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Northeastern Illinois University

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

Life is what you make of it, weather hard or easy, but nothing worth having comes free. During your walk through life, there are going to be struggles, challenges, and stressors. Also, there are going to be happy moments, joyous occasions, successful breakthroughs, and breathtaking adventures. However, it is how you perceive and react to what you encounter, which will determine a positive or negative outcome for your situation. Never wish your experiences could have been different, or let obstacles stop you from achieving your goals. My advice to myself would be as the Nike tagline says: “Just do it!” Take all steps needed to pursue all of your dreams and a higher education. If you want recognition, growth, and success, do not sit around waiting on someone to direct you. As a tip for achieving your goals: evaluate the situation, discipline yourself, prepare in advance, and pray for courage and strength. Always take teacher's criticism as fuel to accomplish your life’s goals and dreams. College marks another phase of life, therefore take lots of notes and strive for greatness. It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.

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I understand that high school is very stressful. You have incredible drive to get to college where life will magically become better. That is only half-truth. Life does get better when you get out of high school. College is a wonderful place of opportunity, self-discovery and freedom. However, with freedom, there comes a cost. My biggest advice to high school "Ellen" is to find self-love, confidence and gratitude because you can be your own worst enemy. When you leave home, you are leaving behind a built-in support system, which you currently resent because, well, you are a teenager. The fear and loneliness that comes with change is difficult to navigate. College is an easy place to become a recluse. You will find yourself desperately trying to control your life and hide your feelings. However, fight self-destructive urges, fake confidence, and it will eventually start to become real. You are a kind, quirky, intelligent person that people want to know! Force yourself to branch out and find that support system, so when you are having hard days, you have someone to reach out to...someone who will help stop you from getting in your own way.

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The journey that you will embark after graduating high school will be an even more difficult one in which you must take seriously and commit to as you approach the upcoming educational endeavors as if you are extremely ravenous for. You must convince yourself that your life will highly depend on the choices that you will be facing during your transition in the world of independence while in college. The opportunities that will be introduced to you during your college years will be transitory as your high school years have been but a preparation for changes in your adult life and future. Ensure that once accepting your journey in pursuing a higher academic educational challenge, you are confident in accepting all the trials that will come before you during those years. Learning to organize and prioritize will be some of the qualities that you will soon learn to dominate in the realm of education. Do not be discouraged of the required transformations that you will face but surrender yourself to the new environment in which you find yourself in and acquire what you are entitled to – an education. Take a hold and control of your goals and never lose focus.

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I have come up with four pieces of advice I have learned througout college, that I would tell myself as a high school senior. My most important one is making the right decision. There will be plenty of influences and easy resources to steer away from school work and academic focus, but a constant reminder of what you are in school for should be more than enough to keep you focused. Another piece of advice is be organized. This is a very important one because it brings makes the rest of my advices flow and more natural. When organized, you will have time to do school work, keep up with important events and school functions, and be prepared for the unexpected. An agenda really helps to keep this advice in check. This also makes my thrid piece of advice for me quite simple; be timely. Create a schedule that includes class time, study time, eating time, work time, sleep timeand any other activities that should take up your time. Lastly, be resourceful. Iniciate a relationship with teachers, your adviser and academic clubs to better facilitate your college experience. All these are piece of advice from college Carlos, to senior Carlos.

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I would stress the importance of choosing a major that will be of use, throughout your entire adult life. The transition from high school to college is often a rocky one. Therefore, a great deal of thought needs to go into exactly what goals should be set. The most important long term goal is the selection of a major, with the short term goal being what types of classes that one plans to initially enroll. Contained within this decision, is whether one wants to major in subjects that have interested them throughout grade school and high school. Another consideration is whether one chooses a major in regards to the monetary compensation that comes with the studying of a specific major. This perhaps is the one decision that will shape an individual's life more than any other. Herein lies the dilemna involved in making the decision to attend college, along with the monumental choice of what subject to study. The transition between high school and college is the ladder between childhood and adulthood. This is why the decision at this relatively young point in life will have ramifications throughout the life of an individual.

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Having completed a full year of in college, I would give myself advice as a highschool senior in Financial, abstinence, and dedication. To begin with financially based, if I could go back in time I would choose to save money. I would have started working as soon as possible so that I could save up for my college career. Instead of spending my money on things that were not necessary, I would open a savings account for college only. I would have also started applying for a lot of scholarships back then. I do realize the importance that financial plays in the college life. Following financial, I would give myself would be the importance of abstinence. I would give myself and other students to practice abstinence because being a single parent of a two year old is extremely difficult at times when pursuing a degrees. Being a full time mom, a part time worker and a full time student is a challenge everyday. Homework and studying comes hard to accomplish when you have to give attention to your baby. I would encourage young girls like me to really think about the consequences that come when having a baby before college.

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Read, read, and read more. Nothing can make you feel happy, excited, and erudite as a good book. News, textbooks, magazines, novels, just read. Make up your mind, think fast, decide what you would like to be, and do it. Take the classes. Do not be undecided. Stay close to the ones you admire most, your role models. They can teach and help a lot from their experience. Call, talk and ask for help, for advice, for guidance. Do not think you know everything. Do not be a hypocrite, a selfish, or a greedy. Do not be lazy, banal, caustic, capricious, despotic, invidious, irascible, phlegmatic, naïve, or stubborn. Be punctual, meticulous, astute, perspicacious, harmonious, altruistic, funny, philanthropic, courageous, and lucid. Do not isolate, and do not hesitate to make friends, to talk to people, to work, to volunteer, and to interact. Do not waste 3 years after high school to raise the nephew, the sister can find a nanny. Do not marry or have kids at 21 years old, or when you are in school. Finish college, live your life, go out, have fun. You can find a husband any time, but you can never turn back the time.

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I would advise myself to study more regularly and to actually read the material assigned. In college, these two things are much more important than they are in high school, but to start good habits of doing these things now will make it much easier to transition into college life. I would also advise myself to work on time management. Although you may spend much less time actually in class, the homework, research, and paper writing takes far more time than it does in high school. Learning to balance your study, work, social and sleep schedules is probably the hardest part of transitioning into college life. I know it is said that college students never sleep and at times that is true, but getting adequate amounts of sleep is actually very important. Sleep is not only helpful for your health and helps prevent you from getting sick, it also helps you retain the information you are learning in your classes and allow you to be refreshed and ready to take on that big calculus exam. So take it from me, prepare yourself now for your transition into college life by following these few helpful tips.

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If I would have known what life was going to bring me after high school, I would have prepared myself a whole lot better. If you are still in high school consider yourself lucky, and a chance to view this letter as a caution of things to come. After your high school experience I hope that you consider college. “Education is the key to success” I know what you’re thinking you’ve heard it all, you’re worried about financial assistance, and you’re worried about money for other expenses. I say don’t worry, college and universities have multiple ways of assisting you with your studies. Above all, “stay in school, school is cool.” On another note consider the fact that “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” then realizing this you understand the importance of knowledge of your surroundings. Every day is like the birth of Adam and Eve, you make decisions every day. The forbidden tree represents learning life through your own experiences, and the rest of the garden is your opportunity to stay in school. You chose your path.

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My college experience started a week after i graduated from high school. I graduated a year early from high school and didn't really have a break between transitioning from high school to collge life. I joined a program called Proyecto 'Pa Lante which was intended to help students succeed in college, the same way the AVID program helped prepare me for college. Through entering in the program I had to be interviewed which in my opinion helped me prepare for job interviews. I succeeded at my interview and was even offered to take free classes over the summer in a program called Summer Transition Program(STP). This program offered two free classes at three credit hours each for entering college freshman. I learned alot about myself as well as college through this experience and am glad i took the opportunity. I learned the things arounf my school so i dont get lost and i learned that college work is more serious than high school. We had a tutor and counselor helping us every step of the way. The program lasted about two months. Now i am in need of money for the following semester.

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