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Saint John Fisher College

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

On our first day of college, an esteemed professor lectured the entire freshman class on what they could expect throughout their first semester; he mentioned that students who earned an A average throughout their high school career should not be disappointed if that was not the case this upcoming semester. In fact, he told us to not expect many A's at the end of the semester at all. I finished my entire freshman year on Dean's list, with a 3.9 GPA in both fall and spring semester. College has taught me determination. Throughout my freshman and sophomore year, thus far, I have learned to balance an intense academic schedule, cheerleading squad, a part-time job, RSA floor representative, co-founder of - Students Against Interpersonal Violence- a new campus organization, NRHH nominee, and family, friends, and a significant other. College has taught me organization, time management, and prioitization. Overall, college has allotted me the time and opportunity to grow into the fullest potential of a productive community member possible. St. John Fisher College has helped me find and navigate the right path to my graduate work, my career in Psychology, and my successful life as an adult.

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Based on personal experience, I would say that it is very important for both parents and students to be comfortable with the size and location of the school. In regards to finding the right college, I believe it is most important to begin looking for schools that are in proportion to the size and hometown of the student?s former high school. This was important to me because I attended a very small high school, and lived in a very small town, therefore I decided to enroll in a fairly small college in a fairly small town and it turned out to be a perfect match for me. In terms of making the most of one?s college experience, I would definitely suggest embracing the campus atmosphere. Become involved on campus, whether this includes participating in a work study job, joining a club, or playing a sport. Another strong suggestion I would have is to live in the dormitories at least one semester. This is very important because it builds a connection with the school that commuting does not provide. By doing so, I have built strong friendships and enjoy my college career more then I ever thought I could.

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Dear high school senior self, You have your whole life ahead of you now. I know you may have gotten used to being at the top as a high school senior for the past year but be prepared for a major culture shock when headed to college. Do not be afraid to talk and interact with people that may seem a little different than you, - they may turn out to be your lifelong friends. Prepare yourself to be challenged academically, socially, financially and personally by friends, family, classmates and professors. Some say high school is the time of your life but college is an even better journey. College is the place you learn more about yourself and about the world around you. The daunting transition from being a high school student to a college student will not be as bad as long as you maintain an open-mind and more importantly, an open heart. Be a good friend and a good listener. Help those less fortunate than you and encourage others by letting them know that they too can go to college no matter the obstacles. And remember discovering who you are is a process!

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I have gained many valuable experiences at St. John Fisher College. I have learned how to cope with my learning disability by attending St. John Fisher College. I have also learned that it is okay to ask teachers questions and receive help when I don't understand something. The professors are always there to help whenever possible. I have learned a lot about diversity and religion by attending this school which is really beneficial because I will be working with all different kinds of people once I graduate from school. I have taken Ethics classes and church and culture classes, which I probably would have never taken if I had gone to a different school. I have learned how to maintain friendships and make new friends while attending school. I have learned to balance school loads and work hours so that I am not doing too much at one time. All of these things have helped me become the person that I am today. Without attending college, I wouldn't be where I am right now and I am so glad that I chose St. John Fisher College as my school.

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My college experience has been exceptional in that I have learned a lot and met a lot of new people. With it being a private school, the costs are high and I need a little help to stay enrolled at this school to continue the great experience I am currently having. I have learned to cope with what the outside world has to offer with being around new people and learning to take responsibility into my own hands as far as school work, part-time work, and athletics. I like to think it's valuable to attend college for a few reasons. One, you get the chance to learn about what you want to accoomplish in your life and what interests you as far as a career when you exit the college environment. Also, you get to expand your network to people that may have job opportunities waiting for you that fit your interest and caliber. Finally, I believe that college will suit me very well and give me the jump start to learning about my future, as well as life lessons to bring with me throughout my life.

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I would tell them to make sure they do an overnight visit at the college they are interested in attending. Everyone can go on campus tours and get a general feel for what the college has to offer, but you have to enjoy the lifestyle on campus as well. You need to ensure that you go to a college that you love and you love being at. If this isn't the case, you will be miserable for the four years you spend at college, unless you transfer or drop-out, and both are complete hassles. My advice is to just be sure that it's the right school for you and spend as much time on that campus as possible. If you are unsure that it's the right college for you, don't be afraid to express your fears and look for a different college that better fits your needs. The college experience is based on how much you enjoy being at college and it becomes what you are willing to make of it, so you need to care about the college you attend and be willing to put effort into making it what you want.

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The advice that I usually give to parents and/or students about finding the right college and making the most of the college experience is figuring out what they are looking for. They have to decide if they think they will be better at a bigger university, more research based classes, more athletics and clubs or more fraternities. If you don't like fraternities/sororities, or athletics running the school then those are certain things you have to consider. Also a major aspect of college students wants to look at is the teacher to student ratio. If the classes are too big or too small for the way of learning that is preferred. Having a smaller class size allows more teacher attention but a larger class size allows you to blend in and not feel like you have to always participate. What it all comes down to is what the students or parents are looking for when they step into the classroom or onto the campus.

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I feel that I was very prepared for entering the college world. If I could go back and give myself any advice, however, I think I would tell myself to have more fun. I spent a lot of my senior year worrying about grades and money and how it would affect my college of choice. I also spent a lot of time on homework. I would tell myself to take things one day at a time - you can't change what you don't know so go with the flow. It's important to stop and smell the roses and not get caught up in issues that you're going to be faced with soon enought anyway - worrying never fixed anything. I would tell myself to go out and enjoy life, live it up, spend time with friends because you're all going to part ways and nothing will be the same after that. Most importantly, I would tel myself to live for the moment more... I wish I had done that - time flies by faster than anyone every imagines; you blink and it's gone.

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Looking back on my high school experience, there are only a few details I am uncomfortable with that I would love to go back and advise myself differently. In high school I closed myself off from my peers by becoming too dependent on my small group of friends. I was so comfortable having the friends I had that I had little motivation to open up to other students or teachers. Making the decision to go to college was one of the best I ever made. Not only will it help support my future, but it gave me the chance to change a part of who I was in the past. I was placed in an environment that took me away from my friends, forcing me to become a member of a new community. After spending a semester in college, I have changed a great deal and wish that I could go back and tell myself how much better I feel about myself now that I have allowed myself to open up to others, and become involved in a community.

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Ally, don't stress about your college decision! You were upset that you didn't feel ready to go away to school. Junior college is a good option for you and getting really involved in campus life helps make the experience more enjoyable. By the time you are finished at Monroe Community College, you will not only finish your Associates Degree, you'll do it less expensively. Transferring to St. John Fisher may be a little stressful due to the cost of a private college, but you'll find exactly the right environment and major that you've been looking for. Don't let your friends' decisions influence what's right for you. Everyone has their own path to follow. Listen to your instincts and don't be afraid to visit your advisor a few times each semester, it will help to assure you that you're still on the right path to your degree.

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