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Stetson University

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

Do NOT pick a major yet. Picking one just for the sake of having one is not worth it, just go through an undecided/ discovery program if you are still unsure. In addition to that, just because a school is private, does not mean it is better! Bigger schools often have huge advantages in a number of areas, such as a large alumni pool and possible future connections, more extracurricular activities and clubs, and more opportunities for study abroad programs, but in the end it all comes down to what you are looking to get out of your college experience. Visit schools! Even if you think you have an idea of where you want to go, just keep browsing, why limit yourself? Really write down a list of what you are looking for before picking a school just because of its reputation or athletics. Look at where the school's alumi are now; is there a long list of success stories? Finally, college isn't all about studying, its an all around experience that only comes once. Pick a school where you will feel comfortable and where there are a number life enriching opportunities available to you. Live it up!

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College experience is different and unique for everyone who attends. For me, it was a time where I was enabled to gain my own experience and independence from my family. Being independent isn't as easy due to the big responsibilities . I was put in a position where I was given a choice rather than forced to carry out duties of a student back when I was attending highschool and lived under the strict house rules of my parents. I was in the position to make my own decisions concerning whether to attend classes or skip without a penalty, spend my study time either socializing or to burry my face in textbooks at the library, and go to a social events on campus. College was my opportunity to mature and learn my limits, learn how to manage my time, become more involved in activites as well as the community , and learn whats ethically and morally right based on my own experiences. With such opportunities, I was able to excell academically and individualy. I am still in the process of doing it as well ; With the experience and knowledge I'm obtaining in college, I'm ready for the real world.

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I've gained a larger respect for people with differing opinions, I'm able to better tolerate the ideas of people I may not like, but because they are able to form their ideas in a way that isn't combative I have a great appreciation for those i don't always agree with. My field of study is Political Science and Stetson has a great poli sci department. The professor in the department are are all Ph. D's they have written books and speak around the country on issues ranging from evniornmental policy to economic policy to internaitonal affairs. It's a great thing to see people who are so passionate about their careers which happens to be my field of study. When I return to Stetson I plan to add a major, Environmental Science. One course in the Political Science Department is called Enviornmental Politics which puts my two passions politics and the enviornment in the same room. The university's location mixed with the passion of the professors who have devoted their lives to their field, it's a place where any student would be lucky to attend. Stetson will help me make a difference.

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What ever your choice of college is, no matter if its your third choice, you will have fun. THe only people I have ever met not having fun or not enjoying college are those either languishing over the fact that they didnt get in somewhere else, or the one who dont take advantage of what college has to offer. It's COLLEGE. Make MISTAKES. Make the same mistake twice because it is too good to only make once. FORGIVE others. Forgive yourself. Forget things. PARTY on a weekday. PARTY HARDER on the weekends. Forget that you partied at all. Get Sick. Get so sick that you DON'T REMEMBER how you got sick. SKIP Class. Watch movies instead of doing homework. STAY UP all night before a final. Be SPONTANEOUS. Make PLANS. Break plans. LOVE. Get Attached. Get Jealous. Fall hard. BREAK HEARTS and get your HEART BROKEN. Cry, then laugh at it later. LAUGH so hard you can't stop. Have moments that you WISH would never end. Have moments you wish never began. Have CONVERSATIONS that you'll NEVER FORGET. Say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Get angry. Be CONFUSED it will all become clear eventually.

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“Jeremy, life is action, right here, right now. Face things today as they are at this moment. Your life is an evolving history. The things you know, feel, and experience help to make you who you are. Don’t live in the past; live through it. You have learned many lessons time offers and today you use the past to create the living history of now. No one is ever going to live for you but yourself. No one can be happy or unhappy for you but yourself. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what all the world thinks, if you know something constructive about yourself. As you make the transition to college life, carry with you everything out of the past which was of the nature of love, truth, faith, goodness, and reason. Create a greater sense of flexibility, of love, a greater sense of tolerance, a deeper feeling for others, and for the universe. The seeds of today are the fruits of tomorrow. There are no real limitations except those which you impose upon yourself. Action is the law of life. Only you can choose whether it be constructive or destructive. Choose wisely.”

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I have been at Stetson for only a semester, but already my college experience is loaded from meeting new people and learning so much in that semester. Stetson's community is small, but diversity is the mantra; there have been two seminars looking into Islamophobia, as well as an entire day devoted to understanding others' points of view. The campus was founded in 1883, but keeps up-to-date with several computer labs, as well as progressive undergraduate degrees such as Digital Arts and Law. It's been so valuable to attend Stetson, even for one semester because the program doesn't force students into general education requirements right off the bat. Students can go into major classes in their first semester and catch up with general classes as they are permitted. The major classes are also extremely in-depth and the professors want their students to learn, are excited for their students to learn. Stetson is situated in the small town of DeLand in Florida. The intimate nature of the small campus and community allows for close-knit friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime.

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Beware of people who would use you. College is a bigger world than high school, even if Stetson is a smaller campus. You can trust no one with yourself, there are people who would use you for their own gain. Your friends are not always your friends. Don't surrender your social life though, just be cautious. And don't give up your social life entirely for school work. Learning is the main purpose for going to college yes, but your mental stability is also important. Hang out with your friends more, get to know the people you live with more, be in the common area more. You can't go through life being a recluse. And hang out for that Mr. Charming, you shouldn't listen to what everyone says about them either. Because your perfect one is waiting for you, and you will find him! Balance caution, learn time management, and push the issue of bringing your dog with you more. Learn not to be so dependent, and don't panic so much about tests! Go to the sessions Stetson has for time management and study skills, use the resources! And go to the Counseling Center when needed!

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We were slipping down into the lower classes, I ignored the fact that financial difficulties would only grow with the cost of a dimpoma. My mother had given birth to my younger half-brother Daniel just five years before, and she was already struggling to organize finances with his father for kindergarden at a montosori school. I would have then opened my eyes to the every day sacrafices my mother had made for me to go through private school as well; a luxury she made sure we could afford. If I could go back I would have told myself to apply for more scholarships in order to avoid being a financial burden to my parents, instead of being ashamed to apply for scholarships while my prep-school friends asked for the latest BMW. Maybe I underestimated what it was like to be a "poor college kid", or I didnt believe I would feel embarrassment and guilt asking my mother for tuition money when I knew she could not. Regardless of the reason why the decision to apply for scholarships didn´t happen then, I am grateful for sequence of events that led me to apply for the chance now.

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If I could go back in time, and give myself some advice about college, the number one thing I would tell myself is to practice time management. There is always some new event going on, and it’s easy to begin procrastinating on important assignments, especially because as a college freshman you get excited about... everything. I might also mention the benefits of a planner because I have found that you cannot possibly fit all the assignments you get onto your hand like you did in high school. Another piece of advice I would give myself is to not over stress myself, because it’s an easy way to psyche yourself out of trying your best, and giving your all in whatever the situation. In my first semester in college I often found that when I calmed down, and looked for a solution to my problem, or decided to do my best, and just accept the outcome I got better results, and I came out of the situation looking smart, flexible, and creative. I soon after realized that there was no point in freaking out about what has been done when you still have a chance to change the outcome.

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Have fun with your parents when you start looking for colleges. It is an amazing experience looking for the place you will spend the next chapter of your life, so enjoy every minute of it. Make sure that you visit the schools you are interested in, because seeing is believing. You will know when you step on that campus if you are meant to live there or not. Make sure you ask lots of questions. Talk to admissions counselors, professors, and even students. All of these people will give you different perspectives, which will help make your decision even easier. Once you are at school, make the most out of your college experience as possible. Learn with an open mind and soak in as much information as possible. It's a crazy world out there and you'll need to be as prepared as possible. But when you have spare time, live it up. Have fun with your friends, go out and meet new people. College is the best place to make connections and build bridges. Live without regrets and laugh at every chance you can. Not everyone can go to college, so appreciate the moments you ive in.

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