Obviously, I've gained a ton of interesting and valuable knowledge since starting college, but beyond that I've learned a great deal about myself. I've learned my upper and lower sleep limits and how much less I can accomplish as I approach them. I've learned that the number of nights I study each week is inversely related to how stressed I am come exam day. I've also learned, very difficultly, that essays written the night before they're due aren't as satisfactory as they initially seem. But I've also discovered that, despite its stresses, college has changed me in so many positive ways that 200 words could never suffice to list them. I've been forced to mature into a man I respect, I've broken out of my small-town shell, and I've come to appreciate the brilliance that shines within my peer group. If not for my time at college, I may never have been exposed to the plethora of unique opinions I've encountered, and therefore may never have learned what I truly believed myself. My college experience thus far has been a crucible in which I've been refined.
After just one year of college, I have gotten out more than just some new facts and figures but a new self identity. I'm learning more about myself everyday. One of the greatest things college has done for me is opened my eyes to the "real world", because in my experience so far, the campus is like a model of the 'real world' but on a smaller scale. It poses financial problems, social issues, geographic obstacles and has given me freedoms to explore that have lead to my own maturation through experience. These lessons are all very valuable to learn, and necessary. College life has allowed me to learn them in a safe environment, whereas if I learned them later, outside the walls of a protected and secure campus the consequences of mistakes may be more severe. Here it is safe to explore a variety of skills and activities that will develop myself into who I really am. I went in to college as an undecided freshman with no direction and after just one year I am almost certain of the life path I want to take and have the drive to get there, thats a lesson with value.
Growing up, I always had a hard time understanding that I may not be able to be the best at everything. While this is a simple and well-known lesson, it is much harder to put into practice than it is to put into words. I expected to shine as I entered college by getting into every school I applied to, having an amazing roommate who would be my best friend for the rest of my life, and immediately diving into leadership positions while still excelling in my classes. I wanted to be the perfect student and have a perfect first semester. However, this year has taught me that perfection is merely an idea, and that not everything will work out exactly how I plan. I may not have gotten into every school or accepted to the positions I applied to, my roommate and I may go our separate ways after this year, and straight As may not be as easy to obtain as I thought, but in hindsight, those things have not prevented me from having a successful and enjoyable first semester. Keep your head held high, and remember that simply striving for perfection can also lead to success.
You have attended the same school for fourteen years, you have lived in the same house your entire life, and you have had the same friends all throughout school. You are about to put yourself in an extremely different environment, and although you think you know everything you need to know, I am here to tell you that you are wrong! You will no longer be surrounded by Christian classmates and Christian teachers. Instead you will be surrounded by a diverse group of individuals who will challenge your beliefs. It is not only critical that you know exactly what you believe, but that you are strong in those beliefs. Also, be open-minded and respectful of what others believe. You have always been the one being a friend, but now you are the one making friends. You will be intimidated at first, but the best thing for you do to is be confident and be yourself. People will respect you for that. Some friends will pressure you into things such as sex and alcohol. You may make a few mistakes, but you will learn your boundaries as long as you remember who you are.
When I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to go to college, but I did not know the challenges that it brings. I am the first person in my family to attend college, so this was all new to me and my family. Some advice I would give myself would include financial, educational, and social. I have faced many financial difficulties in college that I have learned and still learning to overcome. I have learned the importance of being organized with my finances so that I can budget to pay for college. I have also learned to communicate better with the teachers outside of classrooms so that I can better understand the materials outside of class. This makes a big difference because it shows the teacher that I really care about my education. They are usually very willing to help with the questions that I have, Lastly, I have learned the importance of socially interacting with friends to help relieve stress. Good friends can help carry burdens of each other. I am thankful to have learned these lessons and am able to pass this knowledge to others.
Had I the ability to talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that college is more than just a GPA and work. It is about finding yourself, the right friends who will support you, talking to professors about careers that interest you, and feeling a part of a community. Not only will you learn information critical to your academic trajectory, but you learn about yourself as a part of a system, a community of people who are learning the same things as you. A very important point I would make is that nothing is permanent. One bad grade, one adventurous night out, and one loss of a friendship does not determine your future. It is not the actions and mistakes that we make, rather it is how we fix them and learn from them. Perhaps most important is talking to your family or support system. They may not have been to your college or attended your classes, but they have seen you grow up and know you to your core. Take their advice and never hesitate to call and ask for support. Learn from classes, parents, friends, and more importantly, yourself.
The best advice I could give is to make sure you visit the schools and ask questions about what interests you. I feel the most influential factor in choosing a school is the atmosphere and the way it makes you feel. Originally, I had not considered the University of Delaware, but when I got out of the car the first time I visited, I know this was the university for me. The campus is gorgeous and I have always felt at home here. To add to the comfortable fit, UD has a very prestigious Biology and Pre-Medical program, which are the areas I was interested in pursuing. The most important thing to do is make sure you are able to picture yourself or your child on that campus. If you don't feel comfortable there on a visit, chances are you won't feel comfortable there as a student either. If the student tour guides and any administrators you talk to aren't friendly or helpful when you are a prospective studetnt, it is unlikely they will change their tune when you become a student there. Make sure you feel at home and comfortable at any university you consider.
So you made it through high-school, had a great summer and now its time to have some fun away from the family! That is the first thought that a majority of freshmen coming in have. Freedom from Mom and Dad, having the freedom to do all they want for the first time. ?Discovering yourself,? as they say is a piece of the college puzzle, one that cannot become the keystone, holding everything else together. It is very easy to get distracted by the flashing lights and booming sounds of the extracurricular bench, the Frats on the row, or that Art History major?s room with smoke coming out of it from down the hall. The keystone should be what brought you this far, your intelligence, and hard work. There will be an innumerable (English 101) amount of distractions that will come your way, some that you should partake, most you should avoid. Never forget your purpose at the university, to graduate and get that great job you always wanted. Participate in school activities, become president of club, but always remember your true goal during your time at this school.
I could have been more prepared for college financially, academically, and even socially. If I were able to go back in time I would advise myself to apply for as many scholarships as possible and take as many classes as I can at a community college. This would cut costs significantly and possibly allow me to graduate early. I would also make sure I knew to buy my textbooks at amazon.com or other discount websites. Being ?green? saves money too. I would suggest refilling a water bottle and printing notes on the front and back of paper. I would recommend interacting with and getting to know the people on my floor. Don?t shy away from them. I would also recommend joining any clubs or teams that seem interesting. College is remarkably different from high school. I would encourage myself to allow ample time to study before each test and to read the chapters before each class in order to get the most out of each lecture. I would also inform myself how easy it is to gain the ?freshmen fifteen.? I would advise myself to eat healthy and go to the gym frequently.
If I could travel back to the year 2007 and talk to myself as a high school senior, there are quite a few things I would tell my younger self. I would tell myself all the normal things first; relax, enjoy life, do not worry about that one zit on your forehead, but I would also give myself advice about college life and making the transition. The first thing I would advise about the transition is to give it time. Transitioning is always difficult, but join a team or club. Meeting people with common interests definitely helped me through my freshman year. The next thing I would tell myself is what I consider to be the most important advice I did not understand. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. A week's worth of good night sleep not only helped me pass classes, it made me much friendlier. With sleep I made the effort to make and keep friends which is important because friends help you through all of the hard times in college. College is not just about parties and having a great time, there are plenty of downs to go with those ups. So join a club and get your sleep!