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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

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

There are many things I would tell my high school senior self if I could back in time. Primarily I would implore myself to not let fear hold me back and to nurture college friendships. I chose my school mostly because many of my high school friends would be attending it. It is a great school, but since I was a little girl I have had an intensely strong desire to experience living in a different part of the country. I fantasized all the time about living in Boston or New York City. And in fact, I was accepted to both Boston University and New York University, but instead I chose to stay in my home state, partly due to fear and partly because I thought staying with my high school friends would be fun. Today, I only talk to one of those high school friends and every day I still think about living in a different state. Also, while I excelled academically, I did not venture out enough to make new connections, and as a result, college has been a lot less fun and enriching than it could have been for me. Connections and new experiences are so important.

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Research your school. Go talk to them and take a tour so it is not so scarey your first day of class. Get to know the financial aid office. They no all the trick and websites to get scholarships. Start early on them. and do the FAFSA. Don't wait for the last minute. There is alot of money out there that no wone applies for because they don't want to write a paper. Don't be scared of it. HAve someone be your cheerleader. When you are tired after a all nighter and you want to quit have someone where to give you encouragement to finish. I saved a voice mail of my father telling me he was really proud of me going back to school and he loved me. It got me through alot of fustrating moments. Don't be afraid to take out a loan. You can transfer it to a low interest cresit card after the 6 month grace period after you graduate. It will be the difference between 7 % and 18%. Everyone is broke while they are in school. The degree will pay off in the end.

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Choosing a career and taking a direct path towards you future doesn't mean that you must forever stay on that specific path. In-fact, starting out young allows you more oppertunities for change. It improves your own personal growth. Provides transendence in ways never imagined through education. The bottom line is, it will ensure a more prosperous, and fulfilled life. Allievating the should have, could have, would have momemts, and instead creates the Ah Ha moments, feelings of inner peace, and certain success. Rember you can be anything you choose to be and an education will give ten fold the oppertunies you would have otherwise. Any one can do it regardless of difficult past learning experiences or any other barriers. Thsi is what America was founded upon - endless oppertunity for all!

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I would definately tell myself to keep my nose clean and focus on school. I would pound into my eighteen year old self that it is not cool to be the messed up one in the corner at a party. I would make sure that I felt good enough about myself that I realized I didn't need a man to make me feel good, but at the same time say being a housewife is more fun than I initially thought it would be.

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