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University of California-Santa Cruz

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

Students should definitely check out campuses ahead of time! There is no way to describe the real feel of a campus, so make sure it feels right for you! Learn to balance work and play. Homework should always come first, and don't wait until the last 2 days to write a major essay, but you need downtime too or you'll crack. Talk with your teachers, reach out to people in classes, clubs, sports, etc. College is the best place ever to make lifelong friends. Parents, support your kids in the decisions they make away from home, send them little carepackages to ease the stress of feeling alone amidst all those piles of homework, and ask them what they need to be happy. And if you're NOT happy, don't be afraid to go see a free counselor on campus. They are there to keep you happy and healthy, and it's not worth staying miserable. One last word of advice: don't take living in a room with another person too seriously. A roommate war is not worth your time, so talk out compromises and just be friendly and easygoing. Good advice for life in general.

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"Ryan, home will be 300 miles away. You are well aware of the distance, with blind enthusiasm, but can you comprehend it? Can you imagine a life outside of that warm bubble that is Whittier? I'll answer that for you: you can't. A year and a half in, and you willl still be clawing for some sign of stability, a buoy to mediate the ceasless gasps for breath. You are about to be emmersed in a new bubble, a bubble that you will be as unfamiliar with as yourself. So prepare for it while you're warm. Now you of all people will notice the urgency of my language. 'That's not how I talk'. But the urgency is warranted twofold: I am a changed person, and you need to prepare yourself to be a changed person. Prepare youself for the chance visit home, upon which you gaze into a mirror of change: seeing all that has changed since leaving, while it simultaneously stares back. You are beginning the most flux time of your life, in which not even spacial location can chain you down. Prepare to embrace it, for that is all you can do."

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Sawyer- It's me. Or you. Whichever, I'm already half way through college, and we have a chance to start over- Some tips for the road: -Taking your own advice is one of the toughest things to do in life, but regardless of whether it works out, you still believed in yourself, and that's what matters. Don't turn away because of timidness. -College course work isn't what it was hyped up to be, but it's still something to be prepared for. Knowing you can handle what they throw at you is half the battle. -You were born in the US, not Togo, or Swaziland; recognize your blessings. -That being said, don't you dare sit on the sidelines too much; get active, play games, discover new people, but most of all, face head on the apprehension you feel within; destroy it, crush it with new feelings and ideas and desires. -Be ever-changing but still true to yourself. -Relax. Wake up each morning as if you were tackling the day with new spirit and agenda. -20years from now you'll wish you'd have done more, but let's limit that the best we can.

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I would choose to attend the school where you feel most at home. It's good to go somewhere where you are comfortable, but still have a chance to learn and grow. If you like sports, go to a school with sports. You'll miss them if your school doesn't offer them. Go to a school that offers programs you are passionate about. You might not always know what you want from life, but if a school has opportunities that interest you go for that one. No matter where you go, it's on you to make the best out of your college experience. You hold all the cards to your succes. Don't rely on others to make your decisions for you. Be proactive and assertive in your education, it will only make you stornger and more confident. Always fight for what you deserve, don't be afraid to challenge those that aren't here to help you. College is a place for you to learn and grow; meet people. Networking will help you in your future. Study hard, but allow time for social activities. Stay away from things that get in the way of fulfilling your dreams.

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The time that I have spent in Santa Cruz has made me realize the capability I have to be as intellegent and educated as a more priviledged classmate. I was raised in an immigrant mexican-american family which recently endured some economic hardships. I am also the first of my family to go to college and at first I felt limited by this situation. I was unaware of all the possibilities that I could have taken in order to further my academic success. I am not saying I was given a poor education, no, I was just not informed of things I could have done. I would tell my senior self to have looked for an SAT prep course and take more AP classes to finish the first requirements for college. I would also have told my freshman self to begin community college and get rid of classes that I knew for a fact were not in my major interest but still satisfied some general education coursework; so as to ease the stress and give more effort to your major; to have more time. Now as a double major, I know that my family members will not be misinformed.

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Know exactly what you want to do way before you get to college, probably as a freshman in high school. Finding the right college is all about how much you want to spend and what you are trying to become. Don't waste your time with small colleges and private universities, unless you are getting significant financial aid and got into Harvard or Yale. Attending an Ivy League-caliber school is the only reason to go to a private institution. The best state institutions in about half the states are good enough to pursue an education. Where you go and how much you spend will have little effect on you if you do not know what it is you're trying to become. You will not learn that in college; you will not "find your calling" or "be inspired to study" a particular field. You must already be aware of what your life goals are concerning employment before you enter the university, and then seize them in them most ruthless, cutthroat manner as possible. Go to as many career fairs as possible. Utilize the Career Center as much as possible.

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Being a college student isn't just about going to parties all the time or studying for classes 24/7. To be a successful college student, while also having a good time with friends, you must know how to manage their time well. Staying in the room and sitting at the desk all the time makes you miss all the opportunities that college has to give you. College life isn't about just getting good grades so that you can have a successful career. It is a time to interact with your peers and learn how to make smart decisions on your own, which will allow you to have more independence. However, you must not get carried away with socializing with others and have that be the only thing your doing. A major reason that you're going to college is to have a successful career. If your grades are not up to par, then there would have been no point in all your work that got you into college. As a college student, you must know the balance between socializing and studying. Don't expect yourself to be either studying all the time or partying all the time.

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Everything you've ever heard about college is how great it is. The parties, the freedom, the maturity of being around older students have always sounded so perfect and enticing. But what you don't realize is that going to college is a huge change, regardless of how ready you think you might be. Moving away from home will be a frightening experience. You'll have to meet all new friends, a new room, new food, new classes, a whole new system. It will take a good bit of time to adjust to your new setting. But don't be discouraged. Once you get past the fear, college is a fantastic environment for personal growth. It offers a chance to take a wide variety of unique classes, insight into new cultures and new social groups as well as the creation of a new family within your school. Once you find your niche, you'll understand why you've only ever heard good things. Just keep your chin up and enjoy the rest of your senior year. Oh, and this summer when you're contemplating what to pack for school, keep in mind you'll only have one closet.

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Take it slow. Don't jump on college-life bandwagons. It's a good idea to try new activities, sports, scenes, etc., ( in fact, there's probably no better time to do so) but remember that college life one day transitions into real life. During this transitionary time period, cultivate self-reflection and introspection. Take the time to take a class about something that has always interested you but that you've never had the opportunity to learn about. Accept the challenge to think critically about the world. Be good and go to class. Don't remain anonymous: professors and TAs have office hours for a reason. Go to them. Find a good coffee shop where you can do your schoolwork, because it's not always easy to do it in the dorms. Stay up-to-date on campus news. Join your college's student government. Do at least one semester of an internship in something that interests you. Keep in contact with your family and friends from home, but don't stay attached at the hip. Go out and discover yourself! Make college the best time of your life!

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The best advice I could give would be to visit the physical campus of schools and get a hands on feel for what student life is like there. Too many schools sounds great on paper or look good in brochure pictures, but can have a much different impact in real life. And once you've done that, than follow your heart and go with your gut when making the final decision as to where to attend. Don't be influenced by peers, teachers, or parents, but choose the school that fits your own interests and personality. It may be challenging, but in the long run it will pay off. I had to learn this the hard way and I'm now transferring schools as a result. Not only would I give this advice to myself as a highschool senior, I give it to highschoolers I know in my own family and community. Most people only get to go through college once, so you want to have the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible by choosing the school that is truly right for you. If you are in the right learning environment, you will naturally thrive and succeed.

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