The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Top Questions

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

Sylvia

Hey, I know you don't like school. I know you don't think about going to college, because you're dirt poor right now. Go see Miss Green, the financial aid counselor. She is a big help. Knowing what I know now, about what happens to you, there are several things I'd like to give you a head's-up on. Go to UTPA. It will change you in ways that you currently cannot fathom. You hate writing now. Well, guess what? Dr. Mark Noe inspires you to write and so much so that you write four silly sci-fi/fantasy books before starting sophomore year. Writing will help you through post-partum depression. Oh, yeah. That depression derives from Hashimoto's disease. Go see a dang doctor about that and push them to make you feel better. That disease comes hand-in-hand with your writing and inspires you to go into the medical field. Study everything you want to study. Be great at it. Love it, because it is so totally worth it. Learn to love yourself, because you are totally worth it. You will inspire others that have the same disease.

Miguel

I would work hard in my studies. I would take the time to read the appropriate novels and prepare myself for the future with a good foundation of study habits. This would help me as well as focusing my efforts on writing essays as this will come in very handy at the college level.

Lucero

If I could go back in time and talk to my high school self, I would tell myself how I am going to be completely fine. This was the first year that I moved away from my parents, and it really frightened me that I would not be coming home to my family everyday anymore. I would also tell myself that track is going to be awesome. I had walked on the the University of Texas - Pan American Track and Field team my freshman year, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I would reasure myself that I was strong and capable enough to make this transition from high school to college. Lastly, I would tell myself that I did amazing my first semester of college ending it with a 3.8 GPA. I would surprise myself, but deep down I know that I was always capable. This are the things that I would tell my high school self if I could go back.

SONIA

Sonia, although you completed and made A’s on the dual enrollment courses you took here in La Joya High School. Those two years of work you put into completing college coursework—well, none of them will be credit it as college credit. I tried to process and believe this to be truth. I was shocked, speechless. I was told that there was nothing to be done. If I could go back in time and be able to talk to my high school self I would tell me to never put anything else but my education in my priorities. I would tell myself to go to school everyday, to try not to be shy and get involved and tell someone if I am having a problem that I can not handle on my own. In high school, I had many absences that ultimately led to me know getting credit for my dual enrollment, and moved my top 10% gpa to top 25%. I believed then that staying home with my mother would somehow stop my father from abusing my mother. I wished I could have thought of a better way to help my mother instead of jeopardizing my education.

Deborah

Make sure to remind yourself that your grades counts! Make sure to start out studying more than you need rather than less than you need, so you don't have any regrets. Make connections, be outgoing and don't be shy! without risking a bit and taking chances you won't experience true success!

Edmundo

Focus on the road you want and stick to it. Don't make excuses and keep your word. Don't make the same mistakes. Don't be clever and no one is perfect.

DAISY

Live your life and be happy where you are right now! Pursue the degree in engineering you know you always wanted and never give up on your dreams!!!

Nadia

When I was a high school senior I was in a serious relationship of 2 years and was planning to go to college with my then boyfriend. Eventually things didn't work out, I became depressed for a couple of years, and I got kicked out of UT Austin, one of the leading research universities in the nation. Eventually I overcame that and redeemed myself as a student. If I could go back to talk to myself, I would talk some sense into me and say the following: Relationships should never come before your education or career. You will eventually publish a couple of articles, which is great. But those couple of articles could be double the amount if you just focus on what's important. Don't fall for the easy mistakes you can learn by watching other people make them. Don't lose your value. Don't doubt yourself. Work extremely hard for what you want. Don't think, just do! Feelings can be taken care of later, but this has to be taken care of now!

Caitlin

I would advise myself to be brave, take more challenging courses, and don't go in thinking the freshman course load will be easy. This is perhaps one of the most common college freshmen make, thinking that their freshman year is going to be a joke. I would be adamant about taking each course seriously, study extensively and make sure to be prepared for each class. I would also remind myself of the very wise saying that "Those who are afraid to ask questions are afraid of learning." It's important to ask your questions, and if you have questions or concerns, make an appointment during the professor's office hours. I would also suggest to take advantage of all the resources available on campus. Writing labs, learning resource centers, tutoring services, libraries, even gyms can be essential to keeping your workload in check. These resources are there to be used, just like the professors are there to instruct and to help students - use them!

Luis Romeo

If I had the opportunity to go back in time I would notify my self to start getting active with organizations in high school and also to become more social and make friends because in the university there are so many people that any student is bound to make at least one friend. Throughout high school, I was always a comformist , but I would tell myself to strive for the best and never give up with my dreams. I really regret not applying for scholarships when I was in high school, I would go back and advice myself to apply for as many scholarships possible and start to look into ways that I could get involved with research on campus. I believe that when I was in high school I had the mentality that all clases would be as simple i college like in high school, but i would most definetly tell myself to improve my studying skills because classes in college progressively start to get harder . This is all I would tell myself as high schooler , having know this I would have transitioned in a more better way from high school life to university life.

Annabella

I would advise my younger self to attend Career Center earlier in high school; when you are undecided about what you want to do for a living you need to look at as many career possibilities as possible. I would try a greater variety of classes that way the ones I absolutely detested or was terrible at would give me some direction as to what careers are suitable for me. I would also advise myself to get a job somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the home and learn to meet and deal with a variety of people that I ordinarily would never meet. I would also order myself to start driver's training earlier, maybe that would help cut down on the stress of it all and I could actually learn to drive instead of bombing miserably at it.

Luis

My advice would be , instead of choosing easy classes , you should choose the hardest one, because college is not easy. Why do I say the hardest classes? I say this not because college is hard is because that will prepare you a little better for college. I would also tell myself to do community service. Eventhough no one talked to me about this in highschool once I entered college I heard a lot the words community service. I never heard this because I came from mexico and graduated in 3 years from highschool, but surely community college helps a lot to buil your resume. Another thing is to take all AP classes and some available college classes, beucase this are the most close related to actual college classes and will also prepare you to do good in college.

Damaris

I was fortunate to have attended Early College High School, as I was able to graduate with my Associate Degree before recieving my High School Diploma. Nonetheless, one thing that I would definitely tell myself is to take more of the classes that I found difficult first and to have taken more, since they were free as college is simply too expensive. I would also make sure that to have found, researched, and settled on a major.

Araceli

Make sure to choose your bachelors degree wisely because this will determine the kind of job you will end up working in. Research on the internet a lot!

Blake

Take a breath, calm down and turn off the email notifications on your phone. Focus on your grades, making memories with your friends and enjoy the time you still have with your family. You will be moving a long way from home and you need to make the best of what you have. Go ahead and do the things you love, because you won't have much time in college. When you get there, be open to others! Remember names, faces and professors because it will help you in the long run. Go to university functions and put yourself out there and make a difference. Attend every class even though it's not mandatory, because you will defiinitely get better grades and improve your chances in the future. Don't be scared of being rejected or judged because it happens to everyone. Meditate, get in touch with your inner being, and love like crazy. You only get to experience college once.

Jecenia

Getting an upper level education is very important for my family especially because I would be the first of the family to go to college. The preparation always starts in high school, start by trying to get into upper level courses like AP courses that are offered in the school. With these type of courses offered; you can easily take a test and get college credit hours and start as a sophomore, but before that make sure you are capable of completing the tasks. Get informed about programs or offices that can help you apply for universities, scholarships, and financial aid. There are many teachers that will be willing to help you out with the application process. Get involved with extra-curricullar activities to build up a resume for your university application. Yes, you will get scared about starting classes in a new campus, but once you are done with your first day you'll realize that people are friendly and willing to help if you have any questions. So, yes it may be frightening in the beginning but afterwards you'll love being in the environment because you are there to accomplish your priority goal; a higher lever education!

Janette

The advice i would give myself after experiencing two years of college would be to take the most accredited hours that the school has to offer me. To take the dual enrollment courses to finish with basics faster. I would also advice my self to save my money for next year. That just because its my senior year i dont have to be wasting all my spare money on random things. When i could be saving that money for extra expenses like books. The spare time i had i would tell my self to be with friends. To keep creating memories so later when im all alone in a library studying for an economics midterm i can remember how being with friends was. I would tell my self to cherish this time with friends, cause next year it wont be like that. some will move to a different city, other will get married and/or pregnant and not continue with school, and others you might see at school but are too busy tohang out. If i went back i would say to live life, because next year the world will take a 360 degree turn.

Amanda

Focus, stop worrying about your love life and focus on school. Finish school and you will find someone successful that has the same dreams as you do. Ignore all distractions and give it your all AMANDA.

Rosario

Just because it is your senior year does not mean you can start slacking off; in fact it means to work harder. Take care of your college entrance appliciations early, do not wait for the last mintute. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Stay involved in the community. Just because you started taking dual - credit courses at the STC campus, instead of the high school does not you can do whayever you want. UTPA will be different and more difficult than STC. Stay away from distractions when studying. Do not get so many online classes, you will become lazy and procastinate. Keep working hard to get ahead, do not procrastinate.

Kenneth

The procrastination stops here, as well as constrictive anxiety and hesitation. Get ready for trials, tribulations, but ultimately prepare yourself for definite adaptation. For twelve years its been the same friends, faces, and academic and social procedures; but lucky you just when it gets comfortable its time to erase the chalkboard. Skills will be put to the test; take the positive with pride, and look at your weaknesses with a sense of constructive criticism. Limits will be tested educationally and socially; but at the end of day the most valuable pearl of wisdom I can offer you is do not forget to breath! Remember to approach situations with an open mind, calm demeanor, and clear perspective. Look at these times as opportunities for learning, growth, and prosperity; these are the years in which we plot and calculate our path for the journey of adult hood. Do not carry the emotional burden of hard times, instead reflect on the valuable knowledge of hindsight. These next few years will project our interests and values the clearest, so prepare to immerse yourself in many random ventures; as cliche as it sounds, its time to find yourself. Ps. have fun too :)

Samantha

DO NOT move into the Veranda apartments. Majority of people that move there end up trying to give their lease to someone else. Houses are cheap to rent try to do that with a friend.

Lakeisha

The advice I would give myself is to be prepared for the transition to college because it is life changing, good and bad. Also ,be completely financially prepared and look for any available scholarships that you qualify for. Look for organizations that interests you. Be prepared to seldomly be home and be prepared to see your family and friends less often. Be prepared to be swooped into another unfamiliar world where nobody knows you at all.

Sergio

Definitely, to not believe that much of what other people says, college is an adventure that is written by the student at that time. I have learned that in college you never know what will happen and we have to study hard for every class no matter what subject is. Sometimes because is an easy subject we don't study hard and this makes our GPA go down. Anyway we have to stand up again and keep fighting for the desired score and keep on track with the other subjects.

Jessica

I would make sure to tell myself to prepare, prepare, prepare. I'll have to encourage my past self to get used to independent work. Also, when I run into a problem to not be afraid of asking for help because that is a must in College. To work on note taking and studying. One, last thing, I would have to add is to work on my social skills . Working with my social skills in order to make new friends and/or connections and when asking for help.

Ana

If I could talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy life more. I graduated high school as a junior so I never really had a senior year. Because of this, I missed out on the best year of high school. I didn't get to go out to the club for the fist time and buy cigaretts just because I could once I turned 18. I never got to go to prom or walk on the stage to get my diploma. I also had less time to decide what I wanted to do in life. I rushed into making a decision and ended up changing my major 3 times my freshman year in college. I would tell my high school self to explore options and really find what my passion is. I would tell myself to be involoved more, to join clubs and organizations just for the fun of it, to meet as many people as possible, and to help my community the most that I could. College went by in a flash and we have to make sure we enjoy every moment while we can.

Kimberly

Where to even begin with the changes that I would make if time could be taken back. Preparing myself for the “Real World,” makes sense how the created the show on MTV and has been running since 1992 with 26 successful seasons. Lives from all over the country being brought together forced to live together and adjust to a whole new completely different situation. Drama I would say is the key element of the show, one that makes life normal, and is something that everyone can relate to in any point in their life. If I had focused more on school instead of drama I wouldn’t be in the place that I am at right now. If I was more concerned about my well being before anyone else and concentrated on hard work and dedication, I could make myself anything that I wanted to be. It’s funny because I heard it all the time and it’s not till I hit my lowest low that I felt everything crumbling and made me see what I needed to do to get back on top. If I was a high school senior I would learn to balance school and fun.

Julia

Don't worry too much, but do your best now, so that way you will be prepared for the future. Don't be a slacker, it's better to get things done ahead of time then to put things off and procrastinate. Give it your all and give it your best when you start college and until then humble yourself.

Lessly

I would definitely suggest myself to apply to have a mentor. I am currently a mentor at UTPA and it really does ease college life to a certain extent. Entering freshman often have many questions that might go unanswered sometimes, but they will be able to turn to a mentor for guidance.

Daniel

Get a mac, learn web design, sketch ideas, think new stuff every day. Analyze people needs (Maketing Stategy). My major is graphic design and this things are stuff that i would loved to know and dicover when I was jounger, becuse innovation on design is the CLUE to succeed.

Nathan

Whether it be through some trans-dimensional rift, rupture in the space-time continuum, or through any other science fiction technobabble means, I am now communicating with you, my 18-year-old self. Stop loafing around and get active with registration and form deadlines. That mad rush you will have to do in August was not fun, and it's not fun when you have to do it again two years later. Also, you need to schedule as many night classes as possible. You are not a morning person and never will be. Don't believe for a minute that you will be awake for that 7:30 AM Fundamentals of Speech course. You end up dropping those courses everytime, and it eventually costs you a full scholarship. Feels dumb hearing about it in the future tense? Imagine how it feels when it's stated in the past tense?

David

I would tell myself to really think about what I want to do with my life. I would tell myself it doesn't matter how many years I will be in school. What matters is that I will be doing something that will make me happy for the rest of my life. I would tell myself to learn how to really study hard right off the bat, and maybe even take some summer courses to be headed off to a good start.

Christopher

You have to make sure that your study habits are in readiness or have developed in such a way that you can handle a work load, because in college, you actually have to work your butt off to get that "A". College is like any other workplace, except that you get graded instead of being paid. Also whatever ideals your mama and papa taught you or whatever positive attitudes you've picked up along the way, make sure to use it because those who already have a sense in how to deal with stress and have the striving desire to improve separate those who just go into college without a clue to even know what is going on. Remember, Divine Providence is by your side and always believe that you can do everything you set your mind to. You have the power to do anything.

Orlando

The first advice would be that high school is not the same as college and that it will demand more responsibility than high school work. Furthermore, obstacles are going to present themselves throughout college life and it is important to be able to be patient in order to overcome these obstacles. Great opportunities will also present themselves, and it is imperative to be able to take a hold of these life changing opportunities and not take them for granted. Finally, and most importantly, that along with the long lasting relationships built in college, the amount of knowledge received is without a doubt the best thing that any university can do to a human being.

zuleyma

My college experience has been great i have learned the transition from high school altough it has been hard. In my experiences i've learned to become more responsible unlike in high school. Mainly because in college you don't get any second chances. Also i've learned to become more independent when it comes to studying and working to hard to earn my degree. It's been a valuable experience due to the fact that i have learn many interesting thing in my health related classes.

Celeste

I think the thing I've gotten out of my college experience is that the time taken to attend college is important in the sense that it allows people to be exposed to and to think about subjects they might not consider in a regular 9 to 5 job. The traditional USA system of higher education makes no excuses for holding to a system of learning that does not provide practical, real-world experience. They emphasize a growth in knowledge, the understanding of the world and different cultures, and the kind of education that will make people what they deem to be well-rounded and literate. College is an experience that is necessary and valuable to attend because it helps you grow.

Lauren

In my college experience, I've learned how to grow as a person, I've learned that I have to work hard for what I want and still enjoy life, and know some day I'll get where I need to be. This school has been the one I've been wanting to attend since I was little so it really feels great to be here. All the faculty and people I've met have added so much to life, and helped me grow in so many ways. I gained a deeper respect for science, and I"ve also learned that I have to work hard to bring in my own money so I can attend school, and that is life. But I also know that I can never give up despite meeting hard times, and I have also learned as long as you keep moving forward things always work out for thebest because you didn't give up.

Vanessa

I recently returned to school after a long break in which I was employed in what I thought was going to be my career. After working hard for my company I noticed the advantages of having a degree higher than high school in regards to promotion. Even if an applicant has the knowledge and experience, an applicant will not be chosen for a position withought the obtainment of an advanced education. Coming back to school, I was more mature, and now I have excelled and found the experience much more pleasurable and stimulating than I recall from earlier this decade. My professors are eager to discuss their topics of study as well encourage new ideas. Class participation is encouraged and not ridiculed. I am eager to complete my Bachelor of Arts program and continue onto my graduate level of education.

Julia

College has given me a wider view of the world, but more particularly of science and the world. For me the value in attending school has been to see the many things that are possible in the field of science. My particular interests lie in biology which has become more fascinating to me the more I learn. Biology has already had many great contributions to the medical field, in its studies of cures for disease and helping people better understand how the body works. We are not done in our discoveries either, and I am excited to be learning about these things now. I feel the benefit of my schooling has been to give me more confidence in myself, and the possibilities for my future in the field of biological studies.

Fermin

That you have to be prompt and focused at all times, in and out of the classroom.

Juan

Over all my college experience has opened my mind up to the possibility of a whole new world. Filled with obstacles and opportunities that I have never encountered before. Although entering uncharted territory will alwaysbe nerve-wrecking, I will always have the confidence that i have gained from my college years to fuel me onto higher levels. Even though I could have chosen another, I chose mine because it was a necessary steping stone for the life that I want to have in the future. My school has aslo helped me connect with other people on both a business and personal level. Who knows? I might have met the future C.E.O. of the next billion dollar company. This gives me agreat sense of my networking ability. I have discovered a vast amount of information about myself that I would not have been able to realize without going to college.

Kristopher

I have gained so much from my college experience already. I am now very confident in my public speaking skills, as well as learning to branch out of my shell, and I have Phi Theta Kappa honor society to thank for this. I have learned that to be successful in college one needs to get to know their professors and create a type of newtwork through them if one wants more opportunities to shine. I am currently starting to do more service learning by volunteering at the Arizona Museum of Natural History through AmeriCore. College is a very valuable to atten.d. Not only does one gain academic knowledge but college inspires self-confidence which is very important in any occupation. Also, at a community college most professors will sit and meet with you, to see if you are on track to transfer to the University that you wish to attend. Most professors will also use their social networks to get students opportunities volunteering or gain them access to parts of a museum or institution that is not available to the public. Overall, college is a very valuable experience

Courtney

It has really helped me understand what it would be like at a bigger university such as the one I would like to go to. Inmy opinion it really helps students take things step by step and gradually move up in school insted of just jumping straight into something you probably can't do. I have also met lots of people. The professors are so nice and know alot of people as well so I think this will benifit me since I am trying to get a degree in education and help me get a job in the near by future.

Kasey

I started college right out of high school, during the summer. It was great! Not only have I met a whole bunch of people in all of my classes, but I've also become part of the college social scene by getting involved with different student orginizations such as the school jazz band and Christians on Campus. College has allowed me to represent myself in a more individualistic way than ever before! When I bring my guitar up to the school to play, I get a crowd around me that encourages me to no end! College has encoureged me to be myself and not give in to the social stereotypes. I no longer care what someone thinks of my hair or my beliefs, because I'm comfortable with who I am, and it shows! I've had people tell me that I'm different than most people they meet- that something about me glows. I've come to realize that it is because in college, I have truly found myself! I'm glowing because I've never been happier in my life and I've developed a drive to succeed no matter what! College has definitely been valuable to me!

Vincent

In college I found myself by using values to sacrifice and complete projects. While in school I developed a drive to become comprehensive. I stayed focus on school by having a desire to want to learn. Attending college is valuable to me because I respect myself highly. College is an opportunity for me to invest in myself. I know there are a lot of people around the world that can’t go to college because it is not available. As a productive citizen college gave me the tools I needed for my career. With my college degree I now have peace of mind to successful moving forward in our advancing economy.

Leonardo

I have met new people for starters. I feel I have matured as an individual and as a student . College has thought me how the real world is and how its time to grow up and become an adult. College is valuable to attend because it gives you expereinces that you can't learn anywhere else. It prepares you for the outside world once you graduate.

Brittney

My experience in college contains mixed feelings. I live on campus so i am involved with school 24/7 . To my surprise the people in my class are always willing to help out or ask for help which in my last experience in community college people were totally not willing to help. So my opinion is that people are willing to help more in a university rather then a community college because there is more at stake. This has been valuable to me because i can feel more comfortable knowing that many people will help me without acting snobby. This has been valuable to my education and myself.

Andraea

I have had an amazing college experience the learning experience is one i will never forget. It is valuble to attend college as a right of passage into adulthood and into the real world. I have gotten a better knowlegde of what it takes to work in the real world as a nurse from going to college. I have also learned that in high school it was all about joking around and not taking my academic life into account but in college you learn that it is not all fun and games you have to grow up and take your academic life seriously or you wont make it throught your first year of college. I have also learned that when you take your career seriously so does everyone around you. That has been my college experience.

Cinthia

Out of my college experience i have gotten to understand more about the college life style. It has really developed my learning skills and strategies. Some of the things I have gotten out of a college experience is that its not like high school in order to pass you need to really study hard and not slack around and wait for your friend to give you the answers. I have gotten to see that there is fewer clasees but they are longer and you have them every other day not everyday like regular classes. I have seen that the class was made to be an hour and a half long for a reason to learn more. This has really been a good experience for me not only did it help me develope study skills but it also helped learn how life in a real college will be like. This has really been a valuable experience for me because now I am ready for what a real college may throw at me, and im not scared.

Amanda

I have found out that life is not easy. I have always depended on my parents and know I'm on a new journey with many more responsibilities. As a young adult, I have the decision to go to school or not. In high school, everyone was used to going because mom said so, and know it's your decision. If you want to pass the test then go to the lectures. If I miss a class I miss a big portion of a test or of something extremely important. I understand the way money works, how it comes and goes. Studying is crucial and is the main ingredient in passing a test. I really have to dedicate my time and effort into this, after all theres a big amount of money being spent. Without that piece of paper that says your degree, theres no possible or stable job especially in this economy; therefore, it is necessary to keep attending college.

Lacy

My college experience has better prepared me for the career I am currently in, as well as prepares me for my ultimate dream of owning a boutique. Not only have I gained ample knowledge about fashion design itself, but also about the industry. I have made friends and business connections that will forever change my life. Being in college has allowed my to express and follow through with many of my ideas, and has taught me many new ways to deal with various life situations. College is more than textbook learning, but an introduction to real life. College is an experience. Like preschool, teaching you the basics of school, college has taught me the basics of life. As I continue my journey through my last few years I will learn more than I could ever expect. Without college I would not know how to handle myself effectively in business situations, or how to handle the stress of balancing many aspects of life at once.

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