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The Art Institute of Colorado

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

If it were not for my college education, my growth, as an adult and as an active member of my community, would have forever been stunted. For, because of the experience, I have learned the value of my peers, and of a higher eductation inside and outside the classroom. This potential to learn has allowed my mind to open to all possiblities and pushes me to pursue my dreams against all odds. Of course, there have been times of struggle (as there are with all great endeavors), but it is because of each of the pinnacles to every mountainous undertaking, that I could see the open seas of success past the great mountain range of self discovery which is my college education. My education, though given a price by others, is priceless to me. Without it, I would remain stagnant in the desert pools, eventually growing too large and slowly suffacating in my lack of knowledge. It is because of this education that I will truly find freedom, and with that freedom, help my fellow man discover themselves and find their own ways out of the desert of close-mindedness, and across the mountains of discovery to the freedom beyond.

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I was fresh out of the United States Navy when I enrolled in school. I went into this new experience with a mind set that after completeing basic training and all of the other challenges the Navy threw at me, I could handle anything! In the eight months I have been attending The Art Institute of Colorado, I have learned that my experiences in the military were only a small percentage of the challenges the world has to offer me. Perhaps most important, my college experience has taught me that following rules and trying to live up to standards isn't the only way to reach an objective. You can't be afraid to use your imagination, take matters into your own hands, and create new possibilities. Attending this school has been valuable to me in that my experience here has opened me up to see the infinite potential I have to make my mark on the world, through gaining an education in culinary arts. I am looking forward to learning everything I possibly can from my instructors in these next three years I will spend working towards earning my bachelors degree in food and beverage management.

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From my college experience I have gained knowledge and the processes through which I attained that knowledge has transformed me in ways that have made attending college valuable. I have grown as I sacrificed hanging out with friends to read another chapter, or had an apple for a snack instead of a bag of chips so that I may be focused in lecture. Everytime I turned off my phone, stopped blogging, walked away from the television and missed season finales of the shows on the tip of everyone's tongue because I knew I needed to study, I matured as an individual. I became aware of the tasks at hand and their purpose: education is the gateway to a better life for me, a way to overcome my adversary. My college experience has taught me about the minor detours that must be avoided as they make realizing my goals difficult as I lose focus. It is a valuable experience to attend college because I am fulfilling my goals of acquiring an education, but I'm also attaining the tools to focus, be aware and accountable, and forever be a successful individual, that will one day help others.

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On July 13th 2009, I entered The Art Institute of Colorado as my sweaty hands gripped a freshly printed schedule. I was nervous. It was then, on my very first day of college, when I vowed to myself that from this point forward, I should take steps to mature to prepare for "the real world." Almost a year later, I feel I am well on my way. I am even considering starting my own company; such an idea would not have even crossed my mind when I started at The Art Institute. Since then, I have gained a sense of confidence in myself-- a confidence that will continue to grow as I move forward towards my degree and as I enter the workforce. Often, I am told that The Art Institute of Colorado is a place of both education and business. It is the business aspect that allows students to develop professsionalism and time management skills. I reflect on the anxiety I once felt towards the school and laugh; surrounded by inspiring peers and experienced teachers, I had no reason to be nervous. I've come to realize that at The Art Institute of Colorado, I'm in good hands.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would have one word of advice; CARB. While it may seem like I am referring to avoiding the freshman fifteen I am not. CARB is an acronym for the four things I wish I would have known entering college. C: Community colleges; use them for transfer credits. This can benefit you in two ways. First it will save you money. Secondly use them for classes that you perceive as being hard and are required for your major; this way you only need to get a C in the class and when it transfers it will not affect you GPA. A: Advisors: This is especially important for students entering college without a declared major. Advisors will help you to choose classes that will coincide with the different majors you are considering. R: Rent books online. This will save you a lot of money compared to buying books new or even used from your college. B: Blank slate: I know this one sounds clich? however it is very true. If you did not like who you were in high school now is your chance to start over.

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I have gained many things from attending The Art Institute beyond classroom knowledge. I have gained confidence in myself and my work that was lacking. I have gained an understanding that I need to be creative and productive in my life to be a happy and complete person. The instructors have given both support and guidance in searching for internships and work. Most importantly I have realized that I had lost a joy in my life. I have found that joy again in a rediscovered love of learning. I am finding that feeding my mind has become a thrill and a challenge. I always want to know and understand more. I want to discover new ways to apply what I have leaned. Learning is no longer work and consequently work has become exciting. It is not something I dread and try to avoid but it is where I get to challenge myself to be better and to explore. The thought of not working has become boring. This change in perspective and renewed love of learning is the most valuable thing I could have learned. I cannot put a price on it.

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If I were to give myself advice, the advice would be: To pay attention to what’s important. When we’re young, we focus on things going on “now”, but focusing on “now” isn’t the way to plan for success. I would stress to myself that while personal relationships and romance are important, they come with time and maturity, and what you find in the rush of youth never lasts. I would tell myself that school is the most important thing I could do. Success in school and success in a work environment would be the defining factors on how I would achieve what I wanted in life. College is where many of us begin to find ourselves and if we focus more on that discovery, we will find ourselves to be a much greater person who knows who they are and how to work hard to get what they want. We spend so many years wasting our time and energy chasing the wrong things. So I would tell myself to study hard, get a job, and ignore all of the boys and parties because there will be time for that later when I have achieved my personal goals.

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I would advise myself not to be pressured into following a career path that was wrong for me. I love interior and fashion design but ended up taking pre-engineering classes at UCCS instead during this fall semester. I soon realized that I am not cut out to be an engineer and decided to follow my dream and persue a career in design. Even though the field of design is highly competitive, I strongly believe that my passion and desire to work in this field will set me apart from others. In order to be successful in the field of design, I am enrolling in The Art Institute of Colorado to complete my BA. I also learned from living on campus at UCCS that many students go to college to party and have fun. I was completely turned off by that whole scene. A college education is very expensive, and I don't believe in wasting my energy and time dealing with others who don't put their education first. While I love being part of campus life in general, I think it is in my best interest to live off-campus so I can focus on my studies.

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As a student who has changed majors three times and transferred after my second year of college, I would tell my past self to be completely open minded to unforseen circumstances. This stage of life is undoubtedly a time for self discovery and understanding, a time to learn what drives you. The person whose opinion matters the very most is your own, especially when making crucial or life altering decisions. Do not be afraid to stumble or fail, as you can only learn about youself or life through the process. You can never really be sure what lies down any particular path until you travel it, so do not give up if at first you do not succeed. Each path that does not suit you only leads you closer to the path that leads to your future and self satisfaction. Once you find where you are truly meant to fit, even the most challenging situations will be worth conquering head on; through learning to stumble and gracefully pick yourself back up, you will learn how to effectively tackle and challenge and come away even stronger.

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If I could go back in time to when I was a high school, one of the most important things I would tell myself is to go to college for Video Production. I say that because, working worth videos is the best thing I have done with myself. Its completly change my view on life and I always i'm looking for to going to class. When I was in high school my Multimedia class was just another elective, working with videos was fun, but it wasn't something I seen myself having a career in. When i graduated high school, I went to Metro State for criminal justice for a year, which made me lose my complete interest in going to school. Than after that year, one of my friends wanted me to make their basketball highlight video. When I made that video, it made me realize that I really had alot of talent when it came to making videos. Its now two years later since I first graduated, and I now go to college at The Art Institute of Colorado. I love everyday I have a class there. Its the best decision I have ever made.

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