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Trinity International University-Illinois

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

"Live because of, in light of, and for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Back when I was a senior in high school, I did not at all understand the ultimate significance of the Christian Gospel, that I am a depraved and condemned sinner in desperate need of grace, and that God fulfilled my desperate need by sending His Son Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the wrath of judgment that was due to me, and being resurrected that I too may live beyond death. I now understand that the Gospel is not just an important part of Christianity, but the very centerpiece of all of existence. I would tell myself that the Gospel is the purest of motivations for any decision or action, the clearest of philosophies for viewing life, and the most fulfilling of pruposes for living. None compares, and none will bring God more glory and bring you more delight in Him. Upon sinning, return to the Gospel, and find hope and repentance. Upon righteous actions, place your faith in the Gospel, for there is nothing a sinner can contribute to his own salvation, but Jesus's sacrifice is sufficient for salvation.

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If I could go back now as a freshman in college who had just completed his first semester of college and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself several pieces of advice. The first piece of advice would be to not focus on simply earning good grades while in high school, instead, I would tell myself to garner as much knowledge as I can in a particular class rather than attempting to gain the "A" in the class. Therefore, I would have been able to truly focus on getting the most out of my time while in that class. Oftentimes, I would sacrifice taking notes in class and paying attention to the teacher in class in turn for completing homework that I had not completed the previous night. Another piece of advice I would tell myself is to not procrastinate on applying for colleges and scholarships. Being more mature in meeting deadlines for applications and scholarships would have only helped in the long run since I would have saved myself the stress and weariness of typing up college and scholarship applications at the last minute. If only I knew then what I know now.

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In the past two years of my college experience, I have realized that college is much more than receiving a degree and academic knowledge. A large portion of college is figuring out who you are, what your personal convictions and beliefs are, how to prioritize and how you respond to life circumstances. Going into college, the student should realize that many foundations will be shaken in their life, but it is okay! Parents need to learn the balance of letting their child mature and make mistakes but also of being supportive and providing guidance. College is a strange and awkward transition in life. Students should balance their work load and social time. After all, college is more than just school. In selecting a college, ask good and hard questions to the staff. Look for the availiability in the area of interest that you desire to pursue at the school. There are many things to consider, but in the end, I think it is important and valuable to visit the campus, interact with students and professors, get a general feel for the campus and try out the food service!

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Hey there, 17-year-old me! When you came home today, there were two letters waiting for you on the kitchen table. You, being eager and hopeful, opened the larger one before you opened this. I don’t blame you, for that envelope contained the financial information of the college you dreamed of attending. Disappointed, you stared at the figures on the page and realized a new dream would have to take form. I know you’re scared to change your plans, but consider what philosopher Alan Watts once said: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Change is inevitable. Even just in these next two years that I have seen, you will experience an incredible amount of changes. Don’t be scared of change, but look at it as an opportunity to grow and become something you never could have imagined. Love your decisions, but don’t care if other people do. And don’t get too attached to that education major you’re planning on; 19-year-old you isn’t feeling it. Sincerely, Your older, more confident, and much-changed future self

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I have learned a lot from attending college. I've grown in numerous ways and developed as a person greatly. I am extremely grateful that I am able to attend Trinity International University and I am blessed to have the means to continue to attend. I've learned so much from the fantastic professors I've had in the Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries programs, and they are great people to just get to know as well. The campus life at Trinity has been fantastic. I enjoy living on campus and plan on living there all four years that I attend. There are great times to be had and awesome new friends to make, and these will be the relationships that will last for the rest of my life. With TIU being a private school, it is quite a bit more expensive to attend than a public, state-funded school. I've always found a way to pay and continue at TIU, but I'm running out of options. Money has always been an issue in my family, and now more than ever. This scholarship would help me greatly. Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience.

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You primarily attend a college for the academics, but what I have gotten out of it has been much more than that. The experiences I have gone through have shaped me as a person inside and outside of the actual university. The background was set, but the interaction with people are the experiences I will take. Coming into college I was a naïve boy ready to save the world, but I believe as I grew in maturity through college, my perspective changed. Not to say that little boy who wanted to change the world is gone, but he is now accompanied by a shrewd young man critical in thinking and passionate in action. It’s really hard to pinpoint and articulate how much I’ve grown over the past four years and what I would be like without that whole experience because of the enormity of my learning. The time has really developed me as a man and I have to emphasize I have not changed drastically as a person, but instead who I was, is who I am now but more grounded. The experience has expanded my perspective and has strengthened who I am as a person.

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When making a decision about what college is right for the student it must be the students decision because s/he is the one who has to attend the school each day. However, the parent should feel that their child will be safe on the campus they so chose. Once the final decision is made the student needs to make a the most of the entire college experience and part of the experience is living on campus. I strongly recommend this action; I for one did not live on campus right away but quickly decided that I was missing out and decided to move in. This is a decision that I do not regret and would not change it for anything because it helps with building friendships and community. The last piece of advice that I would like to give is to stay focused. Students must remember that college costs a lot of money and is building a future for them and even though it may feel like forever it can be over in 3-5 years and the harder they work the quicker they will be done with school. So do not mess around and get your work done.

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I would say to be more open to meeting new people because transitioning into college can be very difficult especially being very attached to people back home. Also I would tell myself to be diligent in how I am involved in my community outside of school and be aware of the needs of the people in my community. Going to college can be a great experience and it can also give me tools and opportunities to give something back to my community. I would warn myself to not get too caught up in my studies and school life that I forget to take opportunities to serve outside of my school and really be genuine about caring for others in my community. Education can be a great thing but if that’s the only reason to go to college, to just gain head knowledgeand never apply it in a way that it can help others, then it becomes a waste of time. Finally I would challenge myself to doing everything that I do with excellence even when its hard, even when I may not want to; not for my glory but for the glory of He who made me.

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I can't say much about finding the right college. When I started school searching I did not have a car and my family usually worked so I would ask them to take me to visit a college and it would be difficult. On top of that my aunt had brain surgery and I would be invested in that and just decided to go to Trinity because they gave me financial aid. I would say as far as making the most of the college experience is making friends and invest yourself in those relationships. My friends are the ones who helped me get through college with the most fun as possible. College isn't about having a great time, but those friends made my college experience memorable. What is important is having a schedule. If you make an 8-hour schedule (like a real job) working on school material you'll have more time to hang out and have more than enough time to get your homework, projects, and studying done. And there won't be a need to cram before exams. Be focused and place your studies first before anything else.

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I was only 15 years old when i moved from Nigeria to United States of America. I had an accent and started high school as a junior in SSHS. With a very heavy accent I was scared, i had a lot of insecurities, When I walk through the hall way, I thought that everyone was judging me. By the time I was a senior nothing changed, I was able to make a friend but she died of Sickle Cell Anemia right before our high school greduation. That's when I decided to do something in medical filed in a way to give back and help people that needs my help. If I could go back to high school, to advice my high school self; I would tell myself to work harder. It doesn't matter where you come from, nor what kind of language you speak, nor what you look like. The only thing that matters is at the end, what happened with your life and what you could do to help others. I would advice her to dream louder, explore, discover and never give-up. Education and hard work is the key to success, and education is power.

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