Oregon State University Top Questions

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


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.


If I was able to go back in time to my senior year, I would tell myself to let loose and enjoy the last year of free education. I would tell myself to learn how to read textbooks efficiently, learn how to study without study guides, and to not stress to much over every assignment or test because that would become a constant state of stress in college. I would, also, tell myself when you get to college to have fun, meet new people, and enjoy the new found freedom away from your parents, but to not forget the reason you are in college in the first place, which is education. College is a time to learn, widen your horizons, and have fun, but also to learn responsibility and to use your freedom and time judiciously.


I would go back and tell my highschool self to not join to the military until after I completed my degree. I would have told him to take his studies more seriously, and to not take education for granted. Since being in the military, I've really gained a newfound appreciation for the importance of a quality education.


I would tell myself to embrace fear. There are so many people who make decisions based in fear and I would never want to live my life that way. Once you overcome the discomfort of doing things you fear the most you will be truly free. There is nothing in your life that you cannot accomplish if you stare your fears in the face and challenge them. If you fail, great. It will show you that you can fail and still live to learn and grow from it. In short, high school self, do what you fear.


I would say don't stress on big projects, but get a head start on the work and chip away at it. That will minimize the stress and let you spread your work out so that you can take on more responsibilities and activities. Make sure that you put all of the due dates for assignment and dates for midterms and finals on your calendar and never skip class. EVER. Get involved on campus as soon as possible, be nice to your RAs, and have fun. Just not too much that your grades start to suffer.


Don't be afraid of new experiences in college. Be involved in the community, make new friends and get involved in clubs. Your best friends will be through marching band and don't be afraid to join Kappa Kappa Psi. Be proactive in your learning and stay on top of your studies. However, don't miss out on the social aspects of college. Take the time to figure who you are and what you love. Don't feel bad about giving up on something that you've burnt out on and pursue your passions with no shame. Allow yourself to cry and stress out, and be kind to yourself and give yourself a break once in a while. Don't let your depression hinder your academic performance and allow yourself to be vulnerable towards your friends. Call your mom often and let her know how much you love her. And lastly, keep perusing your dream of studying abroad; it will happen and it will be amazing.


College is a time of learning in and outside the classroom. As talking to my high school senior self, I would highlight three key points. The first and most important advice would be to meet with your professors during the first week of every term. In the long run they will be able to help you with academics and teach you professionalism. In addition, it will be the beginning of networking with successful men and women. Secondly, sit in front of every class because this will keep you focused and reinforce a relationship with the professor. As you become more recognized by the professor, they will learn your name and be more interested in who you are. The third key point I would tell my high school senior self would be to expect college to be difficult. By expecting college to be difficult and to be ready to spend long hours in the library. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the large amount of homework given that is much different than high school. These three things are not everything a student needs to know going into college as a freshman but it is vital to being successful.


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If I could go back to high school I would tell myself to prepare and be diligent in my studies, and how college really is a whole new ball game! There is now no one to neither expect anything of you nor really care how much effort you exonerate. In college you waist your own time and money or you make the most of it! I would make sure I stressed the kind of college student I want to be and how important it is to be the kind of student that elaborates on the material stretching the knowledge and gain from each class. I would emphasis to myself that not only is it your own responsibility to make useful the resources I supplement such as my time and money but that it is also my responsibility to get the most out of every classes. I would make this the largest theme of the conversation, because being a year into school I realize not only how relatable the information I am learning is to my everyday life, but by knowing this information inside and out I can excel in the related classes and build on my previous knowledge.


When I was in high school, I was a high acheiving student and my self image was based on this. I entered Oregon State as a member of the University Honors College. Early in my college career, I was often stressed as I compared myself to other honors students rather than average students. This stress was especially acute during times when challenges outside of school (my own health and my father's battle with cancer and death). It took me until the end of college to realize how much I had acheived (multiple internships and undergraduate research in Food Science as well as Industrial Engineering) compared to many of my classmates. I would tell myself that there is no value in comparing myself to others. Worrying is a distraction and will not help you suceed. Focus on getting good grades but the most important thing you can do is to build relationships. Every opportunity I have had in college has resulted not from competing with others but from asking a professor for help. Opportunities will come to you through hard work and asking for help in pursuing your interests. You will be fine.


I would tell Nate to get moving on the countless scholarship opportunities and to boost his resume by joining more clubs and adding more community service. In high school Nate didn’t worry too much about the future he knew that he could get into the college he wanted due to his 3.7 GPA but didn’t spend too much time figuring out how to pay for it. Yes he put work into athletics, academics, community service, and work but he missed several big opportunities. One of the best scholarship options out there is that provided by your university for incoming freshmen. Nate missed these deadlines and consequently several thousands of dollars. But even when things don’t go perfect I would tell Nate that the biggest key is to stick with it. Yes you may have missed opportunities but the wonderful thing about college is that it’s all made up of opportunities. Every turn there will be another. So the key to success in college is to keep your head up and your eyes open and with a little luck and determination all the pieces will fall into place.


Going back to 2009, and looking at how worried I was about the cost of going to school, and the opportunities that I thought I would have to pass up, "for now" because of my financial burdens I would have wished that I would have just followed my dreams and aspirations no matter what. Joining the military was always my goal, but I was encouraged to go to college first before making that big of a decision. I thought it necessary to stress my need for finances, and chose to go to a community college that did not have a care in the world whether or not I attended classes with them. Unfortunately after wasting almost two years of time that could have been focussed on my aspirations of becoming a helicopter pilot, I found out that these financial burdens could have been easily taken care of by simply going to the school that I wanted to and enlisting in the military off the bat, like I ended up doing in the long run. Do what you think is right for you, and go with it. Do not hesitate based on finances or the influence of others.


Dear Senior High School Kelsey, I know you are so excited to be graduating high school and don’t want to look back – don’t! There’s no need, everything is ahead of you. This transition you are embarking on is just as exciting as you are anticipating it to be. The most important things I have to tell you are: people are going to continue to doubt you and that is their problem, it is not yours. Do not let their doubt affect your view of yourself. Secondly, you need to know that this is your time to learn yourself! So take as many classes as you can about your multiple interests, don’t be afraid to make friends and get involved in new activities, this is your time! You can change your plan as many times as your need to, as long as you keep moving forward and keep your drive to change and better the world. You will be great. Kelsey.


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


I would tell my senior self to make more of an effort to study and make a good habit of it. Just because you can coast through high school it doesn't mean you can do the same thing in college. Also, I would've told myself to not pick a major for the first few years of school, just take general courses that you'll need for higher classes until you're settled into the person you become after you leave high school and you really know what you want from life. Learning that money doesn't grow on trees and that you should focus more on your classes then trying to work a full time job would be a lot easier if you paid attention to the amount of school debt you're accruing. Just because you don't see that number doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And if you take some courses and you still don't know what you want to do, it's ok to take a step back and take a break so that you can straighten yourself out. Because it's your life and it's your choices.


Dont be stuck with who you were in highschool. Branch out and explore your interests there are so many new activities and clubs that most highschools dont have. College is a chance to not only to study what you wish, but also to improve,reinvent, or expand yourself.


If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to apply for as many scholarships as I can, because college is even more expensive than it already appears to be. I would also start getting rid of unnecessary possesions during senior year to make the move easier at the end of the summer before your freshman year at college. Also very important is to go shopping for college supplies in the winter of your senior year- beat the rush of the summer college dorm room and supplies sales, when prices go way up.


Dear Courtney Rae, Please do not be concerned about who is writing this letter because yes, it is your future self. No, I will not tell you who you will be with in the future or which friends will stay and go. I will not tell you when grandma dies or what you got on your IB assessments, but I need to change our future. I regret not applying for scholarships early. I didn't realize we could apply for scholarships before high school, and now that you are in high school, please make it more likely for us to attend our dream school without the worry of student loans and finding a job before school starts in three months. Oh, please also do not play with your hands while Stephanie is interviewing you for Cafe Aroma; she gave us a weird look. If you find this too late, atleast try to give this letter to our little sister Brittany to prevent her from regrets about affording college life. Hopefully, I can afford laundry detergent and a study abroad trip to Australia (not just for the accents, the animals). Stay focused in school and scholarship. Love you, Courtney Rae Gruesbeck.


If I could go back and talk to myself as a senior, the first thing I would tell myself is to not set my mind on one college and to worry about tuition cost more. I would inform myself to apply to many colleges, even the smaller ones too. I also would have said that I need to do more research on the colleges I am interested in, and to consider the many options I have for which college I choose. This way I would have multiple options to decide which college is most affordable and offers more money to help with tuition.


My advice could be summed up in a single phrase, "get comfortable with being uncomfortable". My first year of college I had just gotten back from a long trip walking 600 miles across Spain and had learned a lot about independence. I joined during winter term and was met with little infrastructure to help me get acclimated to college life. The social branching of fall term had come to an end and most people were now comfortable staying within their unique cliques. Coming in winter term taught me how to overcome my social anxiety and become much more open to pursuing new relationships with people. Relationships are ultimately the most valuable thing to be gained from college. Developing relationships with friends, mentors and future professional peers will aid you in your success far more than a high GPA (of course the high GPA doesn't hurt!). Also don't be afraid of biting off more than you can chew. Being busy with work, school and volunteering has actually helped me become a much more succesful student than just focusing on school alone. Don't let fear stop you from meeting new people, and remember, everything becomes easier with practice.


If I talked to myself as a high school senior, I would definitely have advice. I would explain that while socializing is an important part of life, it is more important to find a place where healthy acceptance is present. That doesn't mean popularity, but it means feeling good in the company of friends. I would also stress that this might mean having less friends; however, the friendships might be more long-lasting and authentic if based on commonalities and learning. As far as dating, I would advise myself and others to focus on developing friendships rather than long-term relationships while studying. It sidetracks from the original purpose of schooling, which is to engage in learning in a safe, rich environment. I also would indicate that while grades can be rewarding, excessive focus on them or the end result of a degree or job can be counterproductive and take away from the process of school. Too often, students will look at a graduate or a program for money and/or see it as easy. Ignoring the process of learning and not being mindful might land a student in a unhappy state in school or down the road.


When you first get to college make sure you get out and get to know people. It will make life so much easier because you will have friends to study and hang out with. When you miss a day of school you will have people to get notes from. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and be social. Also, go out and get involved. You do not want to be stuck in your dorm room all day doing homework, it is not fun and makes you get homesick a lot faster. You also need to realize that speeches are not that scary. You can do it, you do not need to be nervous about it. You will take one class with these people then probably never see them again so if you make a mistake that is okay. Go out and have fun. Join clubs even if you do not konw anyone that goes to them. After awhile you will get to know people and make new frineds. Lastly, go to the pre-vet club meetings. You learn a lot and they are worth it.


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.


be patient


I would tell myself to take college applications seriously! I would love to apply to different colleges as a senior and have my options open. I would have also told myself to apply for FAFSA and take that seriously as well. I didn't know much about financial aid and the free money that I would have earned had I taken both the college and FASFA application seriously. I also, would have told myself to not limit myself from applying to in state colleges. I would apply for out of state colleges as well because maybe I could have earned a full ride to a university not in Texas. One last thing I would have told myself is to talk to my counselors more about colleges and have more questions to ask them.


If I were going to go back and talk to my high school self about college I would tell myself to branch out sooner. It took me a long time to learn that college is a place to expand your horizons and to grow and meet new people. I came into college struggling to meet new people and I didn't know how to ask for help. Slowly I have gotten much better at putting myself out there and I have realized that most everyone is ready and willing to be friends and to help in any way they can. So if I could talk to my high school self I would get it through my thick skull to not be so skeptical of people and to throw myself out there. Worst case scanario you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and you do it again!


Take the time to understand yourself. It is the simplest of concepts that many people take decades to realize and some never do. It is something that you do not find on a school retreat, it is not something you find drinking with friends, watching TV, or even, sad to say, reading books. The characters in other stories moving across screens or twirling across pages can only, at best, provide a glimpse into the world of who you are and who you would like to be. It cannot be found through the fabricated identity that Facebook or Instagram provides. Deep quotes plastered on landscape photographs do not invoke its presence. Experience life through your own magnificent lens and elegant prose. At the age of 17 you will move away to go to school and within a year your grandma, who helped raise you, will be diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. The decision that family means more to you than your new life in a different state will be the best decision you will ever make because it will teach you that understanding who you are and what you want will always take you exactly where you need to be.


If I ever got a chance to go back in time to talk to myself about the expeiences I've had as a college student at Oregon State University, I'd tell myself, "it's worth it." I've learned so much from the new friends and teachers I've made, and it's been a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Words cannot descibe the joys, tears, laughters, and heartfelt memories that I have created, and I wouldn't and cannot ruin that for myself by telling that to Jeffrey Burrow from 2010. I would want him to experience it himself by doing exactly what I did.


If I were to go back to myself in high school I would tell myself to really think about the decisions that were in my future. I would proceed to have a heart-to-heart talk about why making the decision not to go to college right away is not in my best interest. Telling her that waiting to go will only reduce my self-esteem and confidence, making the transition of going back more difficult. Additionally, I would tell my past-self that waiting to go to college was only going to make my future endeavors harder. Instead of having a career by time I am 30 I would only be recently graduating and starting my life. I think that if I had someone to talk to me on a real and personal level about going to college than I may have decided to go right out of high school.


I would tell myself not to give up because your pregnant. That it was worth all the wakeing up early and taking time everyday to finish up to graduate with your class on time. That no matter what gets in your way to keep your head up high and not to drop out because getting pregnant is not an excuse to give up it a motivation to push harder.


Hey there, younger self. The best advice I can give you right now is take a deep breath and do not rush anything. Take the time and effort to learn about yourself, what you want to do in life, and who you want to spend it with. Do not brush off anyone or anything placed on your path, instead you should study them like a piece of art and ask yourself, "Will this make me better or happier?" The answer to this question will not only help you find a career you are passionate about but will help you find your spritual side, the one that makes you happier at the end of the day. More importantly remember this: life is a journey that has dark alley ways to pass, but at the end of the alleyways there is always a beautiful city.


I would tell myself, "join those clubs I was too fearful to join my freshman year because those clubs, and the people that did join them, are the people and experiences that will help you find yourself."


I was extremely naive as a high school senior. If I could talk to myself, I would advise myself to learn more about myself and my passions before entering college. I would encourage myself to take a year off to figure out what I wanted in life and who I wanted to be in the future. I would also advise myself to spend more time on academics; I should have spent more time learning how to take tests. I want to also advise myself to enter college with an open-mind and a desire to meet new friends. I entered college very shy, and I missed out on many friendships because I spent more time in my room than out meeting people. I want to also encourage myself to take advantage of every scholarship opportunity for high schoolers. Above all, I want my high school self to know that no matter what choices I make, that my family loves and supports me.


Talking to my high school self, I would try to explain that as important as school is, it’s more about your experiences than your homework. In college, I've come to understand that great grades don't translate to success. I was the kind of student who worked really hard at maintaining a good GPA, however I don't believe I learned as much about life in the process. Had I adapted my understanding of learning to include the real world around me, I wouldn't have spent so much time worrying about a little number that is supposed to measure my intelligence. I have met many people in my life, both in college and out, that are extremely smart and successful, yet didn't get good grades in high school. Sometimes it's better to pull your face out of the book, and take the time to look around and apply your knowledge to the world around you. Not every answer to life's questions can be found in a book or your homework. They are often found in daily life; you just need to pay attention and start making small connections. They'll make a big impact.


Go to community college for cheaper costs.


I would tell myself not to take my senior year of high school for granted. I spent my senior year not doing anything and just having fun. I wish I would have taken some of that time to explore scholarships and grants available for college. I would tell myself that just because you are going to community college first doesn't mean scholarships don't apply to you; you could be passing up a lot of free money. I would have also highly recommended to participate in more community service and extracurricular activities as they help greatly when applying for scholarships. I would have also told myself that senior year is a great time to challenge yourself a little bit and take some college level courses. It may seem like you can't enjoy senior year with harder classes but it pays off when you can receive college credit in high school. Not only do you receive the college credit but you also save money by taking the class for free in high school and save time that you would have spent taking that class in college taking other courses that may interest you.


College is not something that should be taken lightly. You need to buckle down and realize that this will be the foundation of the rest of your life. When you walk into college on your first day, give it your all. Study, don't cram the night before a test, and never miss a class. You are paying for your college education, if you fail because you were being lazy then you've wasted your time and your money. Take it seriously. After high school you're going to realize how much work you have to put into your studies to receive the grades you desire. There's always a tutoring center in all colleges, take advantage of that. The people you go to high school with will fade away, it's inevitable. There are too many people you would have to keep in touch with. Hold the ones you care about close to you and never let them go. One day you will thank me for telling you all of this. When you graduate from college with honors you will thank me.


My biggest advice is the importance of relationships in college. Having good relationships with the people who are educating you isn’t just about being polite; it can really work to your advantage both now and in the long run. Asking for help or, when the time comes, a letter of recommendation is much easier if you know that you’re liked and appreciated instead of just tolerated in the classroom. You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with all of your professors; just being respectful and cooperative will take you a long way. The secret to good grades, is that they’re often more a reflection of the amount of work you’ve put into them than your intelligence and willingness to go the extra mile; that’s why taking advantage of your high school’s honors program, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes shows colleges that you haven’t spent four years slacking.


Dear High School Senior Self, There is a rough road ahead, but you already know that. You will be tested beyond belief. Don't worry about your personal life, it will follow naturally. Please, please, please stay focused on the end classes of your AA. Don't get arrogant or burnt out. Do well in the last classes because when you choose to fail one, it ruins your gpa. Watch to see when you can graduate so you get to walk across the state with your husband at Taft College. Stop trying to be what others want you to be and feel free to speak your mind about how you really feel. Start your Bachelors in January 2013 instead of April 2013.


The first thing I would tell myself is that while computers are very popular, the need and types are constantly changing. I would also advise myself NOT to get married right after high school so that college is my priority and that it will save myself a ton of grief and abuse. I would give myself advice about what classes would be very important and which ones can wait (since some of them no longer exist). I would help myself plan for the future I knew would now be better since I could keep myself from wasting time and energy on things that will come not to matter at all. I would advise myself to take classes, such as math, back to back so there were no breaks in between to forget.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself I would start by saying change what you are doing. I would also tell myself how important it is to try my hardest and do not give up, you will make it to graduation day. I would tell myself I should start looking for a job so I can save money to help pay for my college education. At first you may think you can not make the transition into college but you can do it just try and stay focused on what is important. The next thing I would tell me is once this is done you will have a career in the field you want and if you get good grades now it will help you when choosing a college in the very near future. College at first may seem hard but just put your mind to it and ask as many questions as you need to so you understand what is being said. Do not procrasate, leave yourself enough time to get your work done so you are not stressing about it at the last minute.


To whom it may concern, My name is Maritza Hernandez, I am a first generation college students in my family. I am proud to be studying at Holyoke Community College. I look forward to making the Dean list by the end of this semester. I am a dedicated mother of two wonderful children a girl that is 14 and a boy that is 11. I am proud to be in college an being a positive role model not only for my children but for many other that look up to me for guidance. The only advice that I would give myself would be to finish college once I completed High School. My goal is to break the barriers of poverty for my generation to come. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely Yours Maritza Hernandez


If there was any peice of advice i could give myself two years ago, it would be to get my license. Growing up in a home schooling household, I wasn't able to get my driving license until I was 18. Not having a license kept me from getting a job or applying for internships that could have helped me through my college education. I regret that I didn't push myself to get my license, and it is the one thing I would change about my senior year.


I would tell myself to pick a school with an environment that I felt comfortable in. Having a place that you feel more at home in will mke everything easier. I would advice myself to pick a smaller school where you could get to know your teachers and classmates better. I would also say to think about the town size as well becasue it is easy to get lost in a big town when you are used to a one stop light kind of place. As for high school I would advice myself to take more college credit classes from the community colllege so that I could have some of it out of the way when I got here. I might tell myself to spend more time with friends in high school because you don't have as much time for that in college. Most of all I would tell myself to enjoy being at home while it lasts and to cherish all of the time possible with my parents.


Assuming I could go back in time and talk to myself as I High School Senior the advice I would say to give it my all insports because I truly believe I couldve recieved a full ride scholarship if I couldve stuck with baseball. I couldve completed worked towards my Bachelors degree with a full ride scholarship and then enrolled in the military. Knowing all the benefits of higher rank in the military really changed my perspective on how I wish I wouldve stuck with my baseball. I could be in a much better place right now. So yes, I would definatly try to pursade myself into sticking with baseball and getting that full ride Scholarship.


I would tell myself to apply for more scholarships sooner and to hang out with friends at home rather than working so hard before moving. I should have enjoyed the time I had left before leaving everyone else behind.


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.


Work hard, this is nothing, wait until you have to pull all nighters, while being sick. You will have fun, you will meet new friends. Things will always get better, no matter the problem. You may have to retake a class or two, it sucks but don't sweat it. You will work hard, you will be supported, and you will be fine. I promise, I'm doing it right now. I am working hard to get the grades I want and the future I need. You can do this. You will be successful, all you have to do is try.


I would give an advice of staying on top of things, go against what the advisors tells you, do what you feel is right. Whenever you feel like you are behind, ask for help from the teacher, teacher's assistant, peers, and friends. Don't procrastinate and learn some time management. I would also advise not to underestimate any classes, people perform poorly in "easy" classes because they lack studying for that particular class.


Don't play football with the boys so you can finish your military career and have them pay for college for you.