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Northern Arizona University

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

With both the opportunity to speak with my high-school self and the knowledge that I have acquired during my freshman year of post-secondary education, I would give myself several pieces of advice regarding the transition into college life. The first piece of advice regards the importance of scholarships and financial aid. Of all the different extra-curricular activities available, applying for scholarships is one of which I would advise my na?ve self to participate. Secondly, as I now know, living five hundred miles away from the individuals I care most about is a difficult aspect of college life. I would advise my high-school self to try not to worry about the separation. Even though all of those individuals are miles away, they will always remain close at heart. The final piece of advice I would give myself is to release any inhibitions and enjoy the time that I have at hand. A potpourri of people diversifies any college campus. So far I have met a variety of individuals. I would advise myself to be comfortable with my personality and semblance and find the friends who will enjoy me for exactly what I am.

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I chose Northern Arizona University because of its close proximity to my home. Naturally, this college was the choice of many of my companions from highschool. Going into the school year, I expected to cling tightly to my old friends and suffer my way through my first semester of this new education. Since leaving for break, I have had time to reflect on the last few months, and I realized that it was new friends that I had made that helped me through the first seventeen credits. I have gained more understanding from these new friends in 3 months than I have learned in years before. Furthermore as an athlete, I took advantage of Flagstaff's high altitude for my physical training. I didn't have the talent to make the varsity teams on campus, but the intramural sports were open for my benefit. I jumped quickly at the opportunity to play ultimate frisbee, and since joining the club, I have made great friends and I've grown so much both physically and mentally. Before my college experience began I was rather introverted, but being asked what I've gotten out of my college experience, my answer would be confidence.

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I would encourage high school students to take as great a variety of classes as they can. Learn about music, art, and literature, as well as science, math, and government. Learn with deep understanding, and do not just memorize for the test. Once in college, the requirements to focus on one or two areas increases and there might not be an opportunity until much later, for them to explore and broaden their interests. I believe that knowledge grows with each new bit of information learned and processed, and shapes who we are. I believe the goal of education is to teach students to think and how to think critically. It is incumbent upon the student, however, to be an active participant in this process. Education should open students' eyes to the world, inviting them into an experiential process of discovery - each step serving as a building block to the next - that will continue for a lifetime. High school is a perfect time to open those doors to new interests and begin really establishing a web of knowledge. Make high school a true learning experience and not simply a pre-employment technical school.

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My advice would be to make sure the classes you are taking at junior colleges will transfer (if you are transferring any classes) the way you expect them to. Contact the university registrar to confirm their transfer eligibility. Visit the school , take tours, and interview with applicable department heads. Find out how your college compares to others in the field of study you are persuing. Tour the campus, the town, and the surrounding area to see if it's a place you want to spend for a few years. Look into housing and the cost of living. If you know anyone that is attending, or attended this school, talk with them about their experiences. In order to not waste your time at college, plan on working hard and do your homework ahead of time. When you are at your school of choice, get to know upper class students. Become familiar with the potential difficulties with classes you will have to take. This will help you to schedule classes so that you will not have too many hard classes during the same term. You should get student opinions about various professors, but still realize that they are only opinions.

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If I were able to go back in time to my senior year in high school I could fill a book on the application, transition and general college experience. I?d remind myself the importance of keeping accurate records of everything that, no matter how slim the chances that could make the arduous process that much easier. Test scores, essays, academic awards, letters of recommendation, school contact information; all of these things are both tedious and essential to the process. So rather than going through the wildly frustrating task of finding them later, keep them all as they come , make copies and lock them away; in a few months you?ll thank yourself. But perhaps most important, is achieving and maintaining personnel motivation. At this point in our lives, hands are being let go and suddenly we find ourselves in more control of our futures than ever before, and so comes the responsibility. If you don?t go out of your way to make the necessary happen, you can be guaranteed that no one is going to do it for you, and that goes for more than just school but remains applicable with every step of independence gained.

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The advice I would give to parents about finding the right college would have to encirle an open-mindedness curiosity. There are a lot of good colleges out there that offer an abundance of similar activities. The parent should know what there child is looking for and know what they actually want out of college. This knowledge of ones child goes beyond just knowing about them and more along the lines of keeping and open source of communication with their child. Communication between a child and their parent will increase the potential for picking the right college. As for the student, choosing a college is not a very difficult decision once the location is settled it normally comes down to either where your friends are going, what has the best rates, and/or what college fit your academic needs. To make the best of your college experience you have to be open to new things. There are a lot of activities that go on on campus and one must realize this potential is there. College experiences revolve around friends and meeting the right ones will make your college experience flourish with rewarding results.

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College (noun)- an institution of learning at the highest level (dictionary.com). This is the true definition of college; a place where you learn in order to succeed in a future career. However, for me, college has been so much more than an institution of learning. In only one semester at Northern Arizona University, I have experienced more than I imagined possible. I started the year off with classes that will be a positive attribute to the rest of my college experience. I had teachers that offered valuable input and lessons that will be meaningful in shaping the rest of my time here. Not only have I been in classes that were enjoyable and important, I have become a part of Greek life. I participated in sorority recruitment and pledged to be in Pi Beta Phi. Joining a sorority has helped to make college an incredible experience. I have met girls I can forever be friends with and these “sisters” will always be there to support me, whether it be in life or school. Making these positive decisions have helped me to begin a new chapter in my life and I know these college experiences will guide me forever.

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I remember the fresh air stinging my face, as the breeze gently hugged my shoulders. I was silent for a while, taking in the campus under a warm blanket of sun. This was where I needed to be. With that realization resonating within me, I chose to attend Northern Arizona University. Because of that one decision, I’ve had a college experience unlike any other. On this campus, you’re an individual with your own major and your own lifestyle. You’ve chosen to be here; you want to be here. At the same time, you’re part of a greater community. On this campus, you’re surrounded by people who believe that success is attainable, and you have the tools to get there. You are a lumberjack, important and accomplished no matter what you do. With these characteristics, you can go far. You can push past a simple degree into a realm of true experience. The opportunities here allow many to witness what they treasure most, and challenge what they don't understand. It’s because of these things that an education here, has proven to be valuable. This is lumberjack territory, and this is where I’ll stay.

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College is like the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle, but for alarm clocks. "Ring, ring!" Snooze. "Ring, ring!" Snooze. Repeat as needed until you missed your first two classes and you are panicking in your freshly decorated dorm room looking across at your roommate wondering why they did not think to wake you up. Unfortunately, college is also a lot like living on your own, and you are responsible for your own schedule. This means waking up on time, attending all your classes, doing your homework, and not staying out until 3am before a big exam because ‘you can’. I cannot think of more important advice anyone can give or receive: take responsibility for your own actions and everything else will fall into place. Hold yourself accountable. It is not your alarm clocks fault it didn't ring loud enough; get a louder one. It is not your professors fault you failed the test; study harder. It is not your parent’s fault that you do not have money: get a job. That is what being an adult living on your own is about. There should be no one you want to impress more than yourself.

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Take a deep breath and take your experience in stride. Be diligent and focused while you learn, because some day you won't have the recall and absorption in your brain that you do now. Get yourself organized and color-code everything! Using 3 x 5 note cards will not only be helpful to your memorization, but they will save you hours of research time. Connect with the people who have similar interests and goals that you do, because they will be valuable contacts in your future endeavors and lifelong friends. Help those who you see are struggling with something that comes naturally to you. Your greatest gift will be imparting your knowledge and teaching someone else will solidify the material in your memory bank. Be generous with your study time, as your peers may have a way of teaching you something that makes more sense to you. Don't panic! There are avenues built into your degree program that will allow you to correct yourself when you fail. You are here to learn and grow, not be a master right off the bat! Apply yourself to everything that you do in life so you have no regrets.

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