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Simpson University

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

I would advise prospective undergraduates to really look at the values of the students of the colleges you are considering. Taking a campus tour and actually sitting in on one or two classes is extremely helpful, considering you are evaluating every aspect of the potential college. Look at the job market around the college, as well as the community atmosphere of the city the college is located in, if you're a partier, you may not want to be stuck in the middle of the woods somewhere far from a big city, and if you're a small town person, you may not want to go to a huge college in the middle of San Francisco. Consider the type of roommates you want to live with in the dorms/apartments/wherever, you want to live with people you can get along with on a regular basis. Think about the cultural experience you want to have while attending college, if you want to engage in music ensembles, make sure the college actually has a program of some sort, look at the clubs and extra-curricular activities available. Think about how this college's atmosphere will affect your personality, morals, and religion.

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Please reconsider attending community college... you will regret the student loan debt in about six years. But since I know you aren't going to listen to me, my next most important piece of advice is this: Whatever you do TURN IN that paper for your Utopia/Anti-Utopia literature course because you will cause your teacher grief and yourself. (Countless years later you will continue to kick yourself for not turning in that one assignment.) Most importantly, pursue your degree for what YOU want to do, not because of other people's expectations. You already know the answers, just trust yourself. Lastly, you are going to do things the hard way, and life is going to bring much pain, but it will also bring much joy. The path you choose will be one of the hardest, but don't ever give up. Just remind yourself, everything must begin with a single step. You WILL graduate, and you will be successful, but only if you give your best effort and take that trecherous first step. All the experiences you accumulate along the way will have purpose, and you will be a source of strength for many people as well.

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Hey you. YOU! Over there. With the carefree attitude and hopeful eyes. Financial aid wise, you’re screwed so start looking into loads of scholarships where the only thing that matters is your essay. Get a job, save up and apply to everything you possibly can. But you can still go to Community. I am you 2 years down the road, saving a boatload while not skimping on the education. It’s been wonderful, but it’s time for change. Just save. So you can transfer smoothly into that four year institution. Because when push comes to shove, you don’t wanna be me- scrambling, praying, hoping, scouring for aid anywhere you can so you can go, but doubting yourself and the belief that everything will work out. It was once your mantra. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, kid. You got into college- great, but 2 weeks before you get there, you’ll “owe” before attending. (But that's okay because visiting it, it didn’t feel right anyhow). Strive to discover those coins. Treasure every penny. Add it to your imaginary jar. Pray for the unthinkable-actually attending Purchase College in two Falls.

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Ask upperclassmen about the best deals on campus and off. They know where to buy the cheapest books, the cheapest meals, the cheapest gyms, best places to hang out off and on campus. Where not to live, the people to avoid and the people to befriend, which professors are good or not-so good. Avoid being the annoying college freshmen who are loud and obnoxious about everything. The college experience is so much more than that, and you should take advantage of it. Believe me, the upperclassmen are great advice-givers. Really. Go to multi-cultural events. Authentic Chinese food made by authentic Chinese people will blow your mind away. Try new things. Who knew that going for a jog could actually be fun? Feel free to be a kid again. When you're in college, people will think you're cool for having a huge Pokemon collection, or for being a tug-of-war pro. If you see a group of guys playing Ultimate Frisbee, join them, even if you don't know them. They won't mind. Believe me. Lastly, be yourself. There's no one to impress anymore. People here will love the person you really are.

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Deciding on the right college for you takes research, visits and a "feel" for the culture, attitude and program that is the best fit for you as an individual. Taking the step to further your education is a big one and should not be taken lightly. I chose to return to college to finish my degree at the age of 41. I started at a junior college and transferred to Simpson University's Aspire Program. I decided this program and school was the best fit for me because as a full time employee, my time away from home was limited to one night per week. When I first visited Simpson, I was amazed at the caring attitude of the staff and the Christian environment that made me feel so welcome. While I realize that Simpson isn't for everybody, I believe there is a fit out there for every individual who has a desire to learn. Going back to school has been the most rewarding thing I have done for myself. When I obtain my degree, the feeling of accomplishment will be overwhelming and an inspiration to my children and to others that you are never too old to learn.

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If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I know exactly what I would say. The first thing I would say would be, "Chill out Jackie, it's me Jackie, I am the future you." I am pretty sure those eleven words would calm my senior-self down, after that I would simply tell the past Jackie that it is okay to procrastinate, and that she will succeed no matter what, that includes holding off studying until the last minute, something I never did my first semester in college. I would also tell her that Mr.Hamilton, my high strung Political Science teacher, would be giving her an A+ so she does not need to lose a whole night?s sleep worrying about it. However, the most important thing I would tell her is that it is her Senior year and she should enjoy all the freedom and advantages of her last teenage year, in the fall everything would change; she would be an adult and have enormous responsibilities that she never had before. I would end with, "Enjoy every moment you receive now and do not take it for granted."

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Tressa, I understand that you are a people person and love to build new relationships, but know that there will be many opportunities to socialize. Studying goes first, after all why are you going to college? Rely on God; know there are many people willing to help in every subject you struggle in. This is a new beginning in a different section of life, college. Keep old friendships, but make new ones. Learn how your mind works and study in that specific way. Don?t limit yourself to certain majors, God has a funny sense of humor and He loves to show you how He works through someone. Also, don?t sit around and think God will just put your foot in front of the other for you. You need to take a step forward and ask God to change it or make it a solid step confirming you?re moving in the right direction. Learn from your mistakes and your successes. Enjoy life to the fullest, in the way Jesus did, not the world?s way. There is nothing in this world God cannot overcome. Give your worries to God and have faith that He will lift you up.

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Assuming that I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, knowing what I know now about college life and making transition, I would make sure that I gave myself some useful advice. I would tell myself to make sure that I study as hard as I can. Coming into college, I was still on a high school studying schedule and could not seem to get over it. Being a health student requires lots of study time because one has to take many rigorous science courses. In saying this, I would describe the horrible time I had trying to maintain a low C in general biology my freshman year of college. as well as the horrible time I had retaking both Anatomy and Physiology one and two twice. Hopefully, hearing these things will help to prepare me for the science area and I could make better grades than I did in those classes, which I have to pass to gradate. Then maybe, just maybe, I would not have to get my AA degree after three years in college and take even longer to get my bachelor's degree and go further in my education.

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Many times I wished I could go back with the knowledge that I have now. Growing up I was not considered a bad or troubled child. My downfall wasn’t knowing how much I was able to accomplish by applying myself. As a young child I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Not understanding my disability lead me to believe that I was stupid. No matter how hard I worked, I still fell behind in my studies. I made it through high school with the support of my mother. She pushed me to work harder and to learn my strengths so that I could focus my time on bettering my weaknesses. At the time, I didn't understand why she worked me so hard. I learned that I was able to do everything that everyone around me could. I have an associate’s degree in dental assisting and would love to obtain my dental hygienist license. If I could go back in time, I would treat my life as if I believed that I had a future. Making changes in my thinking and confidence level, would have enabled me to believe in myself and ensured that I had an even brighter future.

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If I got such a chance, I?d say to high-school-Courtney: ?Biology was just as hard as you thought it was gonna be, the people were not nearly as frightening and the food is way worse.? But, wait, I?d go on and elaborate, saying, ?You?ll meet some of the most amazing people. And wait until you hear what?s acceptable again: blanket forts, kite flying, frisby, Pok?mon, cat naps, sleepovers, stuffed animals, owning fish, coloring books ? Oh, Courtney, the list goes on and on!? Though, more importantly I?d say very seriously, ?Don?t mess this up. It?s fun to have friends and goof off, but school is just so important, so important? and never, ever think you?re too good to return to your family. Don?t ever think you?ve outgrown them; with you, it?s bound to cross your mind a few times. And never forget their love and your love, because it?s all that will keep you together sometimes. And remember, most of all, God and His love. Embrace this time as an opportunity to know your Lord better. Grow, be happy and spread His love.?

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