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Plymouth State University

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

Justin, you delightful heart for education will overtake you as you age. Stay strong and make sure to always develop, maintain, and strengthen the relationships you will build along the way. They will prove a wonderful resource of blessing, not only for what they may offer you, moreso for what you offer them. As much as you will labor in knowledge, Justin, spend yourself in equal effort to labor in loving people with it. Offer them your all: all aid . . . all encouragement . . . all physical, and emotional support . . . all the provision you can muster. I promise you, Justin, this will not dissappoint. The investment made into others will reap an hundred-fold return as you mature. Take life's dialy examples: though a baker know his craft well and creates delectible treats, is he praised for his work with no customer? Though a teacher fathom all depths of knowledge, and master all proof and explanation, is he reckoned well with no student? Seek knowledge, Justin, yes, but not unto self--unto service. Mark my words: it will not dissappoint; Justin, my solemn promise to you is this: service will fill your life with years and your years with life.

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Do as much research as possible! College isn't just another school to go to after elementary and high school, like a lot of people think. Know why you're going on. Try to foresee the future as much as possible. Parents: know your children's desires and and personality and choose a school that they aren't just comfortable with but will challenge them in ways unique only to them. Once you guys are at school, use this time to make the transition from home to a life all for yourself. Cut loose but be disciplined. Know what's good for you and take full advantage of everything the school has to offer. You're paying a lot of money for not just education but for career services, arts, social networks, geographical advantages (like mountains and cities), student discounts, database access, and much more. If you have dreams, use this abundant amount of time to refine them and find ways to bankroll them in the future. Transfer if the college doesn't feel right after a year. Remember, there are plenty of underprivileged people who would do ANYTHING to have themselves or their kids go to college. Appreciate it.

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The best advice I can give to parents and students about finding the right college to attend is to figure out who you are and what environments and activities best support you. Find a site online that narrows down your search based on a personality and professional goal survey. If you feel you learn better in small groups and with one on one instruction, pick a small school with small class sizes. If you play a sport or specialize in a certain aspect of the community, find a school that has your club or your sport that will encourage you to be involved. Define who you are and pick a school that allows you to be yourself. Once you pick the school and pay the tuition and fees, it is up to you to get the most out of your experience that you can. Some people don?t realize that a percentage of your fees go towards activities, so get your money?s worth and be involved. Choose classes, activities, clubs, and friends that are in line with your personality and professional goals. Make these choices in ways that challenge you to succeed, compliment your personality, and develop your individuality.

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The advice I would give to parents and future students is to visit the campus and attend a class in order to fully understand all aspects of the future school. Think about the top expected characteristics of the school and while visiting determine if it fits your way of learning and social atmosphere. Another important part of choosing a school is to be knowledgeable about the soundings. Drive around and find out what is located in the town and determine is the city feel is not for you or that you may be shutting yourself our by choosing to go to a school in the mountains. I have always had a side job so for me it was important to find stores, but for others it is important to have something to do. Either investigate on campus activities or other activities that would be appropriate for you to spend your free time. Finally the last piece of advice is that as a freshman it is important to live on campus to get familiar with the people and the environment. Not emerging with the new surrounding could result into isolating yourself, and missing the opportunity to make friends for life.

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I've learned how the criminal justice system works and how law has evolved over the centuries. I've also learned how to effectively market products and conduct market research. I've even learned how to create a life-long financial plan. But these lessons seem trivial when compared to the one lesson only college can teach people about: the self. Middle school and high school are comfort zones for students; they grow familiar with the groups they have fit in to and are given a false sense of self. Once in college, students are forced to start over. Identity is proven to be a very liquid thing. I have been attending Plymouth State University since 2009 and am now a sophmore, and in that time i have made changes to my "identity" at least a dozen times. I am not happy with this fact, but it has taught me a lesson:I need to be honest with myself; don't be something that I'm not. Success comes out of finding happiness, and happiness out of self actualization. The day comes where everyone realizes what they want, and becomes happy. College is teaching me how to reach this day.

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As a senior, I allowed so many adults and peers to persuade my decisions on which school /major to choose. I was blinded by "fitting in" with my peers, blinded by my parents pushing me that strict academics were of utmost importance. I have always been the creatie type, taking years of dance, art, acting, photography, writing...you name it. These things were pushed aside for me, as they often are when young people are taught that a "stable" career is the only career they should pursue, even though I excelled at them. I have 5+ years of college completed and no degree to show for it. I take responsibility for this, but have spent years being angry that my decisions were not truly my own. At 27, I am hopeful for a fresh start, and in something I love and am passionate about. Passion proves time and time again to be a poweful motivator in accomplishment and success in this world. I would tell myself to NOT listen to the loud voices, but only to my own. I would say to genuinely, do what makes you happy. Find what you love and pursue it with all of your energy!

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With my extensive and superior knowledge of college life and the transition from home to campus, my advice to my high school self would be to take a giant chill pill. I was frantic, thinking that I had to memorize all the facts about classes, financial aid, and scholarships. I was anxious, worrying nonstop about which college to attend, what to study, and how I was going to pay for it all. When it was about time to move in, I stayed up late, my brain telling me horror stories about failing my classes and not making any friends. What I really wish I could do is go back in time, take my senior-self into a warm, enveloping old-lady embrace, and tell her to calm down. Being a student at Plymouth State University has been an amazing experience that I would repeat again and again. It is a welcoming and enriching community which cares about my health and education. Last summer I was clinging to my mother’s apron, begging to stay home. I wish my high school self could see me this summer, counting down the days until I can go back home to Plymouth State University.

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Seniors in high-school think they’ve got it all figured out. I was one of them. I sent in my Common Application to the only school I wanted and focused on enjoying my last year with my friends. I don’t regret spending the time I did with the people I’ve know forever, but I wish I had put more emphasis on preparing myself for the college lifestyle and the financial strains it would cause. I heard about scholarships all through high-school. I knew they would be a smart and free addition to my college fund, but I procrastinated on doing them until it was too late. So there I was, a senior on awards night watching all of my friends winning hundreds of dollars in scholarship money and I was stuck with my sales associate pay check. So my advice is this, completely simple and straight to the point: TAKE THE FREE MONEY! Fill out the scholarship forms, write the short essays. You may not receive them all, but the smallest amount goes a long way with books, classes and meal plans. Be the senior getting up and receiving all those scholarships, you know you can.

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Megan, as you make the transition to college I suggest you go in it with a positive attitude about learning and be less worried about the "partying". When you go to college and assume that a majority of your time will be spent doing nonproductive activities then you are more likely to fall behind and become stressed out with the work load. Prepare yourself mentally for what is to come, and make sure not to slack your senior year. By slacking you will be out of practice for everything that will come within the next year. I also suggest you get the FAFSA done early. The earlier you get it done, the more likely you are to recieve the financial aid you may need. College is expensive and most students need some type of financial aid. Finally, when you are deciding what financial aid to take, research what you are getting yourself into. Some loans are better than others, and you do not want to get mixed up in a loan where you will be incapable to pay either during or after school. Good luck, and be sure to enjoy your time at school, its your time to grow.

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Entering into college was not like anything that I had dreamed about as I made the long walk up on stage to recieve my high school diploma months before move in day. I remember thinking that college was going to be like summer camp; a long, exciting vacation filled with "get to know you games" and smores by the fire. In fact, that's basically what the orientation at college was like. So, to my surprise, when I spent my first week at school I didn't like it and couldn't imagine having to live at college for the remaining four years of my life. If I was able to return to my highschool self, standing there on that podium, experiencing the last moments of my highschool world, I would tell myself to remember that change takes time. I feel like this lesson is one of the most important things that I will take from college. Change is something that will happen all throughout my life and it is not a walk in the park. But what is life without challenge? It is important cherish memories in the past, yet dreams are achieved through change and hard work.

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