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University of Florida

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

College really is the best time of your life. I know that everyone says this but sincerely the hard work and difficult application process are totally worth this experience. My advice regarding applications is try not to write what you think they want but really tell them what they need to know about you. My application essay was about experiences I was looking forward to because I felt those would be more defining than anything I had already done. Once you're in college don't procrastinate. The first few weeks aren't very challenging because regristration still isn't totally settled, but manage your time and get work done early. It seems really easy in hte beginning because teachers start slow but read and study the material they give you when they give it to you, it'll save you many headaches in the future. Everyone said this and I tried to take them seriously, but I still fell behind and was under a lot of stress late in the semester. Also get enough sleep cause you're immune system really struggles with only a few hours of sleep and the worse thing is to get sick during finals.

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Even though my college experience is no where near being over, I already have learned so much. Besides learning extreme haggling skills in battlefield of textbook purchasing and the ability to outline chapters and chapters without wanting to set the book on fire, the Univeristy of Florida has been a great place to learn about new subjects. I've really developed what I am passionate about, confirmed what I want to do in the future and helped me become a more organized indivudual. In addition to the face that I live off campus, handle my own finances, UF makes you understand that your future is in your own hands. You decide how much you put into your education and what you get out of it. My first semester I struggled getting used to the classes being so straight forward and the coursework load, but I have been slowly climbing up the gpa ladder ever since earning every point.. Self=direction and ambition is only enforced in the GatorNation. The value of an institution that helps you develop into the fullfilled adult you want to be is priceless, and I am very grateful for that.

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I strongly advise visting the campus before hand and figuring out whether or not you prefer attending a smaller or larger college. I believe the size of the college is the most important differentiation to make when visting with campuses. I say this because my major dissatisfaction with the college I attend stems from the fact that I attend a large university; because the school is so large it is hard to really get to know your profeessors and to get adequate advising or even advisors that really seem to care about your future. This obviously isn't a probelm for all students (or they wouldn't be attending here!), but I came from a small, personable high school so this was a difficult transition for me. However, I still make the most out my college experience by taking advantage of what a large college offers. My advice: really make an effort to meet new people, talk to your professors, venture out and participate in events or activites you normally wouldn't. I strongly believe that the perosn I am today was more so molded by my time at college than any other period of my life.

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I most suggest preparing yourself as soon as possible. Enjoy your senior year to the fullest but try not to lose focus about your future. Stay on top of deadlines to reduce your stress. It is easier to find scholarships as a senior preparing to go to college than to scrape to find scholarships later on. Be actively looking! It's also easier to maintain your knowledge by pushing yourself in your senior course work. The academic transition is softened by keeping your skills sharp. Your senior year can be an awesome time to learn how to balance schoolwork and fun. In college there is a multitude of opportunities to get involved and meet others, so be open minded! In high school it's easy to be involved in every club and on every teams but in college it's impossible for you to be involved in everything; you will stretch yourself too thin, not truely enjoy your activities, and you will run the risk of putting academics after fun. Explore your options to find what you are passionate about and devote yourself to those things. College can be the best years of your life if you make them it.

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Packing away my bedroom for college was like going through my childhood memories, but high school ended and I knew it was time for me to get a degree. Once everything was loaded up in the car, I was headed for eight hour drive up to Gainesville, Florida. Saying good-bye to my family was probably that hardest part. I had never been away from home for more than a week., but adusting to college life did not take long at all. After getting settled in, meeting new faces and exploring new places was a thrilling adventure. Summer of freshmen year passed by very quickly, but before I knew it I was back in the Gator Nation for fall of 2009. Tailgating for football games, attending fraternity parties, going to classes with over six hundred students was all new to me, but it was quite exciting. I started meeting people the became my best friends, and I started studying for about sixteen hours straight for exams, but in the end, freshmen year was everything I expected it to be and more. I am honestly considering graduate school. I have my whole like to work, that never ends, but college will.

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If I could go back and talk to my high school senior self, I would tell younger me that college is not that scary. It seemed my entire senior year was spent dreading graduation while all my classmates were counting down the days. I was devastated when graduation day rolled around. I was going to a new place four hours away from my family and friends, walking away from everything familiar to me. But eventually move in day came and all I could feel was unnecessary fear. Upon arriving at the University of Florida, I was immediately thrown into new situations and interesting experiences. I met my awesome roommates, cool classmates, and learned my way around campus. And the best thing was it was entirely on my own, I didn't have old high school buddies in the mix, or any connections, it was all me; I was responsible for the best summer of my life. So, with this newfound confidence I would go back and tell the little stressed out Jenny that college is different and big and life changing, but its not scary. College is freedom and a time of discovery, something to be anticipated not feared.

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To find the right college, I would say to definitely do your research and visit lots of schools before you decide. I know that changed my top choices in ways I never imagined. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions of students and staff while you are there. They can answer more candidly than a brochure. To make the most of your college experience, I would encourage any student (new or returning) to get involved where your interests lie. If you want to learn/try something new, don't hesitate to go for it. Most people are looking for friends with similar interests just like you are. Most groups are always looking for new members. Teachers are also great resources for helping you make connections based on your academic interests, including research and job opportunities. The people you meet in school will be your help and your competition while you are there and after you leave, so you will be better off if you branch out and make new friends. You'd be surprised by how many people outgrow their friends from high school. And most of all, have fun! This is the time to try new things!

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The main advice I would tell myself as a high school senior would be to enjoy the people around me and take every opportunity presented to make new friends. UF is a huge school, and it can often be very lonely. My freshman year I met new people and made good friends, but I was still dependent on my friends from home. Sophomore year brought a complete change that I am eternally grateful for. I moved into a dorm with three random girls, who I would now consider my best friends. I also met their friends and formed close relationships. The main thing I realized through this experience is that people here are open and excited to meet others. Being so introverted can become a negative thing when there are thousands of opportunities to not feel like a small fish in a big pond. Had I known this before, I would have taken a bigger initiative to meet people last year, rather than settle for the familiar. The friendships made in college are life changing, and it would be a mistake to not take advantage of the possibilities to meet people. Live every moment. Laugh every day. Love beyond words.

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As a junior in college, I've changed immensely since my senior year of high school. I'm smarter, more stylish, I have a much more diverse friend group, and I go to events, bars, clubs, and parties all the time now. I still work all the time. Bills to pay, ya know! College has been a huge change from high school and not just because of the distance from the 'rents. College has taught me that I never needed to stress over that little stuff, like Homecoming or Prom. Who cares? Turns out nobody. I didn't need to stress who was voted Queen of the dance. Three years later, I don't even remember the themes. Besides, you can't put "Prom Queen" on your resume. Resume-building is something I should have focused on more, and not for my future career. I should have applied for more minimum wage jobs so I would have experince for jobs in Gainesville. It is a nightmare with all of this competition. Finally, remember that high school classes are a cake walk compared to their collegiate counterparts. Form good study habits now! And relax, college is way better than high school.

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My college experience has given me an entirely new outlook on education. Prior to college I was not a very enthusiastic student, however the college environment has broken the mold formed by the high school environment I was previously in. Throughout my educational career I've felt as though school showed little to no respect or trust towards me. I felt as though I was being treated as a child. The college environment has given me an entirely new opinion however. It has showed me the educational system's abilty to respect my wishes of independence and allowed me to finally participate in my own way. I love having the ability to have self time management as opposed to having a teacher breathe down my neck up until the deadline. I find this really valuable because it allows for me to do things my own way and gives me a chance to enjoy the assignments. I feel more free to make my own decisions and it has shined a whole new light on education in my eyes. I started college with hesitation and now push forward eagerly awaiting the moment of academic achievement that is a college degree.

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