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Samuel Merritt University

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

College has taught me the value of responsibility. Before entering college, I was a naive and careless student. I assumed that things will be easily handed to me; I did not know how to work hard, nor did I realize that my actions affected my grades. After all the trials and tribulations of entering college, I learned that through hard work and dedication, I can accomplish my academic goals and achieve a college degree. College has taught me self-motivation, which is extremeley valuable, not only in my academic career, but also as a person. Self-motivation is an indispensable quality that must be learned, it is not an innate talent that we are born with. Because of college, I have the opportunity to grow as a student, learn new things, utilize new strategies as a way of learning, and also make life-long friends. College has guided me towards the field of nursing; I want to dedicate my future career in helping others. I am able to take all this away from my college experience, and for that I am extremely grateful.

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I would tell myself that higher education matters and not to wait too long to continue pursuing education. I would also tell myself to secure a supportive environment to lean on when times get tough and also to seek out resources for academic study. Know what your resources are like tutoring, library/media help, and learn about your classes, talk with other students, faculty. Don't be afraid to participate in class and share your ideas. Also, utilize the campus services such as employment resources because it will help with finances, tuition, books, etc. Explore campus life and really look into what your prospective college or university can offer you outside of academic life. Most importantly, be prepared to read, read, read and study, study, study! DON'T procrastinate! If you can complete an assignment early, get to it! Lastly, enjoy yourself...you'll never get these back, so mingle, make friends, and network. You never know which connections you make will last for a long time so cherish your friendships.

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The advice that I would give myself could I go back in time would definitely be to stay focused, stay on track and go directly to college. Taking a year off between high school and college causes a person to lose momentum. This loss of forward progress could cause a person to become complacent and lose the motivation to attend college at all. During the "break" from school, life happens. This includes bills, marriage, and children. Once you go through this, it will be years before you are able to devote any time to yourself again. It is so much easier to be a "traditional" student than an "untraditional" one. Juggling school with a meaningful relationship with your husband and children is very challenging. It is best to live life the "right" way and attend school and graduate first. Attempting to live life backwards is a difficult task to accomplish.

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I began my college career at the age of 51 and it has been the most challenging activity I have ever undertaken. In my college career, I have experienced many new and exciting things. I was a stay at home mom for almost 30 years, so the challenge of going back to school has been difficult, to say the least. My college experience has allowed me to grow in knowledge and understanding and has given me tools to think critically and maturely. It has been valuable for me to attend college because it has allowed me to have a broader view of myself and my abilities to contribute to society. As my college career progresses, I have become certain that the career path I have chosen is correct. I want to help others and give back to society, and my education will allow me to fulfill my dream!

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Apply for as many grants and scholarships as possibe. College is not cheap, even if it as only community college. When looking for a college consider not only price, location, and degrees offered. Also consider the student life... what residence life is life, what clubs and activities are provided. In my experience, enjoying college is key to success. I am not talking about the party life, i am talking about how you can get involved. How you can contribute to the life of the college. Residence Life is a great place to start! Also consider services provided such as on-campus health care and counseling. Get a job on campus as soon as possible! Use tutoring and mentoring services. Consider class sizes! Make sure the college you are choosing is the right choice for you!

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I would advise myself to not listen to anyone other than myself when choosing a college, major, and career. It doesn't matter what other people think you should do with your life -- it's your life, so it's important for you to make choices that feel right to you. It took me until I was in my 40s to figure this out. This explains why I went back to school at the age of 48, to practice a profession which is meaningful and important to me (nursing).

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As a high school senior I was very stressed about choosing one profession to study. I couldn't imagine doing one thing for my entire life. So I would tell myself to focus on my interests and understand that life will bring so many opportunities to use my skills and learn new skills that things will never be boring.

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To try to relax and enjoy school. Begin with a lighter load and let myself take the time to figure out what major I want to do.

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Don't just choose a major, take your time, find what you love

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