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Oregon State University

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

There are a lot of things that I can say about finding the right college. I would first advise to go visit the campus; take a tour. There are a lot of times where you might really like what the college has to offer, but when you get there, you don't like the setting and can't stand where it is placed or the people who are there. Another thing is to talk to an adviser. Talking to someone who has a lot of information to answer your questions can help in finding the right college for you. If you are living on campus, try to get a tour of the facilities where you could potentially live. If you don't like where you are living for that year, that could cause a dip in grades/GPA and social life on campus. I would also advise to join a club of your interest. Having friends with the same interest in college really helps you get to like the campus, your classes, and your overall education in college. You have to know when to have fun and when to study for classes. College will be worth it in the end.

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As a high school senior the pure thought of college made me jump with joy. The girls, the parties, the friends, the freedom were the thoughts that consumed my mind when refrencing college. The money, the actual academics, and stress were left out in story time, so of course, college was a fantasy to me. I started my freshman year and I saw the girls, the parties, the friends, and by god did I see the freedom, but the more I saw of those things, the more I saw of the negatives. College is overwhelming and many students do not know how to handle it all at once. You must take things in strides and very slowly. I made the mistake of signing up for anything and everything that I could handle, but I couldn't. Then I forgot what I was at Oregon State Univeristy for, schooling. You must remember that you are there for an education and not to make the Pleasure Center of the brain happy. You can enjoy all of the great things that college has to offer, but take a look around and remember what you are there for.

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To students and parents getting ready for college I would advise them to find a college that fits you. Find someplace you feel comfortable going to school, living and working. Find somewhere that you might want to get married and raise your family. If you end up settling for a college simply because of the location, or the price; in the end you may not be happy. College is the time in your life to take risks, make big changes and take big chances. Making the most of your college experience is more than just studying hard and earning good grades. It is finding a field of study that you are deeply passionate about, finding friends that you are also deeply passionate about, and trying new things. If something interests you- do it. Go for it; because you will never know unless you try. Do study hard and do earn good grades. But, make sure that when you graduate college you have graduated knowing that you did everything you could, and that you tried everything you had an opportunity to try.

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?The Legend of 1900? tells the story of a man who lived his entire life aboard a ship. When given the option to set foot ashore, he couldn?t; the world was too vast for him to comprehend when juxtaposed to his confined living space. When I first set foot on a college campus, I was like the man on the ship; with so many possibilities I didn?t know what I wanted. Every year millions of freshmen are discovering an entire world unbeknownst to them; it?s like opening your closet door and discovering Narnia. What I say to them is this: don?t stand at the foot of the dock wondering about your next step; but begin by placing one foot in front of the other. You don?t have to be afraid that the world is too big for you. It may seem overwhelming at first, but pretty soon university will just be another ship amidst the vast ocean of the world. Be glad you are small and the world is big; it is in the process of growing into new confinements that life gains meaning and your past confines are like a sunken ship.

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The first and most important is to do your homework about schools you're interested in. Don't just look at them online, go there and check out the campus. Sit in on a class if you can, speak to the professors. Know what you can and can't live with. What kind of weather, atmosphere, teaching style, major, distance from home, and so on. These are all things that need to be taken into consideration. Become familiar with all the services provided and try to uncover what the school will be like if you were to attend it, after all the initial excitement wares off it may be different. Also, does it offer the programs you are interested in studying? Look into offered majors, minors, etc. Plan how you're going to pay for school and if you'll be able to maintain the cost. Be confident and enjoy in your choice! Remember it's what you make of it, so go out there and charge the world like you own. Take all the opportunities available to; you'd be amazed what is out there and always, always try to have fun!

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You're good enough. You can do this. Don't believe the lies that other people have told you, that you're stupid, you're not worth it, you'll never be able to get what you want, you'll never find the money, you'll never amount to anything anyway. Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to succeed either. You're brilliant. You're amazing--a partially filled canvas with tons of potential. I see that now. I couldn't in high school. I was too scared, too lonely. I lost out on so many opportunities because I was so worried about what other people thought of me. These last few years I have learned the hard way that this world is not for the faint of heart; the only people who get what they truly want are the ones who are willing to fight for it. Fight for it. Go "all in." Then, on your death bed, you can say without faltering that you fought the good fight, you finished the race and you will be able to rest in peace knowing that this world is a better place because you were in it.

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The most important thing I would tell myself is to not only do my homework, learn the material. It is remarkably important to know how to retain the information teachers and the homework are trying to get through to you. As a high schooler, that was something I didn't understand; I thought I could slide by doing it at the last second, or not at all. While in high school you can get by on not studying or not doing the homework, that does not fly in college. You have to really engage in what you're learning. And because you're paying thousands of dollars to attend college, you might as well get your money's worth. I would also tell myself to stop caring what other people think. It's cliche, but I didn't realize how little other people's opinions matter until I got to college. In high school people will judge you no matter what you do, so why not have fun and do well academically? College is a place where you can be whoever you want to be, and who you were in high school doesn't matter anymore.

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Dear Jenna, I'm in college now and loving it! Don't worry you will too! I just wanted to tell you that just because you feel like you have no future and most if not all your grades have been "really" bad, you ARE smart! You will go to college after getting your GED and you will become a 4.0 student! Yeah, who would have thought... I never did, until now. Don't sweat the fact that your frustrated and want to give up, in college the teachers care. You will have a whole team of people rooting for you and happy to see and help you succeed. You will go on to become a member and Officer of Phi Theta Kappa, and yes you worked hard to get there too. Don't worry about lack of friendship, in college you will become friends with more amazing individuals then you'll know what to do with, and you won't have to smoke, drink, or do anything stupid to be accepted by your peers. Jenna you WILL succeed, your future IS bright and you CAN accomplish anything you put your mind to, let no one tell you otherwise!

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The best advice I can offer prospective college students is to do what feels right to you. Don't make your decisions based on what your parents or your friends want, but what you ultimately feel to be the best decision. A lot of students feel pressured to do what their parents want in terms of choosing a college and a major. It can be difficult, but in the end these decisions are going to impact your life far more than theirs; you need to do what's right for you, even if it's not exactly what your parents had in mind. The college that's best for you might not be the most prestigious one you get accepted to. It might not be your parents' alma mater, or the one all your friends are going to. But the most important thing to consider when you're deciding where to go is YOU. How do you feel about the school? Are you ready to live in a big city, or a small college town? Do you feel like you would fit in at this school? Choose the best fit for you, no matter what you feel pressured to choose.

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First you need to make certain that you are ready for college. A good High School experience and GPA are not always an indication that you will do well in college. It's much, much harder that high school. A thorough research of available support services prior to making a college or university choice is crutial. Parents, make sure that you stay in contact with your student and ask the hard questions about grades and performance. Don't take the casual answer of "everything is fine" without verification. It's too easy to slip behind and extremely hard to recover once you are down. The overused phrase that it takes a village to raise a child, doesn't just apply to small children. It should also apply to young adults trying to make it on their own for the first time. We are still in need of a guiding hand. College experience can be very rewarding. Some day, looking back at my time at Oregon State, I feel certain that it will have been an overall positive experience.

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