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Tulane University of Louisiana

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

Most agree high school is a difficult transition. We watch those closest to us continually change. Preferences, opinions, appearances, and social groups fluctuate. Next, we are somehow expected to choose our future life path overnight. This can be an agonizing, confusing, and unsettling experience. Where do we begin to find ourselves among the sea of change? These changes were extremely distracting to me. Though not inherently bad, distractions distort and lessen our focus. I feel in hindsight had I possessed a richer self-awareness, I would have had a clearer vision despite the changes that surrounded me. Having a rich self-awareness softens life’s transitions. Listen. Observe your feelings, listen to your gut, and follow whatever it is that rings deep inside you. It is the best way to do right by yourself, to maximize your life potential, and to rise above your setbacks. Self-awareness allows us to better utilize the opportunities we are given. College is a wonderful opportunity, a time to explore, and to learn about great things. At this time, practice listening to yourself, continuing to learn about yourself, and working towards becoming more of the person you dream of becoming. Quiet! Listen to you…

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Dear High School Self, In the coming months you will be exposed to many new experiences that, if navigated wisely and with determination, will strengthen you and further your growth into a wonderful, young person. There will be difficult times, sticky situations, learning curves, but many rewarding and life-enriching moments along the way. To ease your transition into college life I want to inform you of the importance of one thing: responsibility. In college you will find your self challenged, academically and socially, in the best way possible. With a higher education you have the opportunity to better your mind and the core of your being with the abundance of new knowledge being presented to you. However, this can be overwhelming. The merits of expanding ones mind are easily lost in the distractions of everyday life and even ones future goals. So I say this: stay grounded in the present moment, complete the task(s) at hand, and do not lose sight of your end goal. Each assignment, each exam, each academic course, is a stepping stone to success and focusing your time on these things is what will ultimately see you through. Sincerely, Me

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Tulane University has provided me not only with the resources for a better education, but has exposed me to a completely new world that has in turn changed me as an individual. Located in New Orleans, the university strives to reveal the city?s unique and awe-inspiring culture to its students, bringing local staples to campus and encouraging students to venture through the historically rich streets of the city. Tulane further pushes its students to get involved and develop a desire to aid those in need and give back to the community through 20-hour and 40-hour service learning requirements necessary to graduate. Tulane has provided me with every outlet necessary to get in touch with my inner New Orleanean, giving me an entirely new sense of community and place in society. The esteemed professors have not only managed to instill knowledge in me, but have inspired me to take my life in a significantly new direction, a direction that focuses on the needs of others, the environment, and the planet as a whole. This institution has been the catalyst in the unearthing of me as an individual and my appetite to better myself and society.

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All college applicants should ask themselves two questions: "What would I like to do with my next four years?" and "What can I do with four years?" Of course, being unsure about what to study in college is perfectly fine. Look for a flexible and diverse curriculum. Chances are, you can switch your area of study while you are in college. But your subject isn't the only thing that matters. Would you prefer being surrounded by incessant bookworms? Would you like to be instead with people who enjoy both work and play in moderation? Would you rather consume these four years in pure ecstasy? Each college has its own personality, but different ways of life that deviate from "the norm" do exist. Talk with actual students (not orientation helpers) during campus visits to see if you would fit in with the school's atmosphere. Opportunities abound regardless of where you attend college. Find out if making connections is easy through the school's career center and faculty. With today's economy in recession, the diploma is no longer an end but a means. Take advantage of these four years to have fun and get connected with the real world.

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In the search for a college, do not rely on tours and printed materials for all of your information on a school, but talk to real students you find on campus. When asking about student life, you'll get better -- and likely more accurate -- answers to your questions by asking students around campus rather than a university approved panel. In your search, use a college guide based more on student interviews than university handouts and statistics. To the student, once you enroll and move in, get involved. Find a club, a sport, or anything where you'll meet people and get involved in some aspect of the campus community. You'll make friends, meet people with similar interests, and get advice on classes and such from upperclassmen you meet. Also, if you live in a dorm, get to know your floor. You'll see them nearly every day of the year, so it's important to get along and knowing everyone will build trust and a sense of community. The sense of community in a club and among your neighbors will soften the transition to college life, and will provide friendships, support, and fun throughout your college years.

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When you get all moved into your freshman dorm room, don’t immediately start pushing your mom away - you’ll start to miss her sooner than you think. Please pay more attention in art history. It’s information that you’ll eventually wish you had memorized. Start going to the French club meetings sooner. You could have been fluent by now. When the hurricane traps you in your dormitory hallway with twenty other kids you have nothing in common with, don’t fret. Everyone else feels as awkward as you do and you’re only a week away from best friends.Get a job immediately.Kiss the girl you meet during the party on the waterfront, underneath the electrical tower right after you realize the music stopped and everyone else is a speck in the distance.Search for scholarships relentlessly and call your parents once a week.Beware of spicy crawfish.Use ratemyprofessors more – a talented teacher can make any subject interesting; while a dull one can ruin the classes you’re most excited for.Seriously, go lightly on the crawfish.Stop believing that college is the step you take before real life, and realize that it’s already begun.

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I would not have depended upon my senior counselor so much. Because I did I applied to only one school, luckily it was my first choice and everything worked out. But I would have liked more options. I also would definitely take scholarship searching far more seriously; I'm finding now that there are a lot of scholarships for students in highschool, but it's harder to find scholarships now that I have already started college. Another really big thing I wish I had done was internship the summer before college in a field related to something I like. For instance, last semester was my first college semester and I began taking courses for an architecture major. I really like architecture but I wish I had a summer job or something like that so that I could have found out earlier that what I really like is historical architecture, which is definitely not what architects today are doing! However, I think it is also important to remember that all of the courses a student takes are never wasted because they don't fulfill major or minor requirements; they are only wasted if you don't get something out of them.

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College (and nothing in general) ever happens exactly the way you pictured. Pack everything. Take half of it. Use campus resources your student fees paid for. Submit financial aid early. Do not sign up for Netflix. Nobody has it all figured out, that’s okay. Everyone you meet in college can teach you something valuable, so be open and listen. Strive to remember people and something they’re passionate about. Greet them by name. Smile. There will be times when you feel like you’re losing it. That’s normal. Remember, this too shall pass. Journal. Take pictures. Develop curiosity about everything. Be ambitious. Read a lot. Ask questions. Maybe even in office hours. Be flexible and prepared to change your mind and major. Do what you love. Register for 16 credit hours, no more or less. Drop “that” class, if you can. If a course is miserable in the first week or so, it will be ten times worse by the end of the semester. Keep in touch with professors who might write a letter of recommendation for your dream job. Call mom. Respect yourself enough to study and have fun everyday. Take it one day at a time.

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APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!! Investigate what scholarships are available through your university and any other external sources. I never considered how much my student loans would impact my life until Wells Fargo was sapping me dry during the deepest part of the recession. Each dollar you borrow for college, you will have to pay back $1.50 later, when you need it the most. Network. Not just socially; professionally. Find out what community you would like to be a part of after college, and insert yourself into it during college. Those connections will not be at your disposal after you graduate, and there's no way to turn back time. Keep a mindful eye on your deadlines. Partying is awesome, so party your freakin FACE OFF! (I had that one covered as an undergrad) But also know when NOT to party: When you're ill, when you have an exam the next day, when you should be meeting for a group project, etc. There is plenty of tme for partying, and 95% of the time it's a GO. Take advantage of career services, free campus events, and student employment. Kick ass buddy, I know you can do it!

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One word that would describe my college experience is growth. In my move from California to Lousiana, I was exposed to a different city and culture, which I have grown to love. At Tulane, I was able to play basketball at the highest level and develop my skills to my personal best. I became C-USA New Comer of the year ,13th in the nation for three point percentage, and a Conference Champion. Also, I became the Vice President of the recycling club at Tulane and helped the growth of the club. We worked on informing the students of the importance of recylcing. Also, I spoke to residents about Katrina and helped revive the city by planting new trees. I enjoyed being a "Big Sister" to a freshman because I helped her get accostumed to a new life. By interning at UNITY, (organization for homeless), I grew into an even more giving person. Now that I am a graduate of Tulane University, I realize the value of my attendance since I am a more intelligent and better human being overall. In looking to pursue my masters, I am thrilled for the new growth of the next chapter in my journey.

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