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University of Maryland-Baltimore County

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

Its ALL ABOUT what you want to do, not what you should do. Don't listen to those who goes "theres no money it", etc. If you do something that you are extremely passionate about, then money is the least of your worries and you'll be overall a happier person. I recommend that you sit down everyday for 15 to 30 minutes thinking about what you're passionate about. It could be absolutely anything; big or small. Once you find what you truly want to do, your heart and mind will guide your actions towards the future that you've made in your mind. Live in the future, be who you want to be. Again, its ALL ABOUT what you want to do, not what you should do. For the parents, I recommend talking to your child about thier futures, support them, and ultimately be happy for them that they're doing what they're passionate about.

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To students: Find a college that is the right size and location for your personal taste. Whatever you do, do not choose a college solely based on the fact that your significant other is going there. Chances are, you will break up with them shortly upon entering your first year. The same goes for best friends. Also, if you consider yourself a homebody, be smart and choose a school that isn't too far away from home. Last but certainly not least, VISIT the school before you decide to go to it. It can make all of the difference. To parents: In my experience, many teenagers are not ready to go off to a four year university right after graduating high school. Don't keep a short leash on your child. If sheltered while living at home, the freedom they will encounter away at school can be very overwhelming to some.

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Really sit down and take a look at what you think you would like to do in the long run for a job. I know most students have no idea what they want to do starting out, and some still dont know even after having been in college for a few years. If you do have an idea, take a look at any and all colleges that offer that sort of program or are known for it, and apply to all of them. Then make your decision from there. If you have no idea, apply to all of the reasonably priced schools that look appealing and apply to all of those. That way if you decide on a major and that school is not one you like, you have not wasted a lot of money on an expensive school for no reason. Also, some community colleges are an amazing start for students and can even be better academically than some of the universities.

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Looking back now, if I could go back to high school there are a number of things that I would have changed. In High School, I was not so bad, but I would have challenged myself more. I was always ok content with being mediocre in the sense that I could have taken some AP classes or IB classes, I could have been more involved in the activities that were going on in school, I could have been an active member of a sport team instead of settling in managing them. In High school, I could have strived to make more friends instead of being anti-social and living in my own world with about two friends. If everything had been a little different then, maybe I would not be an awkward college student and settling for Health Administration instead of the Medical Doctor I wanted to be when I was younger.

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I can sum up the answer to this question in one word. Experience. By meeting an abundance of unique people, throwing myself at new opportunities around campus, and exploring the many courses I can allow myself to take, I've gained so much experience by being at college that the feeling is overwhelming (in a good way!). The value of this experience is priceless. I've aquired so many insights into life, learning, and the people that surround me daily that, to me, every day is a new adventure. From choosing where and what to eat at lunch to choosing which classes I will take for the next semester, each aspect of everyday college life is exciting to me. Without my experience here at UMBC, I would truly be lacking an aspect of my personality that completes me as a whole individual.

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My college experience has been so valuable to me because It left me with lifelong friends and so many memories and experiences that should be useful to me in the real world. I learned so many new things, and met so many new people during my time; I have nothing but the fondest memories from studying twenty-fours for a final exam to being suprised about exams that I didn't even know about. Why these moment seem fond to me now is the fact that its prepared me, my whole college experience forced me to mould my mind, to make it more open, to think way outside the box. Looking back at my experience I would say there was some downs, but there were definetely more ups and I can stand here today and proclaim that I'd love every bit of it and wouldn't change it for the world.

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By attending college I have gotten so much experience I never would have gained had I not gone. I moved away from Boise, Idaho all the way to Baltimore, Maryland to attend school. It's taught me that if I really set my mind to anything, I can do it. I'm also still learning all the time about being on my own; figuring how I will pay for food, rent, and other necessities. I've become a lot more self confident and mature while in college. I've had to tell my self over and over that "I can do this" and I've become a lot stronger as a person. I know that as an Emergency Health Services major, I've learned how badly I want to go into the health field and to serve others. When I die I want to be remembered for the service that I gave to the people that I will have helped.

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In pretty much every college related movie/TV show, students are frequently partying, never studying and overwhelmed by drama. That is not UMBC. If you come here looking for the stereotypical college experience, you will be disappointed. There are lots of things to do, but you have to make an effort to find them. You will have to study for your classes. The amount of drama depends on your group of friends. Freshmen should also know that there is a LOT of help available if they need it. The first year of college can be tough at any school. At UMBC, there are tutors, counselors, resident assistants and particularly helpful staff members if they need help with classes or adjusting to college. These people are paid to help you succeed, so don't be afraid to ask.

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From UMBC I have recieved knowledge about the the real world and how difficult one must strive in order to attain focus on the goal trying to be reached. It is not a school where everything is handed on a silver-platter, hard work and time must be placed in order to excel at the "#1Up-and-Coming School." It has been valuable to attend, because even though I may have slipped and failed, I was given a chance to get back up and do better. There are lots of oppurtunities where students can get help, get into research, join or form a club and make friends while doing it. It has been valuable because being a Biology major, the courses and advanced inofrmation taught here can help anyone be well prepared for any graduate school, and in my case, medical school.

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If anything, I have gained world experience from going to college. I have learned everything from how to take care of myself to how to deal with my mistakes when I make them. Like most people my age, going to college was my first real experience without my parents. I didn't have them looking out for me or to them to tell me what to do when I wasn't sure. From going to college, I have learned to make my own decision and more importantly how to live with them when I make the wrong ones. For example, I now I have to fund my own college education because i did not perform up to my parents standards. Instead of crying about the situation, I have accepted the fact that I know need to fund my own college education and I'm now taking steps to do so.

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