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Northern Arizona University

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

The lyrics from the song 'Ooh La la' by The Faces come to mind while reading this short prompt: "I wish that I knew what I knew now, when I was younger". I have a vast supply of wisdom to bestow upon my younger, more naive self, whether it be based on love, heartbreak, finances, goals, and ideals. But to keep it short, simple and school related, I will only contribute one of these nuggets of advice. I would tell my younger high school-aged self that education is one of the greatest gifts that I have recieved, and to take it seriously. I don't think I understood the value of knoweledge in high school. The simple acts of picking up a book for the fun of it, immersing myself in the concepts that my teachers were trying to help us understand, and legitimately being interested in various subjects eluded me in my high school years. I would tell myself to make friends with my teachers and learn more about the subjects that they were teaching, because now I underdstand that teachers are truly passionate about what they teach, and can be some of the deepest resources for knoweledge.

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When I first started high school, college seemed like something I could only dream about. For me, it didn't seem obtainable. That is, until I received my first acceptance to the school I am currently attending- Northern Arizona University. Having lived in Los Angeles, California my whole life, I didn’t expect to leave such a familiar environment and transfer to one in Flagstaff, Arizona. But when I arrived there I was in awe of its beauty and the people. From the very first week I had encountered some really great people and made friends fast. My RA is super friendly and is easy to talk to along with my roommates. Each class I had offered something new and different. The courses there challenge me intellectually and the people range from many ethnicities and personal background to likes and interests. The college experience is greatly valued by me because I know it will open up many opportunities in my future, ones I don't want to pass me by. This experience has helped me see that college is something I can do.; it doesn't just have to be a dream, it can be a reality.

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I would suggest considering every possibility and inquiring your child about what they are thinking about majoring in. This will be able to help narrow down the choices. In addition, money is always a factor and if there is a good in state college then that should be looked at. There's an innumerable amount of scholarships that are not given out each year because not enough students apply for them. I suggest spending much time looking for any possible scholarships (academic and non-academic). Safety can be an issue, but more than likely not. If you're considering living in a dorm then you may want to get a safe or a trunk with a lock for your valuables. Most importantly, too many students underestimate the importance of daily attendance for classes. I strongly advise any freshmen to be punctual at least for there first semester and then decide whether or not it is important. Social experience is huge, so I consider getting involved in as much extra-curricular activities as you can. Clubs are huge and greek life is always a possibility. Have fun, but not too much fun!

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When I first looked into attending a school that is about 300 miles from my house, I worried that I would not be successful without the support of my family, with whom I am very close. After they helped me move into my dorm and were getting ready to leave, I cried. But , probably the most important thing I've learned about myself through this process and my schooling so far, is that I can be very scuccessful independently. I threw myself into marching band, joined the national honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, and found an entirely new family right here on campus. If I were to give any advice to incoming freshmen in the future, it would definitely be to get involved and find a group of people that they can belong with. I know for me, being in band and making all those new friends, made all the difference. I attribute much of my success in college thus far to having forty people I know will be there for me no matter what. And, most importantly, I have learned that I am an independent, self-motivating student, and nothing can ever take that away from me.

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I would stress how important it is to calm down and enjoy your Senior year and the time you have with your family and high school friends - yet not slack off on my studies. I would comfort myself with the knowledge that going away is not as hard as you think it is going to be because the people in your life are still there for you even if they are not right there in your room with you. I would reassure myself that even though the learning pace is much faster than high school, there are also more activities to do to reward yourself with once your homework and studying are done. It's exciting having the independence to choose so many things (classes, food, etc.) and to start discovering who you really are. I would emphasize how important it is to continuously be applying for grants and scholarships to help with the financial burden of college. I would also want to let myself know how important it is to get to know your advisors once you have chosen where you are going to college because they will be your lifeline to your future. But most importantly, calm down!

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In order to find the right college and campus for the student would be to visit the many different campuses that are out there and that the student is interested in. By visiting the many different campuses one will be able to get a feel for what the campus has to offer with its surroundings. The atmosphere and its surroundings play a big part in making the most out of the college experience. Attending college classes if the professor allows it, is also a good way to finding the right college. By sitting in a college class, it will give the sudent a feel for what the classes may be like and how big the class sizes are as well. And its also a good experience, besides the usual campus tours. In makin the most of the college experience, it is a good thing to take classes/electives that interest the student and that are outside of their major. Joining clubs is also a good thing to do, becuase besides that college experience, one will also meet new people and new friends that share the same interests. Studying abroad for a semester or year is also a good experience.

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Finding the right college might be different from person to person, but it is in these differences that futures are formed and lives created. One merely needs to look into themselves and ask what they want most out of the next four years of their lives and then concentrate on making that a reality. By the time you know this, you'll be able to pick a school related to your goals and ambitions. It is only through knowing yourself that you'll be able to know what you want out of life, and once that difficult question is deciphered, choosing a school becomes a piece of cake. Enjoying college life includes this time of self-searching, because it is here you are able to do what you fully appreciate without restriction. It is here you are able to fully experiment and understand what you want most out of life, so I encourage all to get out there, meet new people, and try new activities. Shed your high school shell and open up to the world around you, in order to fully embrace this new lifestyle, because once four years are up, you'll be wishing you had them back.

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The most important thing that I have gotten out of my college experience is knowing that I will constantly always be learning and have much to learn about people. So far, I have been to four different colleges over the years, one in which I went through a study abroad program to Kolkata, India. I have realized that I am always going to be a student in life through this experience of college, even when I graduate from college. There are so many things that I am looking to do, such as travel around the United States as well as abroad again, explore people more through volunteer work, learn more about different cultures and I feel like this will all be easier for me with a degree in Secondary Education and Special Education which I am currently working towards. I want to be a teacher in life as well as a student because I know I still have much to learn. I do not believe I would have come to this realization without college. I am thankful for the college experiences that I have already endeavored, as well as the student experiences I will have in the future.

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As I have grown up, I have always been told that I will go ?find myself? in my perfect college. However, I have discovered that, while in my first year of college, the most important rule of searching for the perfect college is this: you do not go to ?find? yourself; you go to ?create? yourself. When searching for your perfect school, take into interest the aspects that will create you, not simply let you loose to find yourself. College is an intimidating new chapter. But if you take the appropriate steps to get into a college that will build you, construct you, and erect the person you want to be, college will not simply be another chapter, it will be a new foundation to whatever you want to be. The reason why I chose my college and why I have been able to thrive so successfully is because of the enriching environment I knew this college could provide for me. The campus is my second home, the teachers have become my mentors, and my grades reflect my happiness and satisfaction in my work. I love my college choice because it has helped me create who I am today.

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I know you are iching to go off and be a big university student, but please take your time and don't rush yourself. The university will still be there. In the mean time, find yourself at GCC and see what you like and don't like career wise. That way, your liberal studies will be out of the way and you can focus on core classes. Save as much money as you can because once your scholarship money runs out, its gone and the brutal process of finding money starts all over again. Time management is so important so that you do not burn yourself out before you are even 21. I know the boring assigments are uneventful but make sure you sit down and finish them promptly and sufficantly to earn better grades. Otherwise, you will relive freshman englsih for the rest of your life. Try to get involved more with something outside of home and work: a new hobby would be a perfect start. If you find a professor challanging, do not hesitate to walk up and state concerns otherwise the learning experience will be tough and exhausting. Most of all, BE HAPPY! IT'S COLLEGE!!

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