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SUNY College at Potsdam

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

In finding the right college, I believe that the potential college student should do research for institutions that are strong candidates for their career asperations. College is defined as "higher education" and should be treated as a means to put them in postion to maximize your ability to start a career in their field. Keep in mind that searching for higher places of learning should include colleges from the entire country. For most college students, this is their first time to experience something completely new. It is facinating how different the culture of living is on each side of the continent, and broadening horizons only opens doors the "real world." To make the most out of the college experience, you really have to enjoy it. The typical thought after a statement like that would be that enjoying college means drinking. However, this is really not true. There are countless things to do while in college and most people prefer these options. At my school, hiking was very popular with being in close vacinity to the Adirondack Mountains and their high peaks. Take advantage of your surroundings and relationships to be made. Those will be the things you remember of college.

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College has been a frustrating experience but has helped me to see being exceptionally bright in high school holds equivalence of average in college. I have learned in my third semester you must stay above the game. Meaning always strive for successes in every homework assignment, every lecture, everything you take time to learn never forget. In college there is always something new to learn and a new teacher to learn from, so adjusting is frustrating but necessary. Work very hard, high school was easy because the teachers taught to the average student -college, you?re on your own -sink or swim you?re paying for it and if you?re like me and don't receive financial aid there is not enough money for... OOPZIES! Success was something that would come in the future- success was a dream that I was slowly building up for myself. But entering into a state college makes success feel like every day is pulling me closer and closer to my dreams and unselfish aspirations. From high school to a college student I have learned hard work is not optional and because I have understood that concept, I will be successful in the future.

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Choosing a college is important, but it is up to the student upon arriving at the college to craft his or her own experience. In choosing a college, it is important to look into social life, academics, and types of extracurricular activies offered on campus. Recommendations and referals from other students and parents that a particular college offers a constructive experience are quite useful in choosing the right college. It is important for one's college to have a strong focus on one's area of interest and study, but it is also crucial for the college to provide a variety of other fields for the student to explore. Some colleges may have a strong academic program while they lack the resources to pair students with internships and career paths that are suitable and challenging to them. Also quite important is that there are a variety recreational things to do both on and off campus. After all, college is about exploring yourself and broadening your horizons to discover new opportunities for the future. A good college should encourage the student to jump in, enrich their life, and have fun!

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For me, college so far has shown me some amazing opportunites. I have been able to meet many different kinds of people from all over the world for different reasons. I have met actors, scientists, historians, I even learned how to spin a rope from a Chinese circus artist. So many things have happened because of college. I been able to open up more in social situations, I have gained confidence that I lacked before in my ability to handle situations, I have grown as a person and an artist. Most importantly, I have discovered my love of learning. Every single class I have taken has taught me more than what is outlined in the course syllabus. With each class comes fellow students and an instructor. And in each person there is a different viewpoint and experiences. It helps us all to learn when we can see the problem at hand from other peoples viewpoints. Sometimes, I only was able to grasp an idea because someone elses vantage point. To me, college is more than an education, it is about learning how to be around other people and learning to absorb as much as possible when you can.

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My advice to my high senior self would fall somewhat outside the common demeanor of thought. Even though college is a huge leaping stone in a person's life, I believe that directing one's focus towards the future will cause this person to miss out on what the present has to offer. Sure, receiving extremely high grades and getting a top score on the SATs may get you into that top school, but there's so much more to life than just a number on a test. When we wake up and step into that school for seven hours of our day, that footstep resembles this person learning the necessary skills to progress through life as we know it. The number that one receives on their report card does not resemble oneself. Rather, the progression of a person's skills and relationships with others is what drives a senior to excel in life after high school. As I always say, "High School is not defined by what is written in an English or History book, but rather the messages that are conveyed in between these lines." This is the most vauable education one could ever receive before entering college.

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I think that it is important that the student visits the college before they decide to go there. While there, the student should talk to professors in the field that they are interested in so that they can get a feel of how the department is run. Students could also see if they are able to get contact information from alumni that graduated from the field that they are interested in so that they could contact them and get their views on the program and the school. While at college, I would suggest to become as involved as possible to make the most of the experience. I have been involved in about 15-20 clubs and organizations while at SUNY Potsdam. I have been the President of our Greek Counsel for the last two years and that has given me many skills that will help me in the future. Getting involed will make the college experience much more memorable. Lastly, studying is important. You go to school to learn, so while you're there, learning new things will benefit your life much more then skipping class and disregarding your work. ILOVESUNYPOTSDAM!

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Through out my last semester, I have grown as person. I am no longer a high school student, I am now a part of something much bigger. SUNY Potsdam is like one big community, and I have never felt more welcomed in my life. I have learned that you can always find the good in a person. Though we all have our flaws, deep down there is a part of us that means well. Through group seminars, I have learned that you should give every one a chance, and that you should never judge with out knowing the person. The school teaches about diversity, and teaches us to embrase the differences in one another. We have a whole weekend devoted to diversity, and I got to learn about places and people I had never heard of before. You learn of their culture and their way of living. It really is truly fascinating, and made me want to learn more. This school has taught me to see the beauty in everything, whether art, a performance, liturature, or the way one expresses themselves. I feel as though this school has opened up my eyes, and helped me see the world more clearly.

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After working so hard to become college ready, most people could not understand why I chose not to enroll in college after graduating from Holy Names High School in 2008. I applied to a few colleges but my heart was not in it. After a six month break from academics, my desire to go back to school was stronger than ever. I was eager to get back into a classroom and learn! In the spring of 2009, I enrolled in my local community college, Contra Costa College (CCC). CCC has been a valuable resource to me. It has allowed me to move forward academically while giving me time to mature and to make some very important decisions for myself. While CCC did not offer me the experience of dorm life or typical college sports, it did offer me the coursework required to transfer to a four year institution. CCC has provided me with the academic foundation to pursue a higher education. With the skills that CCC has instilled in me, I am now ready to transfer to a four year institution, bring my education to the next level, and see what the future holds for me!

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I strongly believe that you get back what you put in to college. We are a single income family, so broadening my career horizons, allowing me to earn more income for my family, is essential. A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors had an explosion in their home. This sparked a fire that destroyed our home and everything in it. We lost every possession we owned. This event really did a few things for me. It made it all that much more important that I continue my education so that some day we can afford to replace the things we lost to the fire. The fire also made me very aware of an existing need to care for people who are injured, but specifically, by fire. People suffering from burns require a lot of care, and who is more capable of understanding their needs, but some one who has been through a similar ordeal. Through all of this, I have managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. The teachers at my college have made this possible. Their teaching process is so easy to understand. Through this process, my college has given me a future; a better future.

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Okay, so when you get there you're going to be scared and unsure of how to meet friends. You won't have curfews & someone will invite you to a party. If you go, be safe. Go with somebody you trust. There'll be alot of activities to do on & off campus, don't hesitate to join a group of interest, or at least go to one of their meetings to learn what they're about. If you don't participate in the extracurriculars you'll miss out on alot & partying is not what really matters. Develop & create who you want to be, forget about popularity contests, make the most of your education, you're paying for it. Money issues might stress you out, but online resources, the financial aid office & FAFSA will help. It's worth it to take a chance, see where it can bring you, who you will meet, & what you will learn. This is the time of your life, live it to the fullest. Try, if you fail, try again, learn, ask questions & introduce yourself to others, they're just as intimidated by you as you are of them. You will look back and be proud.

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