Before UMBC, I had no idea who I was. I was a mash and mix of other people's personalities and stereotypes. I applied to in-state schools because it was what I could afford and decided to go to UMBC by the flip of a coin. I was not incredibly excited to go away, for I would be leaving all of the people who made me who I was. Unlike other schools, the atmosphere at UMBC does not demand that you fit into a category. I was able to delve into many different things, to find what I, not just the forces around me, cared about. I learned that I love writing because of the encouragement I received. I learned that I'm capable of leading a huge group of people to accomplish great things because of the opportunity to join a sorority. I learned that I want to be a nurse, because I now know my passion in life is to help others in the most rudimentary way possible. The most important thing I got out of my college experience was finding out who I am, uniquely- perhaps the most important thing one can take from life.
When choosing the right college, a student should ultimately do what's best for them and not what's best for other people. Of course, I think cost should definitely be thought about when choosing a school, but look into financial aid packages and scholarships before losing hope on your dream school. Doing your research is also important! Make sure you look into a school that has your desired major and has all the campus life features you're looking for. My advice to parents would to be supportive of your children when they're making one of the hardest decisions of their lives. It's a tough decision and helping them through the process would be greatly appreciated. In terms of making the most of the college experience, I've heard the best way to fully enjoy your school is to live on campus. Be open and social! Joining different social groups and activities are a great way of meeting different people. College should be the best four years of your life, so enjoy them to the best of your experience!
Balance. The main thing in college is to understand you have to have a balance. It is a time and place that allows to you experience many different sides of yourself, both academically and socially. If you are going to a public university, it is possible that the network of organizations and academic clubs around you is so diverse you may not know which to choose. Do not be paralyzed by the bounty of options that lay in your path. The best thing for you to do is to pick a point in the distance, any point, and stick with it. If that vision or goal does not manifest itself in a way that you like, drop it. This is the time to be flexible and brave, your teachers and your peers will always give you that extra wiggle-room. Be sure to have fun! College culture is unique, and only once you leave it do you realize what a bubble it can be. But flourish in that bubble! Know that the connections you make here, the professors you befriend WILL have a lasting impact on you as a person and on your future.
Brian, Don't bleach your hair this summer, you'll look ridiculous. Take your Dad with you to buy your first car, the car you are buying by yourself will fall apart and he knows more than you. Trust me. Chase your dream of going to film school now, but if you don't, just know you will still be there at some point. Worry less about what people think about you, they don't have the time to think about you, they're too busy worrying about what people think about them. Save! School is expensive and life is expensive. Save for a rainy day because believe me it rains a lot. Stay lean and mean, you're going to move a lot and its not fun lugging a ton of random things from place to place. I'm going to assume you didn't take any of my advice though because I have the same memories I always had. Just know you will succeed, every heartache or catastrophe will pass and everything will end up as it should. Oh and apprently the Princess Dy Beanie Baby will be worth a fortune. Grab one.
"I wish I knew what I know now/ when I was younger": That lyric surely applies to the beginning of my college experience. The one thing I've realized I can do without now that I couldn't in high school is friends. As a high school student, I spent most of my time talking to friends, whether it be whispering in the back of the classroom while the teacher was explaining the lesson, talking on the phone after school, or hanging out on the weekends. I'm sure there were times when my school work didn't get done until the last minute because I was too busy having fun. As a college student, I put all of my effort into my work, for the sake of my future. When other college students may be out with their friends or at parties, I'm at the library studying or in my room working on homework. I do have friends in my dorm, and I've stayed close to many of my friends from high school, but I'm able to prioritize my time. My work is coming first, and I have the grades (and pride) to show for it.
When I think about myself two years ago, I honestly was not too much different than the person I am now. However, I am older, and with age comes wisdom so there are a few things I would say to myself. Number One: Do not be afraid of your professors. Even the scary ones. While most professors at my school are helpful and awesome, there's always one that isn't. But it is their job to teach and help you, so if you need it, go for it. No matter how cantankerous they are. Number 2: Do not pick your roommate the first year. It's much better to be mixed with the pot, because then you meet more people and have a lot of fun doing it. Number 3: Do not pick out your friend group the first two weeks of college, because they will often not be your friends several months later. It's not high school, but people still create drama for no reason. Number 4: Do not stay up past midnight on a school night. Yes, you make friends, but talk to them when it's still daylight. You'll do better in school.
Always do your work, its better than nothing. The only way to keep up on your work is to be accountable, that means either making lists, using the agenda book or even an online calender. This leads to organization. The only tool you need to succeed in college is the ability to pull sane and logical order out of the inevitable chaos caused by the attempt of individual students to balance work, a social life and their academic careers. Don't be stubborn, your new and have no reason to not get help for everything and anything, don't figure this out the hard way. The motto to follow is: "Do it". Try everything, get a taste, then you will learn how to deal with stress. Do it right at the start, it is critical you learn to handle stress. Stress is that force from many things that presses on you as you do more tasks than normal. It forces you to act and you will learn from those actions, whether they are good or bad choices, it doesn't matter. Everyone learns from their mistakes.
Leaving in the dorms have made me to be very responsible and time conscious. I've learned to appreciate what I have as a college student because some students will want to go to the extend of stealing from others. The act of giving and helping others has become a part of my life as a colllege student and I'm very determined and believe that I will make the best outside of college. Meeting with other students from diversed backgrounds has made me to understand how people live and interact on the other side of the world. I use to be a shy person but now, the shyness has faded away due to the fact that I interact a lot with other students. Academically, I've improved a lot compared to when I was in high school. I'm more serious and focused , the teachers are very encouraging and helpful. I put in all the efforts in my studies because college is no joke. Because of the competiveness among students, I tend to work so hard in order to achieve my set goals and to stay on top.
I would tell myself that going to community college and then transferring to a four year college would be the smartest thing I ever do. That it is possible to have a fulfilling college experience while commuting everyday and having both a learning and a physical disability. That the professors will challenge me and make me really stop and think about what I know, how I think, and why I think the way I do. That the friends that I will make will be some of the greatest people in my life, and that while the work is sometimes very challenging to do, it's worth it. That it's not a problem to ask for help when I need it and that the people here really want me to succeed. That my advisor cares enough about me personally to ask me what I like to do and what I think my options are, so that she can keep an eye out for internships that I'd be interested in. That it's okay to not be perfect and that the transition is going to be weird, but that it passes quickly.
The hardest part of joining any new place, including college, is learning how to fit into the culture and atmosphere of your surroundings. I would recommend that you first start off by learning about how the school works. A good way to do this would be to attend the welcome orientation UMBC has for freshmen. It provides freshmen an opportunity to learn how to select classes, where to eat, how to study in a college environment, and gives insight into the culture of the school. Of course, college wouldn't be a fun experience if you didn't do any meaningful extracurriculars! A good way to find out what you like is to try different clubs or volunteer activities until you find one or two you really want to stick with and dedicate yourself into. By doing this, you are actively contributing to the college community, and if you choose service activities, you can help out those in need. Additionally, doing extracurriculars is a great way to make new friends!