Southwest Minnesota State University Top Questions

What should every freshman at Southwest Minnesota State University know before they start?


I would tell high school me to relax through the college transition. I was really nervous and was always worrying about turning in applications and such for college in on time. Other than that, I was ready for college. I was ready to move on from high school, to meet new people and to focus on continuing my education. I would tell myself how smart it was to wait on deciding my major and focusing on taking my general classes. I was so worried that I was going into college not knowing what I was going to major or minor in, and now I'm glad I didn't force myself to choose. I'm currently getting a lot of my required classes out of the way, and I now have an interest in majoring in Early Childhood Education. I'm thrilled to work hard and be able to teach young kids. I strongly believe that kids develop their drive to want to learn in kindergarten and early elementary school, and I want to inspire children to love learning and inspire them to develop goals of wanting to go to college and completing their goals.


If I could go back, I would have some words of wisdom. First of all, I would remind myself of where I have been as a child. I would remind myself of the opportunities my parents never gave to me as a child. I would remind myself of the teachers that inspired my dreams and those who influenced me as a young girl. I would remind myself of the concept of escaping from a life of poverty. I would remind myself of what survival meant to me as a young girl, everyday was about surviving. That my social skills were taught to me by parents who had a tough time getting along. I would remind myself that everyday, is only an opportunity to move forward in life and to never look back to the times when I was a recipient of my fathers cruelty and violence. I would remind myself that in the future I can change somebody else's life like my teachers changed mine. I would remind myself of the words of famous Beetle John Lennon once said, "A dream you dream alone is just a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."


If I could go back in time while I was a high school senior and tell myself what I needed to do to prepare for college would be go to college being yourself and not pretending to be someone else or be worried about fitting in. No matter what type of person you are or what type of personality you have you will fit in with everyone. Nobody in college cares who you are everyone just wants to be friends. College is a scary thing and before we get there we are told hundreds of times how much it costs, how much we will have to study, and how we have to be responsible for ourselves. Even though all three of those things are true, I think it's the experience that really matters and the fact that we are getting a quality education and helping our future to become a bright and glowing one.


Dear HS Senior Rachel, Wow you're a senior, and you know what's next, college. You've been thinking a lot about what you want to do, but just relax. Pick a school where you can excel just being you, which means a school where you can stand out by making a positive impact on campus. But you won't stand out enough to draw a lot of attention to yourself :) Marshall really is the place you belong, which is extrememly cliche! You just need to let loose a little and have fun, meet new people, and step out of your comfort zone. That's how you will make new friends who will be with you for life! Stay in band because amazing things will happen if you do, and not just playing wise. Music just has a way of creating strong bonds between people. Talk in class, don't be afraid, you are smart and make excellent points! Go to school for graphic design, you will love every class you take for that major. Don't stay locked up in your dorm. Get your head into your school work to not fall behind! Love, College Rachel


Don’t give so much of your heart to those first few friends. I understand college is a shiny, new experience, but know that part of growing up is being able to recognize people with the least interest in relationships- friendships or otherwise- and learn not to invest in individuals like these. Real, life-long, always-in-your-corner friends will be there exactly when you need them. And for the record, they’re worth the wait. Another fun tidbit of advice: you don’t get a rebate for lost time. Sleep is about to become a rare luxury, kind of like how sugar is rationed during wars. Work on assignments while they are still fresh in your mind. This will continually save you from needless all-nighters and allow for more time in other facets of life, such as R.E.M. cycles. P.S. you’ll need at least six of those a night to function in your early morning classes. Oh, yes; say, “Hello,” to early morning classes.


Research more. Check out as many campus's as possible and follow your heart.


I could advise my senior-self on multiple things. I could tell her to start looking at colleges before school started. I could tell her to apply to as many scholarships as possible, to volunteer at many community service events achievable, and to join numerous respectable school organizations (like student council, FCCLA, FBLA, etc.). I could tell her what she should learn how to do by herself (laundry, budgeting) and what will be expected of her (applying for scholarships, keeping track of Financial Aid, registering). There are probably a lot of things that I could tell her. However, I do not wish to. One of the many things I have learned in my first year of college is that life helps us grow from our own mistakes. How could any person ever evolve and become independent as well as a competent individual if he or she cannot learn from his or her own faults? Not being allowed to make mistakes keeps us, as humanity, at a standstill. It keeps us ignorant and naïve to the world around us. We must give ourselves the opportunity to make mistakes in order to gain experience and succeed in life.


This is the best advice that I can give. It goes by very quickly after it is over the hard times seem so much less hard and you will actually look back on them with fond memories and the good times looking back are great times the best times. What you don't realize is that you will have the most fun of your life, if you stay focused and determined. Anything that is good and worth having in this life is hard to get. If something is just handed over to you, you won't care about it, but if you work hard for something and you had to put all the effort and strength that you have into it and then you get it, now that is something worth having. So when you are really struggling or having a hard time just remember to push through it you know you can do it and when its all over you will wish you tried even harder. There is no limit to what you can do, you just have to decide to go for it.


OK, Colleen, listen up. I know you're excited about finishing high school, but I'm here to talk to you about college. Some really awesome things are gonna come out of college: you'll discovere a lot of things about yourself, good and bad. One thing you'll definitely find out is that things are gonna be rough for a while, and that's OK. You'll get the hang of it. You'll get a lot of supoort and you'll have a great time.


Looking back, If I had the chance to speak with the High School Senior version of myself, I'd prepare myself for my first year of college. "While it's scary to move away from your home town, leaving your Mom behind and moving in with 4 girls you don't know, it's going to make you a stronger person. You're going to be shy at first and worry about little things like laundry and bounce a few checks here and there, but you're playing college soccer! All those years of sweat and tears have paid off. You're the first to attend college in your family; they couldn't be more proud of you. So don't be sad those last few weeks at home; You'll be home more often than you think. Oh, by the way, you better start running. That timed three mile run coach said you'll be running often is harder than you think and you won't make the time if you don't get on it, soon! Other than that, you're going to be just fine. Enjoy your last year of high school and time with Mom. -Peggy