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Northern Arizona University

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

It wasn't long ago that I was a senior in high school. My school offered a great program that allowed high school students to take college classes that were credited in both schools. If I were to go back I would tell myself to take advantage of every opportunity I had to take those classes. I only took two my senior year but looking back I would have done more throughout high school. My choices in classes would have been very different as well. I would have taken more humanities classes instead of short term interests. Humanities courses offer a variety of opportunities in different fields of study. As for education majors they are the core of prerequisites required to get into an undergraduate program. I have worked very hard in my education and I'm finishing a four year degree in three years. I feel that I could have been more prepared and not taken quite the course load if I had taken more appropriate classes in high school.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, that would mean going back over 28 years. At the time I graduated high school in 1986, my sole desire was to get married, have children, and be the best wife and mother I could possibly be. I did not have the financial resources to attend college at that time, and in all honesty, I wanted to start my family. It was always my intention to go to college once my children were grown, which is what I have done. As such what I would tell my high school self is to enjoy the journey, that the time you have with your children will end all too soon, appreciate every moment and trust that things will work out just as they are meant to. I would also give her a hug and implore her not to sweat the small stuff. I would do my best to convince her that she need not stress about the trivial things in life and to encourage her to let go of her fears, for I know the price she will pay.

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If I could go back in time and talk to yourself as a high school senior I would tell myself to take it easy and enjoy moments. I have been in college since the summer of my junior years on a scholarship at South Mountain Community College called ACE, which just stands for Achieving College Education. So by the time I transfer to Northern Arizona University I complete most of my class that now I taking class that don't count since I only have a few left until I graduated but they can't be taken all at once and sometime they are not offered every semester. I planned every detail out that I feel like I am losing steam plus I didn't get the chance to be more involved with extra curricular activities or functions. I have always been on the fast track that I feel I didn't get to really experience college life like I wanted to. So my advice would break down to enjoy life, plan a little but take detours if they arise to see and enjoy the scenery.

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As I approach the conclusion of my freshman year in college, there are quite a few things I wish I had know while still in high school. Today I look back at what I stressed over and I realized that most of it wasn't worth the stress. Yes life is hard and full of obsticles but you have to learn to face them head on with a smile on your face, other wise the ride wouldn't be worth it. I stressed about school, friends, sports, and yes even relationships, and all though everything that didn't seem to go my way felt like the end of the world, it wasn't, it was merely the beginning. I wish that I would have spent more time trying to decipher what was right for me at the time then what was expected of me. The pressures and trials I was put under made me feel like the whole weight of the world could come crashing down on me at any moment. Now I realize that you just have to live every day and no matter what your put up against, the sky will clear.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would recommend becoming very familiar with an academic advisor early on because there is nothing like being an upperclassmen and feeling lost because you didn't take advising seriously. I would tell myself that you only get one opportunity to take a test, so don't blow off studying. Remember, there is the pain of discipline now or the pain of regret later! Get involved in school any way you can! Join a club or Greek life, play intramural sports or even join the robotics team! Just do SOMETHING! Go to your professor's office hours even if it is just to introduce yourself. Trust me, having your professor know your name is a good thing! I would also tell myself to enjoy dorm life! It is a crazy, fun environment and a place where you can meet a bunch of great new people! Finally, I would let myself know that the "freshman 15" really can happen if you're not careful!

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When looking for a college, it is extremely vital to examine the overall experience you would recieve while attending that institution. Most people believe that academic quality is the most important aspect of school, but more often than not, social experiences matter at least as much as the knowledge you gain. You should look at what you want to get out of school in addition to the degree. What kind of person would you like to become? What college will help you become this person? You should look at the environment there as well as the social acceptance of individuality. It is very important to be surrounded by a vast variety of culture, ideals, religions, ethics, as well as a diverse population of people. This will allow inevitable tolerance and will expose you to a significant expanse of various opinions in order to create a valid and justified opinion of your own. This is the absolutely only way to derive well-roundedness.

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Advice I would give to students is to choose the college that fits what they want to do. Not a school in a city that they like, or because its by the beach, or whatever their love for that city may be. Really focus on the school and what it has to offer you. If you just choose a school your friend is going to go or a city you like, you might get there and totally hate it. I would really encourage students to leave their home town and go out of state. It allows you to get away from your parents and learn the responsibility of living on your own, and you will meet so many new people. Check into the school programs as well so you can get involved in the school. Advice for parents I would say help your student and encourage them but do not make the decision for them. College is a wonderful experience if both of you work together to find what is best for your student, and we all know thats what a parent wants most for their son or daughter.

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I know it seems like NAU will suck, expecially because you just got your acceptance letter to San Diego State, but you will meet great friends, you future husband, and find who you really are at NAU along with finding the degree you heart really desires. The school will not challange you to the point of frustration, but will challange you enough. You will get to continue snowboarding, hiking, camping and fishing just like you love to do. On campus living is not that bad, and afforable. Oh and did i mention your really cute future husband??? haha. NAU will be lacking a bit in the advising department, and it will really piss you off at first, but it will challange you to become a better future educator and teach you amazing things to bring into your future classroom. Oh, and there is a really great community college nearby where you will imporve you dancing skills and passions greatly! You will have the best time of your life! :)

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Dear Jordan Rae, You’re almost in college and I can tell you already, you will love it! The only thing you need to be sure to do it your homework. It’s a bit hard to keep different class-work on one schedule and to make time for it, but get a calendar and that will help out a lot. Also, be sure to friend the girls in the hall, just in case you get locked out of your room, you want someone to keep you company. And do NOT eat at Star Ginger; you might get sick for a couple days. The very last thing I want to let you in on is to apply for scholarships—a lot of scholarships. You won’t have enough money to pay off the first year and you know that, but hopefully you will get enough for the second year. Remember to stay positive, even when you get you’re loan reminders. If you get too hung up on those, you can lose focus on your goal—you education. I know you'll make it. Learn lots, have fun, and don’t give up hope! Sincerely, Jordan Rae

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If I could go back to being a senior in high school, I would change a few things in my life and routine that could have helped my transition into college easier. I would have worked harder in all of my classes, practiced better study habbits, and gained all the extra knowlegde I could. I also would have taken as many honors, accelerated, and AP classes as possible. This almost forces you to form better study habbits since the material is more difficult and moving at a faster pace. Also, if there is a chance to take a high school course and get free college credit for it, why not work a little harder to better yourself and your education? I found college level math to be extra difficult and I wish I would have stuck out the harder math courses in high school to get more of a head start into college. Always keep your head up and never stop trying, keep good friends close and let go of ones that aren't worth your time.

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