University of Missouri-Columbia Top Questions

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


Be involved. Keep pushing through. There's always time to make money, but the longer you wait to obtain a higher education, the harder it will be. Never give up hope and stay focused on your goals. If you "take a break", you run the risk of not returning, and your dreams will seem out of your reach when you want them the most. Education is everything in the real world. Do it for yourself. Do it for your future family. You never know what life will throw your way. Working as a single parent solely supporting yourself and your child makes a higher education seem impossible. Give it your all. You may think I'm too old and that I don't know what I'm talking about, but I do. Mom is always right. Get your education and be your best you for yourself and your family. Keep having faith in yourself, and keep God on speed-dial. Trust in God. Do not give up your dreams. Make your dreams a reality by continuing your education. Don't wait; it will be your biggest regret.


Before applying to the University of Missouri I did a lot of research about the school. I pretty much know all about the Pre-medicine curriculum that I wish to persue and all other questions I had about the University in general. I was impressed by the high ratings the University received in several publications. The advice I would give to myself now is to keep in contact with the school should I have questions as they arise.


When I was a high school senior, I only chose to go to my university because it was the only one in Missouri that had a veterinary program. I was incredibly intimidated by the large size of the school. If I could go back in time to give myself advice, I would tell myself to go into college confident and with my head held high. I would remind myself that while it might take some time, I would find my place at Mizzou and that there were plenty of other people who were also terrified. My last words of advice would be to be as involved as possible and join everything I possibly could.


If I went back in time to talk to my high school self, I would tell myself to take full advantage of resources available on-campus. Looking back, there were several things I did that could have changed. For example, I was awarded a scholarship my freshman year that required a high-level GPA to maintain. At the end of the year, I never got a grade below a "B," but I lost my scholarship. A few years later, a friend of mine who worked in Financial Aid said I should have just appealed the decision and that it was likely I could have kept the scholarship. This example is key to what I would tell myself: don't be scared to go to staff on-campus and ask questions and put yourself out there. I wasn't a shy person; but I didn't want to appear like I couldn't figure things out on my own. The fact was, in many ways, I couldn't and I was worse off because of it. I would tell myself to be okay recognizing that I needed help and then to take advantage of that help.


I would tell myself that I was making the right choice in my choice of school. But to go with felt I wanted to do as my major and not what I thought everyone else wanted to me to chose.


High school me was way too passive when it came to thinking about the future. I applied to only two universities and when I was accepted to both, I just decided to choose the close, easy option because I didn't want to put any effot into researching which school would best suit me. Now that I have attending school for over a semester now, I realize that I do not belong at the University of Missouri. I wish in high school I would have looked at more options of schools to see which school would match my personality the best. I have lived in Missouri for most of my childhood and I always knew that I didn't want to start my life in Missouri, but I thought that after graduation, I would immediately move south. I would tell my high school self to stop being so easy going and look for a school that I would be happy at. I now realize that Mizzou was not the school for me and I would like to attend Appalachian State University to continue my college career.


If I came back to talk to my high school self, I would tell myself several important truths. First, I would tell myself to practice better study and sleeping habits, so I would be on top of my game going into exam days and not feeling tired after early classes. Second, I would also tell myself to never quit. I walked-on to the Mizzou wrestling team and wrestled for nearly seven weeks but ended up quitting because I was falling asleep in classes and feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't "normal" – carefree classes and free time was not a normal occurrence for me during my time wresting. I struggled seeing everyone else smiling and laughing in the lounge when I would come trudging back from the second practice of the day, every day to study for difficult classes. Third, I would tell myself to keep making the right decisions such as I am now. The final piece of advice I would give myself is to be more outspoken and speak to professors/teachers if I have an issue. They will go above and beyond to help a student be successful; silence benefits no one.


I would tell myself that I should plan things out a little bit better. Check for more scholarships, and work opportunities to better pay for this. But, also keep up the work. It is all going to be worth.


As a senior you finally learned to successfully balance friends, family and school work. But, high school me, you forgot one important skill to develop. I implore you to learn how to talk to teachers. In college being respectfully assertive is the key. In a lecture style class, the professor can be in charge of hundreds of students. Make yourself stand out by opening the line of communication, through email dialogue or office hour conversation. Looking back there are three things I wish I knew. One: Before you begin communication, and I suggest doing it early in the semester, address the professor by the highest degree obtained. Respect the years it takes to earn that Dr. title.Second: Learn to sound intelligent when talking. Grade grubbing doesn’t qualify as talking and intelligent conversation is a networking skill imperative to hone. Ask for clarification on specific problems or request additional material to delve into. This reflects well on you as a student. Third: after the class is done, stay in touch. If you succeeded, the professor knows that you are a driven student. In the future they may write you a letter of recommendation or help you secure that job.


If I had the chance to talk to my high school self before college, I would most likely laugh before I could even get a word out. I should explain how people really do not care in college if you succeed or fail; I should tell myself how missing a night out is not as big of a deal as it used to be; I should remind myself of how my grades should always come first, but not to forget about the other experiences one must have in college. College is, without a doubt, a transition phase - a transition that may sometimes be hard, but must be done. All in one moment it can be amazing and horrible. If I had the chance to talk to my high school self before college, I would not tell myself anything. Part of it is the experience, not the advice. Anyone can try and tell someone what to do, but nothing helps a person learn more than learning from their own mistakes, and because of this, I would tell myself "Good luck and have fun" and hope for the best.


Going back in time as a high school senior I would tell myself not to worry so much about what the future holds. I was very concerned about leaving my friends back home and going to an out of state school, when in reality it was the best decision I ever made. Your true friends from high school will stick with you even after you leave for college, and the one's who don't really matter will gradually fade out. I would also tell myself not to listen to the drama in high school because it all becomes pointless very quickly. Finally, I would tell myself not to compete with others at my high school. There is no need to be cut throat and to compare your college choice or your major to that of others because in the end your happiness is what matters.


Do not go to bed feeling unaccomplished. This is your time to live a full and bright life. This is your time to try new things and embrace them. Find something that motivates you; remind yourself everyday. Remind yourself a few times when you’re feeling low and unproductive. Remember why you chose to go to college and further your education. Make sure that everyday you do something that makes you feel accomplished or like you made a difference, even if it’s in your life or someone else’s. Whether it’s getting a head start on an assignment that isn’t due for a few weeks, or doing something outside of your comfort zone such as speaking out for others who feel like they don’t have a voice, you have to get in the habit of getting stuff done. The first day of college begins the countdown of days you have left until you’re kicked out into the real world. Gone are the days of going to bed and telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. Do it today. Don’t forget to give yourself some time to relax though, just always remember accomplishment feels like.


If I could go back in time, I would tell my high school senior self to stop procrastinating. Everyone always said that Senioritis is real, and it was, but the problem I have learned is that it doesn't end Senior year, it comes over with you to college. The hardest part of adjusting to college so far has been making myself not procrastinate and get all my work done in a timely manner to save myself stress. Because I had gotten so used to it back in high school, I haven't been able to get myself back into the routine of not procrastinating. College life already makes enough distractions to getting things done that it doesn' t help that I am not motivated enough to try and do my work. Obviously grades are very important in college so it is essential that you know how to study in a timely manner before coming to college. Though my grades are pretty good, life would be a lot less stressful if I had not given into the temptations of senioritis back in high school.


Apply to as many scholarships as possible! Whether the scholarship is asking for an ugly baby picture, or a fictional story about a family of turles, send in that picture and write a story that Stephen King would weep reading. It doesn't matter how much your favorite teacher will hate you because of the 500 reccomendation letters you're going to ask them to write; you'll buy their classroom an endless supply of dry erase markers to make up for it when you're finally the veteranarian you want to be. Do not get me wrong, you'll definitely miss out on some fun opportunities to go to Six Flags or the mall, but you won't be broke and dependent on your parents. If you're ready to take on the stress and don't care about future debt, then do it for your parents. You'll be making Mom and Dad's life so much easier. That should be enough to make you get up and applying.


Leaving highschool life is hard. You are going to miss seeing your friends everyday for eight hours a day but as time goes on you are also going to realize who your real friends are. Some of those "friends" were only your friends because you saw them everyday but do not worry because in college you will make friends that will become your life long friends. High school is very different from college. The person you thought you were is going to change drastically. You are going to learn to survive on your own. You have to be responsible for your actions and your schoolwork. When it comes to studying, DO IT! Though you may not have studied that much in high school, college requires a lot of studying. You will spend hours upon hours in the library looking over notes, making flashcards, finishing projects, and studying tests; bring a few snacks and headphones. The last bit of advice I would give myself would be: have fun! It goes by so much faster than you think. So enjoy every moment of it because you only get to do it once.


Right now you think that the only way to be successful is by becoming a doctor but the truth is that there are multiple ways to be happy and succesful. Embrace the unknown path as you are about to embark on your journey and allow yourself to be open-minded to everything you learn. The truth is that you are one of the most stubborn people I know but do not let your pride get the best of you because if you do one day you will hit rock bottom and learn the hard way. There is one other piece of advice that is just as crucial as the first do not compare successful to those of your friends and classmates. You will always have to work twice as hard as they do in order to achieve your dreams and goals. Do not let hardwork scare you away from finding true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with great strength and resolve. I know that you have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it.


Enjoy it. Lap up every second that you can of your final year of high school. You've come this far and you deserve to feel like the top of the pyramid for once. I also say this because as soon as you leave that place, you will not want to go back. So don't wait around for an entire school year and wish your time away, because the time for college will inevitably come, but your time in high school will also end. Also when you're thinking on the scholarships and the applications, don't worry about winning every single one. I can guarantee that you won't. The popular belief actually holds true and your grades and test scores will get you far. Don't lose sight the end game though, still apply for as many as you can find time for. Don't be afraid to form attachments, even if it is senior year. Hang out with the greatest people you have come to know in the past four years and get your heart broken. Someone was going to do it eventually, anyway.


As a high school senior, I had one of the worst cases of senioritis I've ever witnessed, personally. I'm sure every senior thinks this, especially as those last few months before graduation drag by, but I would say mine was particularly bad. I was excited for college and dying to leave behind a school I never became attached to after transferring there junior year. In high school, A's came easily; I never worked too hard. Now, I couldn't stress enough how important it is to develop good study habits early on. At first I thought I would breeze through college, like I had always breezed through school. No one told me how much more in depth a college education would be, and how much studying it takes to retain that depth. The best piece of advice for my past self would have been to study hard and often, and to appreciate the thorough, wonderful education I received.


Dear High School Senior, You’re probably really excited about starting this new chapter of your life, being all on your own and doing whatever you want. It seems excting , which it is, but there are few things you need to know in order to prosper these four years. First, be prepared for a challenge! High school may have been easy for you but in college things get a little more hectic. Your homework load will be heavier than that in high school, so that means you’ll have to STUDY HARDER! Stay organized, organization is the key to success and you have to stay on top of your game if you want good results. Also, during the first few weeks of school get to know your professors, find tutors, and get to know the campus. Once you’ve gotten to know the campus and the whole studying and being organized thing down it’s also good to get involved on campus. Remember, these will be the best years of your life, so join a few organizations, go to the football games, PARTY, have fun, but don’t forget what you're are there for! Sincerly, A More Wiser You.


I would tell myself to really work harder on the college selection process as a senior because getting more scholarships would have been helpful for me paying for my education. Going to Whitney Young, I learned in my high school years that you really have to work hard to achieve wanted results in grades and such. This translates to the college level. Working hard on your studies really makes the difference in whether someone will be successful or if they will fall off the cliff of work. Sleepless nights and days of preperation will be apart of the college process so I would tell myself to really be ready for the hard work that is to come, for if I want to do well, I will have to put in more work than I have ever done in my years of different levels of school.


take more college credit classes, it will save you lots of money.


Transitioning from high school to college life is quite the experience, but remember to be where your feet are. Yes, you'll meet new friends, and try your best to keep in touch with your ones from back home. Yes, you'll end up calling your parents after you realize it's probably a good idea to let them know you're still alive and need your bank account refreshed. Above all, being where your feet are is of high importance. Planning ahead for your career and future is important, don't get me wrong, but being present and enjoying some of the unforgettable moments you may never get to experience again will build you into the responsible adult you were sent off to college to become. Everybody makes mistakes, don't be afraid to change your major if it's something you aren't enjoying right now. Live in the moment because your future will be created by all of the experiences you live in the present by making conscious decisions instead of planning your life out on a piece of paper. Enjoy the next four year and remember, be where your feet are.


I would definitely tell myself to not worry. I made the transition a lot harder than it should have been and I would definitely tell myself to take it easy and not to be afraid of meeting new people and getting involved in things on my own. I'd probably have this conversation: "Stephanie, take a seat and listen. You will be fine. Go to class and take good notes. You are going to have to study a lot more than you may have had to do in the past. Your classes are goingto be harder, but you've always been up for an academic challenge; never forget that one day you conivnced your math class to take calculus instead of college algebra during your junior year. If you do find yourself in a slump in one of your classes, don't be afraid to talk to your TA - THEY ARE THERE TO HELP YOU. With all this aside, you will do just fine. Even if you don't do as well as you want, you are just in your first year."


If I were to travel back in time and share the tips and tricks I learned throughout my undergraduate experience, I would tell my high school self that taking college seriously early on opens many more doors in the future. If someone would have stressed the fact that college is about studying for the career I want to have for the rest of my life, I would have flourished earlier on, saving myself the stress of playing catch-up in the latter years. The second tip I would give myself would be to get involved early on. The easiest way to make new friends in college is to join a club sport, volunteer organization, and/or work on-campus. The people you meet participating in these activities are going to be the people that help keep you sane in the eleventh hour of studying for a final that your whole grade depends on. Being able to have these people to fall back on was one of the main reasons I was successful, we held eachother accountable, and watched eachother succeed. College is purely about balance, and with perfect balance, comes the perfect college experience.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, there would be a few things I would tell myself. As a student that is still working for his undergraduate degree after 5 years of college directly out of high school, I have taken a strange path to get to where I am. The first thing I would tell my high-school self is to evaluate my expenses and determine if a fully funded community college experience is the best financial and timely choice. I believe that I have spent more time for my undergrad degree and possibly more money catching up with the classes from community college that did not transfer or count toward my degree. The final thing I would tell my high school self is to heavily research the subjects that I want to study. I am currently studying landscape design and horticulture, turfgrass management, and architecture. I am happy with my final decision to study all of these; however, I am unsure of where my career path is going. Because of this, for now I plan on continuing my education by doing research for my graduate degree in turfgrass pathology.


If I could go back, I would have gotten involved sooner. I would have joined more clubs when first arriving because I have had amazing experiances, made lifelong friends, learned a lot about myself, and more in the clubs I joined.


If if could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school student, I would definitely tell myself to ALWAYS stay focused. People always say how hard college is, but really it's only hard if YOU make it hard for yourself. Go out and have good time. If you get too comfortable and have too much fun before buckling down on studies, it can really backfire on you. Time management is definitely as HUGE part of college. You have to know how to have the right amount of fun without it getting in the way of your main goal. College is about new experiences, making good & bad decisions, metting new people and working towards getting your degree. Don't have too much fun to where you lose focus and don't work too much to where you can't have a break sometime. GET TO KNOW YOUR PROFESSOR ! Having your professor know who you are is a big deal. Trust me, it'll help a lot. Join some clubs , make plenty of new, life-long friends and make the most of your experience because a lot of people choose not take advantage of this.


The halls of my high school contain memories of freedom, sadness, confusion and joy. I think of those four years as four completely seperate entities. For example, I would tell my freshman self not to get caught up in a boy who wasn't compatible with me. I would tell her to stop straightening her hair and let her natural curls do their thing, girl! My sophomore self was an entirely different monster. I had been dumped by said boyfriend and was drowning in my own pity and anger. I spent that year fighting depression and heartbreak, trying to figure out which way was up and who I was supposed to be. Sophomore me needed to hear that everything was going to sort itself out and that the best was yet to come. She needed to know she was strong. Myself as a junior had established a close ring of friends and had fallen in love with my best friend. I would only advise this person to take more pictures. Unfortunately, senior year was defined by falling outs and stress. That girl just needed to know that she was going to become exactly who she was always meant to be.


The advice I would give to myself as a high school senior is to start applying for scholarships ahead of time, instead of waiting until the last minute. I would also tell myself that it is okay to step out of my comfort zone and to experience and try new things.


It seems unnatural at first because you aren't living at home and are now living with someone you have never met before. Trust me, she turns out to be one of the best friends you have. Things may not always come easy, but you manage it. You don't have to be everywhere at once. So, focus on the important things and the rest will work itself out. You find amazing friends and join some awesome clubs. Plus, you go to some really cool classes and have the opportunity to meet and connect with people that you would anywhere else. Remember, everyone else is just figuring it out too. You may not know exactly what you want to do, but you're on the right track with choosing to go to college. You have plenty of time to decide what you like and don't like and even who you really are when it comes down to the wire. Don't worry so much and have some fun along the way, this is the best time of your life. Keep your chin up and stand tall, kid, you're fine.


If I had the chance to go back in time and speak to my high school self, I would advise her to study more frequently and to focus more on learning the information versus simply memorizing it. As a college freshman I often compared my study tactics to that of those around me; if I saw others studying less and making good grades I would think I could do the same. I made the mistake earlier on in school by focusing more on the social scene of the campus versus my own study tactics and if I had a second chance I would not want to repeat these mistakes. When entering college it is important to accomplish an academic strategy, because there will always be a party before and after your studies, I just need to choose my partying and studying time wisely.


You will never know what will happen a year from now. Everything and everyone you know can change. College is about making tough decisions and embracing who you are. There will be times where you will be loney, you will fear, you will fail but only you will make the choices you need to succeed. Protect those that will protect you and be more kind to people because no one knows what someone is going through. It may be cold outside but it doesn't mean you have the inner warmth to perserve and embrace your own heat. When you can learn to be yourself, everyone will learn how to accept you. College is a wikipedia page where every word is a hyperlink, you can't check everylink; But, you have to know that some links are more important than others. Don't be afraid that you might fail and tackle new challenges head on. You are the only one who determines what it means to be great, get out meet people and move forward in the world.


If I could go back to high school and give myself advice about college I would have a few suggestions. First, I would tell myself to make sure and get involved when I get into college, because starting at such a big school is hard and getting involved in groups with people that share the same values or passions is a way to meet people you can make friends with. That is the largest piece of advice I'd give myself, but another piece of advice would be to make sure and fill out as many scholarships as I could in high school, because that first year is the easiest to reciece them. But make sure I dont stop there and keeping looking for more and more scholarships each year, because the debt will be huge when i get out of college. I'd also tell myself to make connections within my department in college. Making connections, as well as, getting involved will help so much with receiving money and getting good recomendations down the line. Those things dont seem very important when first entering college but ive learned those connections will help tremendously when looking for a job.


Knowing what I know now about my college, I would tell my high school senior self not to slack off; apply to as many scholarships that you are able to get your hands on and explore your options. Once attending college, get involved in everything your heart desires and hone in on that one thing you truly care about and put you all into it. Focus on your grades and know that this step in college is the precursor to your life as an adult citizen. I would tell myself to get to know my proffesors and to take advantage of every office hour and lecture that the school has to offer. Make friends and join study groups. Take advantage of the help that the school offers if you are struggling and don't wait until the last minute to try and fix your mistakes. Be proactive. Study abroad and talk with your academic advisor, a lot! Never stop believing in yourself, and never let anyone tell you what you cannot do. Know that there is always a way to accomplish your goals, hopes, and dreams. Remember the reason why you wanted to be college-educated when you first enrolled.


I would tell myself its not that hard to put in the effort I need to. In high school my GPA was much lower than I would have wanted and it was only due to a lack of effort. Here in college I've made the dean's list and have a GPA of over 3. If I had done this in high school I surely would find college much more affordable. Slacking off as I did a few years ago doesn't benifit me short or long term near as much as putting in the work.


Given the opportunity to go back and speak to my highschool self, I would tell myself that things become better, to keep my eyes forward and chin up. While I was highly involved in highschool and maintained a large group of friends, I battled through depression, sometimes struggling to believe that I would ever be happy with what I was doing and that it all meant something. When I finally arrived in college though, life took a wonderful turn; my friends shared the sam interests as I did and were willing to go on adventures like hiking and camping, my professors were not only well known in their fields, but were also my friends, who readily took time out of their schedule to listen to my problems and help me in whatever ways they could. My four years in college has given me the most beautiful opportunity anyone could give me--the chance to be myslef. The chance to act weird, study what I want and do the hobbies that make me happy while not fearing being judged or put down. I survived, but if I could have spoken to myself then, I would simply say "Keep moving forward".


Be outgoing. Be the first person to say "hi" on move in day at the dorm. Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you on the first day of your Monday 8am class because more than likely you'll need to borrow their notes at some point. Capture the attention of recruiters who are watching your every move. Make friends everywhere you go because sometimes you just need a game day buddy, a study partner at 2 in the morning, or the friend whose aunt's best friend's brother got you that job after graduation. You'll never know how a person can enrich your life until you say "hello".


If I could tell myself anything as a senior it would be that it is possible to succeed. The Unviersity has so many tools set in place to help everyone be successful. All you have to do is seek out help and ask a few questions. It is very easy to do well, you just have to put in some effort. Taking initiative can seem difficult but the results will be worth your time. Everyone that I have needed to contact to answer a question has been helpful. Their job is to help you and they also want you to succeed. Without reaching out being successful is difficult and youo will have more road blocks along the way.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition the advice I would give myself would be that big scary campus that you first walked on your junior year of high school isn't so scary after all, so let the butterflies go just because your going to school by yourself. Don't be afraid to fail because it will only make you a stronger person and you will gain so much knowledge. Nothing will come as easy as it did your whole high school career so working and studying harder is essential to surviving in college. You will shed some tears but wipe them and keep on trying because you were build for this and it will be okay. Accept criticism not as someone is trying to put you down but as someone is trying to help you grow and prepare you for the real world. Last but not least the little girl you once was will turn into a young lady, some people will not understand why you've changed but its not meant for them to understand.


If I could go back and tell my high school self some advice I would first say don't stretch yourself too thin. High school was too easy because that you never learned how to study. In college you have to find your way of studying that works and you need to do it fast. Also you came from a small high school going into MIzzou you are goig to have huge classes don't be overwhelmed. Also transitioning in don't take too many hours and speak up when your advisor thinks you need to take more you know what is best for you not them. They don't know you yet! Make lots of connections with many people be nice and make lots of friends; they are very usful for study groups and having good relationships with professors will make you have many references. Professors are not scarey, they are great and will help you in any way possible. Make sure to take advantage of office hours. Tell them your life goals and they will help you achieve.


College is a very important time in a person's life. If I could go back and give myself advise, I would tell myself to take more opportunites to explore myself and the resources that the school has to offer. The University of Missouri-Columbia has a lot to offer in regards to extracurricular activities, research, and volunteering. I am currently working in a research lab and do not have has much time as I would like to engage in other extracurricular activities, so I would advise my younger self to not focus as much on one thing early in my college career in order to explore other options. I would also advise myself to branch out and maybe even join someting that I do not necessarily already enjoy, just to see what else is out there.


Start working hard from day one. Don't slack off in the beginning and try to make it up in your later years of college.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that college is much harder than high school and that I'm going to have to study quite a bit. (I didn't study at all in high school and still recieved A's. I miss that...) I would also tell myself not to worry, because college isn't really all that bad, especially if you take the time to study. Honestly, though, I pretty much knew what to expect from college when I was a high school senior, as I had an older sister already in college. Sure, I was nervous, and I had put a lot of pressure on myself to do well (still do), but college is pretty much what I expected it would be. Now even if I could go back in time to talk to myself, I don't think I would want to. It's not really necessary. Plus, I feel like that has to be breaking some time travel rules, and it might even create a paradox. I don't think we want that.


Assuming I could go back and give myself advice about college, I would tell my self to not be afraid. Not be afraid of what new experiences are about to come my way, not be afraid to forget your old self and totaly redefine what kind of person i wanted to become, to not be afraid of what people might think about you for what you do, to not be afraid of meeting random strangers who would become the greatest friends I could every wish for. Most of all, to not be afraid of being my self. I didn't get this advice when I came into college. I wasn't a loner but if i would have realized the potential of just being my self and letting that take control of what i did while in college, it would have been a much better experience. Realizing that its a whole new world in college and that you can be who ever you want with almost no judgement, would have helped me to the absolute greatest extent. Not being afraid is the best advice i could give to myself as a high school senior.


"Comparing yourself to others only distorts your perspective of who you truly are." This was the hardest lesson for me to grasp throughout my time in college. Time and time again, I would beat myself up over not having as much money as my peers, as 'good' a GPA as my peers, or even the 'best' post-graduate plans and goals. Allowing these wordly things to affect my self-love and ability to perform at my full potential ultimately hurt one person--myself. I began to love myself by asking, "What do you like to do? What causes are you passionate about?" Once I was able to understand myself as a person, everything else fell into place. Greek life wasn't something that I was passionate about, so I didn't participate in it. Drinking alcohol every weekend wasn't something that I desired, so I didn't. Saying no to things that won't help me prosper in the way which I desire has kept me focused on the things I believe in and aspire to accomplish. Peer pressure is a major cause of risk-taking among adolescents. It will only control you if you allow it to.


Dear Jaanna, Congratulations for making it to your senior year, this is going to be a big year for your and I encourage you to make the most of it. However, in order to do that allow me to tell you how. First, you now have to know what you want for the future, I know you aren't fully prepared for what the world has to offer but that's why you have to do your own research. Figure out what you what you want to be when you grow up and if college is necessary for you. After you firgure that out, then it's time to rearrange your priorities; you may need to cut down on all those volunteering events you do and your social life needs to be at a minimum. Take more time to reflect and pursue your goals and manage your life, because college is all about learning how to properly achieving your goals and grow as a person. Enjoy the time you have with your friends now and expect to gain/lose some in college. Yet through your journey to college, love yourself and stay focused. I'm proud of you always. -Jaanna


I would tell my high-school-self that a high school diploma isn't a ticket to knowing the future. When you are handed your diploma you don't get a magical sixth sense that gives you insight on what you are going to do with your future. It is perfectly okay to go to college without knowing what you want to do with your life. I wish I had known a year ago that I didn't have to have the rest of my life planned out by the time I graduated. It would have allowed me a little more time to relax and to spend less time stressing out over the future. I think this is something that all high school students should know. You don't have to have 100% of your life figured out by the time you graduate. It's not a race or a competition. It's a milestone. A milestone that should be cherished, not fretted over.


I would tell myself to take care of my health and put as much effort as possible into maintaining a high GPA. I would tell myself not to allow fear to dictate how I perform in hard classes, and that math can be fun if I'm patient with myself and give myself enough time to figure everything out. I would also tell myself to go to the teachers' office hours and let them know if I'm struggling in any area of my life, not just academics. They're people too and they understand what it's like to struggle in college.


Stay true to yourself, don't go out because your friends are. That isn't you. Also money matters, and taking out loans is a lot more stressful than you think it is right now. Suddenly you are a junior and paying back $133 a month of interest on loans, when thousands of dollars could have been saved by going to community college for two years, or gaining in state residency for sophomore year. But as mom always told you, I hope you dance! Sometimes you have to dance away from home to grow into who you should be.


The only thing I would change about my high school life would be to become more involved in my community in my free time. I was rather too reserved, and that kept me from expanding my horizons and being able to fully understand why I wanted to go to college in the first place. It was just something I had to do; it was the next step, and I couldn't see beyond that step. If I had sought out more extracurricular activities, I would have discovered more interests and probably would have had a better idea of exactly what I wanted to major in, or even what career I would want to follow afterwards.