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Portland State University

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

Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the responsibility and amount of work which must be done at a university. You are now responsible for everything you do in this new place. Ask upperclassmen and use those resources that teach you good time management and study skills. Higher education is harder, but putting in the effort is rewarding. Also, open up your mind and take advantage of your surroundings. You are in a place filled with incredibly bright people and educational resources and information are almost endless. Don't simply just go to class and memorize mindless facts, but explore your thoughts and ideas. Your professors are here to help and they almost always love engaging students in intellectual conversations or just answering your questions. Don't forget to meet people on campus. Attend club meetings, look into the extracurricular activities offered or just chat with a random student at the coffee shop. Study groups are so helpful but also a great way to network. The first year is about learning, exploration and growth. Take advantage of the oppurtunities that become available once you decide to invest in higher education. Don't be afraid! Make the most of your college years.

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The main advice that I would give myself is that this is my life. I have a numbered amount of breaths and days. My highschool self needs to understand that maintaining your personal health is one of the most important aspects to success. This includes mental and emotional health. Look into student health center and see what programs they offer. For academics, look into the availible programs there, interact with your proffessors, talk to the dean if you are struggling. Realize that everyone you meet in college is fighting their own battless, just life you. At times the transition will get stressful, utiliize the resources that your school has, if they have little to offer contact a resource center. When figuring out finances, read the fine print and ask older people for help. Most importantly realize that everyone makes mistakes when transitioning from highschool to college, you are not expected to know everything. When you do mess up give yourself a break, relax, reorganize your thoughts, then focus on the problem at hand. Love yourself and sorround yourself with people that also love you. Don't be afraid to get rid of situations that harm you, it is your life.

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I often say that regret is a useless emotion because it neither changes what has already happened nor acknowledges the learning that takes place when we make mistakes or endure struggles. So, for the most part, my answer to this question is that I would not want to go back in time and give myself advice as a high school senior because it may have altered important choices I made--choices that shaped the person I am today (a person I generally like!). However, in the spirit of the hypothetical and the positive intent of this question, there are a couple things I could tell myself as a high school senior preparing for college. Firstly, I would say to pursue more extracurricular interests and communities as an undergraduate, not just to bolster my resume or future opportunities, but also to cultivate meaningful social networks with other students. I would also encourage myself to be confident in my talents and abilities and to not underestimate my own worth. I think hearing these tidbits of advice might have enabled me to pursue even more meaningful opportunities and relationships than I did, adding to an even richer college experience!

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Academically speaking, my relatively brief college experience (2-year Associate of Arts Degree) has answered many questions about many things that I have been wondering about for many years. The many things I have learned have helped me to narrow my search for a second career, although with so many interests, I am still working diligently to find where I might fit in best in the working world. I am no longer able to perform as well as I would like in the field I have always been in (professional musician/writer) , but I have been blessed with a strong work ethic and I always put my all into everything I do. I want to make sure I end up in the right field. I have narrowed my possible second careers to Astro Biology/Physics, Science Education, Addiction Counseling, Psychology, and Human/Animal Rights Education. Attending college has been valuable for another reason: I have learned much about myself as well as others, how I relate to others, and how the many different kinds of people relate to each other. This information has helped me to find my (new) place as a sober adult who contributes positively to society.

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Over the last three years I have attended three different colleges. Through my experiences I have developed various reasons as to why college is valuable. During my first year at Walla Walla University I learned the importance of surrounding myself with people who have similar values. It equipped me with not only the strength to persevere what I believe but also gave me the support. While a sophomore overseas at Newbold College I found an environment that was open to sharing diversity in culture and ethnic backgrounds. By this experience I was able to embrace the importance of being open minded and globally aware. After my first two years of college I still had not mastered affective studying habits. However this year I have learned that in order to accomplish my goals, I must buckle down and conquer them with my whole heart. College has helped me stay the course by having the discipline to stick it out even through the hard times. My religion, social life and work are all defined by my education. Most importantly my experience in college has given me many valuable skills that I will be able to use the rest of my life.

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My college experience has been valuable because I have been exposed to people and opportunities that are not available elsewhere. There is limited room for advancement in the workforce without an education, and employees are often treated as disposable and replaced often. The university environment has been structured to ensure fairness and idealism, which is a novel experience after struggling in the 'real world' for so many years. Also, within my department, there is a sense of unity and kinship that I believe is rare in most fields. The experience asssociated with being around people with similar interests and aspirations, people who just 'get it', has been reinvigorating. I feel I learn from the other students often, and we collectively have a great deal of support from the faculty. I have enjoyed the college experience so much that I plan to attend graduate school and pursue a masters degree. The education I have been, and will continue to recieve, both in and out of the classroom, will hopefully prove itself invaluable in the formation of my future and pursuance of a higher quality of life.

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When I attended my first college, everything seemed very weird: people, campus, and the social life at school. I first attended Portland Community College. It was a small-sized campus, yet somewhat diverse. I came to love it because the social life and getting around was very simple. I was loved by all of my professors and was surrounded by friendly classmates. Everyone was very willing to help me around. I never wanted to leave this school as I also have never experienced any trouble there. However, it was not a really active campus. Also, I always had poor grades there since I was never told about the advantages I could have. Afterwards, I transferred to PSU. The campus was very huge and much more diverse. PSU has raised my hopes in my education as well as my career goals. With all the help I can get, I have been an outstanding student with high GPAs throughout the years. It was something that I couldn't get much of from PCC. I had countless wonderful experiences just by being an observant student. It has been valuable to attend because you will always feel valued and special as a student there.

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The most important thing you can remember is to make college an adventure, you're not in high school anymore so take advantage of being independent. The first few weeks of college can be the most difficult as far as finding a social sphere. Don't worry about it! The best thing you can do is keep your dorm room door open, introduce yourself to your neighbours, and go to the club fairs in the park blocks. Plus, as soon as classes start you will find your niche because you will be with very outgoing people who are interested in the same things you are! On the same note, network as much as possible. Exchange phone numbers, friend people on Facebook, arrange study groups, etc. all of which will help you find friends and access help for homework questions. Because PSU is on the quarter system exams come up fast. Therefore, always be reviewing the material you are learning and make good use of the library for study groups and tutors. The last thing you should do is take advantage of the recreation center and the outdoor program. Both places have great opportunities available to meet people and stay active.

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As a college senior I would remind myself of the importance to spend time(3hrs. per 1 hr. in class) outside of school hours studying and working on assignments. I would tell myself no matter how hard things get, "Do Not Give Up." Use the student support services that are offered and go and see my instructors/professors during their office hours as much as possible for their support, but also to build a more personal relationship. I would insist on getting more sleep, adopting a healthy diet, get exercise daily, and take some time to relax. I would talk about reasons why I should always give me best in my studies, meet several people and build relationships amongst people on campus, take part in campus groups, and volunteer in the community. I would dedicate time to researching and applying for all scholarships that I qualify for so that I could keep down the amount of student loans needed to get my education. One huge thing I would tell myself though is to not overload my schedule in an attempt to get through my education in lightning speed, but be realistic with what is manageable to do well.

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As a high school senior I was depressed and felt trapped at home. I lacked the energy to imagine life's potential. To ease the college application process, I picked one nontraditional college near my home to apply at. The idea of attending a more "traditional" college seemed frightening; I imagined it would be nothing more than an extension of high school (which had felt overly restrictive and oppressive). I didn't consider the fact that college could have been my ticket to a better city with more opportunities for me. I was accepted to the school of my choice, where I spent a year making bad, unhealthy decisions and getting in to dangerous situations before finally dropping out and making a move to a new city (where I would eventually go back to school and finish my undergraduate degree). I would love to tell my past self to value herself, imagine a better life, and utilize college as a tool to get to the life that she wants. I would let her know that she should apply to multiple schools - and pick schools in cities that intrigued her. Mostly, I would want her to know that life gets better.

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