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University of Houston-Clear Lake

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

My college experience has been both challenging and rewarding! As a junior, holding a full time job to pay for tuition, I have been faced with many challenges. These challenges include getting to school on time, meeting up with school deadlines, buying textbooks and studying late at night – to mention just a few. These challenges, notwithstanding, made me to place a higher value on my education. I saw college education as an investment that must yield positive returns. Hence, I had to plan my life around tight schedules. This experience has made me a better organized individual and this reflects in my personal life and work. Apart from positively impacting my personal and work life, the college experience, has exposed me to a variety of cultures. This exposure has widened my worldview and has better suited me for a diverse work place. Finally, I mentioned earlier that I had a full time job, true. I wouldn’t have gotten my job if I wasn’t presently enrolled in college! Moreover, the knowledge gained from various classes has translated to greater usefulness and versatility in the work place. Therefore, my being in college has and will continue to benefit me economically.

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In attending UHCL, I have learned a wealth of information about life skills through my peers, professors, and internships. With my peers I have been able to practice my social skills by participating and learning in groups. Additionally, I have learned culture diversity from many of the students and events, such as theater, social gatherings, and festivals that are held at UHCL. All the professors at UHCL have a doctorate degree. They take the time to explain course work to students and make a point to be available either by email, by phone or office hours. There is student counseling available for all students and if a professor see’s that a student is struggling with course content the professor will recommend tutoring or counseling for help. I learned a great deal at UHCL that applies to real life situations and I decided to continue my Masters degree in Teaching - Curriculum and Instruction. I received hands on experience by working in a classroom setting, with a mentor for a year, before graduating. My internship was a valuable life experience. I look forward in completing my Masters degree and learning more about how to teach technology skills to students.

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My experience at UH-CL has been extremely rewarding. Being from a family of six children and parents with no college education I had to work full-time and attend school part-time early on. Thus it took longer to complete my college education than most students. Soon after completing my Associates Degree I met a wonderful man and put marriage and family as a priority over my college education. However, as my children became pre-teens and teenagers the urge to complete this education became stronger. Teaching and showing my children that we are never too old to fulfill our dreams was a wonderful bonding experience for myself and my family. In attending UH-CL, I was one of the older students in my classes. This afforded me the opportunity to mentor to the younger students struggling to discover what they wanted to do with their lives. Along with the quality education I received at UH-CL this opportunity to mentor and assist these younger students was one of the most rewarding opportunities I have had. Because of this I consider my time at UH-CL to be one of the most rewarding and valuable experiences I have had.

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My college experience has taught me not only to be a successful student but to be a successful person in general. I have learned to be disciplined, focused, determined, and patient. I learned to set higher goals, and greater expectations for myself. I have learned that every opportunity leads to the next, and how you approach that opportunity will make or break your final outcome. One grade, leads to the next until you finally reach the final grade. It is important that we take responsibility for the moment or opportunity that we have and make the best grade possible so that eventually we can achieve a pristine final grade. The same applies in life. Every opportunity we are presented with leads to the next and if we take those opportunities seriously and make the best out of them we will have a better quality of life. With everything that I have experienced in college, I give back by mentoring those who are traveling down the same road I am. I help others reach success and at the same time, teach them to appreciate the opportunities that come with seeking a college degree and making the best of their college experience.

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I am currently a student and a substitute teacher. My students tend to be underprivileged and need my help to become good citizens. The father of my oldest child was killed at age 34 in an accident. He did not finish high school and had issues with drug dependency. My son and I read lots of literature to help him with his disorders. Keep in mind that he comes from a family of eight generations of high school drop outs. Trey is in Pre-AP English, Pre-AP Science and AP Math and has received a letter from president Obama for being one of America’s higher intellectual students due to his achievement test scores. My experiences with my son and my former husband have helped me develop the skills and concepts necessary to break this tragic cycle. Through insight from other teachers, doctors and my own efforts, I have developed teaching techniques that could make a difference in any student. University of Houston Clear Lake has helped me to continue my journey to become a great teacher and change many lives. Throughmy colleges teacher education program I will complete my education and become a super teacher.

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Returning to college after twenty years has proven to be both difficult and advantageous. I chose the University of Houston - Clear Lake because it was a small school that is fairly accessible even though it is more than thirty minutes away from home and work. After completing my first semester this fall, I have learned that difficulty can overcome by honest, hard work. Facing thousands of pages of reading and having to complete research papers and essays in addition to receiving hands on education in media production, I was sure that I had bitten off more than I could chew. This course work was being added to my already strenuos 40 work week where I consult with high school students as a specialist. The first day of classes, one of my professors stated, "her class could be difficult if you get behind - it's hard enough when keeping up, but don't lose sight of your end goal by getting behind and letting things pile up. If you work hard enough at this, the rewards will be tenfold." I think this philosophy can be applied to life in general and is good to keep in the back of the mind.

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I have attended six different universities in four different states. As an older student in my 50's, the most valuable experience I have learned is how to rely on myself for work to be completed. I have learned how to believe in myself. When I was younger, I had little experience in the world. I never believed I could achieve a goal as high as becoming a university graduate. I also have learned how to become an individual that knows how to express, formulate and prove ideas and opinions. Taking the initiative to learn has been valuable to me. In high school, I was told I would probably never be accepted into a college because I was a C student. Because of teachers who care enough to make be a stronger and determined person, I am now an A student. I never thought I would become so eligible for a college education because I was never given a worth in high school. Now, teachers include me and my peers in classroom conversations! They value our opinions and our experiences and encourage us to be confident! My experience in college is priceless and has changed my life.

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Embarking on my journey toward achieving a degree at a higher education institution has allowed me to digest the meaning of the cliche "learning never ends". After attending my primary school of choice, and opting to transfer to a different intitution, I felt like I had learned about every aspect of the college experience. I thought to myself, "my experiences and background makes me a more educated pupil than my other peers." After taking a few classes and learning about the different cultures that I had never been exposed to though, I found out no matter how smart I thought I was, I wasn't any better than the person sitting next to me. I possessed the same amount of knowledge; the only difference was the content of the knowledge in which I possessed in comparison to my peers. There was so much that I could offer to them, and so much they could offer me to aid my understand of the world. All I had to do was express my willingness to learn. College has taught me that it doesn't matter what chapter you are at in your life, there is always room for learning...it never ends.

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The most important and profound items I have gotten from my college experience is growth and appreciation. After I had my first daughter, it became clear to me that earning a degree was not something that you just “do.” Earning a degree is an experience, test of motivation and dedication, a challenge and a journey that brings you to a sense of mental and physical success. Seeing my children and having so many goals and hopes for them even as infants brought me to the realization that I could only expect so much, before I had to lead by example. Throughout my journey I have grown from a child to an adult though education, life experience, and seeing so many others who have conquered their own endeavors to reach their goals and dreams. I feel like an education is so important because it gives you the necessary perspective of being just a small part of big world. Being humble gives allows you to be confident in what you do know, but realize that there is vast amount of knowledge that others can give. As long as you can continue to learn, you will always be able to grow.

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Through my college experiences, I have gained many new virtues, the ones that already existed prior to college have been strengthened to immeasurable proportions, and I am now completely aware of the ones that I need to work on either obtaining or gaining strength in. I strongly believe that a college education should benefit the entire person and not just increase an individual’s mental abilities. As I think of the many difficulties along the way, I know that it this because of the virtue, perseverance, that I have not given up on this goal that I set for myself a long time ago. It has been valuable for me to attend college not only because of the priceless knowledge I have attained from the many courses I have taken, but also because of the better person I am becoming. I’ve heard that it is the valleys that we grow. Simply stated, my college experience has caused me to grow and mature in areas that I probably would not have otherwise. It has been invaluable for me to attend because due to the many challenges, one day I will blossom and bear fruit!

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