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Oregon State University

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

I've learned thus far that as long as you're committed, focused, and driven, anyone can go to college and succeed. I may only be in my second semester of college, but being a mother of a 15 month old girl, I've proven to be successful thus far with a 4.0 GPA. College isn't about the experience of parties or drinking games, it's about bettering oneself and holding on to the knowledge you've gained. It took having a child to finally decide on what I'd like to become and that didn't involve being a receptionist for the rest of my life. It's been an extremely valuable experience for my self-esteem because I now know I have the brains and will to accomplish what I want most. It's also been valuable to my personality as well. I've grown out of the shy shell I was in before and have been able to meet some very amazing people along the way. It's been far from easy, but the knowledge and personal growth I've been able to obtain through going to college has made it all worth while.

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I can't even come close to describing how amazing my college experience has been, and I'm only a sophomore! I am the first person in my family to go to college, something I am very proud of. It has taught me a lot about myself and about being an adult, most of my friends leave all the details to their parents, but I handle every aspect of my education. I handle the loans and daily think about the years I will be in debt. But honestly I would gladly be in debt for my entire life and have this experience. I have made the best friends I could ever imagine, girls I know will be by my side on my wedding day, I have made enough memories for a lifetime and done things I never thought I would. I am currently an active member of Alpha Chi Omega and that has been the most amazing experience of them all, it has taught me so much about people and myself, and not to lay judgement on anyone based on my assumptions. I know without a doubt that I will look back at this time and love what I see.

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Just keep surviving Andrew,. Keep surviving. Its hard right now. Nothing makes sense. It seems like life is moving so fast. You will catch up. You will take a different path from the others. You will eventually find yourself. There are going to be times that you feel like giving up, throwing in the towel. There are going to be times when admitting to failure seems like the only way out. All you have to do is keep surviving. You life will work itself out. You will finally find the thing you have been looking for your entire life. You will be able to sleep in peace. You will look people in the eye and know that you are no better, no worse than they are. Life will take on a whole new meaning. The void you have been trying to fill will be filled with the unexpected. A fire will be lit under you. You will walk through life knowing that you can do anything. The feeling of hopelessness and self hate will be lifted. The only requirement is survival. Just keep surviving Andrew. Survive.

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Breaking the Habit In life, we go through many changes, some can make us successful, while others can make us fail. But that all depends on how we chose to take action when those changes occurred. As we grow into adulthood, we have habits that sometimes cannot be broken, because we have adapted to them overtime. We can now make the necessary adjustments to avoid further mistakes. The majority of us don’t realize that until we depart from high school. But today I’m breaking that habit as each day passes while attending college. High school, for some of us was the best time of our lives, for others not so much. While attending high school, I wasn’t the most behaved or the most academically pupil there was. High school, for me, was just an excuse to get away from it all. With all good friends, good times, and fond memories it’s no wonder I was little minded in high school. However, if I hadn’t left that jungle I once called high school, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

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I would reccomend visiting the campus or taking a tour of the campus, as well as talking about the school with not only teachers and other academic personel on campus, but also with students who attend the school. Get a feel for the school before actually applying for it. Also, get a good idea of what you want to study, if you know, and apply for colleges that offer good programs in what you want to study. Apply to several colleges, to keep your options open. Remember to keep in touch with your family and old friends when you get to college and leaving your dorm room door open when you're in your room in the first few weeks will help you make more friends. Be active and involved with the programs happening not ony in your dormitory, but also around campus. Make friends in your classes and talk to your professors. They really aren't as intimidating as it seems. On a last note, just remember to have fun and there will be time for a social life, as long as you budget your time.

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There are a couple of things that I learned throughout college that I feel if I had known would have made my entire college experience that much better. Mainly I feel that if I would have first attended my current four year university instead of transferring after two years at a community college I would have had a much more enjoyable experience. The two main difficulties that I came into contact with were the difficulty level of classes and integrating into the social network. I expected college to be just as easy as high school was. I didn?t expect to have to study, and it took a little time to adjust and learn how to study. Also, if I had known how to be more actively involved in the social scene it would have been easier to make friends; for example, living on campus the first couple years forces students to be social. I feel that if I were to have begun my college career at the four year university then I would have had a much easier time with both of these mishaps.

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I believe that college is a time for growth, the time to experience life outside of "home-life" and learn to take care of yourself individually. Having a community of friends is important to the college experience, but ofcourse slacking off with these friends, partying, hanging out, idleing, could all be bad if it is done too much. The right amount of fun and a focused mind to also concentrate in school is crucial to college. Graduating on time seems to be a hard thing to do for most college students these days because they value "partying" far too much than studying and keeping a high standard academically. If you feel like you don't want to move too far from you parents, which was my case, i decided to go to a state college that was far enough from home for me to learn how to live on my own and be my own individual, and at the same time close enough that i can visit whenever i missed my family. Any college can be good, it's only good as how you want to make it to be.

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If I could go back and talk to myself, I would inform myself to make decisions for myself and not base my college choice on what my parents and family think I should do. I wasted a year and $25,000 picking the wrong major and going to the wrong school. If I could tell myself what I know now, I would have used that $25,000 to come to Oregon State University and to go towards the classes that I need to graduate here. I would also tell myself that the real world is crazy and to appreciate the little things such as good friends, sports, and good food. I would also make myself get a job on the weekends to start saving up because having no help from your parents is so much harder than you can begin to comprehend. Also to save up because when the loans don't cover the tuition costs and you have to skip classes to make enough money to pay for it and the apartment and food, your GPA suffers and it can ruin your dreams. But I would also say to work hard because it's worth it.

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Dear High-school-senior Gillian, Hi, it's me. Junior-in-college Gillian. I know you're anxious about college and what it will be like. One reason you chose OSU over the University of Oregon was because your siblings went to the UO and you didn't want to just copy them; it'd be a real let-down if it turns out that OSU is exactly like the UO. Don't worry--it isn't. College is a really fun time. You don't need to "re-invent" yourself like a lot of people do, though of course you will change after living in the dorms, being an RA, and experiencing life without Mom and Dad. Yes, a lot of people from our high school will go to OSU, but you will hardly ever see them (and when you do, it's super easy to avert your eyes and pretend like you don't know them). So relax and be yourself: that's the hardest part of the transition. Don't be afraid to show what makes you excited in life. People appreciate passion. With love and the utmost sincerity, Junior-in-college Gillian

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Any student and parent should experience the school for themselves. The individuals would be suggested to take a tour of the campus and visit as much as possible to get a feel for your surrounding. Students also must be willing to live in the Dorm or off campus on their first year to obtain such an experience. Personally ,this was the best choice I have made to this day!! Living at home would have been cost effective but I won't have met anyone. Going to a college close to home and being around people is also very helpful to have!! Money should not be an issue in any decision! Most of all their must be dedication to being in an active roll at your college!! If you are always out of the loop your college years won't be the best of your life. Good luck and be aware of the Freshman 15!! (It happens to everyone) Thanks for this opportunity! I enjoy teaching people about my college and getting things of my crest about my experience thus far!!

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