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Northern Michigan University

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

Firstly, I would advice meeting with your adviser. If I would have meet with an adviser I would have taken my classes in a different order. I could have gotten my requirements finished for the department first, and worried about declaring my major later. I ended up taking a lot of extra credits before I finally made a decision, and that postponed my graduation. Secondly, when making any decision going with your initial instinct is always the best way to go. I always wanted to study Spanish, but I hesitated and didn?t declare my second major until my senior year. Planning early is also a good way to get ahead. I also recommend studying abroad at some point in your college career, but it is best to go when you have liberal art credits free. The only other thing I would change is my financial planning strategy. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and nothing was set aside to pay for my education. I ended up taking a lot of loans out to finance my education. My biggest regret is not applying for more scholarships and grants.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would offer myself an endless amount of encoruagement. Prior to attending college, it seems as if high school seniors cannot wait to graduate and jump into "the college life" and often they greatly underestimate its importance. They are fooled by the stereotypes and see an expansive social life and freedom, and at first, it may seem as so. However, there comes a point where you realize that what you do matters. So my advice would be to focus; focus on the things that matter in the long run rather than the things that seem to matter now. I would advise that you confide in the people around you for support. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you can do it all on your own. Ask your parents for help, your friends, coworkers, relatives, professors, advisors. These people are there to for you. Lastly, on those days that you feel you cannot do anymore, you can. You can finish that paper or keep on studying for that test; don't give up because the final result will be worth it.

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VISIT SEVERAL university's before making your decision. Get a feel for the people on campus before you decide to enroll. Think about what you really want to do and pick a school that caters to your particular field of choice. Don't go to a school that is known to be very liberal and art/music oriented when you want to major in business or biology. Look for a school with plenty of opportunities nearby for internships and other 'real world' experiences. Small towns are often not the best for those kinds of things. Also, talk to people in town who are living off campus if you intend to; make sure that the apartments and houses around campus are livable, and that you won't be renting from a 'slum lord'. Talk to people in financial aid so you will have a good understanding of what scholarships, grants, and federal loans you'll be eligible for - don't let them sweet talk you and tell you that 60% of students on campus recieve some sort of financial aid when if you dig deeper you find that over 70% of scholarship monies and grants go to atheletes on campus.

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When I began searching for colleges during my senior year I was overwhelmed. There are so many choices it was hard to decide where I wanted to go. My initial decision was to attend Adrian College where I was recruited to play hockey. Upon being recruited I was quick to make that my choice. However when I look back at that decision, it reflected my want to continue playing hockey and not my educational goals. I decided to transfer and found Northern Michigan University. The educational opportunities fit perfectly with my goals and not only would I be able to continue playing hockey but the geography of the area would fuel my passion for the outdoors. Therefore the advise I would have given myself would be to decide based on your educational goals. There are so many schools out there, there is one that can provide you the education you seek and everything else as well. Also take your time. By all means try to find the right school as soon as you can, but there is no shame in transfering or taking a year off. You are not stuck with your first choice.

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Date now; apparently guys don?t grow up in college. Don?t be so nervous on the first day. Never bring your backpack into the bookstore, they don?t like that. Take it easy your first semester, only take twelve credits. You?ll do fine with sixteen but your stress levels will be off the charts. Online classes aren?t for you. Come to terms with the fact that it?s going to take you five years if you plan to double major. Textbook requirements can change two days before class starts. NMU can rearrange your schedule without notification, and when ordering textbooks online for the bookstore if they are out of used books they will send and charge you for a new one. You?re not going to lose your ideals if you start wearing makeup. Don?t bother taking HS102, you won?t like it. Everyone calls the library the LRC. The best study hall is in Jamrich, the orange couch is the comfiest. Stop being shy. Raise your hand and participate, you?ll get more out of it that way. Just remember, when you get frustrated or stressed, just take deep breathes, you'll be fine.

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I was raised in a very small town, the type of place where everyone knows everyone else, and chances are you will get caught up at the grocery store talking to a friend you have not seen in awhile. Needless to say I have always been extremely sheltered. Attending college was the first time I had ever felt a true sense of adulthood and responsibility. I was hours away from home and living on my own, without my parents' guidance at my fingertips as it had always been when I was growing up. Being away at college made me realize that I was either going to fly or fall all on my own, there was no longer anyone there to pick me up and dust me off when things were rough. This thought terrified me, but it also liberated me at the same time. I think every young person has to come to the conclusion for themselves that there comes a point when they will need to support themselves and take responsibility for their actions. For some people that happens when they start their first job or own their first car. I learned that lesson by going to college.

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When looking for the right college, I highly recommend NOT sticking to schools that your friends are looking at or that you've heard are "cool" and the "party schools." I went outside the box and visited a college I hadn't even heard of until my senior year; it turned out to be the best fit in the world for me. You have to compare a lot of different things about schools, not just their price & if they have your major. Look at the area where the school is located, the activities available, their organizations and club teams, and you really need to visit the campus. Visiting a campus can totally change your opinion on a college, whether that's for the good or bad. As for making the most of your college experience, try to remember that it's a clean slate! Nobody (or at least almost nobody) will know who you are so you have the opportunity to make the impression that YOU want and you don't have to live with the high school labels anymore. Get involved in things you enjoy and don't be shy to meet new people, everyone else is scared too.

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Going to NMU has changed my life incredibly. Coming into college I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life or who I wanted to be. The Faculity and the students here helped me figure it all out. I now know that I want to be an Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management major, and that I want to study abroad to New Zealand, the leading country for outdoor recreation. I have learned to be confident in myself and to learn from every experince that I got through. This school had put me through every situation that will help me for my future whether it has been intentional or not, and for that I am thankful. There are ups and downs in college but both are valuable and necessary. This experience has been and will always be a valuable part of my life. The people you meet in college have an impact who you will become in the future. Here at NMU there have been many outstanding people who have made an impact in mine and hopefully more in the future as well. With their knowledge I have come to except myself for me and embrace it.

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First off, stop stressing! I know you want to find that one perfect school just for you. The school that will challenge, inspire, and help you grow. However, try as you might, these are all traits that you cannot find simply by looking at university websites and attending campus visits. After a year and a half of college, I've come to realize that what I get out of a university is only equal to what I put in. Attend classes, keep up with your schoolwork, and maintain a balance with friends, and you will feel like these next four years at college are well worth it. As you are deciding which school you want to attend try not to hold your expectations too high, because the most important aspects are going to come from within you. Choose a school in a location that you will enjoy living with the degree programs that interest you most. Everything that comes next - the lasting memories, newfound knowledge, and irreplaceable friendships - these will all follow naturally. Good luck! Everything will work out, don't worry.

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Find a school that you would feel comfortable attending. Don't go to a college just because someone else (or a lot of someone elses) told you it was the best thing in the world, the best thing that could ever happen to you. Nobody's opinion is as important as yours. If you really feel sure about what you want to do with the rest of your life, than pick a college with that in mind. But if you are, like a great many other beginning college students, undecided, then find a school that has a wide assortment of choices for you that won't try to hurry you to much in your decision making, and in an environment you feel comfortable in. If you hate big cities, stay away from them. If you hate snow, stay out of the north. Academics are important, but if you don't feel comfortable, how will that affect your schoolwork? Making the most of the college experience isn't just schoolwork and it isn't just partying all night long. It's finding a place where you belong, and it's being willing to enjoy everything, even classes.

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