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University of Delaware

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

Finding the right college is a difficult decision process but it is also an exciting one as well. Students should put a lot of time and effort into looking at schools before they apply to see if the school offers everything they are looking for. I highely reccomend campus tours so you can see if the school is the right size for you or if you like the campus. More importantly though, I believe what makes the most of the college experience is the people you meet while you are there. At colleges and Universities there are students from all over the world, of different cultures, and students who have experienced differnent things that maybe you have not experienced before. I encourage students to go into college with an open mind and reach out to students from different cultures because the amount that you can learn from them is amazing. I also encourage to make friends who are older than you. Do not only talk to freshman but talk to upperclassmen as well, especially those in your major. They have already experienced a lot and can help you and teach you so much. College is a great place to explore.

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My classes will begin in January and this will be my first year in college. I am a thirty-five year old recently seperated female and look forward to becoming something much more. Due to family obligations I have not been able to attend college, but have always had the desire. I am now under no family obligations and have nothing holding me back other than money. I am more than excited to begin classes and know without a shadow of doubt that the degree I am persuing will be a life changing improvement. I strive to be an independant woman with an outstanding career. The college experience that I am about to encounter will be both challenging and rewarding. I look forward to entering the Fire & Emergency Services field both educated and skilled with a readiness to perform. I have pre-studied both of these fields using all materials available to me, have completed my EMT-Basic course at the local community college, and have worked with the Firefighters at one of the local Fire Stations to gain personal knowledge of this field. I am more than prepared to press on in my studies in a college degree program.

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The best advice I can give anyone is to visit as many schools as possible. There are so many factors including price point, location, existing students, job opportunities among graduation, size, and of course academic programs. The one thing to keep in mind when choosing a school is to find that perfect balance based on your preferences. For instance, when I chose to go to Delaware, I saw a location just within my price point and not too far away from home, which wasn't too big for me to get lost, but not too small for me to get bored. The collegiate experience also entails finding professors who actually care that you succeed, rather than choosing a school with "easy" professors. In the end, this will ensure you take new and useful skills with you into the real world upon graduation. Also, a professor who cares about your well being will be more likely to help yield successful results than an "easy" professor who may not give a damn. Many freshman lose sight of the real reason we go to school and spend much of their time partying, but the right school will ensure a much needed balance instead.

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No matter how fun and exciting the college life may seem, just remember that you are there for one particular reason: to succesfully graduate with a degree. There is so much freedom waiting to greet you once you step on the campus, and it is fine to give it a salutation back. However, you can only endure so much of freedom if you want to keep your priorities in focus. There are numerous distractions in college; some are negative while others can be positive. Many extracurricular groups will encourage you to join them and a plethora of new people will want you to partake in friendships. Just remember, academics come first so limit your activities; do not put too much on your plate. In regards to all the new people, some of them do not have your best interest at heart because they may have different priorities than you. This is when you must become selfish and remember your goals in life and focus on accomplishing them. Academically, some classes may pose a challenge to you, don't be afraid to seek help because it is always there. Excel in academics, be active, and remember you are the focus.

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My senior year, I felt apprehensive about college. All my life, I had been socially awkward, and the thought of the overwhelming task of finding my place in this sea of strangers scared me to tears. I had only ever fit in with my small group of friends, and they were all moving away. After weeks of staring at the ceiling 'till 3 am, I finally decided: by being friendly, dressing simply, and giving each person a chance, I would be everyone's friend. This worked for about three months, but it wasn't long before I couldn't keep up the ruse. There were certain conversations that I simply could not contribute to, and I began avoiding people entirely. I became severely depressed, withdrawn, and anxious. I had no self esteem, began smoking, and would harm myself, physically and psychologically. I was suffocating. Sometime during Spring semester, I took a hard look at my life and asked: why do you care so much about what other people think of you? It is impossible to thrive while living in fear. Be yourself, accept it, and be grateful. This realization saved my life, and continues to do so every day.

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If presented with the opportunity to return to my high school self. I would seize more opportunities. I would ask more questions, in my current courses I realize that asking the proper questions is essential to gaining knowledge. In high school I never told people my problems and concerns, but since being in college and having been encouraged to talk to my professors and mentors, I have received great advice, so that I can excel, without going through the same challenges they went through. Currently, I am still learning how not to procrastinate. The times that I do not procrastinate I love it, I have more time on my hands, I feel more productive, and my work is of better quality because I have time to review it. Last semester I did not receive the dean?s list, and was disappointed. I gathered myself, and reviewed what I did well and could do better, and improved my study skills and time management in order to do better next semester. I wished I would have applied myself with such diligence in high school, in that way I would have better study habits and could have made the dean?s list earlier.

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Think about all avenues of college. From finances, to your major, to distractions. Do you really want to share a bathroom with 15 people? Can you live with people you don't know? Once you have found the college that accomodates you, settle in. Learn where the buildings are, nothing worse than being late the first day, trust me. Then settle into your room. As much as your students will hate it give them big hugs and kisses before you leave, parents. Students embrace it, as your parents may have once been in your shoes, remember in most cases you can turn to them for answers. Attempt to befriend and get to know your roommate. Once courses begin, introduce to your professors if possible, it always makes a big impression. Pay attention to your classes, if they are not of interest to you consider changing majors, why pay thousands for something you could sleep through. Attempt to work if it will not over burden you. Become independent. Most of all enjoy college. For however long it last, school is your job, the best, most informative job you will ever have. Make every moment something memorable.

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Of all the variables that could affect college choice, I feel that environment is absolutely the most important aspect to consider. The environment of the school could include such variables as: closeness to home, type of campus, type of people, accessibility of services, etc. What is most important is that the student is comfortable with where they choose to go. Not only will a high comfort level increase the ease of the transition from home to college, but it will make getting work done easy as well. I noticed early in my career that I do my best work when I am content with everything else going on in my life. When I can complete my work easily I am able to learn more efficiently. Other than the incredible workload, the absolute hardest part of school for me was adjusting to a completely new way of living. What eased this transition was the fact that I felt comfortable at the school after only a few days. Overall, no matter how good the school is, it is more important to find the school that caters to the specific needs of the student in order to make learning as easy as possible.

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Reflecting on my college experience, I can honestly say I could not have asked for a better four years than the ones I lived at Delaware. With hindsight however, there are some things I wish I did differently. In seeing my friends' younger siblings starting the process of applying to schools I want so much to give them words of wisdom- advice and encouragment I wish someone had given me. In the broadest and simplest sense, the best advice I can give is to not hold back. If you are confident and happy with who you are, you are sure to attract numerous, worthwhile people, those that may be your friends for perhaps the rest of your life. Additionally, get involved! When first entering school, it can be an information overload with all the clubs and activities that are offered. Frustrating as it may be, find what you like, ask questions, and be active. I learned the hard way that school is not just class and books, but it's the relationships you make with others, and more importantly, what you make of yourself. In the end, how you have defined yourself as a person is what makes a difference.

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Finding the 'right college' is imperative to ones success at a higher institution of learning. You cannot just pick a university based on name or popularity; it has to fit you, the student (and no one else). I knew that Entomology was what I was passionate about, and that I needed to be able to pursue a career in that field, so that was the primary way that I found out about the University of Delaware. Having the opportunities to conduct research and study abroad were also important to me. But it's also about feeling comfortable at the school you want to attend, and having the opportunity to pursue your interests while also being exposed to a variety of things that you might not be interested in or know about. College cannot solely be about the things that you're interested in, because that's not how it is in the real world. I chose the University of Delaware because I felt that it would expose me to new ideas, new interests, and new people, and this added a whole new dimension to my learning experience. Feel comfortable, but also be open to stepping outside of your comfort zone.

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