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Tulsa Community College

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

If I could advise my high school self, I would say to research the application process more thoroughly. It wasn't until I enrolled in Tulsa Community College under the Tulsa Achieves scholarship, that I realized just how complicated the administrative side of college is. I was little prepared to tackle FAFSA, student advisors, class schedules, and book fees. Perhaps if I had been more prepared, the transition would have been much less frantic and overwhelming. In my Freshman year I would force myself to fill out that long application to join National Honor Society when they offered me a spot. I would tell myself to take AP Government and AP American History, because I would have succeeded in those courses and received credit in college. I would tell myself to volunteer more, because it would have exposed me to more experiences, and prepared me for the forty hours of volunteer work I now do for my scholarship. Finally, I would tell myself to quit the two jobs I held during high school, because even though I maintained near perfect grades my entire high school career, I could have used that extra time to prepare for college.

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If I could go back in time and talk with myself as a high school senior, knowing what i know now about college life and making the transition, I would give myself this advice which was first given by bill gates himself. "Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades; they will give you as many chances as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bare the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life." The purpose of giving myself this information would be to spur me to realize that college is nothing like high school. It is long, expensive, time consuming, difficult, but the trade of all these difficulties are a future. Television shows and movies depict a grand life of an easy coming unequivocally but this simply is not true. By telling myself this quote i would invite myself to champion the halls of my academic Studies, knowing that the end justifies the means. Yes, friends may be forsaken, parties unattended, late nights never undertaken but nothing worth having is easy, and everything worth having is obtainable.

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There are several undeniable reasons why it is important to go to college. First of all, it is a great social experience. I have made so many new friends in just a year and a semester. There are an endless number of student groups and activites associated with the school that it is impossible not to become friends with many new people. Secondly, being in college teaches you life skills that would be hard to come by in the real world, at least without dire consequences. For example, the self-sufficiency required to keep up with all your homework and tests, and even the freedom to choose the times of your classes teach you valuable lessons about time management that if you waited to learn in the business world, could cost you a job, a large amount of money (i.e. an unstable investment) or even your whole future, depending on what field you decide to go into. Which brings me to my next point that in today's world and economy, the number of jobs available to people without college degrees is severely limited and most do not pay very well. It seems like the clear choice is college.

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1) Go to class! This is not anything like high school. Some professors give attendance points and those points can mean the difference between an A or B. 2) Get to know your professors. They have been through exactly what you are going through. Talk to them, email them, and call them. No matter how hard they may be on you?they do want you to succeed. 3) Treasure the long nights of uninterrupted sleep you are getting now, because nights like those will be few and far in-between once you start college. ?Sleep is a luxury, the time-oriented enjoy and the procrastinators covet.? 4) Always, always, always ask questions about whatever it is you do not understand. The worst mistake you can make is to sit there silently confused and try to play ?catch-up? right before your test. 5) Constantly know what your grades and gpa are. There is a plethora of scholarships and clubs that you are qualified for with the right grades. 6) And finally, LIVE IT UP! This will be one of the most challenging and fun transitions in your life. Do not be shy. Everyone is just as nervous as you are.

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December 28th, 2008. The day I first stuck my finger down my throat to become perfect. I was a freshman in High School, searching for my place in a sea of pubescent teenagers. Naturally, I believed the stunning goddesses in my class had it all. I concluded that they held a magic that engrossed all within their presence; magic I did not possess. Ostracized by those around me, I turned to what I thought would be my cure to my social status: Bulimia. That was the first night I would purge my dinner. October 12, 2013. Six years later, forty pounds thinner, and severely depressed, I found myself in the emergency room. I was told my heart was going to stop within three weeks if I continued with Bulimia. Three months of treatment later I found myself the cure I had sought six years earlier: me. I am not defined by external appearance, my I.Q, or by my social status. I am defined by the empathy I feel, the love I bestow, and the hope I share. If I had only known that the magic I sought was already in staring at me in the mirror.

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Dear Cheerleader Self, Friday night football and prom dresses won?t last forever. Pay attention in calculus - you will be taking it again in ten years. Do not under any circumstances fill out a credit card application until you graduate college and get a real job. The boy, Junior year? He?s bad news. Don?t waste your time. Don?t let fear of the unknown keep you from pursuing what you love. If you aren?t sure what that is yet, don?t worry. You will figure it out. (Hint: It is not accounting, so you can bypass that major declaration altogether.) Keep an open mind, explore your options, and don?t get caught up in your plans. They will change. You will change. At the same time, be aware that your work today will certainly affect your future. You will want to attend graduate school someday and they will want to see transcripts! So, study hard, have fun, keep in touch with old friends, and be open to new ones. Best of luck, 10 Year High School Reunion Self P.S. Did I mention your new calculus buddy is currently a senior at your high school? Small world.

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If I could go back in time I would have prepared myself a lot more for college. I didn't realize that there was so much information and planning involved including the SAT, ACT, the required enrollment process at my college of choice, and the financial aid information needed. If I could go back, I would have talked to a councelor or advisor about college information and where to begin the process. I would have also taken classes in high school that would have met my specific career objectives to be prepared for my college courses and would have talked myself into learning how to work the internet and typing skills. I would have researched all of the choices of college's to go to and would have saved up money for the little unprepared funds that college has brought along. As a single, teen mother during my senior year of high school, I would have saved up money for expenses that arises and daycare funds. I really would have prepared myself a lot more than what I did but now I know how to prepare my kids for college during thier senior year of high school.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, i would tell myself that college is not just for the smarter and more well off students around me. I have had more opportunities moving around the country than any single student who has lived in the same area their whole life. Just because your grades are affected in a negative way does not mean that it is because you dont know what you are doing. Many teachers just do not understand how hard it is for a student to catch up at every new school. Take it slow and try to remember how that one special teacher taught you and apply it to your other subjects. Ask more questions without feeling intimidated, even though it seems everyone knows more than you. Talk to the career counselor early and find out about different careers so that you can try to figure out where your strengths are and work towards them while still in high school. Visit campuses around the area, even the local Community college, to get a feel of college life. Finally, know who you are and dont be scared of growing up!

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This is actually by second time starting college. I went straight after high school. I had no focus when I reached college. I think the most important thing that someone should have told me was that you don't have to go immediately to college. I screwed up my GPA horribly and am having to work extra hard 3 years after the fact to recover from it. I wish someone had told me to do some sort of service or something to discover more about myself before I went to college. I gained so much hands on knowledge and appreciation for learning from just going out on my own and doing latent learning verses sitting in a classroom. I ended up doing 14 months of service and that is where I finally discovered things about myself and my goals which is what drove me to return to school. Just having that end in mind has made college so much easier this time around. Also moving away from my family and friends was the best decision I ever made. Getting away from your normals pushes you to become the real you verses trying to live up to expectations of others.

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Take a big deep breath. Life is about to change and it is scary but so exciting! You're going to be on your own, make new friends, and have some of the best days of your life! Living with your friends is awesome and living alone really makes you mature. Now it will be a big responsibility getting yourself up and out of bed for early classes because mom and dad won't be there to nudge you along. Give yourself some room for mistakes and sleeping in a couple times, but get over it quickly and learn from your mistakes. Most importantly- explore. Make some new friends that you may not have otherwise given a second thought. Try new foods. Join clubs. Eat some healthy meals, not all pizza. Exercise. Sleep in on weekends. Don't be afraid to ask for help and seek out resources, because they are there. Write your friends and family often. Call home once a week, maybe more. They miss you, and I know you miss them. Most of all, have fun. This is the next journey in life so live it up and live up to your potential. You can do it!

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