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University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

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

Your hard work in high school definately will pay off in college, whether it's through using AP credit for academic classes, moving you through placement exams to place in higher level classes, or giving you a solid general level of knowledge to understand the material at the college level. Push yourself in high school to be fully prepared for college if you want to set yourself up to succeed. And once you get to college, don't be afraid to ask questions. The college professors post their office hours--be sure to schedule an appointment (or drop by, if that's their preferred policy). The professors want you to do well, regardless of what you've heard about "freshman flunkout" classes. Get to know your professors. They're going to be willing to help you understand the material. If you're still stumped by it, utilize the free tutoring opportunities that colleges offer. Realize that you need to make the first step. The professors aren't going to come to you to see if you're struggling. It's your job to go to them, meet with them, and discuss the material and assignments as needed.

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Don't be afraid, take chances and reach outside your comfort zone. Before I started college, and even in the first few weeks, I was worried I would have trouble making friends and getting involved. My first friend was more of a buddy. We didn't exactly "click," but neither of us had anyone else to hang out with. My roommate was Chinese, barely spoke English, and was never in the room. I felt alone and soon became discouraged I wouldn't find a real friend, someone I truly enjoyed being around. Frustrated, I began attending meetings for different clubs and groups and talking to students in my major. As a result, I helped found a chapter for the engineering sorority Phi Sigma Rho on campus, as well as became involved with Engineers Without Borders and Bearcat Buddies, a tutoring program for elementary school children. And silly of me to worry about making friends! By challenging myself to be more outgoing and friendly and by taking leadership roles in Phi Sigma Rho and Engineers Without Borders, I found friends that are now some of my closest. I never had anything to be afraid of.

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I encourage you to tour as many schools as you can, it is better to choose when there is a variety to choose from. It is also a good idea for you to have some knowledge of what type of career path you would to pursue in order to find a school that fits your needs. I advise you to learn about the different social groups, clubs, and volunteer opportunities your campus has to offer, these activities will allow you to build a strong resume and create friendships. It is most important to stay atop of your studies and keep up with homework (even if it?s just ?Suggested Problems?). At times it can be tough, but you must figure out a way to properly manage your time. After living my first year of college across the street from the main campus, I strongly advocate you to live close to your school. The chance to live near my university granted me countless opportunities- such as volunteering, meeting with group partners, and socializing with new friends. My first year of college was the greatest time of my life and I hope your freshman year will also be exciting. GOOD LUCK!

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Don’t believe the intense love you feel at 18 is the love of your life. You look at your parents and see an amazing marriage filled with love. The parts you didn’t see? Years of struggling to find themselves and years of struggling to find themselves through each other. There were many sleepless nights worrying about how to pay rent or fix the car brakes. When little blessing came along more worries too. Where they doing the right thing for that cough, were they instilling the right values? You see a perfect union in your parents but you don’t remember the hard times because as parents it was their job to protect you. Mr. Wonderful at 18 will grow into and become the kind of husband you’ve seen in your dad if given time to grow and mature. Even more significant- give yourself time to grow, mature, and become an educated person. If he really isn’t Mr. Wonderful then you have given yourself the greatest. You’ve given yourself the knowledge and education to recognize he isn’t the one and there are amazing things in life just waiting for you to discover them.

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So far my college experience has provided me with a good understanding of the importance of education. College has taught me that its a very serious part of life. For example, the grades (GPA) that you get will make a difference in your ability to get the career you want, and can hold you back from graduating on time. I will and am currently trying my hardest at college to study and complete all my assignments, because I want to make this a great memory and part of my life. My goal is to succeed and enjoy the college life. Also ,what makes college much of a reality is because everyone is going to make themselves and their lives better and the expensive cost pushes people to become determined about their classes. Macomb Community College has been valuable to attend because I am learning that I am the only one that can hold me back from my future. School is most important in my life excluding my religion. College matters more to me because I know that I can have a career that I love and help others around me like my family when I complete college successfully.

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I would assure myself college will reflect the effort put into it. Regardless of location, school name, or academic status, all schools will mirror your mindset. You don't like your grades? Study harder. You don't have any interest from the opposite sex? Find your inner charisma and go meet someone. You're concerned about your professional future? Talk with faculty, advisors, graduate students, the career center--most people are ready and willing to assist you. At age 18, very few people possess the maturity or drive to make all the correct decisions--many poor decisions become valuable learning experiences--but you must have the desire and "stick-to-it-iveness" to investigate new avenues for success. Try everything you can. Say "yes." Apply. Do. Most life systems don't provide a "fair" return on investment. There will be many future days that you will not receive your due. Life is loaded with chance, bias, and lobbyists. College is a collection of facilities and people with the purpose of helping you design yourself. Embrace the opportunity. Enjoy your time. Try.

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To sum up any advice that I would give myself as a high school senior, it would involve the cliche yet true statement "The sky is the limit." Growing up, my dream was always to be a doctor. I was the kid who opened the plastic doctor kit on Christmas morning and ran straight to my clinic of stuffed animal patients. However, as I researched the career in high school and discovered the painful statistics of the fierce competition and the price tag that came with medical school, I "chickened" out. I chose to major in Journalism. This, however, didn't last long, and now I am majoring in Pre-medicine and Psychology. My advice is this: You know what you need to do; it's in your heart. Don't let the sounds of competition or any obstacle get in your way. Set your goal and work your hardest to reach it. Take advantage of the resources professors set out for you and learn. Don't let anything scare you or attempt to talk you out of it. Get involved. Establish relationships that will last a lifetime. Do what satisfies your soul and it will all unfold for you.

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Innocent RaeLena, Believe it or not I am you from the future. I understand that you are very confused right now about where life is taking you and you feel trapped into certain career paths. This is simply not true. Do not worry about boyfriends and 'starting a life' because in the future you will have a great husband who adores you and two beautiful children. Instead focus on the opportunities that exist right in front of you. I can honestly tell you that you need to think differently about the educational opportunities you have right now. In my time, I am a full time student working toward a degree in Anthropology. Why am i doing this? Because WE didn't take full advantage of the possibilities of our future. If we had, I would be traveling the world right now and making discoveries that would affect humanity. Do not waste this time because I will regret it. Go away to college, take your degree seriously, and keep going until you have a Phd. You will benefit the world better that way. Oh, and be nice to mom, sometimes she is actually right. Regretful RaeLena

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If I could go back and give myself advice, I think the first thing I would say is not to worry. College was an intimidating thing to think about in high school, but after experiencing college, it is not that bad. I would tell myself that teachers are your friends and a great resource to have in college. Use them towards your advantage, they can help you out with most situations, give advice and help make, especially your first year, a little easier. Another is enjoy all of the free time you get. College gets crazy with deadlines, projects and papers that you sometimes have to sacrifice that Friday or Saturday night, and that’s okay because you're setting yourself up for greater success. An important piece of advice I would give myself is to be aware of finances. Now knowing that I attend an out of home state school, I would have been more cautious on my spending due to out of state fees and tuition. Overall I would make myself aware that it is important to remember that a lot more goes into college than what my high school self, thought but it is all worth it.

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Forwardness. This is the key to all locks. Whereas before I might have thought that the way to get ahead in life was to manipulate situations, strategize, scheme and ploy, I now realize that I make the most lasting impression by walking straight up to someone and saying "Hi, my name is David Barry, great to meet you!" I think most people don't realize the effect that honesty can have on another person. Sometimes its hard to believe in other people, especially in such a politically charged, secretive world, but Honesty shines forth and Truth prevails. We get caught up in games which end up in tragedy. Rather than enjoying such scheming, I delight in simply being here right now. If I had to go back and do anything over again, I would make sure that I start every conversation the same way: with a genuine smile, a firm handshake, and a sincere interest in the person I am meeting simply for who they are. So 18 year old, 13 year old, 9 year old Dave Barrys', I say the same to you as to my future children: for yourself and others be real, be true, and be honest.

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