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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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

Parents should allow their children to visit as many colleges as they please, because this is the place where they will be spending some of the most important years of their lives. When a student steps onto the right campus, they will know it; they will feel instantly at home. Each student has different criteria for a suitable college, but I think that many people would agree that the perfect school reminds a student of home with more freedom and opportunities to get to know others and experience the world. A good school offers many internship and job training opportunities, and have excellent academic advisors that do their best to help the students figure out what major and career choice will suit their traits the best. Whether a student wants to take part in Greek life, music or theater, sports, or just focus on academics, there is a college that will fit all of their needs. Small or large, near or far, all college options should be explored. The saddest thing is when parents force their child to go to a college that the student is not completely in love with, because they probably won't ever truly enjoy it.

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The most important thing would be to find the school that is really right for you. Not everyone fits into a small school, or a rural school versus a big city school. Make sure that you see the entire campus and talk to as many different people as you can, particularly students because they will be the most honest with you. Really talk with the students about how teachers are because you will be seeing them more than anyone so make sure there is a good, strong teaching staff that earnstly cares about your education and future. Also, take a deep breath and don't worry because you can always transfer if the school is worse than you ever could have expected. I really think there is just a feeling you get when you walk around and see the campus that you just know it is the right school. I would heavly recommend choosing a school that is strong in academics not sports or extra curricular activites because you are paying a lot of money every year to get an education that will benefit you for the rest of you life so that should definitely be your primary concern.

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I would like to think that I wouldn't want tell myself anything because it could have changed my future. However, on the off chance I could, I would go back and tell my high school senior self many things about college life: the good and the bad. The first thing I would expose is my assumption that I can't screw up in college. I would tell myself don't think you have to be perfect at classes but do the best you can with what you have. The second thing I would say is take career classes as well as classes for fun. College is also about finding yourself and determining what you want to do with your life, or what the next step is. Sometimes an unusual class can help with the findings. Lastly, I would convey the idea to enjoy life and the opportunities given to you throughout college. This is a crucial transitional period but yet you still don’t necessarily have as many responsibilities you will have several years down the road. Therefore, take time for yourself, meet new people, experience things because one day you'll look back on these days and smile.

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Dear Self, College is a place where you will grow in every aspect providing you allow yourself to do so. The fun and games along with the popularity will pass and only be a memory yet the education you recieve will help provide for your future. Study hard, what you don't understand speak up. Don't give up so easily. It does make a difference. There are no stupid questions only the ones that are not asked. Don't be hard on yourself but be hard enough to pull through. Take each class assignment one day at time. Do the assignment s as soon as possible and don't wait till the last minute. Prioritze, your courses, play time, and your life. Allow yourself for enough sleep and have good eating habits. Don't allow yourself to be talked into something that you do want to do. Accept 100% responsibilty. Remember, the more you want out of life the better your resources need to be. Reach higher than you thought you could. Don't procrastinate. A man isn't a man until he masters discipline . Live life on purpose. And be kind to others.

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Going to college helps me discover who I truly am, for I learn more about myself based on the choices I make at college than I ever could have learned on my own. I learned that I truly love to help people, no matter what. I have been in charge of organizing mission trips over fall and winter break for two years, and this year I became a Resident Assistant. I was inspired to do these things to make a difference in the lives of people around me. I also learned that I want the best for myself. After competing in college running, I realize how important it is to push myself and perform at my best. I am happiest when I give my all. I also take great pride in maintaining my 4.0, because I wouldn't expect less from myself. Without college, I wouldn't have discovered these all-important things about myself. I would have gotten a job, settled into my life, and never been truly successful. Now that I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, I will have a much more successful and fulfilling life, all because of things I have learned at college.

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I would definitely advise myself to finish High School completely as I actually have my GED instead of the actual High School Diploma. I would say this not because of the educational purposes alone, but for the social and networking oppotunities that you receive as a High School student. I would tell myself to start thinking about what I actually enjoy, not only what would be a good paying career, but what would fill me as a person as well. I would say not to worry about who's the most popular girl or how cute the guy in the back row to the left is, but to worry about how I can use what the teacher is saying to form a better future. I would say you can use that knowledge to become a popular successful woman and to have an amazingly gorgeous man that is just as successful. Most importantly I would say enjoy it, enjoy the tears, the hard work, the friends, enjoy every moment and every day. Make the best out of what you learn and apply it to not only your educational life, but your personal as well.

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If I could go back in time and tell my high school self about the college life I would tell myself to pay more attention in high school and to try my hardest and be the best that I can be. In telling myself this I would hope that I would have done better in high school and be a better person, also I would tell myself that I should take all the college classes that my high school offers so I would not have to spend so much money in the long run and would graduate college sooner. I would also persuade myself to do more extracurricular activities and get more involved in my school and my community and help out wherever I could. I would also tell myself to research colleges rather than choosing last minute like I ended up doing and to look into as many careers that interest me earlier and try to get to work in that career to see if I would like it or not and could see myself doing it for the rest of my life. With this knowledge I would have probably would be a lot further than I am today.

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Advice that I would give to parents and students when trying to find the right college is to start by actually visiting the schools that they feel would be right for the student. In order to decide what school would be right the student should question whether they want to be a number or a person in a school. Do they prefer large lecture classes or smaller classes? Do they want to live in the city, or rural area? Once they do that go with the students gut instinct on what they are going to like the best and what school is going to help them succeed to the best of their abilities. Once they move into their dorm for the first time and start school, I would advice joining clubs, leave your door open and say hi to people that you don't know. If you want to play sports join a sport or go to sporting events and support friends you make that are in sports. The last thing is to remember to be yourself and stay true to yourself in making friends at school and choosing the right school for you.

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Choose the college that you feel the most comfortable at. Don't be afraid to ask orientation leaders or other current students about what REALLY goes on at the college, because obviously the University tends to sugarcoat what it's really like. If you say directly to a student, "Please don't sugarcoat it, just tell me what ________ is like here..." they'll probably tell you the truth. Make meetings with professors and have at least a vague idea of a major prior to choosing a college, because if you decide after you're in college and the school you're at doesn't have that major, you're screwed for a while. It's okay if you change your mind while you're at school, because most people do. Just get into intro classes that you're interested in RIGHT away. HAVE FUN! These are going to be the best years of your life, so if you don't like a college after a year or two, TRANSFER. It's not worth missing out a good college experience because you're scared to admit you made the wrong choice!

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The best advise I could give a student going into college is: Visit the campus and stay over night with a student, see what the campus is like outside of the tour. Sit in on a class that you might take as a student. If you are going to be an athlete spend time with the team make sure you get along with them and the coach (maybe even practice with them) to make sure you fit in with their style of play. Get involved in as much as possible including sports, clubs and volunteering. It's the best way to keep busy (in a good way) and make friends. If you need help in a class, talk to the professor in person. Emailing them may work but going and talking to them is the best way to get help. Take advantage of the services the offered by the college or university (writing center, disability services etc.). Don't start projects or papers the night before they are due! Procrastination leads to a stressfull semester. And most importantly, have fun! Make the most of your college career!

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