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University of Florida

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

I have just four words for students beginning their college experience: Spend your money wisely. I would advise parents to plan and prepare for their children's collegiate futures, rather than leave all college expenses up to their clueless freshman college student. Parents should understand and explain financial aid and students loans to their recent high school grads; they need to understand that after college graduation, it's time to pay those loans back. Future college students, I plead and beg you to reconsider your spending habits. Just say "no" to that $2,000 moped scooter, say "no" to the big screen TV, say "no" to the lavish spring break trips each year. If college students were taught better monetary habits, perhaps many would graduate with little to no debt and would have a bright future in this awful economy. Those of us who weren't educated are instead left buried in debt, struggling to survive while paying back those loans. I hope more adults can plan accordingly and ensure a positive finiancial future for their children through adequate preparation for college and by teaching their children to budget.

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Is class size too big or too small? Well this should probably be one of the first questions students consider when searching for the right college. A student needs to feel comfortable in the classroom in order to stay focused and succeed in the class. Some students prefer a small class because they feel it's easier to discuss about the topics one on one with the professor. Other students prefer a big class size because they like being able to have many classmates to chose from to form study groups. It all comes down to the student's preference. The transitioning part from high school and living with parents to college and living away from parents can be very challenging. Getting involved freshman year with clubs, volunteering, intramural sports are some ways that help for the transition to be easier by interacting with other students. Another important aspect to consider is how far away the student and parent want to be from each other. Too far can make trips home difficult. Staying at a nearby college at home would be much less expensive than being far away and having to pay the extra expense of rent or dorms.

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There are many different types of people, many unique shades of personalities present upon this Earth. In this world, we each experience different jouneys, we grow, we laugh, we love, and throughout it all we live. Each of us does this in our own style, our own way. Although varied, the experiences we obtain throughout college make us what we are. I dislike surprises, so if given a time travel machine, there would be many warnings i would give myself as a high school senior. I would reinforce that life is but a vapor. I would warn myself to not fear personal growth. To enjoy the finer moments within the college experience, such as the coffee breaks, the day you skip to go to the concert, even the lackluster proffessor. I would warn myself that the pain of losing old friends because of distance or different lifestyles is keen, however the joy of making new, meaningful friendships is sweet. Above all i would tell myself to find me. The person i want to be. Try actvities you wouldnt have. Discover your boundares, and embrace your weaknesses as positives. Find who you are and become what you are meant to be.

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Out of my college experience at UF, I was exposed to many opportunites through the Univerisity's Career Resource Center where I got the chance to speak with representatives from numerous companies at the University's Career Showcase. Additionally, I am the head teaching assistant for one of the best teacher's at the University of Florida, Dr. Marcie LePine. As her head TA, I worked closely with her and have been influenced by her greatly. She has helped me establish my career paths and has offered me guidance throughout college. Also too, I am very blessed to have met advisors within my college that are truly passionate about helping me in my endeavors. I am well aware that due to the size of the University many students don't receive the same quality of help and care that I've received and for that I feel very fortunate. The care and guidance that I've received have lead me to graduate school and will lead me to an accelerated career in international business management. The unique experience that I received at the University of Florida is truly invaluable and has lead me to make sound career and life choices.

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My college experience helped me learn many things about myself and life. It was the first time I live away from my parents and needed to learn to be independant. Religiously I was able to find my own comfort level by becoming involved in the Hillel at the University of Florida. I joined a fraternity in college that was primarily a christian fraternity, although there were several members of different faiths. This experience helped me learn the importance of tolerence with people that think differently than I do. I had many impactful experiences, such as attending a bible study and being asked to give my Jewish perspective to the conversation. Since UF was in a different region than where I grew up I met many students that were raised differently than I was. This is another opportunity I would have missed without branching out to another location, that UF provided for me. Lastly I believe we should never stop learning in life and I was provided an excellent education at UF. I am now in a graduate program totally unrelated to my original degree, but those classes I took molded who I am as a person today.

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I would advise parents and students who are trying to find the right college to visit potential schools before making a decision. Online research and school reputation are nothing compared to visiting the school in person. By doing this, one can take tours, see actual dorm rooms, and even talk to current students about their college experience. This was one of the best decisions I have made. I was very impressed when a University of Florida student who noticed I was visiting took time out of her day to talk to me about the school. The genuine welcome I felt greatly influenced my decision, and I will be starting my second year at UF this fall. I believe that by visiting your top choices, you can find a place where you feel you belong. In order to make the most of the college experience, it is essential to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available. College is one of the few times in life where there are so many options waiting to be explored. Office hours with professors, research opportunities, career centers, clubs, and extracurriculars are just a few, and all you need to do is get involved.

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I would tell parents that the money they spend on their children during their time in college is an investment. College is worth every penny and provides individuals with an incomparable experience of maturity. This allows students to have the ability to make important decisions on their own, which helps them find themselves as individuals and find what it is they really want to achieve in the real world. Also, in reference to the real-world, college provides a great stepping stone from five day school weeks, to forty hour work weeks in the job force. This in turn, allows students to make mistakes they would make as employees because they can learn from these mistakes without as severe of repercussions. As for the students I would tell them to ease their worries about homesickness or separation from close friends. College opens you up to a whole new network of a variety of diversified groups and you are bound to fit into at least one of them, and most likely bunches of them. It will be the best time of your life and will open your mind academically as well as intellectually. Good luck with the self-conquest!

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If I were to go back and talk to myself, I would discuss two topics: social and academic. I would remind myself to keep some old friends close. While college is partially about new experiences, it never hurts to have some old friends as well. One this allows for some variety in the friends that you have and also provides for sociable possibilities during breaks and networking down the line. This is one thing I learned the hard way, as the multitude of friends I made while in college were ones who did not live in the same area I was from, which made some breaks less relaxing and entertaining then they could have been. However, the time in college with new friends is something special and illuminating. On the more serious concept of academics, I would have taught myself a very important lesson. In high school, it is very easy to just go to class, never study, and still get straight As. In college, this is not exactly a given. From the beginning, one must be willing to put in extra time, comparatively, towards studying. While this lesson can be learned, doing this from the beginning is less stressful.

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A scary time for many, the transition from high school to college can be exciting and easy with a few simple tips. It's okay if you don't know who you are, or even if you think you do; either way a new place, people, and opportunities will allow you to grow in ways and that are rewarding and exhilarating--embrace the new you. Enjoy being who you are. And share your beautiful spirit with others. You will experience an amalgamation of emotions: happiness, pain, hardship, love, moments of glory, and opportunities to rebuild. Don't worry, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The primary objective is to gain insight into yourself and graduate with an advanced education and a passion to pursue your life goals. Networking definitely doesn't hurt either. Sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know. Don't be afriad of new experiences or new challenges. They help you grow as a person. You will never forget the memories and friends you make throughout these four years. So... LIVE it up, LAUGH it off, take CHANCES and never have REGRETS...because at one point that is exactly what you wanted.

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If I were the given the gracious opportunity of giving advice to my former self I would warn him of all the habit changes I must undergo in order to be successful. As freshmen I’ve learned that college is entirely different in academics and structure than it is in high school. To conquer this transition I would advise myself that it would be absolutely necessary to raise my academic endeavors to the highest degree of concern. From personal experiences my friends and I have suffered academically due to the harsh effects of adapting to college life. As my study habits remained similar to the ones of my high school career I found it hard to compensate to my new life. It was not until my second semester of college that I studied more frequently and received better grades but ultimately only time can repair the mistakes of my first semester in college. Currently I have lost my bright futures scholarship award for the upcoming fall semester and my overall financial aid has been cut in half. If I had known this I would have most certainly adhere my warning and following my advice to prevent it from happening.

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