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Pace University-New York

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

I would have told myself to calm down and that anywhere I choose I can make the best situation of. Even though I had a bad experience at my first school, it was a learning experience. One of my biggest worries was the social and educational aspects of the school I would choose my senior year. I would have told myself to look deeper into colleges that excelled in my particular major of interest and had a diverse population. I am a transefer student from a school in upstate New York in the middle of nowhere. I would have screamed at myself not to apply to someplace I could not escape from and wander off the campus. I needed space and independence, something I could not get at my first school that I now have at Pace. I wish I looked for a school that would allow me to discover myself and grow because my original school fed on my insecurities and trapped me in there ways. At Pace I have changed and become more confident and knowledgeable and I have an amazing social life. It was a struggle but I'm very happy where I'm at.

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Going back to high school, I honestly believe that teachers only give students a few standard answers on what the college experience will really be like. They warn you about the change in workload, and learning how to manage your time. Going into college, you expect to struggle with those things for a bit, but really, those are the things you can most easily get used to. If I could talk to my high school senior self, I'd tell her that the real management skills come with trying to figure out what days you can class without A) getting totally lost and B)exceeding your absence limit. I would also tell myself not to let social drama get in the way of school, because you'll continue needing the things you learn in school, but realisitcally you'll never speak to half of the people you spent so much time worrying about. Essentially, I'd want to tell my senior self to learn to prioritize now, because as time goes on, you'll only have more things added to your plate, and knowing what's really important will be crucial.

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I would tell myself to not overlook the statement of college being expensive. So the best bet is to do two years in a community college and than transfer to a 4year university. The first two years you don't really dive into your major anyway. I would also be sure to tell my senior self know what you want to do in college so you are not wasting your time and your money in college. I would also say be social, not in the aspect of trying to make the most friends but the phrase it is not what you know it is who you know is very important. So know who you have to know. Also learn everything you can, do not just memorize material to past the test, understand the concept to a point where you can teach, because knowledge is very important. Do no take your education for granted; some people would kill to be in your shoes. Also take your life a bit more serious, your still young but think about the future, but find a balance between having fun and building your future. Your choices at this point of your life are very crucial.

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If I could go back in time knowing what I know about college know, there would be a little guy on my shoulder that would have yelled in my ear every day, ?Hey you! Yeah you in there! Did you ever thing about what you?re going to do when high school is over?? I would have started the very day I became a senior and told myself to take the placement test at Seattle Central Community College, and do running start. Then I would have been one year ahead of everyone, and my school would have paid for it all. I would have gone down that hall? The one by all of the administrative offices? The one hall that ALL the students were afraid to go down. And I would?ve gone into the college center and talked to someone about what I could have done to better prepare for college. I would have asked my dad for money to take the S.A.T.s, asked friends and family who they knew outside of Washington so I could have starts looking for school to go out of state, applied for financial aid, gotten letters of recommendation and more.

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I'm not going to lie, I was a total wreck as a high school senior. I was constantly worrying- about being accepted to college, finding the money to actually attending college, and wondering if I was ready to leave and make my own life. Three months into college I can confidently tell you that moving to New York City and attending Pace University has been the best decison of my life and I have no regrets. If I could go back in time and talk to my high school senior self I would tell myself to RELAX. This time last year I was afraid to even apply to college, I had convinced myself I wasn't good enough. But now that I am here I realize I AM good enough and capable of anything, especially growing. I have learned that as long as I work my hardest and truly love what I'm doing, everything will work out. I don't think anyone is ever really ready for change, but without change we can never actually realize our strength, our talent, our passions or our dreams. So my high school self just has to breathe and dream.

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I would have a lot to say, if I could go back and speak to the high school version of me. I would tell that younger me to find “extracurricular activities”- whether that was a sport, or me and a few other art-inclined students forming a group at the high school… just something more than only focusing on the academics. I would give younger me a push in the direction of community service; not just for scholarships, but to break out of my shell a little more I would sit the younger me down and tell her to go for her dreams from the get-go... to not be so afraid to say that I wanted to go into the art field. I would have felt a lot less stress back then, if I had had the confidence to say that to myself. At the same time, I would tell her to keep her chin up... that even though I would make mistakes, miss out on certain opportunities, everything would turn out okay- that I find myself, just a little bit more everyday. I think, hearing that from an older me... would have really changed my mindset back then.

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I learned who I am as a person in college. By being away from everything that I know, and learning for myself what life is all about, I found out how independent and strong I can truly be. I made all my own friendships, and learned skills that I need now that I am on my own. Along with keeping up with school work and doing well on exams, I learned how to make new relationships, respect myself, and respect everyone that I meet. Going to college was a valuable choice because it forced me to mature and learn all the things I needed to learn to become an adult. In my first semester, I learned more than the entire four years of high school. Back in high school I was with my old friends and had my family to run to whenever anything went wrong. Now, I have to find solutions to my problems by myself and as a result of this I have grown as a person. College helped me find out who I am and how strong people can really be when they must be independent. It is a valuable experience that I’m grateful for.

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To my former self, Don't think about where you'll be in 10 years, what office you want to work in, or try to plan anything because it's silly to do that now. Don't pick a school based on money, since you'll be able to afford in anyways; based on degrees, since every college you're looking at has options; or based on where other people you know will be. Make the decision about feelings, the vibe that a place has. You will have fun, you will make friends, the work will be fine, as long as you relax. Take it one step at a time, letting the pieces fall into place without trying to rush everything or make plans for months and years ahead. Focus on yourself now because this is a time to define yourself, to become who you will, but only if you let it happen. Trying to control every outcome will only make you crazy, so take a deep breath and go with the flow. You will have a job, whether it's your dream job or the step to it, so follow your heart for now. Love, Your future self

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As a ?been there, seen that? transfer student finishing his second go at college, the best advice I can give is try to come to the realization as quickly as possible that you are now paying (a lot) for your school experience. By senior year, most students have learned how to satisfy their own needs and cut through their respective schools? red tape (and almost no schools are immune from at least some bureaucracy). But you will get a lot more out of your experience if you start thinking from day one, ?I?m paying for this experience; these people are here to help make things work for me.? I?m not saying you should be pushy or obnoxious. Treat students and staff with respect, but also with firmness and confidence. Learning this attitude early is the best way to turn whichever college you end up choosing into the Right School for You. It might sound hokey, but trust a 23-year-old undergraduate who learned this lesson a little later in his college career... it?s the truth.

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Well, I'm sure most students and their parents know that a few visits to a university are essential. However, I would stress the importance of actually trying to talk to a few students you see on campus, and not the ones giving you a tour because those kids are coached into making the school seem amazing. Another thing to consider during a visit, is observing how the students dress and interact with each other. Also, look at their facial expressions; do they seem enthusiastic, depressed, frustrated, annoyed, anxious, etc. Can you see yourself being friends with these people? This is extremely important so that you can dtermine whether or not you will fit in well. Overall, I feel the most important aspect of researching a school is the students, because regardless of how great or terrible a college is, the friends you make there is what you will always remember. Not the fact that you had a good "student teacher ratio", etc. The students are what make the school.

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