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Point Loma Nazarene University

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

There are four factors that play a role both in choosing a college and making the most of your experience. First, Be Honest. Never just settle and be real about who you are so you can grow. Second, think about your past experiences, your expectations and your comfort levels. These influence your opinion of any new environment. Third, prioritize what you want. Trust me, I wish everyone could have it all. Rather than wishing, it?s best to start checking things off. Finally, see college as an experience, as your life, as well as an education. It?s four years, after all! While in college I lived as much as possible in the moment. Students are in a unique state of being. They are responsible for very little and answerable to very few. This legitimate self-absorbed opportunity is great because it?s a chance to really flesh out who you are, your individuality. In hindsight, I can say I wish I worked more, and borrowed less. But that would have produced an entirely different person than the one I am today. College is best when you realize your best in everything you do. That alone prepares you for anything.

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Believe in yourself. You are smarter, stronger, and prettier than you give yourself credit for. Make sure to push yourself everyday. Find friends that encourage you and build you up. STOP DOUBTING. Get out of your comfort zone, for its the only way you will grow. Rooming with someone else is all about give and take. So GIVE. Pick your battles. Spend time getting to know one another. Find a balance in your life early on. Make a schedule and STICK to it. Work ahead. Study when you plan to study, and rest when you plan to rest. Schedule time for just yourself. Time to meditate on everything you are learning; scholastically, socially, and spiritually. Highlighters, note-cards, and the first floor of the library are your FRIENDS. Your professors are there to teach AND challenge you. Get a mentor. It is okay to be volnerable. Get involved in a student ministry, you will donate your time to helping others and will grow so much. You are about to embark on a time in your life that will be harder than anything you have ever done. You WILL SUCCEED. BELIEVE in yourself. When all else fails, get on your knees.

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The student has the ultimate power in determining how good their college experience will be. It does not matter where one goes to college if they do not care about their education and their future. All that parents can do is to help place a student in a school with the best possible resources and opportunities. The best education originates from a school that has small class sizes with professors that truly care about and have time for their students. My school may have some frustrating points of contention but I have had an amazing educational experience. My teachers actually cared about my progress and my future. They did their best to grow and ready me for the real world. I think it is extremely rare to find a school where students interact with professors in this way. They are not just a voice behind a lecturn. They are a resource to guide, a friend, a mentor, and ultimately your ticket to success. Ultimately I would recommend a school that has a respected academic reputation but that also has a small enough student body to allow for true participation in the educational journey.

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College is almost impossible to prepare for. One may be fully capable of handling the academic load, yet may struggle to form friendships. Others use college as an opportunity to meet new people and experience life apart from familial boundaries, but may sacrifice thier scholastic career. Every person will deal with his or her own difficulties in adjusting to college life; however, the right attitude can completely change the prognosis. I have compiled a list of mantras that could benefit incoming students. 1. Get sleep. (And not during class.) 2. Make time to eat. (It sounds silly, but you will not have routine meals provided by your mother.) 3. Professors are your friends (When you are about to graduate and are looking for jobs, you can count on professors to help you network...assuming you didn't skip too many of their classes.) 4. Smile. (It's much easier to make friends when you look amiable and approachable.) 5. There is light at the end of the tunnel. (At one point or another, you will likely feel like college is overwhelming. Know that it is invaluable, and that it will end.)

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DREAM BIG, because you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. College seems like a scary thing as a graduating high school Senior. You will have a lot of freedom, no parents or siblings breathing down your back. It will just be you and your goals in life. Even though college seems a bit scary, don't make that fear hold you back from accomplishing all you can. College will open up so many doors for you. Take a grasp on your future. Look for those opportunities, while you are studying in college, that will give you an extra education outside of the classroom, in order to make you into a well-rounded person. However, know that you are not alone. Your classmates, your roommates, your professors, and the staff at your college want you to succeed. Share with them your goals and dreams, and listen to their advice with wisdom. To make the most of your college experience, make good friends, and be an active participant in the social life of college. Having a balanced college life of academics and socialization among peers will bring you the best college years of your life. Embrace it!

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Any college is better than no college. Remember to appreciate the value of education you will be getting. Top three wisdom bombs; know your money, manage your time, and get a little crazy. Your senior year apply for as many scholarships as possible. Any college you go to will be expensive, but it will be the best investment that you make for yourself. The less debt you have, the less financial stress you will have. This is YOUR education, even if your parents are helping you out, it is still your responsibility as a student to be aware of tuition, loans, book cost, and other expenses to prepare you for your future.Time management is the hardest adjustment but necessary. There are so many ways to get involved with at any school and making sure your education is the priority will give you time for other things. Set goals for yourself each semester. Remember you are only a college student once and it is a great time to get a little crazy and do exciting things with friends you may not ever do again. Have fun, be safe, and don?t get caught. Anything worth having is worth working for.

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Looking back to my first day as a freshman at Point Loma Nazarene University, I remember being a shy, sheltered, yet ambitious girl. I remember standing in my dorm room unpacking boxes with mom anticipating my new life in San Diego, feeling completely unsure and insecure. My head was full of questions; "can I really make the right decisions on my own", "will I make any friends as close as all the friends I left at home", "what if I fail and have to return home, will this all be a big waste of money"? Comparing that first day to today over 6 years later I almost want to laugh out loud, because my college experience gave me so much. I became a very strong determined indvidual who loves learning, loves traveling and studying cultures and the world around me, I found myself desiring to love and learn about all kinds of different people. I found what I am most passionate about which is working with children and family. I started out as a BioChem major and left with a degree in Child Development, which brought me to where I am now, at graduate school for Marriage and Family Therapy.

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If I were to give advice to a highschool senior, looking back on when I graduated, I would tell him to take college seriously, and to make the most out of every oppurtunity and disapointment. When I came to Point Loma, I assumed it would be just like highschool and that I could just cruise along, little did I know how wrong I really was. It was only after a year of bad grades was it till I realized that college wasn't all about having fun. Once I enveloped myself in the school work and built on the good relationships in my life, did I start feeling fulfilled with my college expirience. Putting in the time and effort into each class pays off in the end, with both grades and knowledge of the material. Working on healthy relationships will only make you a stronger person. Taking the oppurtunites that life throws at you, and making the most out of them is how you learn. Handling the disapointments and learning from them makes you learn how to cope with situations. The more you really involve yourself in whatever you do, the more you can take away from those expiriences.

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I would explain dorm life, because last August, when I moved into this noisy, crowded, and lively communal living environment, I had a hard time adjusting. I hadn?t anticipated the lack of privacy, hadn?t expected the constant action buzzing in the hallways, and worst, hadn?t realized a bathroom no longer means a haven of seclusion and peace, but a bustling arena of giggling girls, temperamental showers, and the various mingling odors of strangers. It took but a day before I began to long for my bathroom, blessedly clean and non-florescent lit. I mourned the loss of my closet, larger than this coffin stuck to the wall in which I was supposed to stuff all my things. I craved my old bed, with a mattress softer than a graham cracker. And I missed my privacy. However, as I became better friends with my hall-mates, solitude became not only unimportant, but unwanted; I began to appreciate the camaraderie and support and friendship I was around all day and night. I love my dorm now, but I wish I would have understood how positive of an experience it is sooner.

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Allow yourself to be transformed. That is the single most advice I would give myself in high school knowing what I know now about college. College is about learning and preparing for your future career but equally as important is what you put into the school and what you get out of it. Try new things, don't overthink things, don't overwhelm yourself, take a study break, go on a midnight Denny's run with friends, visit new places, put yourself out there. These are the transformational moments in a young adults life and these are the moments that will ultimately shape you. I would want my high school senior self to know that most of the struggles, conflicts, and hurt were temporary and that at PLNU I would find professors, mentors, and friends who would mold me and guide me through my worries, doubts, and celebrate in my joy with me. I would tell myself that I would be continuously surprised by the change that will take place within myself and the way God will radically mold you for the life He has called you into. Allow yourself to be transformed.

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