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Northern Arizona University

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

If I could go back in time and talk to my high school self, there would be several things I would say. First, I'd tell myself that getting a college education really is as important as everyone says it is. I'd mention that by having a college education you can get a great job doing what makes you happy. I'd also say that the money you make from this job you could purchase a home, buy a car, and/or even decide to attend graduate school. With having that knowledge, I would tell myself that when applying for colleges, pay attention to details, listen to your heart, and moreover, don't hesitate to ask for help. Applying for and attending college is a scary thing and will determine your future. Most importantly, I'd tell myself this, "you are in charge of your future, you decide what it will look like".

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I am from Houston, Texas, and just wanted to get away for college, so I am a freshman at Northern Arizona University. I am glad i had the chance to get away for a while, and learned more about myself from the experience, like for example that I do not get homesick, and also helped me gifure out what i want to do after college. While the college I attend is a great college, and has helped me greatly my freshman year, I would like to now return to Texas. After college, I plan to be a missionary in either Europe or Russia, and therefore would like to attend a private, Christian college to help me further along that path. My college experience away from home has taught me much about myself, and what i want to become in life, and in order to achieve my goal, it would greatly help to recieve a scholarship!

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Don't let your parents be too controlling about it, absorb their input and advice but when it comes time to apply and make decisions, just follow your heart and go where YOU think will be best for YOU. Have fun at college, be outgoing and meet new people, but remember, the main reason you are at college is to get a degree! Become organized and learn how to plan ahead and you will be fine. The faster you get out of your shell and meet people, the better your experience will be and you will not get as home-sick. I got slightly home-sick because I am from Hawai'i and went to school in Arizona but I learned to make friends fast, focus in the classroom and enjoy the outdoors which all led to an awesome freshman year at college and cast away and home-sickness. Goodluck with your college experience!

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I would tell my high-school self to slow down and focus on what I really want. I want to make my parents happy, but at the same time I want to go to a school that I know I can afford, because I will be the one paying back the loans, not them. I would tell myself not to worry about what my peers will think if I go to community college, and to instead be proud of myself for furthering my education. I would tell myself that my worth is not measured by what society thinks of me, because it will never measure up to what I truly believe is inside. I would tell myself that you haven't lived until you have made mistakes, and to go out into the world with an open mind and non-judgemental heart. If you stumble, you will have built a foundation around you so strong that you will not fall. You will not break.

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Keep your syllabus. In high school you looked at it once and that was it. In college you need it all semester long. Stay organized. If you can stay organized you will save yourself so much time. I lose my stuff just about everyday because I'm not organized. Also when you have time to sleep, sleep! Going out and partying is fun but in all honesty you need time to sleep. It will really take a toll on you if you don't get a decent amount of rest. Take advantage of being a freeloader off of your parents for as long as you can. In college you either need a job or some other way of making money. Mommy and daddy can't buy everything for you anymore. Stay grounded and go to class. In college it is so easy to just not go to class if you don't want to. If you get up and go you won't regret it.

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The most important part of the University/College you choose is the people who make up the campus. The students, resident assistants, counselors, teachers, staff, are the people you see most. If you don't enjoy them, then you can not enjoy yourself. The greatest experiene I had, was freshmen orientation when I met the people I was about the spend the next four years with. These people have become my closest friends, and have shown me things that I would have never seen before if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone. Don't be afraid to jump into something new, you won't regret it and when will you ever have the chance to try new things then when you are in college!? You don't want to be that person walking across the stage wondering if your experince was everything is could of been? Do YOU?

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I would tell myself to smile more. I feel like I learned late, but not too late, to do this. Learning this has made me feel better and has made people around me smile more. I probably wouldn't have felt as lonely my freshman year in college if I had just learned to smile more when I was in highschool. Its such a small thing to do, but makes the biggest difference. I would also tell myself how to find scholarships and to not give up if I couldn't find any right away. Noone at my highschool really pointed to where to go to find them when I would ask, and I ended up giving up for a while after hitting dead ends , until now. One last thing I would tell myself is to keep learning new things on my guitar, and that I can go out and play songs for strangers on campus without feeling self-consious.

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As a high school senior, I wish someone would have told me to visit as many college campuses as I could and then decided which one I would enjoy and succeed at. I would give myself advice on roommates and how it isn't the wisest decision to room with your best friend. I would tell myself to put myself out there and to try to make as many new friends as possible and to get involved with clubs on campus as well as getting to know the city in which my school is located. I would tell myself that college is completely different from high school and that you have to actually read your textbooks and study everyday to get good grades and succeed in your class. Also, I would tell myself to apply for more scholarships and to do anything I can to save money and not get into total debt from school.

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Going back and taking to myself, I would be sure to make the statement "It's only going to get harder," abundently clear. As a high-school senior I was lazy, just got average on everything. When I arrived at a University the next fall I was in shell shock. I would try to teach my past high school senior how to study. When I went to my classes I had horrid study habits and preferred to sleep over anything, and everything. Most importantly though, if I could go back, I would try to teach the importance of letting things go. I have a tendancy to beat myself up when I preform poorly, and I realize thats not the way to be. Learn from your mistakes and learn from them to do better the next time, is an important idea for me. Lastly, I would tell myself, your going to do great, no matter what.

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Attending college has been one of my smartest decisions. It has opened my eyes to the benefits and advantages of pursuing a degree beyond high school. In college classes I listen and take notes, much like in high school, but I also look into material at a much deeper level. Professors aim to really make me think about things. There is no late work, no constant reminders about due assignments and a lot of material is covered in a short amount of time. College has taught me a lot about responsibility. I am required to finish all my assignments on time, attend class, pay bills, and study without anyone reminding me. I love the personal freedom that college offers. I feel like I’m becoming more of an adult through my studies and the life lessons I’m learning from living on my own.

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