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University of Central Arkansas

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

During my freshman year, the typical telephone conversation with my mother progressed in the following format:Me: "Hi, Mom (tears)"Mom: "Have you gotten enough sleep?"According to the National Sleep Foundation, 63% of college students do not receive enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of physical, mental, and emotional health problems including depression, weight gain, irritability, and headaches. Although the amount of sleep needed for every person is different, it has been found that students who sleep 7-8 hours receive higher GPA's, have fewer emotional/mental issues, and have better memory retention.Looking back at the times when I was confronted with a problem and felt anxious or overwhelmed, the best solution was always to go to bed and "sleep on it." The morning always seemed to bring a sense of calm and clarity to the situation, and I was able to rationally evaluate or creatively solve my predicament. If I could give one piece of advice, it is that a good night's rest is priceless.

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Make sure that you'll be able to afford the school, either through a scholarship, or work. Loans are great but only when you're getting the money! It takes forever to pay them off! If you are a very close family, i would pick a college that is close to home, at least in the same state or just a few hours away even. Believe me you'll want to go home after a while without your loved ones. Be careful who you room with, just because someone is your best friend doesn't mean you are fit to be roomates! I've seen some bad friend break-ups, its not pretty. Don't rely strictly on the cafateria for food, you will need something besides pure carbs eventually, not to mention it causes weight gain, make use of the gym girls! And of course make sure the college you pick has the fields of your intrests! And even though you think you know what you are majoring, take your second and third choices, and make sure the college has them too, just in case! Other than that just have fun and don't be afraid of new experiences!

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College has taught me a couple of things in life. Coming into college has made me become more mature, focused and learned a lot of techniques that I will need in the future college life. College success helped me out a lot. Without that class I would be unorganized, off task, and bad note taker. The class was a good experience and gave me a lot of information about the college. Today I am more independent and focused on school. I’ve achieved a lot of things in life being in college. I feel real good about myself and fired up to go into my 2nd semester of college to learn new things. I am glad that I attended college and I will stay in school until I graduate. In high school we didn’t learn anything about the college life. Schools should have college prep class to prepare you for college, so students would know what to expect and to let them know that it’s not like high school. College is a very important phase in life and never give up on things that you might not think you can succeed in….just believe.

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I guess the biggest thing any freshman at my school should know before they start is that the campus is not as big as it seems at first. If you are like me, and possibly come from a small school in the middle of nowhere, when you first visit UCA the campus can feel daunting...but trust me navigating the UCA campus will become a cakewalk! Also if you go on a tour, or go during the warmer months, you will not do all that walking in a short amount of time on a regular basis. When I visited UCA it was in September, and it was a hot day, when I came back to register during the summer it was also hot. Don't let the heat of your visit fool you, the possibility of you doing that much walking and/or sweating is slim to none. Also other things Freshman will want to know is their living arrangements, and what building their classes are in. Simple stuff like that is very important to know. Just make sure all your financial aid, housing, etc stuff is all worked out before you get there or within Welcome Week.

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I am now 30 and have been on both sides of the fence, as far as partying college student and non-partying college student. My number one advice I would give to students going into college is Attend Class. Yes I realize that college means freedom, but what it doesnt mean is you can slack off on going to class. Going to class is a major part in college success. My next advice would be sit in front of the class room. Sitting in front of the classroom leaves less room for talking and texting during class. Next tid bit of advice would be get to know your teachers, and allow your teachers to get to know you. This will go along ways I can promise you from past experience. Participate. Participating in class discussions will help you in the long run. If you discuss the lesson, you are more likey to learn what the teacher is trying to teach you. All in all, you need to remember that you are there to further your education. Your future and your families future will depend upon this education heavily.

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The number one thing is to go to class. Not going to class can cause you to fail the class and lose your scholarship money. You are not only affecting your future, but you also putting more on your parents. You have to remember that you have paid your money for each class that you are taking and the professors do not care or have any sympathy for your irresponsible actions. College is not a game. It is nothing to be played with. You have to stay focused and take classes and grades seriously which is the main goal to succeeding in college. You will be very stressed out at times to point you want to give up but do not. I promise it will get better, and you will be so proud of yourself once you have survived your first semester, even if you do not have the grades you really want. College has made me look at life differently. You have to handle your business or it will handle and control you in college. If you come with your priorities rights and a postive state of mind you will succeed college.

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What do you really want in life? What can you see yourself doing as a career choice? This is something that I'm still struggling with today. Sit down and think deeply about what you want to do after college. Once you found that resolution, keep it and never let go. Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't do what you love. Going back in time, I would tell myself these wise words. I would also advise myself to branch out of my comfort zone. Meet more people, go places, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's going to happen regardless of how much you try to be the "perfect student". Making good grades and a good impression on professors is very important, but don't forget to have fun too. Find the balance between the social life and academic success. Learn to communicate with both students and professors, because you can learn a lot from them even outside of the classroom. People struggle with different aspects of college life, but this is advice that I wish I had received in high school.

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Dear Younger me, Your not ready. Listen to the adults around you because you don't know it all. Those who are trying to help you, LET THEM. The friends you think you have are most likely aren't going to be there at the end of your journey. When you start working towards your career they're only going to get in the way. Your so ready to get out the house and be on your own, trust me your only getting your feet wet you still need help getting on your feet before you're able to walk alone. The transition to college is a great experience but dont get caught up in the partylife it will still be there. You think you can handle the night/early mornings when it's time for the a.m. classes you're going to regret it. GO TO CLASS your going to look at those days they give you and your going to hit that limit faster than you think. All that I am saying is that college is the start of a wonderful journey don't mess it up before you even starts. Love, Future You.

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I would love to go back to 1998, when I was a High School senior, and tell myself to choose that full-paid scholarship over my High School sweetheart. Getting married straight out of High School has cost me dearly. I just wanted to have a "normal" job and raise a family. Well, "normal" job = minimum wage = poverty. Now, at age 30, I've had more than my share of "normal" jobs while raising 2 children. Although my husband holds a license in the Electrical field, his income compared to our family of 4 places us below the poverty level! Being back in school and realizing how these past 10 years could've been so different over one stupid decision makes me sick. I try not to think about it, but I could be celebrating my 6th year as a Pharmacist. Imagine the lifestyle my kids could be enjoying right now! I WILL finish. I WILL succeed. I WILL have the lifestyle my family and I deserve. But, I WILL be 35 instead of 25 when that happens. That makes me want to go back in time and just slap myself!

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I would love to go back and talk to myself as a high school student. I would say that grade point really does matter. Tuck away 10% of your earnings in a Roth IRA and pay yourself first. Stop dating and do your homework and remember that school work and knowledge is for your future and worth more than anything you can buy at the store or own. Find a job that is more like a hobby that you get paid for because working a job for 40 years totally sucks! Be kind to everyone and give another 10% of your take home pay away to church or other people that really need it. High school is something you will look back at and remember the fun times you had as a kid and realize how stupid you really were no matter how smart you think you are now. If you think you are fat now, wait a few years, you will always want to get back to your current weight. Hug your mom and dad because they wont live forever and stop and smell the roses because life may be short but the longest thing you will ever do!

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