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San Diego Mesa College

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

For years I have wished that I could go back and giving an inspiring pep talk to that senior in high school getting ready to make some 'choice' decisions regarding her education. I would start by saying that it is more than okay to start your education in community college to save money, but be sure to make the absolute most of it, choose electives wisely and prepare a college plan early so that you can transfer in two years. The most important lesson I would give myself, though, would be to grow in Love early on. Love, I have realized, is the key to being a successful student, worker, and overall individual. Learn to love, instead of loathe, your coursework. Love your job and all the opportunities that it affords you. I would tell myself that being overwhelmed is the ultimate strengthening course of life and that each step of the education process can be an empowering journey and should be treated as such. Most importantly I would tell myself to love and be gentle, not only with those around you, but with yourself. Life and college are exactly what you make it, so make it count.

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If only there were a time machine, I would jump in and push the button that would rewind to my senior year in high school. As a college freshman it was a huge eye-opening and challenging experience to transfer from my familiar high school routine, to the complex lifestyle of college. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would provide myself with some tips on how to survive college. My first suggestion would be to make plans and goals for the future. It?s important to start college with dreams that you wish to accomplish. These ambitions will inspire and encourage you to continue when the journey to success becomes difficult. My next tip would be to get to know a counselor well during the beginning of the semester, don?t wait for them to find you. Counselors offer useful information on scholarship opportunities, how to get involved on campus, and are also a great source for motivation and confidence. Overall transitioning from high school to college is not as daunting as it may seem. With preparation and advice along the way it can be some of the best years of one?s life.

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Describing my four years of high school as a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement. I learned so much about what it takes to be a good student as time went on, but my senior year could have been better if I had known then what I know now. The work that someone puts in during high school, especially during senior year, prepares that person for the next level in our educational life, which is college. The advice I would give myself as a high school senior is: to be successful in college, you need a good foundation, such as developing good study habits, remembering what you have learned in high school, and take that with you to college. As a college freshman, I know what it means to make sacrifices and commit to learning as much as I can. In order to do so, discipline and determination is very important. If you stay focused on learning, and remain committed, you will be on your way to a successful college experience, and also a successful life ahead. Give your best effort; it will all be worth it when you finish college and embark on the career of your dreams!

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Dear younger me, Listen: You will go to college, and you will study theater. But not yet. When you finally leave that wretched minefield called "home" this summer, you'll take the first of many grueling minimum wage service jobs. You'll lose some of those jobs, you'll lose apartments, and with no family or safety net, you'll be homeless for months on end. You'll bounce from city to city. You'll eat a lot of dumpstered bagels, and walk miles in ragged shoes to stutter, "Are you hiring?" to pitying counter staff. Somewhere inside, a stubborn light will flicker. You'll be low, desperate, and humiliated. But not broken. At the magic age of 24, the gates of financial aid will swing open for you. Go to San Diego, for the hell of it. Throw yourself into your theater classes at Mesa. "It's only community college," others will sneer. But on the Mesa stage, you will find your voice. In 2014, you'll be accepted to a Directing BFA program in Chicago. You survived your home life, ok? You got this. No finances, no safety net, no time for self-doubt. Now, jump.

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If I was given the opportunity to go back and give my high school senior self some words of wisdom about life after high school, I would tell myself to take better care of myself in regards to health and school work. Once you leave high school and enter college, it is up to you to take the fate of your education into your own hands. No one will be there to constantly remind you that your English Literature paper on Beowulf is due tomorrow morning. At the same time, you need to start paying attention to your health. Procrastinating assignments to the night before they're due may have been essential in high school, but all those nights will take a toll on your body. Make sure you are drinking the right amounts of water daily and taking your iron tablets because going to the hospital again is not fun. Lastly, enjoy the time you have left with your friends. After high school, your friend count will dwindle so make sure you are cherishing the little time you have left. You will have the rest of your life to grow up, so live for right here and right now.

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I would have to say that in order to become a successful college student you will have to learn to be very discipline amongst your peers and even yourself. I noticed so many college students showing up to a test or quiz on a Monday morning looking like they could pass as the Grim Reaper for Halloween. They have no discipline to buckle down and study. Then, they have the nerve to ask the professor if they could take the test another day and still get full credit. Some students might have the full intension of studying for a situation like this, but end up getting talked into going out and consuming alcohol all weekend by their peers. In high school you have people like your parents and, more often than not, even your teachers constantly pushing you to finish your school work. College doesn?t work like that. You are now your own person, your own driving force and your own self. Your parents won?t always be there to ask if you?ve done your homework, and your college professors won?t be willing to help you if you aren?t willing to help yourself.

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If I could go back in time and give myself advice as a high school student, I would pass on the advice that going above and beyond the cirriculum would be to the best of my benefit. In college it is expected that we are spending excess time on our projects and homework and that we are not procrastinating on our assignments. To push ourselves beyond what is expected by our teachers, we are allowing our brains to expand and grow. Also, we become more responsible and open-minded because we are allowing our minds to view the project from all different angles and points of view. In high school, students tend to be one-minded and straight to the point. They like to finish their projects quickly and at the last minute just to get them out of the way and to be done with them. They do not put effort into their assignments and only see what the question/problem asks them to see. By starting to see beyond the problem in high school, it would save a lot of trouble and adjustments in the students studying habits for when they get to college.

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If I could go back and give myself advice as a senior in High School, I feel that I would tell myself to be prepared. I would tell myself that college is going to be an illuminating and unforgetable experience. However I will definitely need to work on responsiblity and studying habits. I would tell myself that College is nothing like High School, college is not just about earning the best grades and having the coolest friends. college is about your future, get ready because you are going to have the greastest opportunity of your life and that is to choose your future. You can be who ever you like. You dreamed of this as a child and now you can make your dreams goals. I would encourage myself to apply for scholarships because working 40 hours a week during the summer can be a hastle. I would also tell myself that all the volunteer and community service was not only fun and gratifying but it will help you to be a better person. Be prepared and never lose faith because math class is going to be real challenge to pass.

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It's time to grow up. Now is not the time to let fear take control and leave room for failure or missed opportunities. You are in control now. No one will be there to wake you up in the morning for school. No one will be there to make you breakfast and give you lunch money. No one will ground you for getting a bad grade or for cutting class. Take responsibilty. Make plans, set goals, and accomplish all that you can with what you are given. Just know that change can be good or bad; learn to adapt. Study harder, pay attention more, and sign up for classes you intend to follow through with (you can withdraw only so many times). Time management is important, especially when trying to cram in a social life. Following these makes for a timely graduation, because you know you will be ready to move on to something new after four years. Don't give up because you will regret it. It's not that hard, it doesn't take that long, and once you're done you don't have to do it again. It's all up to you now.

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My advice to the high school senior me would be to utilize the people around you. Where in high school it may be easy to do homework, projects and study all by yourself; College does not afford you those same luxuries and at some point you are going to need help. Your parents, as lame and boring as you may think they are, were once college students themselves and may be cool enough to remember what the inverse square root of cosine is, or at least may be able to help you put together your schedule. Also, I stand firmly that college students need to help one another out, if you need help in a class, ask the person sitting next to you, and return the favor. Professors are also great assets, they don't have the plague and they are not going to think you are a nerd because you came to their office. If you take your own time to talk to them, your professor will know you care about the class and is likely to try and make sure you succeed. You are never alone in the college world, ask and you shall recieve.

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