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State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota

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

Rachael, You have always wanted to know whats coming so you could plan ahead, well stop. Quit worrying just go with the flow. You’ll have ups and downs but a time will come when everything works out. College will test your problem solving skills not only in the classroom but in life. Transportation, books, and housing are no longer someone else’s responsibility. Save your money and keep working hard. Balancing work and school will be difficult but keep faith. You have always been good at balancing activities in your life. Remember to never compromise your dreams. You know what you love to do, this is your chance to pursue it. Take classes you will enjoy while staying on track. You don’t want to get all the way through school just to realize that what you have spent the last four years learning is not what you want to do with the rest of your life. With that said, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind. Better now than never, right? Most importantly, trust yourself, stay true to who you are, don’t forget where you came from and love those around you. Remember moms always right!

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It's Febuary 2008 and I'm sitting in my high school's career office filling out multiple scholarship forms and shoveling through college applications, however with my own college sophomore mindset. I start talking to myself through my conscience, "Leah, what are you doing? Why are you applying to all of the larger colleges? Did you know that Manatee Community College is almost 30% less the tuition cost and has smaller classes? Do I need to remind you that it is only a 15 minute drive? Go ahead, apply to Florida Gulf Coast University, it's not what it seems. Sure they have great soccer team but do you really want to be paying double the cost, with four times the student : teacher ratio? Besides, you can keep your job that you have now and even up the hours of work to full time, also Florida Bright Futures covers 100% tuition. Leah listen to yourself! Your family is close in case of emergencies and you'll meet the man of your dreams at this small college! Just do it! You'll save so much time and money! How much better can it get? Do it and you'll see.

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If I could could go back in time and give myself advice in High School, I would definately tell myself not to lose focus in my last year of High School. Unfortunately during my junior year, I lost my older sister along with my focus and my grades started to slide. I only wish I continued working hard in school and had applied for as much scholarships as possible in order to go to college. The time off from school is not worth the struggle that I would be faced with trying to raise two children on my own, starting college at the age of 28 and still struggling to find work without the proper education. I only wish I had the opportunity to enjoy my college education in my youth, had the opportunity to study abroad and experience life and different cultures. I wish I finished my career education prior to having children, this way I would be able to provide for them without the hardships of life weighing down on me. Their is so much education out there that I would love to have but sometimes I feel as though my time is limited.

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Hopeless. This would be the exact word I would use to describe myself as a high school senior. My intentions as a senior was nothing more than socializing and having a good time. My thoughts: It's senior year, and you only live once! Unfortunately, that mind-set brought my GPA down well enough to make it almost impossible to become accepted to a great four-year college. Being in college, and having to take non-college credit classes for our of state tuition is only discouraging to me. Especially considering it's not just one. If I had paid more attention in high school and tried a little bit harder, I most likely would already be half way towards my degree, but I had to goof off a little too much. If I could go back and give myself even just a couple words of advice, it would be: "Focus; it might be difficult now, but it'll be easier in your future when it should be harder." The only problem is, there is no time machine. Now, I sit here and say dream about what life would be like, had I tried just a little bit harder.

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I have gained many things from attending college. The most important of those is knowledge. Many of the science classes I have taken apply to day to day experiences. Anatomy and Physiology taught me a lot about my body and how it works and I am able to use that information to know that the carb diet is not healthy and that you cannot get collagin into your skin with a cream, as well as many other thing. Psychology has taught me so much about how people think and why. Some of the many other reasons I have benifited from college are self confidence, respect from others, time management skills, and friendships. One other important factor is that my children watch me as I study and they are learning the importance of college from my example. I read my text books to them and sometimes the read them to me. They see how hard I work to get good grades and proud I am of my successes. One of my boys is already in the gifted and talented program and I like to believe that watching me has shown him the importance of school.

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Making the transition to college was especially difficult for me. I was a bit of a procrastinator, waiting ten years after high school graduation to go back to school. I wouldn't consider it a mistake, but rather a learning experience I could never have accquired in college. Now that I have returned to college at the age of 32, I find myself taking my studies far more seriously, and am completely devoted to my goals. I have earned a 3.95 in my Associates degree, and have been accepted into an honor society, Phi Theta Cappa. Looking back, I wouldn't change any decisions I have made as they all have helped to sculpt me into the person I am today. Returning to school later in life was the right choice for me. I learned who I was, and what I wanted to do in life, and when I was ready I gave it my all. College has given me the uttmost confidence in myself to pursue and conquer every personal goal. My advice to myself would be to keep challenging myself, and continue following through with success and determination.

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I would begin by reflecting on the road blocks that I created for myself as a colloge student and then I would begin by saying this. Erica, you are a single mother of one child and how do you suppose that you are going to be able to financially support you and a child without a higher education. I would than tell myself that college is not to be taking likely I would encourage myself to set goals and have a time frame in which I should be finish with college. I would reinforce myself to only take courses that are needed for me to obtain my degree. I would also tell myself not to sign up for any courses that can not be given a 100% effort in passing with a grade A or B. I would say set high academic standards and achieve them by any means necessary. I would say Erica college can be an exciting, fun, and rewarding experience, but you only get what you put into it. So with that being said take nothing for granted always do your best and aim high because the sky is the limit. Know your resources and have fun.

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If I were talking to myself as a high school senior I would advise myself to go to school right away don't wait. Sit down and write out a short and long term goal for the future keeping in mind the lifestyle desired 5 to 10 years down the road. Then choose a school that offers your desired degree. Go to the campus talk to career advisors and financial aid counselors to be sure you know and understand what is expected of you as a student, and from them as the staff. It is ok to not know which path you want to take at this time but, be sure to do your homework check out each option carefully don't take unnecessary courses. Consider living with parents to reduce living expenses. Develop good study habits and surround yourself with peers who have a goal to met with determination to complete them. Stay focused, keep your work load manageable, and if you don't do well on an assignment don't give up, just work even harder on the next one. You can acheive any goal if you stay focused on the task at hand.

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I would have, without a doubt, told myself to waste no time and be assertive about my education. In 2004, I took the opportunity to move to Japan- even if it meant giving up public schooling for 2 years of distance learning. Although it was one of the best paths chosen in my life, but I could have made that decision better by furthering my education after graduation. At that time, school just seemed like an inconvenience and a waste of time. Looking back at it all, I wish I could have told myself to start immediately after graduating high school. Not only would it have helped me excell to my fullest potential, but I could be better off than I am right now. I've learned that college education opens doors and the certifications aren't just an article of paper; it's something that a person has for the rest of their lives and can be proud of. I would have also told myself that the more I wait, the harder it is to find time. Each day that you procrastinate is one day wasted of your future.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would say to take myself a LOT less seriously! I would also tell myself that just because school was easy for me in high school, doesn't mean that college will be. The opportunity to attend college is not available to everyone and I should study more and appreciate this time in my life instead of rushing through it. I would also advise myself to explore different interests. If there are classes offered on a topic I'm interested in, take this opportunity to learn all I can about it and soak up all the information I can. Lastly, I would remind myself that the relationships formed at this time in my life will provide valuable connections in my future. Get to know my professors, they will be my mentors. Network with others in the same major, they will one day be my co-workers. Cultivate the friendships I will make, they will be lifelong friends. And don't marry the first boy I date. There will be others.

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