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Salisbury University

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

“It is the best four years of your life” an adage every high school senior has heard as they bid ado to the comforts of home. Following graduation there was plenty to do; the appeal of college life was irresistible, and the new freedom, palpable. Within the first few weeks mandatory orientation seminars and classes facilitated the growth of friendships which flourished in the absence of parental control and the presence of alcohol. An inverse relationship swiftly developed between class attendance and “extra circular activities” resulting in inadequate academic performance. A new definition, balance, was one which needed to be understood and practiced. Instead, in the remaining years academics consumed my life, as I switched majors and frantically worked to improve my GPA. A dwindling social calendar and an increasing GPA, accompanied by extensive involvement in research manifested into a bachelor’s degree. After graduation all that remains is a piece of paper and memories of “the time of my life,” but only the paper remains. Earning my degree and exceeding academically came at a price; because of the absence of balance, I could not have both an elaborate social calendar and shine academically. Learning balance would have been beneficial.

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You can't just tell parents and potential students how they should pick a college to attend -- they must feel what is right! The best parents can do is communicate what is important in life and at the same time, understand what is important to their young student. Parents should not force their children to attend a college they think is right for them, but communicate together in researching possible candidates. Instead of trying to persuade their children into attending a specific college, it would prove more successful to talk with their student about what they have learned about them throughout their recent years in high school and what atmosphere, academic prestige, location, size, etc. they think may work for them. Above all, parents should let their children know that they will support them in their decision and want them make a final decision independently. Allowing their child to make a decision by their self, the student will feel responsible in making a confident, smart and sane decision. I advise students to think smart and listen to their parents' advice. No matter how much a student weighs the pros and cons, the right decision will be made from the heart.

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I studied Kinesiology as an undergraduate at the Unversity of Maryland many years ago. In addition to taking classes I participated in an exhibitional gymnastics troupe (gymkana) that performed "no-drugs" shows throughout the spring semester. I was nothing more than a playground gymnast when I walked into the gym. My time in the gym, with gymkana, coupled with my classes taught me the power of learning. I became capable of things I didn't know I could do. Now, many years later, I have been accepted into the GIS and Public Administration Masters program at Salisbury University. To qualify for the program, I have been attending an upper level undergraduate GIS course. This course has given me confidence and reawakened in me that sense of the power of learning. However, I am a much better student this time around. Taking this class has caused me to embrace those qualities of tenacity and discipline. Additionally, studying at Salisbury University enables me to live a lifestyle that I welcome. My life again includes LEARNING. I am learning, growing, developing and changing. Finally, the location of Salisbury University is ideal as it is close to the beach.

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The most important thing to consider when finding the right college is to find a place where the student will be comfortable. Oftentimes, kids are so eager to go as far away as possible without realizing what they are getting themselves into. Make sure that your new home away from home is a place where you will feel safe and evaluate the different lifestyles that different places may offer. After finding a school where you will feel comfortable, evaluate the academics. Talk to not only faculty and staff, but also get the student's perspectives on their professors and classes. That is where the most valuable information will come from. Find out what opportunities schools offer and make sure these opportunities match your interests. Most importantly, when you choose the right school and start your undergraduate career find some time to have fun. College is a huge adjustment and many times students get overwhelmed with their schoolwork. Learn to effectively manage your time and get your work done, but also find time for yourself and get involved with activities on campus that you enjoy. This will make your college experience one of the best experiences of your life.

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Entering college can be a scary experience for the new student as well as the parents of the student. However, this does not have to be the case. College is a chance to experience new surroundings, people, and activities that you may have never imagined yourself doing. Therefore, I feel that going into college with this ideation will help a new student not only adjust quicker, but to embrace the idea of beginning their college career. When selecting a college, students as well as parents should think realisticly. Not everyone will adjust to the big city life such as new york city. On the other hand the small town life such as Salisbury University may not fit the bill either. Attending college is about getting involved. Encouraging your college student to become involved in campus activities is the key to their success. Yes, academics should always come first, but truthfully you will tire yourself out quick if everyday is about class, class, and more class. Gain your education, fulfill your dreams, but remember your college years will always be remembered. You will make mistakes, you will feel defeated, but if you are aware of this you will do fine.

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Every morning, I wake up with hope for the new day and with a personal passion that I have held since I was a child, which is to become a doctor. Considering what I know about college now, I will repeatedly advise myself to get ready for challenging and frustrating, but fun and learning environment. Since I was a child, the health care field impresses me because it encourages critical thinking and creative problem solving; it involves working collaboratively with a team of professionals toward the same goal, and these are things that I enjoy doing. As an adult, I always look forward to learning and growing my knowledge and expertise. I believe that the best place for me to learn, grow and accomplish is four years university-Salisbury University. However, I learned that it is not easy to get a bachelor degree or become a great health professional. It needs time, energy and money. Furthermore, motivation and determination are very crucial. Since I learned that there is a long and challenging journey ahead until I reach my goal. I will tell myself to bring more commitment and determination to hard work and success to my Bachelor of Science program.

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While attending Salisbury University, I joined a lot of extra circular activities. I joined two dance teams and the African Student Association, while still maintaining good grades. I love people and interacting with them. I’m used to adapting to new people and different personalities. My first semester was wonderful; I met so many new people and got to learn new things about different cultures, background, and ethnicities. Although I had wonderful times, adversity certainly did hit. My first semester at Salisbury certainly was not easy because all of my financial aid did not cover all of my tuition and fees. Unfortunately my mom, who is unemployed, had to pay the rest of the fees out of pocket, which did not help out financial troubles. Going through this, taught me to turn my almost inadaptable personality into one that is adjustable and flexible. Being the only one in my immediate family to attain a degree from a university, there is definitely a lot of pressures. The pressure is what drives me to continue my college education, and my first semester of college overall I learned to be a better person and aspire to be all that I can be.

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From what I know now, I would tell my younger self to bring as much to the table as possible. For instance, my senior year I could have taken four AP courses instead of only two. With the college credits gained from the AP courses, and enrollment in the “Jump Start” program, which allowed high school seniors to take college courses at the local community college, I would be on quicker path to success. I really believe it’s about taken advantage of opportunities placed in front of you. I would tell my younger self to really understand the importance of every class and every assignment. Also, when you slack, you’re only cheating yourself. Public schooling is the biggest opportunity for it may not be the most upgraded institutes in the world, but you have to make the best of it knowing that your efforts will show when it’s time for graduation. My younger self would now understand college and higher learning is a privilege that is earned. There are many prestigious colleges around the US that are yearning for students that are clearly driven. Not only my younger self, but every student has that chance to be.

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Believe it or not, everything you experience in high school, whether it be educational or personal, will become useful in college. You may study the exact same lessons in some courses, or even use the leadership and social skills you formed. Don’t be afraid to put your confidence to good use and say what you’re thinking because your ideas and problem solving skills will get you far. Leave all your expectations behind. College is not what you think it will be. Most college tour guides tell you exaggerations of the truth. They tell you things like the majority of students get accepted into new dorms, when in reality, you will probably get crammed in an older high rise dorm. Another common misconception, despite what the entertainment industry makes you believe, your roommate probably won’t be your best friend and you won’t be partying all the time like some American Pie movie. The only way to find the real story behind a school is to visit a friend or stay with a mentor if possible. Most importantly, go after what you want and NOT what others want for you. Welcome to the real world, enjoy the ride.

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My advice to parents about choosing the right college is to first listen to the options their child is considering. To me, forcing a student to enroll in a college not of their choice is not a good thing. My option for students is to narrow down their choices to things they cannot live without. Education is important, but there are other options to consider; housing, food choices, city vs rural, public transportation, student - faculty ratio. This is the institution you will be attending for at least the next four years so everything should matter. Also distance from home should be highly considered. Once you choose the right college, you should make the most of your experience. Think of college as a fresh start in your social and academic life. Make new friends. I think it is important to find a balance in your school work and social events. Studying 24/7 is not recommended. Rewarding yourself with social events can become a motivation rather than just being a social outcast. Balance is the keyword. I believe freshman year is the most important year and can have a big impact on your GPA.

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