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St Petersburg College

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

During my senior year of high school I didn't exactly take schoolwork seriously. I slacked off, if you will, and this came back and haunted me when I started my first year as a college student. If I knew that schoolwork required dedication, persistence, and patience, I would have gotten a head start on understanding the concepts/subjects I didn't know. I would familiarize myself with the things I did know, that way after that long summer out of school, all the concepts/subjects I did know would be fresh in my mind for the fall. But, life happens and things don't always go as planned. Sometimes you have to live and learn from the mistakes that are formed through experience to understand what life is all about. Thus speaking, I would have studied harder and applied to more scholarships to provide the appropriate necessities that would soon take place in my future education experience. Moreover, I would have committed myself to more community service projects, enhancing my communication and leadership skills. Not to mention, this would open up more opportunities for scholarship requirements. I would have told myself that I needed to be an assertive student!

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Senior year of high school, students still have training wheels on. While high school classes challenge our young minds to think outside of the box and come up with original ideas on our own, teachers still provide students with outlines and worksheets to help guide us on the "correct" path. With the resources our teachers provide us, it becomes easy to fall into a lazy pattern, to simply follow an outline as opposed to thinking on our own and letting our own great ideas flow. It becomes easy to not put 100% effort, originality, and creativity into papers, and our mind is metaphorically in idle. If I could talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to be creative! To come up with my own ideas and use my brain to its full potential in preparation of what college classes have in store. Because one things for sure, there are definetely no outlines or diagrams to guide papers into a cookie cutter five paragraph intro, body, and conclusion paper with a two-sentence thesis. I would tell myelf to start thinking for myself, go outside my comfort zone, and put my brain in drive.

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Save every penny. College is expensive. With the food, living, books, class, and other expenses that come with being in college, how can a college student not be broke? Loans are difficult, financially to figure out a plan to pay it all back. I dreamed of being a doctor and graduate school is even more expensive and I cannot imagine what that will cost. The other advice I would give my previous self would be that making strong connections with people is important. You meet so many new people that you have to work with and can help you in the long run through study groups. If you are very introverted, making friends in college can be difficult. Keeping in touch with high school friends can at least help you to have someone to be able to trust in when college becomes overwhelming and you just need a friend. It is easy to get lost in the confusion of what to do in college. College is a lot easier if you have some idea of a major you want to try out. I would tell myself and anyone to research careers extensively before you graduate. It really makes a difference.

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My senior year would have been majorly different if I had known then what I've learned beginning college. If I had the chance to talk to myself during my senior year, I would have emphasized that being self-motivated was the key to stay focused in school. I would have told myself that everything should have been taken seriously during my last year in high school, which would have kept me from slacking in the middle of my senior year and from over-working myself the last months of school. I would have said to myself, "Be sure to start college right after graduation so that school is still fresh on your mind." If I had the chance to sit and discuss being in college with myself, I would have emphasized the importance of seeking help, such as tutoring, study groups etc., whenever you think you may have misunderstood anything in class. The most important rule I would have made known to myself would've been my education success is on my hands and no one will be there to make sure that I do the things that need to be done. My education is indeed my education.

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My college experience has taught me more about life than any other club, training or religion has ever taught me. It has taught me to think critically and logically. It has taught me to go with my gut instinct when i feel something does not feel right. It has taught me to fully commit to anything and everything. College has gave me confidence to work to my full potential without fearing the outcome or fearing others point of view of me. College has gave me the tools to have the ability to slow down and think in a critical situation or speed up when things need to be done with urgency. College has taught me that some days, God and I might be the only who have faith that I will get my bachelors in accounting. Statistics has taught me how stupid i was to believe that I might be a favorite in a 500 blackjack hand. World Religions has taught me how ignorant i was for believing my religion is superior to other religions. Most importantly, composition has taught me how to express my feelings and earn a 5,000 dollar scholarship toward my future.

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Knowing what I know now, I would eagerly approach school in a totally different manner than what I did after I graduated high school. I would have to tell myself that technology is the key to the future. And any goals you want to achieve start in college. Making the right choices in life can be difficult and challenging, and the best place to start would be in college. Thinking that in the future we would have a recession never entered my mind, but now facing those hard times of a recession, it is easy to see how a college degree can lead you to many rewarding jobs and be able to attain jobs more easily than those who choose not to get a higher education. More and more people are seeking a higher education, and doing the best you can in college could and will make your career search a little easier. Taking the time while in high school to see what career path you chose is important, and picking the right college to attain your educational needs is just as important. I would pick the college that best fits my needs and education.

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To my younger self, I tell you this: College isn’t that much different from high school. You will have classes you love and classes you hate, and late nights finishing homework you should have done a week ago. But that’s where the similarities end, because college is a choice. You choose to be there, you choose your classes, you choose what you want to learn and who you want to put up with for the year. And it is from this understanding that I bring to you my only advice: learn. Learn as much as you can. College is fun, but not free, so squeeze every drop of knowledge out of it that you can while you’re there. Have a question but think it’s irrelevant? Ask it anyway. Unsure of what path you should take after college? Ask about that, too. The teachers aren’t just there to give you a grade, they want to see you succeed just as much as you do. But most important of all, learn about yourself. Learn what you want to do in life, and don’t waver under indecision just because choosing something else seems easier. Believe in yourself.

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Just as i started college I had some money saved from the previous summer and decided to sign a contract for a motorcycle. As much as I enjoy the bike, I wish i hadnt have signed for it and its payments because of all the responsibility it requires to maintain. If I could go back in the past when i was a senior in high school I would preach to myself how important it would be to save all the money I had and never sign for a loan on a house or vehicle until i had a steady job after college. After a year in college, I now see how strenuous it is to work for the payment and attend school full time. I would explain to myself that majority of the time spent working could be used for studying, reviewing class notes/homework and preparing for future exams. If i could go back in the past that is the most important item I would discuss with myself and make sure I understood fully how important it is to stay away money obligations while a student in college. College life would be easier without working all of these hours.

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Ten years has passed since I was a high school senior, but it feels like an entire lifetime of knowledge has been accumulated. Looking back, I can recall a variety of situations that I would handle both the same and different ways. I wish I could tell my 17 year old self to take more time and learn more from life. The best thing I did for my college career was to take classes at my local college during my senior year for dual enrollment. The worst thing I did for my college career was to join the masses and attend college after graduating just because it’s what we do. However, the best and worst aren’t that different. I wish I had taken the time to figure out what I wanted from life and an education instead of taking classes I had no interest in. My college credits could have waited until I was ready even though I don’t regret taking the basics early. Too much pressure is placed on hurrying up to figure out what we should be as adults and not enough on the life lesson “slow and steady wins the race”.

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Not everyone in the world is out to get you, you know. It pays to hold a bit of reservation, and caution is only natural; however, don't be so withdrawn. There are good people in the world, but if you continually put your head down and plow through everything, you will never get the chance to meet them. By being less reclusive, you learn more and have a better experience on the whole, which is far better than boredly trudging your way through the next two years of your life. Don't forget to take "fun" classes! Taking an entire semester of sciences and maths not only gives you a lot of work, but it dampens your mood and will to succeed as well. By throwing in some interesting classes that you actually want to take, you brighten your outlook and help motivate yourself to succeed in the process. History. Take all of the History you can. People are only able to make progress if they know what NOT to be and do. By neglecting this important part of education, you can do great harm to yourself and to others.

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