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Saddleback College

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

At age 17, I didn't give much thought to the idea of pursuing a college education. Living in New Zealand, employment was accessible; college was not the norm . I gained years of work experience, 17 turned to 42, and I immigrated to the United States, later becoming a US citizen, all the while working full-time and pursuing a career without a degree. At age 48, talking to my 17 year-old self, I would describe the challenges of working full-time and attending night classes , balancing work, family and free time. It would be easy to enjoy college at age 17 with all that energy! However, when I eventually earn my Degree at 50+, I'll be proud that I've reached a milestone goal, improving the present me. I could say, "Go to college now! You have all of your life to work." But, in retrospect, if I attended college after high school, I would have missed all of life's journeys and challenges that lied ahead; I wouldn't have had my current work experience. I do not take my future accomplishment of earning a degree for granted. Life has turned out as it should.

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For twenty long years I feared going to college because of the difficulty of some classes. Four more years of school was so intimidating. If I could go back in time I would sit myself down in front of me, stare into my own eyes, and slap myself on the side of the head saying, "what are you thinking about not wanting to go to college?" Knowing that high school was difficult for me, I would explain how college life is so much more relaxed and on my own time. The professors are great and the class times are chosen by me. I can study at home or on campus. I get to socialize with a more mature group of peers and don't have to take a class every day. Classroom setting are usually more relaxed. I would mainly just let myself know that college life is much simpler than high school and definitely more rewarding. Sure I would graduate high school with a diploma. Yes that is important and good. However, graduating college will guarantee me a degree and an influx of great knowledge. As the great Nike quote goes, "Just Do It!".

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My transition was a little different than most because I was very focused that once I got out of high school, I would finish junior college in two years. Therefore I started taking classes the summer before my senior year in high school and I have been at Saddleback College ever since. As I am about to graduate with my AA spring 2010, I look back wishing I told myself to take more challenging classes in high school to really prepare my self for the amount of time it takes to study and do homework in order to pass college courses. For past advice I would give myself is to always be myself and I will go far with determination and motivation. I have been working full time to pay for school the month I turned 16 and unfortunantly I have not been able to take a break because I have been paying my way through school. The only thing that would make transitioning to 4 year school would be to have a little help and take some of the stress off to focus on doing what I want in my life and that is to help people.

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If I were to be given the opportunity to go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would have told myself to enjoy my last few months of high school. This would have been important for me to do because now that I am in college I dont communicate with anyone from high school. This is not because I dont see them, because many of the students from my high school are attending this community college. When you are in high school you think those are the years you will rememeber and those are the people you will know for the rest of your life. I'm learning that this is only partially true. Yes, I will remember my high school experience because it helped me gain the skills necessary to be succesful in college. But the people I went to high school with will not follow. Now that I am in college I have met people that share commen interests with me and I am closer with these people than I was with anyone in high school. Overall, I would have told myself to relax and to know that the future will be fine.

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Don’t stress out so much! College is not life after highschool. Going to community college is the smarter choice; sure you won’t be off to some exotic location in the fall, but you’re going to go far places in life. You’re going to save a lot of money, know you’re major and where you want to go once it’s time to transfer. Not only that, but play it right and you can transfer anywhere you want! Again, don’t let the stress get to you, it’s not worth the break down you will go through next year. I know that “now” seems like it will never change, but it does, and it definitely gets better. Sure you will have to work to put yourself through school, but here’s a secret: it will give you character. Do not be jealous of everyone whose parents pay for it, you will gain something they won’t; a stronger work ethic and this will drive you to succeed. Also it will make the whole experience more enjoyable. So just remember to quit stressing, take it one day at a time, eventually everything will work itself out.

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Knowing what I know about college life and making the transition, the advice I would give to myself is to never start off attending a big university. Unless, I already know what I want to major in because of the fact that there are so many institutions and universities offered but to my perspective thrown at me, I became indecisive. And it's not only with me but I had associates or "peers" who had that experience of undecided majors while attending a 4-year university. Another important advice I would give to myself is to be a little more 'self-reliant' by not relying on my parents all the time when it comes to getting myself set for school with the whole process of talking to my registrar for requesting transcripts and high school diplomas. So to me, it's like another stepping stone from when I first attended school in elementary it was hard for me to say bye to my mom, resulting with me crying to tears and her leaving me for an educational purpose just so I can have a brighter future in life.

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If I was able to go back in time to be a high school senior again I would direct myself a little better. I would have known how important it is to have an education before starting a family. It would be hard for me to change my path simply because, I love my life and my family. I know now that I am being a role model for my three children and setting an example to them to never give up on a dream. I have drempt about becoming a Nurse all my life and nothing with stop me from acheiving my goals. As a senior in high school I wanted to graduate from a four year college with a BSN and enlist in the Navy as an officer. I have been blessed with all the men in my family being freedom fighters and to know that I would have been there to mend their wounds or help them through anything medically they were facing filled my heart with warmth and pride. It truely is an honor to be a student, a mother and hope to others that they too can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

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If I could go back in time and offer my high school self advice I would tell him to try a little harder academically his senior year. I didn't fail, I just didn't do as well as I could have. This may not be very profound advice but the truth is, I like the person that I have become. It's only though mistakes that a person learns, and who am I to deny my past self all the learning experiences that are in store for him. I can think countless times that I have made poor life choices. While those choices may have had a negative affect at that time, they ultimately formed the person I am today. This is exactly what I would say to him: Hey little David. I'm you from the future. Please put the down rock, I'm not here to hurt you. I need you to do me a favor. I need you to try a little harder this year. Life is full of ups and downs, and investing in a good educational foundation will open many doors for you down the road. So take it seriously. Good Luck.

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The advice I would give myself is that to make sure to review information that will be on the Matriculation or placement test. Also, to sign up for Disabled Students Programs and Services before the placement test so you could have more time on it. As a result, i didn't have enough time to finish the test, so i had to do lots of prerequisite classes. Therefore, it is taking me one more year to transfer and get my AA degree in Environmental studies. However, i did it I am transfering to Cal State Monterey Bay in the fall of 2015 and I got my AA degree with a 4.0 GPA and summa cum laude. I will also, tell myself that college will be way better then high school and you will not get bullied anymore because of you disabilities. If you go to class everyday and study hard you will be very happy with you results. I will tell myself to stay focus and not get lazy about going to class. If you go to class you will be very successful in college.

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If I could go back to High School and give myself advice! I would tell myself life is nothing like high school so I need to keep myself focused my studies and not worry about what other people tell me to do with my life. When I was in high school my parents wanted me to do go to school to be a registered nurse and I was not completely sure what I wanted to do with my life but I knew it was not to be a nurse. I had a passion for healing people with my hands going to school for Massage Therapy. That was what I wanted to do but my parents said that was not a real job and sent me to college for LPN and a year later I dropped out. I went a certification program for medical assistant and started working. Now I am 25 years old and finally back in school pursing my dream to be a Massage Therapist. Sometimes you have to trust your self and that trust I did not have in high school and if II could that the guideness i would have gave myself.

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