes; something I thought I would never do. I believe people with a college education can expand their horizons and make themselves a valuable tool to the world. Being a knowledgable person allows you to teach and learn everyday. A person can continually learn no matter how much educational background they have. The world is expanding in newer technology by the second, which makes education an important and valuable tool to use for not only the present but also for the future. With my college experience I gained at North Dakota State University, I have been able to continue my education by currently completing my Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy. I love helping people and seeing them progress. If I can help one individual with a certain impairment or disability in any way, I believe I have learned so much and can continue to learn everyday from other people.

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As I look back I would have told myself that college is a bigger transition than you think. Everyone tells you that college is so much better than high school, which in parts is true. However, you are now officially an adult who is now debt because of college loans, and be prepared to empty for savings to cover the rest of your costs that your loans don?t cover. Don?t worry when you buy books for the first time and they cost a lot; it?s that way for nearly everyone. Whenever you get the chance fill out scholarships because they help out a lot. Also if you have a bad roommate the first semester; your second one will better. Yet the experience will teach you how to deal with difficult people. School will be everything you dreamed of , but it?s a bigger place than your small town high school. Don?t worry so much about pleasing others. If you feel like you?re in the wrong major change. It?s your choice, not theirs. Don?t worry, and when the world is trying to get you down, hold your head up high. You can succeed.

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The main piece of advice I would give students is to trust themselves and not be afraid. Going to college is a big step in life, and there is a lot of pressure on students to choose the right school, the right field, and the right activities. Choosing the right school out of those that accepted a student can be difficult, but often, the student knows which school will be right for them and have gotten overwhelmed with details of all the schools combined. A student needs to trust him or herself and make the decision on their own. Do not be afraid to try new things in college. There are many exciting courses, organizations, and ways to get involved on campus that can open new interests. Also, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are learning tools when used the right way. Finally, college can be the best years of your life. Stay open to opportunities and new ideas, and live in the moment. As the band Relient K sings, "it's funny how you find you enjoy your life when you're happy to be alive."

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After raising my children, I was starting to become a recluse, not even able to go outside of the house for work. Education has always been a love of mine and I finally made the leap to not only apply but to attend as a full time student. Even though I am old enough to be most of the students' mother, not one student looks at me as anything but a fellow student, allowing me to focus on my classes without the stigma of age. I am learning that I am as intelligent as I thought I was and I am finding joy in attending classes each day, for the love of education itself. I am currently commuting to school however my goal is to live on campus and work towards self-sufficiency. I currently am looking at a bachelor's degree but have also given it a thought to pursue either a masters or a PhD in Mathematics in either the current field that I am pursuing - Actuarial Sciences, or perhaps into a teaching field. I love attending school and love that it has given me a boost in self-esteem, learning that I can do this.

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Keep doing what you are doing. Next year, you are about to go through a transformation that you cannot plan for. Look for ways to become a better leader, encourage others to strengthen their leadership abilities, and give it all you've got. When you look back on your freshman year of college, I want you to know that you tried your best and made an incredible impact on the school. Look to other people if you ever need help and do not try to do everything by yourself because it is not possible. Your parents are not with you and they will not be helping you pay for college, but don't get discouraged because they support your every step. Apply for as many scholarships as you can so that you don't need to focus on money as much. The most important thing is your education. Things will go wrong, and family members will be sent to prison. Keep a level head and be the best that you can be, and there is no doubt that you will persevere. Stay strong and look to the future. There are better days ahead.

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