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Texas A & M University-College Station

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

Dear Faryn, As a high school senior you're at the closing of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another exciting, yet difficult one, college. Don't worry about the little things that you can't control and don't let the transition overwhelm you or discourage you in anyway. Continue working hard and staying focused in school, but don't forget to add a little fun to the mix. You'll have plenty of choices that you will have to make, but don't fret over the things you can't control. I know that you're going to have a hard time being away from your family for the first time, but they are only a Skype call away. Plus, you're joining a HUGE family at Texas A&M. I promise that you'll find genuine poeple that you will call life long friends. The key to a sucessful transition is to find that perfect balance between working hard and having fun, and when you strike a balance you'll be set. You may ask how I know, well, I know what you're going through. Sincerly, Texas A&M Class of 2014 Faryn

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Education is the dominant ingredient of not only the individual’s future experience but also his mentality, morality, and capability to assess and make decisions that possess the potential to sway the course of the chosen path of fulfillment to an entirely different destination. One who does not attempt to grasp the importance of education does not deserve to show his fullest potential, if for no other reason, for lack of experience to accomplish tasks and grasp concepts unique to the desired occupation. However, aside from professional requirements, knowledge allows us to assess worldviews that alter one’s moral beliefs. The only way to prevent the blind submission to an equally blind leader is to understand what you believe in application to politics and religious orientation. Biology alone holds controversial topics including the origin of life, homosexuality, and the existence of a divine being. You will believe what you have always been told. Therefore you shackle your potential by never searching for truth through delicate investigation. Never be content with the knowledge you have halfheartedly collected lest you be bound to a life of a goldfish in an artificial world, ignorant of the beauty and complexity waiting for limitless discovery.

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Dear high school Clare, Things will not be the way you envision them. Life will continue moving forward regardless of what happens to you. Making sincere friends is a process. Friends will come in time, but remember that people take time. Like flowers, with warmth and nutrients, people will unfold for you. Mechanical Engineering is challenging. We thought that sexism could not thrive in a competitive learning environment, and yet, you will encounter this discrimination in both subtle and unconcealed ways. At times you will be bitter; you will want to quit. You are a competent individual, but you need to crave and appreciate your education. Education, if not directly, than through association, will benefit you. Find outlets where your creativity and thoughtfulness will strive. Research is revolutionary; getting involved in something bigger than yourself will help you realize how important you are. If a situation presents itself as unmanageable, break it up into tiny parts. You can make it through anything. This experience, like each and every one after, is unique and is an opportunity to grow. View everything with patience and kind-heartedness, and you will succeed in this and everything. Much love and respect, Clare

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Texas A&M not only provided me with an education, but also the two most valuable assets I hav acquired in life. In the classroom, I developed the skills, and desire, to continue a lifelong pursuit of learning. A&M’s faculty provided fundamental information, but expected me to seek the information necessary to completely understand a subject matter via my own initiative. By meeting this expectation, I learned how to research, and teach, myself. This lifelong ability to learn is the greatest gift any instructor could provide a student. However, the greatest overall asset that was product of my time at A&M came outside of the classroom. I joined the Corps of Cadets with the intention to develop the leadership and teamwork skills needed to be successful in any environment. Simultaneously, yet unpredicted, I developed lifelong friendships that have withstood tests of time, distance, and extreme circumstances. These friends form a support system that has been invaluable, and necessary, during innumerable circumstances. Though many other institutions could have provided me with a similar education, only Texas A&M could have allowed me to forge the skills and support system needed for long life of success and happiness.

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College is an exciting, challenging transition from high school. When transitioning into college and completing your freshman year, one needs to take advantage of the many opportunities the university offers. Time management is the key to surviving college. There are a variety of activities in college and it can be overwhelming and a temptation for an incoming freshman. It is beneficial to develop useful time management skills before you step onto campus?having the ability to coordinate your activities and allocate time to study will help you out in the long run. Additionally, do not overload your schedule. An individual can tackle only so much, and taking too many hours as an underclassman can be stressful and time consuming. It is important to take time to exercise and unwind. Exercise can relieve stress and provide some relaxing down time. Besides time management, one should take advantage of academic opportunities. Get to know your professors. Most professors are willing to help if you take the time and effort to meet with them. Also, there are many student held organizations at any university you attend. Join a few organizations and get to know other students and faculty.

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College is thought of as one of the most successful avenues towards holding an astute career and earning a prestigious education. In order to make the right choice, I advise that students should find a college that feels right for them. Students can begin their nationwide search easily with a personalized college search to access and connect to institutions that fit their needs and interests. Once a student narrows their search, the next step is to visit the school's campus. For myself, I found this to be the best way to find a school that fit me because I could actually see the campus and get acquainted with its settings. When a student attends their college/university they should regularly see an academic advisor, an advisor of their college, and even meet their professors. All will be thrilled to see that the student is enthusiastic about earning a privileged education and will help them to achieve this. Another great tip I will advise is becoming involved in the campus and community. By staying focused, a student can get the most of an academic education and learn traits like leadership and professionalism which can promote them to any successful career.

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The college search process can seem to be a very grueling process unless you know what kind of experience you're looking for. I believe that academics, location, and social atmosphere are cornerstones in helping one make their decision. If you know the size of the community you wish to live in (whether it's urban or suburban), the quality of education you desire, and the level of extracurricular social involvement you are willing to devote, then narrowing down the search process is easy. It is important to visit your school of interest in order for you to accurately answer these aforementioned "cornerstone concerns." Furthermore, all other worries such as finances, living arrangements, and other accommodations seem to simply fall into place once you understand what you're looking for. The easy part is knowing what kind of person you are and what your driving force, or passion, really is. If you truly know this and can assess the environment you see yourself living in for the next few years of your life, the quality of your college experience will be incredible regardless of the institution you attend. In order to have the best experience simply be brave and forthright.

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I would recommend visiting your campus of choice to determine if it is the right setting for you. While there, talk to the students, ask them how they like their classes and professors. Before you go it would also be wise to set up an appointment with an academic advisor and maybe also the financial aide office. Talk to the academic advisor about the degree program you are interested in and what requirements you will have to meet, while talking to the financial aide office, determine if that university/college is financially suitable. Talk about all of your options, they are there to help you. Once you've found the university/college of your choice, make friends in your classes, find study partners, people to help you understand the things you cannot. Become active in a school organization, it is a great way to make friends, become involved, and feel like an important part of your school. Also, give back to your community. Many school organizations have charity events to help your surrounding community. Be involved, academically and socially, you only have a couple of years there, make them worth your while! Thanks and Gig 'Em! Amanda Schumann '12

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My time at Texas A&M has been so rewarding because of the school's six core values have impacted my life: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and self service. These values can easily be seen amongst fellow students and faculty, whom all of which make contributions to my life. From demanding a high standard in the classroom to the Aggie Honor Code, A&M has taught me firsthand the excellence and integrity throughout the university that has shaped my character. I've developed a sense of leadership and loyalty through various intramural sports and youth group organizations at Brazos Fellowship Church. Respect for others and myself through self service and volunteering is one of the biggest contributions the school has made in my life as I'm heavily involved member in the MSC Hospitality organization. They are the biggest service group at Texas A&M where I have contributed greatly to the Big Event community service project. Service projects like this, making the most out of what A&M has to offer through groups and organizations, and doing my best in the classroom are many of the reasons why my college experience has been so valuable to me.

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The advice I would, and have given in the past, is a little cleche but nonetheless important: follow your heart. That is truly the only way a prospective student should make a choice in determining which university he/she will attend. There will be several influences and factors such as financial aid, school and city population, reputation, traditions, etc. but the student will know based on his/her expectations where he/she should settle. If students look inside themselves and discover what makes them happy, they should commit to that happiness for as long as possible, especially during college years because these are the years where you are able to make something out of yourself and establish solid, life-lasting friendships, not to mention establishing a steady career. Once a student determines the university of his choice, he should be willing to try new things and be open to anything. I like to call it a "try-it-once" mentality (good judgment is not provided, but essentially necessary in several situations). It's college. You're away from your parents. Make the most of it, and yourself because you only get to do this once, so love it.

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