Northwestern University Top Questions

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


My transition from high school to college was difficult. I allowed my fears of failure and anxiety about the future to get the best of me. I struggled with the rigorous pace of coursework during my freshman and sophomore years. As a lifelong Girl Scout, I never give up and am not afraid to ask for help. As I adjusted to the workload and began taking courses more aligned with my interdisciplinary interests, my passion grew and my grades improved. My perseverance, preparation, and confidence allowed me to succeed during my senior year and get into a great graduate school. Knowing what I know now, the advice I would give my high school self would be to relax and stay confident. I am smarter than I give myself credit for and it is easy to forget that when I spend most of my time in classes surrounded by incredibly intelligent individuals. Additionally, I sometimes get distracted by the overwhelming nature of the courses and forget to live my life. I would tell myself to remember to hang out with friends and watch a movie once in a while, because spending all of your time studying just leads to more stress.


College, as succinctly as possibly, has been a humbling experience. It was not exactly what I had imagined it to be, but ultimately, this is a good thing. Before journeying to the campus that I would spend 4 of the most important years of my life at, I had pictured myself with endless time at my disposal to work hard in my classes, participate in campus activities, hang out with friends, and take care of my personal needs. For the most part, I was able to do this. But it was challenging. My experience at college led me to understand that I had to truly learn about myself before I could acknowledge how I wanted to live my life. I'm fortunate that I was able to find an optimal balance in my life, but I've witnessed others who have struggled mightily. My advice to my high school self, as well as anyone transitioning to college, would be this: These are your formative years. The ones that will define who you are. So don't fill them with experiences that you may one day regret. Fill them with ones that you will cherish and grow from.


Come into school with an open mind. Sure, it's absolutely fantastic to start your freshman year knowing you want to have a particular career and participate in particular clubs, and you should definitely do everything you can to reach your goals. However, don't let your goals limit your college experience. There are so many different opportunities at college to make new friends, join extracurriculars and intramural clubs, and take a variety of classes - be open to trying out something that you may have never thought to try before. It'll help you to grow as a person and enlighten you as to who you really are and even provide different perspectives that may be useful in reaching your ultimate goals.


NothingI exploredI messed upI learnedIf I changeOr offered adviceWhat would be missedWhat is worth the lossLoss of self made experienceLoss of who I am nowLoss of my then and future selfI'll take the riskI'll take the painI'll take the joyI'll take it allBecause it's mineNo hindsightNo 20/20Just me


Going back in time to talk to my self as a high school senior I would give my self some good adivce. I would advise my self to go to class everyday so that I am already in the process of going to school when needed. In college you have to attend school everyday your signed up to go if not its going to be a waste of money. Other advise is that picking a college is a difficult task and I would have advised my self to make a wise choice my senior year so I knew what I was going to do and where I was going to go. More advice Id give my self is that a big huge transition is doing everything on your own. You do not have professors telling you, you have a second opportunity to do your homework or test. My final advice I would give to my self as a senior student is to work my hardest to get my best grades possible. It truly does effect you when going into college because they do look at your grades.


Looking back to when I was a high school senior, I would get more involved in my college application process. I would also advocated for schools to have a program to help students start the application process for college applications and scholorships. A program that would provide a mentor to students that would like to continue their education, but need the guidance. The college application process was very confusing when I was applying, there weren't enough workshops to educate students about financial aid and the procedure to applying to college. I would tell my younger self, not to take any breaks between high school and college, to go directly to school.


Yikes. Thats a toughy. I would honestly say that incoming freshmen shouldn't worry about all the little things before coming up. You'll learn the game soon enough. That is what freshman year is all about. Chill out and enjoy the summer before you come up to this fabulous place. Everything will be alright.


If my high school self would hear my advice, I'd tell her to learn how to study. The differences between high school and college are huge and I would let myself know that college is, in some ways, just like it is in the movies. I would tell myself to relax and not worry about making friends because somehow those relationships have a way of falling into place. I'd tell myself that orientation week and the first month of school are definitely the worst times of the entire college experience, hands down. Finally, I'd let myself know that while it's perfectly fine to come to college with a major in mind, it's important to listen to advisors and upperclassmen to get different ideas for your future. That's what college is all about!


I would say Soneni, time is of the essence, you are marching on and you must be prepared! There are great opportunities and no matter what, you must take advantage of all of the resources that are available to you! Choose your college, friends and associates wisely! leave all negativity behind! You are walking into a future that you are creating for yourself and it will no doubt be tough but do not lose heart ! the future is greater than the moment!! make the best of all your experiences good or not so good and most of all keep God in your life and keep pressing on until you reach your destiny!


If I was granted one wish, it would be to go back to high school and to talk to myself as a high school student. When I was in high school, I did not see the point of studying what I considered to be unrelated to life. Now that I am in college, I realize that you can apply anything you learn outside of the class. Therefore, if I could go back high school I would tell myself to think more optimistically and keep an open mind. Not only would I tell myself to think more optimistically; I would also tell myself that there is no point in continuing to stress about things that will make little to no difference in the long run. The last but not least important piece of advice I would give myself, would be to seek help as soon as I felt that something was wrong. I would tell myself to listen to my gut feeling and to help myself before a problem becomes severe.


Push ahead. Move forward. I managed to do well in high school but, when it came to the college application process and transition I began second guessing myself and struggled to hold back for as long as possible. There was some time when I refused to think about the college search. My parents never went to college, so the life beyond high school was a mystery to me. Looking back on it all, I want to reach out to my younger self, extend a hand and pull myself forward.You have to think of college, and life in general, as a river. You can stand in the middle of the stream and feel the water push against you or you can lift your feet from the river-bed and let the water guide you forward. Standing still will get you nowhere. The waters will hit your back and sides until you crumble under the pressure. Lifting your feet and accepting that you know nothing, can be terrifying but will get you further than you could ever dream. So take the chance. Push ahead. Move forward. The journey is worth it.


Dear Nadia Murray, I want you to focus on school. Put your head in those books and don't look up until graduation. I want you to apply to several colleges, including the local community college. I want you to spend your summers, visiting colleges and getting a feel for the college life. Now I know what you are going to say, "You will have time for that later." However if you get it out the way now, you could have many doors opened in your favor. College is hard, but worth the work. Think about all the new people you are going to meet and all the new experiences you will have. I know things seem scary, but trust me you are not alone in this feeling. There have been and will be many more people questioning this step. I want you to have the best and college is the way to obtain that. Things have been hard in the past, but you can recover from all that and begin to build yourself a brighter and stronger future. I know friends seem fun, but an education will last you forever. Always be you and strive for the best.


Throw away those purple overalls. Do not let your parents drive you to college in Uncle Frank’s school bus, even if it has enough room for all your stuff. On the first day of class, do not tell that joke about the dog and the umbrella. I know, I know, it’s hilarious, but I’m telling you, people just do not get it. Sit on the left towards the front in lecture hall—that way you have a good view, but you don’t look like you’re trying too hard. Make sure to get the bunk farthest from the door so that if a kidnapper comes in the middle of the night you’re not the one he takes. It is not possible to memorize a semester’s worth of material the night before an exam. Student loans do not equal free money. Do not make glittery posters for the soccer captain—even if you do have a crush on him. Guard your quarters with your life, because come laundry day, they are worth a whole lot more than twenty-five cents. Lastly, forget everything you just read. Relax. Be yourself.


“Isn’t it boring to see all A’s on your grades?” In response to the question, I retorted, “No, I like it that way." Honestly, that’s how I liked my whole life – controlled and free of failure. That is why the wait to hear Northwestern's admission response was agonizing. The questions rolled in my head: “How will I tell so-and-so if I don’t get in?” “What will people think if I fail?” Fortunately, I learned that I would be on my way to my dream school, and as the pieces for my dream life increased, I was determined to juggle them. I would study chemistry and marry a doctor. We would have beautiful children and put our fluffy dog in the picket fence around our house. My plan was thwarted when I received my chemistry grade. My mind reeled, “C+? I’ve never gotten grades like this.” The even shook me, but it also prompted a realization I wish I’d known in high school: my successes don’t define me. I realized that I would never be everything I was created to be without running toward my passions and falling down and recovering.


There are a few things I'd say you should keep in mind before starting as a freshman: First, the quarter system moves quickly. You come back to school later than almost all your friends and its often hard to snap out of that prolonged summer lethargy. If you fall behind on the quarter system, it will always feel like torture to try and catch up. The first couple of weeks might fool you into a false sense of pace, only to find that you've amassed an insane amount of work come the start of midterms. Second, you're not going to go into Chicago as often as you think, so don't rely upon it for your social life. With the heightened pace of the quarter system, odds are you're not going to want to spend your free time commuting all the way into the city. As such, don't write off the activities on campus or in Evanston. Finally, resist the urge to brag about your late start date to your friends on semesters. It'll come to haunt you when spring quarter finals roll around and all your high school friends are already enjoying summer.


Definitely come to college (regardless of whether it's NU or somewhere else) with an open mind about what you like and who you want to be. People show up on campus thinking they've got everything all figured out, but one weekend with some new people can change your whole model of what you thought you were going to be. It's not a bad thing; it's the most empowering feeling in the world to realize that this truly is your life and you can do whatever you want with it, but it's important not to let your preconceived notions of yourself get in the way of opportunity. I think this is especially important to keep in mind at NU, because there is just so much going on, and it would be a tragedy not to try something (or many things), because it's not consistent with your previous interests. ps. It's NU, not NW. People make that mistake a lot, and it's annoying.


Given the opportunity, I would let my high school self know that college won't be as terrifying as I thought. I never knew that making friends would be so easy, people would share my interests, and that I would make some of the best friendships and most important acquaintances of my life. I found that it is important to enjoy the little things and to pace myself academically so as to avoid stress. Don't put things off to the last minute! Also, half of the things I packed to bring to the dorm I did not use or have room for, so consider that while packing.


Take advantage of the fleeting moments. You will never regret the time you spend with your family, before heading off to school. Those moments are precious, and your family makes you who you are. Your identity in college is shaped by your hometown, and you will identify with it strongly. For the transition, know that you can't plan for everything. Lists matter less than focusing on personal health. So eat, sleep, laugh every day, and let yourself cry. College is a chance to improve on who you are now, and you want to be up for the task. Read the news-- your peers will value your voice and input in their discussions. Learn how to boil water, at least. Find a few songs that lift up your spirit, as there will be days when you just need to hear a familiar melody. And, tell your mother you love her.


Sometimes my friends tell me that they aren't getting enough value out of their college education. I used to be sympathetic to this opinion, but recently, I have felt differently disposed. I was cleaning out my room over winter break and I found some essays that I wrote in my senior year of high school. I distinctly remember working my butt off on these assignments and recieving very high grades.. Those essays that I recall slaving over look like the rough drafts I produce every week. When I reflect on how much better my writing and critical thinking has gotten in such a short people of time, I realize how the true value of higher education is often hidden beneath the surface. The difficult tasks we are expected to complete can leave us frustrated, but their benefits are invaluable. In that respect, going to college is sort of like getting older. When I se relatives over the holidays, they always comment on how much older I look. Since we see ourselves in the mirror every morning, it is easy to lose track of how we age, but when you compare in retrospect, the difference is clear.


My college years were the best of my life. I was exposed to a variety of cultures, religions, and economic statuses which opened my eyes to the larger world. When I walked onto that beautiful campus, I was no longer the top of my class; instead, I was just another straight-A student. I had to work for what I achieved, and I grew immensely through my experience. I now have a higher sense of work ethic and a lesser feeling of entitlement. The wonderful thing about Northwestern is that while it is impressive academically, it also offers the Big Ten school feel, complete with football games, parties, and late nights. As I look toward my future schooling, I believe that my experience at Northwestern has prepared me for study groups and all-nighters as well as social outings and lasting friendships.


I have discovered a lot about myself and about other people in coming to Northwestern. My experience here has been extremely valuable to me for several reasons. First of all, the professors at Northwestern are truly incredible. I have outstanding professors in music, in chemistry lectures, and in general engineering classes. Across all departments, Northwestern faculty stand out as the most brilliant around. Also, the students at Northwestern make this campus unique. We have a very diverse student population (culturally, racially, economically and spiritually), which makes me appreciate both differences and similarities among people in our world. But, one thing Northwestern students have in common is that they all have a drive to succeed. Our campus is filled with positive energy and a supportive understanding among students that we all want the best for one another and we all work hard together. Finally, Northwestern University's proximity to Chicago makes going to school here an even more exciting experience. One of my favorite perks of being in Evanston is being able to go into Chicago on the weekends to see the symphony or an opera or just to go shopping.


As a woman with plans to get a degree in Biomedical engineering and go on to medical school, my education has been the most valuable tool of all. College has resulted in me finding my independence and made me appreciate everything my parents have done for me to allow me to go to school. Being at college has not only opened my eyes to the world, but has made me appreciate my life so much. I am motivated to be successful and be an inspiration for women, stepping out of the role of housewife and making a successful career for myself is very important to me. Though I have also found that the cost of college can be a burden. I have found that giving back to the community is rewarding and makes me thankful for every scholarship I have recieved to allow me to afford my dream. Without the help of my parents and many generous organizations, my education is possible and I will be forever humble.


I've gotten freedom out of my college experience. College has made me a more intelligent, and inspired woman. It has opened me up to a world of opprotunity for friendship, leadership, as well as knowledge. It's given me a door to walk through, and a light at the end of the tunnel. College has allowed me to open my mind, learn to think differently and look at life subjects from more then one angle. Education is the key to so many doors, and I value mine more then anything.


Northwestern University not only provided me with an amazing education, but it gave me a new outlook on life. Growing and learning in a diverse environment is essential for students in this modern, ever-changing society. Northwestern provided me with that environment, allowing me to learn to work efficiently in any social situation. Through both classes and extracurricular activities, I experienced a plethora of cultures and ideas that I had never experienced before. I am currently in law school, and I owe much of my success today to my social and academic education at Northwestern.


So far I've gotten out of my college experience that if you work hard and do what you need to do then its really simple. You can have fun on the weekends but make sure your homework and studys are all caught up with first. One more thing I've learned is if you dream it you can achieve it, and that means anything you want to be when you grow up.


I have learned so much from being in college. I was already kind of an independent person while living at home, but since being at Northwestern I have learned how to truly be on my own, as I pay for school myself and have no assistance other than financial aids, loans and scholarships. I have also learned that it's okay to be the best that you can be in whatever circumstance you're put in. No one expects the world from me, and I know that whatever happens I will always be a productive and positive citizen of the world. My college experience has also taught me how to deal with stress, and sometimes the worst news comes when you need it the least. But you have to get things done, and in some ways it has made me a stronger and more resillient person, and I am not all that more motivated to achieve what I've set out to do.


From my college experience so far, I have learned how to make strong friendships, have continued to pursue a work ethic built on hard work, and was able to better understand the concept of 'giving back to the community'. These three things have been most valuable in my college experience thus far and I can now see the importance of networking especially (building lasting friendships and connections) because without it, you cannot get much farther in life without the help of those around you. A work ethic built on hard work and determination is another valuable concept that I have learned to grasp during my stay at Northwestern University and it has so far helped me academically and most importantly, allowed me to keep a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Along with this type of work ethic, I have also been fortunate to have a small taste for being involved in the community. By helping others in the community, whether it be through volunteerism or political activism, I saw the importance of having a college education and ultimately, use the knowledge, skills, and tools that I aqcuired from the university in a way that can benefit the rest of society.


I have learned to work harder than I ever have before in my life. I have learned excellent time-management skills and the ability to work much better with others than I had been able to on prior occasions. I have learned the importance of asking professors for help when it is needed and through this, I have become more comfortable and self-assured around authority figures while still maintaining proper decorum. I have made friends that will last my whole life, and I have made connections with professors that enable a much richer academic environment. I have gotten more comfortable navigating beauracratic necessities, and learned how to recover from upsetting a boss the first day on the job by accidentally deleting his server. I have become more financially aware and I have developed a richer, more well-rounded personality. I have truly begun to embrace the Northwestern way of life-- work hard, play hard, and know when which is appropriate for the situation.


My experience at Northwestern University was one of life's biggest blessings. The Chick Evans Scholarship I received to attend Northwestern has significantly aided me in my pursuit of providing affordable healthcare and education to low-income families. As someone who was raised in a disadvantaged household, I desire to become a healthcare professional who not only helps individuals in need, but also educates them about how to maintain their health and well-being. Currently, I delight in volunteering at Chicago Public Schools, teaching about overall and oral health (a volunteer effort founded and aided by multiple Northwestern efforts). If I had not been afforded this and many other amazing experiences by Northwestern, I highly doubt my dreams would be a possibility. I am thankful for the irreplaceable advice I have received from alumni, students, staff and professors at Northwestern. These people are truly dedicated to creating world-changers! I am so inspired by their hard work and dedication. I know that other generous people will be put in my life to aid me spiritually, academically and financially to bring good to a world in need.


Exposure is the one word that encapsulates the value of a college experience. One does not know what he is missing until her realizes that it is out there, and college is just the medium to learn about all that is out there. This statement works in college on many different levels including academics, cultures, and personal development. College has made my life a bit of a juggling act, as I try to hold on what I value from the past, process my experiences in the present, and plan what I want out of my future. While everyone must do this at some point in my life, college is the perfect environment in which many individuals are doing the same. By sharing and listening to what others at Northwestern are experiencing, I have better been able to shape my life experience.


It is valuable to attend college for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, a college education gives you a better likelihood to obtain a higher paying job in order to support your family. I would like to say, though, that I attend college for the simple and pure accumulation of knowledge and hopes for a higher paying job in the future is a nice plus. More importantly, in my opinion, my college experience has taught me how to communicate professionally with my superiors. It is extremely important in the working world to exude an aura of efficiency and self-determination. My writing assignments and presentations have taught me how to better organize my topics and how to properly get them across with the desired effect. College has also taught me invaluable time management skills that will prove exponentially useful in the future. In just a few years I will be starting a family and I, for one, intend to support my children while balancing a full-time job. If nothing else, my college experience has taught me how to hussle, deal with stressful situations in a timely manner, and how to handle a crisis.


Thus far, I have had an amazing college experience. In my three years at Northwestern University, I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, joined a newly founded Dance & Step Team, and helped to double its members in one year as part of the Executive Board, helped to found a Political Action Committee for the African-American Student Affairs Departments, as well as learned countless things about everything from Islam to Neurobiology to the Political States of Third World Countries. Northwestern has given me the opportunity to not only experience academic growth, but also social, political, and personal growth as well. The value of attending this school is one that is definitely worth the tuition, as students can be sure that they will be well prepared for the future, make lasting bonds with professors, learn more about themselves, develop life-long friendships, and have countless worldly interactions amongst many other dynamic opportunities. I am extremely happy that I chose Northwestern for my undergraduate career, and am looking forward to the bright prospects of my senior year and career future.


In the same way the blind needs Braille in order to read, so it is imperative that I continue to advance my education. My mentality was liberated to explore new perspectives. I perceive with ethics and perspectives that encourage others to raise their ethical standards. Furthering my education has freed me from social bondages and peer pressures that would have otherwise hand strongholds on my mind simply because the big picture was obscure. The information learned is priceless and the value is worth more than I am currently paying. Most of the people I know mention that you do not need to further your education to get a good job. They are, in fact, partially right. However, when you receive and earn a degree the knowledge obtained helps you to develop your logic into a behavior where you are logically governed instead on emotionally governed. My decisions are back with ethics and cause me to succeed in ways that the uneducated could never know. While you are trammeled to ignorance or what society is asserting how you should live and behave, how can you truthfully conclude how to decipher what you desire and what you need?


Attending a top university is stressing most of the time. Everyone else is an exceptional student and it can seem like they are doing great while I am struggling in a class, and that can take a toll on anyone?s self-esteem. The thing I?ve learned is that all it takes is dedication, motivation and a good sense of humor. I?ve also learned that not everyone succeeds all the time, and to not be so hard on myself when I don?t do as great as I?d like. One of the most valuable lessons I?ve learned is that it is possible for people of completely different backgrounds to not only get along, but to form a truly strong bond. Although I thought I was open-minded before I got here, it was not in the same capacity, as my high school and hometown was mostly composed of Hispanics. There are students here from all over the country and world, so open-mindedness is definitely a value that I?ve been able to develop. This would not have been so easy had I not attended such a prestigious school.


I have very few regrets about things that have occurred in my life. However, if I went back in time, I would have applied for more college scholarships. College is a very busy and demanding environment. As a result, I do not have much time to do coursework, extracurricular activities, and search for scholarships. As I entered college, the financial recession was reaching its peak and it has not yet let up. Financial resources in 2009 diminished dramatically compared to 2007 or 2008. Also, many scholarships are available only to high school seniors or college students with extremely high grade point averages. Scholarships for students majoring in the social sciences are few and far between. Most scholarships are targeted towards engineering and pre-med students. If I had took the time then to apply for more scholarships, I probably would have more than I do now and would not have to frantically search for more in these uncertain economic circumstances.


Dear Kelley, Take risks. The world, as you soon will discover, is so much bigger than you ever imagined. Embrace this knowledge and let it shape you. Do not be afraid to make new friends and create new experiences, as they will shape your values and open your mind. While leaving home and starting anew may seem daunting, continue to do what you love and happiness will find you. Never settle for what is easy. For it is through struggles and perseverance that we learn and are ultimately able to share with others. Find connections and you will be surprised how far they take you. Trust others, trust yourself, and never be afraid to dream.


Any high school senior knows what the word "stress" means. Seniors must juggle college applications in addition to their school work, jobs, extra-curricular responsibilities, and social lives. If I could travel back in time to offer my high school senior self some advice, I know exactly what I would say. I would encourage my younger self to spend more time with my family. As a college sophomore attending a university that's 1,200 miles away from my family, I rarely get to spend time with family members. I wish that I had spent more time with my family in my final year of high-school before the pressures and responsibilities of college life took over. Now, as I struggle to decide on a major and a career path, I long for the kind of guidance, warmth, and comfort that only my family can provide. Although I talk to them on the telephone regularly, I cannot help but reminisce about the times when I had my family close by to help me make important decisions, to push me to work harder, and to make me laugh when I feel melancholy. Someday I hope to return the favor.


Don't try to take one too much at once, and enjoy you're experience. Don't feel obligated to do activites you don't want to do.


I would tell myself that I have to get more help with math so that I could make better grades. I would tell myself to study even harder, and make sure I was ready for study that was 10 times harder than High School. I would tell myself to get organized and learn better time management. I would tell myself not to worry about what other people think of your grades all that matters is the fact that I am working harder to get the grade that will help me get to my goal of being a Veterinarian. I would tell myself that although college is a lot harder than High School, I still have the potential to do a wonderful job there. I would also tell myself that it is not about the teachers and what they think of you it is about how well you do on you tests, exams, homework, and in class work. They will only respect the ones who work hard to get to what they want to be. You Can Do It. You are capable of anything you set your mind to. This is what I would tell myself if I could go back.


Life is in your hands now. It may have seemed that way in high school but the difference is comparable to "Drivers' Ed" versus "driving your own car". In high school, there are fundamental rules and "guides to success" that one subscribes too and is similar to the way that you can drive but there's a professional in the car guiding and evaluating you. College is where you decide what to do with your life. You could choose easy classes, get fit, join a few clubs, get passable GPA, maybe go to some parties, and finally end up with a solid cubicle job somewhere; or, you could challenge yourself by taking tough classes, working hard to get every single grade, becoming distinguished in your participating activity, aiming for number 1 in every field, and graduating with "summa cum laude" or even making a discovery or starting your own business. Did you know, the more you start looking for opportunity, the more they seem available. I found that when I made the effort to look for internships, speaker sessions, professor advice, study partners, scholarships, and even interview practice sessions, they were all there; I just had to look for them.


Talking to myself as a college senior, I'd first need to keep in mind how academically sound I was. Working hard, sleeping little, and studying often while balancing an absurd amount of extra curriculars was something I was already used to. With that said, I wouldn't warn myself about the work load at college. Rather, I'd warn myself about the new social scene. In college, you will be exposed to many illegal things, such as drinking, that no longer seem illegal because they are a part of everyday life. Thus, I'd tell myself to make sure I find good friends who will tell me when to stop drinking, and take care of me when I don't listen. Friends who only encourage bad behavior or abandon you in times of trouble and not ones worth maintining. I'd also remind myself to have fun! You only go to college for four years. Study abroad, join weird clubs, stay up watching 80's movies with friends instead of doing your math homework two days in advance every now and then! You want to look back and smile, not regret missing out on fun.


Future words of wisdom to my past self: don't try and be someone you're not. Everyone talks about going to college as a new person. Reinventing yourself since nobody knows who you were all those years before. My first week on campus was a lonely one. I never thought living with 100 people would be so depressing. I grew envious of others people's blossoming relationships and outgoing personalities and spent wasted hours dwelling on why I wasn't this or that type of person. The transition week finally passed and I focused more on my work in class rather than the personality traits I was lacking and found that I actually was becoming a new person, not by wearing new clothes or speaking a different way, but by taking on new experiences. I wasn't dramatically changing into someone I hadn't been before, I was growing. And with that came the relationships that I wanted so badly that first week. The college transition is a difficult one but why add to the stress by adding a new characteristic that's not you. I found myself here, my true self, the one that was there all along.


Dear Emerson, Relax. The decision about college is not the be all and end all of decisions. It is important, but ulimtely I have discovered that no matter where you end up, your college experience is going to be what you make of it. Do not worry about applying to every school under the sun. Do not worry about applying to only the schools with the most prestigious reputations. Do not worry that you still are not sure what you want to do with your life, because believe me, half of the people here feel just as lost. Being unsure lends you an open mind to the countless opportunites college will throw your way. There is a world of people out there waiting for you. Experience everything and everybody you can. Don?t miss the forest for the trees, but don?t miss the trees either. Notice the details and the little moments. Really allow yourself to learn from those around you, question, actively listen, and observe everything. To ignore another man?s wisdom is to deny one?s self the fruits of their labor. Oh, and bring a bigger coat. Chicago's not too warm. Your future self, Emerson


Be yourself. That is the most important thing. When you get to college you want to be able to grow and learn and you can not do that if you are worried about impressing people and being someone you are not. Know youself and you will learn so much more. Be proud of who you are and you can teach others about your background. Have fun. Enjoy senior year and living at home, you gain a lot of responsibility when you go to college so be ready for that. You will have to decide what you eat, if you exercise, what classes you take and what you want to do. So enjoy your last year of high school and be prepared to make decisions. Don't judge. Wait until you know people before you decide if you will be friends with them. The prettiest girl in the class could be really mean. Or the most shy boy could end up being your best friend if you let him get to know you and open up. Work hard, play hard. Create a good balance. Know when to stay in and study and when to go out and party. Enjoy college!


Dear me: As a future manifestation of yourself, I know that you suffer from an expectation doubt?whether your own desires mold into the universal blueprint of all things, especially since what you want differs so radically from what family and society expects. You cannot forever afford the luxury of purely personal choice without some regard to the hardships that had to be overcome with great sacrifices. But remember this: there is always more than one path to success; there is always one more choice than what may be seemingly given. Following the herds may work for others, but it does not always work for you. And do not despair over that. Continue studying hard in high school, but know that in college, there is meaning beyond academics. It is the interactions you form with extraordinary people that leave the final and lasting impression. Be independent, daring, intelligent, and proactive, and success will only be a footstep away. Be confident (not pretentious) and prepared, and someday, you will find yourself at the fork of success, wondering not what path looks most pedestrian-friendly, but what path has the most scenic vista, the most exhilarating trail to hike.


All students should take their college education seriously. Enjoy youself. College is a lot of fun. However, your number one goal is to graduate with a degree in your hand. Study hard to receive the best grades you can.


If I could go back in time, I would say to truly investigate the diversity on campus. Many schools advertise their diversity; be it religious, social, or academic, but there is a major difference between: having diversity because they university can attest to the presence of certain people/classes/groups, and having a truly balanced sense of this diversity in the enivornment. In other words, I wish I had realized beforehand that just because Northwestern says they have a diversity of socio-economic statuses of their students, I should have been more dilligent in investigating the accuracy of this statement. Of course there are some lower-income students, but the overwhelming majority are rich,white kids. When the majority of the student body really represents one specific type of student, in NU's case: rich white kid in a sorority or fraterinity with a work-hard-play-hard mentality-aiming for a prestigious professional life, it becomes stifiling.


I would tell myself to continue doing what I did in high school. That my transition socially and academically is not anything to necessarily be worried about my freshman year of college. In terms of where I am at now, I would make sure I knew really how to manage my time with extracurriculars and coursework and manage my money.


Wait it out. Things might be rocky for a while, but they get way better. Adjusting to a new place and completely new people takes time, but it's completely worth it. Also, start taking your med school classes freshman year instead of waiting till sophomore year to decide that. And if you're feeling lonely, there's a girl at Northwestern that you'll be crazy about and she'll be crazy about you. Just always hang in there! Life is good!


Which college should I attend? Do I even want to attend college? I don't want to go to college. I'm not going to even apply. No. It's a waste of time and money. I think that I want to go to Northwestern. But I won't. More than 50,000 thousand dollars a year?! Less than 5 percent of the population is African American/Black. That's definately not the school for me. But why not? I will get a great education. But, I won't apply. I'm pretty sure I can't even get in. It's not that I'm not good enough...but I'm not the Northwestern type. What is the Northwestern type? (Answer) 4.0 gpa student, upper class family, white...basically everything that I'm not. But wait, why should I have to be those things? The college application diversity counts right? And I'm everything that the "stereotypical" NU student is not. Diversity is great...definately not a guarantee. But I can't be afraid of rejection. Regret is way worse than rejection. Okay!!! Let's do it. Let's take a chance. NORTHWESTERN!!!