University of Colorado Boulder Top Questions

What should every freshman at University of Colorado Boulder know before they start?


I would offer myself a two tips of advice. First of all, I would tell myself not to stress out about college. Students often become obsessed with school rankings and reputations. While we all want to attend a top-notch school, one does not have to graduate from an Ivy League university to be successful. There are so many universities and colleges across the country with wonderful professors, vibrant student bodies, and stellar academic studies. Work hard in high school, study, apply yourself and then let the rest fall into place. Take a deep breath. You will be accepted into a school and do well wherever you go. Secondly, I would recommended planning for a career after graduation. When I first started college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no real plans for a major or for a profession. When choosing a major I felt very lost and simply picked something that I “liked.” While I am happy to have a BA in Film, I realize now that there isn’t much use for my degree. Take a plethora of classes - in all different subjects - and find what you love.


I would try to apply and visit as many colleges as possible. Also another big thing would be to look at all of the majors offered at each college before you fully commit to a college.


I would choose a smaller school where I would have had a chance to be a big fish in a small pond rather than the large pond of CU Boulder. I felt like I was lost in the crowd and the school did not care what happed to students after graduation.


I would tell myself to stay focused and realize how important getting an education is. I emphasize that failing to work hard now would result in a making my life harder later in life.


Although I have only been in college for one semester, there are plethora of things I would tell myself. The first of which is do not procrastinate. That may have worked out for you in high school but if you get behind in college, you will not catch up. The weekend is not long enough to do a full week’s worth of work. As a perfectionist this is hard to overcome but do not try to make everything perfect. It is okay to get something wrong so stop beating yourself up over the little things. You need a stress reliever to help avoid mental breakdowns. The gym is a good place to start. This last piece of advice was actually given to me on more than one occasion because through all the stress, I tend to forget to enjoy the little things. Rather than always looking to the future, remember that this is one big journey and although it seems like you will be here a long time, it goes by quickly. Stop and reflect once in a while on how blessed you are to be at such a great school.


I would say, they have to set up a goal and follow it.


Campus life is more fun and competitive than high school. So, we should really care about grades and make plans. Time management is most important in college because you are away from home and you have to study hard and be up to date. Give yourself a lot of time to do homework and prepare for finals. Don't forget to hang out with friends on weekend, that's really worth after a hard work of the week. Don't go to parties if you go to party schools. Look for internship in the first summer if you like. Basically, stay focused and don't forget about your dream.


Don't be afraid, Jackie. I know you've had a hard time adjusting as the "new kid" and being accepted by your peers in high school, but the world is much bigger than that, as you will see first in Beijing and then at CU. In Beijing, you will meet people from all over the world that will change you, make you question yourself fundamentally, compel you to accept yourself and your culture, and force you to open your eyes to the harsh reality of things. Brutal, I know, but you will find that you've returned reborn. Words from mean high school girls will no longer define who you are. Though I want to refrain you from romanticizing the "college experience," you will see how diverse people are in this world and how in your own diversity, you do "belong." Understand that all experiences, college included, will only improve if you allow them to. Remember that you are not below anyone. You are *entitled* to a wonderful, powerful experience that will prepare you for the future. Breathe deep, remember to kiss your kid brother goodbye (even if he squirms), and accept all that is to come.


If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a senior, I would prepare myself for the work load that college entails. Senior year wasn't very challenging for me and I picked up bad habits that were hard to break the first couple weeks of college. I would also tell myself to get a job sooner because of the fact that college is so expensive. I worked the whole summer so that I could buy a laptop but if I started sooner, I could of had a lot of money saved. Lastly, I would of told myself to apply for scholarships sooner because I missed so many deadlines. I am completely financially independant being adopted out of foster care and I am reliant on scholarships and grants to pay for my tuition. This is why I am applying for scholarships so early this year, so that I don't miss any deadlines. Other than these three things, I believe I was prepared for college and ready to graduate from high school.


After graduating high school I went directly to China where I attended three years of a bachelor program at Xian Jiaotong University. After hearing about my unorthodox educational career if I mention I’m from Nebraska, people generally laugh, implying I was fleeing the plains. I’ve also found that people who are knowledgeable about China have the same low opinion of Xian that Americans have of Nebraska. True, Nebraska has a smaller population, and true, Xian is relatively polluted. It is easy to notice the faults of a place. But every town has both fault and virtue. I have great pride in the two underdog cities I lived in. The stormy skies in Nebraska are greater than any Hollywood blockbuster could replicate, and the spirit behind the people living in the five thousand year old city of Xian is at once fascinating and endearing. I would not change leaving Nebraska in high school, but I would try to change my attitude about it. Leaving when you understand and appreciate a place is a wonderful thing. I would have liked to have recognized the beauty of Nebraska before I left, rather than only in hindsight.