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Rochester Institute of Technology

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

Kayland, I know that you are nervous about making this transition to college, and you are not sure what to do yet. Let me tell you, everything will work out alright. The best decision you could make is going to community college like your mom wants, you can always transfer after 1 year. Community college is still fun, and lets face it, you are not ready to be on your own. I promise you will be ready after one year of communiy college though. Whoever said community was like high school was wrong, you will have a blast and there are a ton of campus activities. Have faith in the education you recieved, you are definitely prepared for college. You are going to have more freedom, and you're going to have to grow up a lot. I know it all seems to scary, but you are prepared. Remember to put your school work first, and your socializing second. Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to and the best days have yet to come. Do not dwell in the past with bitterness, because you will miss the blessings in front of you! You can do it!

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Diablo Valley College has provided the opportunity for an uneducated, fortuneless individual like me to have the opportunity to go to an accredited college and receive and education. Born in poverty, I will never have the chance to get a bachelors degree due to 4 year college’s unreasonable tuition rates. DVC also has one of the highest acceptance rates in California to transfer into UC’s and CSU’s. Through DVC I can get into a otherwise impossible 4 year college. DVC also has a great Inner Club Council that oversees many clubs that provide students the opportunity to get involved with each other, school, and society. Through this I have been a secretary and vice president in a club. I have further learned practical leadership and administration skills. The list is countless but DVC has become more that a college for me but a place of hope and opportunity for me, my family and friends. I don’t have to be cursed with in a society that says it’s impossible to come out of a social class because through DVC anything is possible.

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I know that you keep dreaming of things that seem impossible. I know sometimes you get frustrated and scared, because the future always looks bleak. You and I are just that type of person, though-- we're just dreamers bogged down by risk and reality and it frustrates us. I want you to know that the dismal outlook that you loathe about yourself now doesn't change much. And you'll continue loathing it in the future. But you will find that college isn't nearly as bad as you imagined it would be. It's OK to be nervous and scared of what will happen next. But college is something that I don't think I can describe to you in words. It's fun, exciting, and challenging. You'll get new puzzles to solve. You'll meet amazing people. It's also frustrating, scary, and sometimes lonely. And in those times, you might think you were right in high school, and that college is awful. When those times happen, find someone and ask for help, as much help as you need. You deserve it. You dream big and you can accomplish big things. We both know it.

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In high school, I was freaking out about college. I had big dreams and a small budget. I’d certainly tell myself that college can put you in debt extremely fast, but don’t go by the sticker price. Many colleges, especially private ones, have numerous scholarships and financial aid available. I would remind myself that even though you’re paying for college on your own, don’t get discouraged. Hard work will always pay off. Also, I was so excited to leave and be independent! I’d tell myself that it would be a huge change to go from 18 years of dependence to complete independence. It might seem fun at first, but your friends are not likely to drive 30 minutes to pick you up because your car broke down at 7:00 am. I’d definitely tell myself I’m not a failure for going to a community college first, and it was a great decision that saved $26,000! I’d tell my high school self that I’m proud of you, for the sacrifices that you made, the long hours you put into college, and most of all for working hard to accomplish your dreams.

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My advice to my High School self would be to not become as hung up as I was on the stress of the change. Also, I would encourage myself to take every opportunity I have a chance to. All senior year, I was intimidated by the aspect of starting over. Would I make the right friends? How would I cope going into a major when only 8% is female? As it was, all of these problems found a way of solving themselves. I took part in a summer program hosted by the college, and made a group of friends with very different interests which has buffered my self confidence and allowed me to branch out socially and not be limited by simply making acquaintances in my classes. One thing I regret, however, is not taking part in as many extracurricular activities as I could have. As I am seeing now, doing as much as you can without overwhelming yourself makes you an interesting person, will give you more unique life experiences, and allows you to relate to more individuals. It also wouldn't hurt on those scholarship applications.

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If I could go back in time, there would be many tasks I would want to complete. A major one would be to give myself advice on college life. Thinking of college before I graduated from high school made me excited, yet nervous at the same time. The most important peice of advice I would tell myself is to stay focused and have fun. My high school self would ask how this could be possible. When you are able to attend a college you love, staying focused and having fun at the same time, comes naturally. I would also tell myself to make sure that I am taking classes that let me express what I love to do in life. Starting college is not such a scary time but it is always exciting to learn new information and to make new friends. Without college, I know I would be a whole other person. This wouldn't be a bad person, but one who is not so content with her quality of life and knowledge of the world and herself. College is a very specail time in your life that stays with you forever, so remain thankful, driven, and have fun!

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I went to college with a eight grade education and paid most of my way through college. During college, I have dealt with heart problems, stomach problems, no financial or emotional support from my family, sleeping in my car, no being able to pay my rent, people judging me, living off of ramen noodles, and wearing flip-flops in november because I wasn't able to afford winter boots. I have learned the last few years, that you have to give up alot to get a college education but in the end it's worth it because you will be able to get a degree and be able to support yourself and provide a future for yourself and that is what being an adult and independent really is. People can take many things away from you in life but they can't take away a degree, they can't take away knowledge. My father said to do something with your life, that you are good at but I learned he wasn't exactly right about that, I have learned to do something that you love because when you do something you love you will make yourself good at it.

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Time management is by far the most important factor for college life. You are now growing up to be an adult and you must learn all the basic, essential skills as an adult does. You are now independant and you need to learn how to take care of yourself and not depend on others to do your work. You need to learn how to manage your time to do simple activities like homework and some daily chores like washing your clothes and cleaning your room. College work is really intense and planning your time wisely to do homework and study while hanging out with your friends are quite important. Keeping your grades up are very important, but you must also have fun and enjoy life as well. Also, in college, do not put on a persona because that would only hide your true self from others. You should be original and open if you want to be social with other college students. You are not the only one who is nervous about having no friends; many people are on the same boat as you are. So you need to be open to develop friendship.

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I would take the AP Computer Science class, socialize more with my friends, and learn as much as I can and not for just the grades. With the AP Computer Science class under my belt, I would have a much easier time transitioning to my first programming class, which can be daunting to those who have never learning fundamental programming concepts. By socializing more with my friends, I would have deeper connections with them and have more fun in my life. Such activity is also a great stress reliever from academic coursework. With my passion for learning, I can grasp more material much quicker and achieve more success in both academics and in my career field than when I focused on just achieving that A to impress my parents. Once the stress of obtaining a grade is gone, I can accomplish more than I ever imagined. By taking more risks, I can develop more programs to impact people's lives. My dreams of becoming a video game programmer is already close thanks to my education and life lessons gained from college.

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Finding the right college can be a very tiring and confusing process. It is statistically known that on average a college student will change his or her major about four times, so, in order to successfully choose a campus, I suggest thinking about all of your interests--both academic and social-- and finding a school that supports all of those options. Also, making sure that the campus is located in an area that is suitable to his or her liking and that the campus is the correct size is very important. Next, visit the campus and assess whether the atmosphere is a place that the student feels comfortable and safe in. Lastly, it is important that the student choose the college that they feel is right for them, and not let anyone else influence them during this important decision. If all of these points are acknowledged in choosing the college, I feel that this will allow the student to make the most out of their college experience and to challenge and push themselves in ways that they never thought they could.

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