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Rochester Institute of Technology

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

If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to invest in a car. Majoring in Film is very labor intensive and requires a lot of off campus locations. During high school I spent three years directing, editing, and writing films so the work load of my major was not a big shock. What I did realize though is that in order to have good art direction, good actors, and a high production value to my films, I need a means to transport my crew and heavy equipment to a location that has a look and feel different from the campus of RIT. Although I have made the Dean's list in my first quarter, I have been under a lot of stress during my pre-production when I have to find a place that compliments my story without seeming too much like a boring RIT classroom, office, or hallway. If I had known that a car would be so helpful, I would have brought one and I would have been able to spend more time on writing and producing my story rather than stressing over locations.

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Most importantly, there will be a great change in the way thay you view time. In high school, one spends all day in classes, in a rigid and continous schedule. However, in college, not only will your schedule be entirely your choice, but you will not spend as much time in class. This is a very important change, in that your day to day routine will be difficult to adjust to. As well, it is likely that your schedule will be spread out throughout the day, and it can often be difficult going to class late in the day. Another important factor is how to manage your sleep schedule. There will often be the temptation to pull all-nighters, and unless absolutely necessary you should avoid missing any sleep. If you do not sleep at night, it is guaranteed that you will sleep during the day, likely during class if you are not careful. Out of all the changes that are found at college, management of time is the most important thing that you can learn to do in order to further yourself towards your goals.

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When I was a high school senior, I had only been in the United States for 2 years. I am originally from Nepal who moved to the states for better education. So as a senior, I did not know anything about American college life. If I could go back in time, I would have told myself what to expect on college. In the last one year, I have realized that college life is exciting but can also be stressful at times. I would tell myself to prepare to work hard. I would share my stories from first year when I volunteered for the clubs I was a part of and also about the kinds of work to expect in each class. I would definitely tell myself to stay organized and finish work on time because it is really hard to catch up with stuffs once behind. Although I have only finished a year on this college, I know I made a right decision by coming here. I have learned something new every day and made really good friends. Going back in time I would share my story with myself so that I could know what to look forward to.

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These past 2 years at college I have learned more about myself, others, and the field of game design then I ever thought possible. I have been keeping active with snowboarding and I am also a Brother in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. I have learned a lot about interacting with other people, and how to be more professional. My interest in my degree has also lead me to do further work outside of class, such as modeling 3D characters for my own animations. My experience here at R.I.T has been literally invaluable, as it has helped to define who I am today. It has made me certain of my career choice and I feel like it is preparing me for the real game design world...as opposed to the theoretical(ideal) career path. I am learning practical game design skills and it is being related or taught by those established in the field. Even though I am only a sophomore I feel confident to start looking for game design co-ops and interviewing, and that is something that a lot of schools cannot provide.

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If only there was a way to travel back in time. If there were a way, I would go up to myself, tap myself on the shoulder, and pull myself aside for awhile. There would be several topics I would want to discuss with my younger self. I would tell myself that finding the right college is very important, and that in order to find the right college, I should start the college search early. I would tell myself to get the ball rolling, have scholarships ready, and have a plan already thought up. I would tell myself to take more Advanced Placement classes and tests in order to place out of some college courses so I could maybe take more classes in the future. I would also tell myself to work harder at my summer job, get some more hours in there to save up some money for my future. I would tell myself that nothing is more important then preparing for college, for my future. I would let myself know that if I don't put enough thought into my future, then my future will not put a lot of thought into me.

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Dear Calvin of Year 2012, I am you from the future. What I'm about to tell you is most likely advice and instructions you've been subjected to for the last few months of your high school senior career and you're probably really fed up by now with hearing it over and over again, but heed my words, anyway. I'm you, so I know you can take the tie to hear it one more time. Please don't procrastinate on the things that need to be done before transferring to a new college. Fill out those health forms as soon as possible. Get those shots as soon as possible. Apply for grants and loans as soon as possible. I know that you have a problem with waiting until the last second to get things done, but this just has to stop NOW. Not only will you be a better person, but you will save yourself so much heart-ache and stress. Procrastination doesn't only affect you, but it can affect the people around you as well. I know you've been making some strides to breaking this bad habit, but now it's time to change.

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I would tell myself to follow my own passions and not try to fit my goals into what others wanted me to become. If you follow your passion you will succeed, but a career path that you choose because other people push it on you, will not make you happy. The best decisions you make in the next few years will be based on your gut, listen to your instincts. If you truly feel in your heart of hearts that something is wrong, then it probably is. There will always be someone who tells you that you will not succeed, use that negative energy as fuel and prove to yourself and the nay-sayers that you can be whatever you sent your mind to be. The most interesting people I have met in life, are the people that have true passion for their jobs. They exude happiness and it is contagious to others they work with. Be that happy, satisfied person in your career. Be the employee that everyone wants to work with, and be the college student that followed your dreams even when everyone said it was impossible.

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I have gotten more out of the my first few months at college than I expected to. I am currently enrolled in a major in Game Design and Development, a fairly new major that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Obviously, programming is a very important skill in the Game Design industry, and before coming to RIT I didn't know a bit of it. As I write this, only 11 weeks into my college career, I have already learned a tremendous amount about two programming languages, Java and C#, important languages to know. I don't think I would have picked these skills up nearly as fast learning them independently. The environment for learning provided by college is invaluable. It gives me the chance to get away from the rest of the world and just focus on my education without the distractions, and I still have the option of going out and having fun in my downtime. I have gotten more than I imagined out of my time at RIT so far, and hope to remain here for the remainder of my college education.

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My best advice to anyone looking for the right college is to do your homework and research. Figured out what fits you best personally and what would make you happy, because this is where you will be spending the next 4 years of your life. The next important step is to visit many different types of schools. A website can only show you so much, so I suggest going to each school to get a feeling of the campus and people. After my first year and talking with my friends, I found that we are all very different people and therefore all chose different colleges to continue our education. The most important thing to remember when choosing where to go to school is make the decision on your own and take into consideration what you want out of your college experience. College is all in what you make it and if you are miserable it can be a long haul. With the right college, many new opportunities and experiences will unfold and it will live up to the reputation of being the best years of your life!

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I would tell myself to try and space out classes evenly throughout the four years I will be at RIT. I made the mistake of overloading my schedule this semester, and having a empty schedule my first year. I now utilize an agenda, and also a semester schedule that help in recording exam dates and projects. It's important to develop time management, as it helps to figure out day by day what needs to be done. This avoids procrastination, stress, and anxiety. It's important to give yourself a breather once and a while, my high school schedule was packed with clubs, sports, studies, and extra curricular activities. This is good because it kept me busy but I didn't have much of a social life outside of these activities. Most importanly, enjoy the life that was given to you, something that I took for granted. I have met very wonderful people that struggle much more than I do, they inspire me to push myself to the limit so that my friends and family can be proud of me and what I can accomplish.

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