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University of Nebraska at Omaha

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

You?re seventeen, and you?re about to discover something so much larger than the small community you?ve lived in all your life. You?ll learn the importance of hard work, even when it goes unacknowledged. Even more importantly, you?ll learn that family should always come before work. Love what you do, but remember to love the people who love you in return. If you want love, you must give love. When you venture out, remember its ok to feel scared, and its ok to ask for help. Don?t panic, and never think you?re not worth holding out a hand to. You are worth it, and if you let fear control your life, you?ll never have the chance to truly live. Remember you can accomplish your dreams if you picture them in your mind and see yourself achieving them. As the popular dance school from your beloved high school states, ?Just like a dream, you are not what you seem,? don?t define yourself by your past, you are who you are now and you are beautiful. Let go of your ego and live life without pretensions. Life will appear more beautiful to you then.

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If given the ability to go back in time and give advice to myself as a high school senior, I would say that the number one thing I should focus on is giving the academic experience my all. I would join more active groups such as a debate or political team, as well as sports and theater. I believe that each of these lead to enhancing self-confidence, communication skills, dedication to achievement, and work ethic. I hesitated my first year of college due to being shy and unsure where to start in joining clubs on campus. Now that I know how much fun and eye-opening it can be, I would tell myself to go for anything I could dream of! I have enjoyed every moment of choir, band, theater, various ministry groups, debate team, cross country, and dance team since I have attended college, and wish I could go back to encourage myself to join all my freshman year. I would recommend the same to anyone as I believe it gives us confidence in class, grows leadership skills, builds friendships, and prepares for the world unknown after college.

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My senior year of high school was amazing. I had so much fun with my beloved friends throughout the year. However, there are some things I wish I could re-do if I had the chance. For example, I applied to a lot of colleges. This created a lot of unnecessary stress. It's kind of ironic that I ended up going to community college. I would tell myself to be mindful of where I would apply. I would minimalize the colleges I applied to and make sure each college I apply to is realistic budget, academic, and geographical wise. I would ensure I visited a lot of colleges and apply to colleges with a great variety of academic and extracurricular programs. I would remind myself that even though going to college with my friends sounds fun, I have to do what is best for me and my interests. I would motivate myself to get all the tasks done as soon as possible while applying to college. And finally, I would tell myself to not sweat the small stuff, to take every day as it comes and to cherish every moment because someday soon, it will all be over

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My first semester at the University of Nebraska at Omaha I have learned a lot. I went into this whole college thing being afraid that I wouldn't succeed. However, with the correct time management and drive I proved my self wrong. While in college I had a rude awaken that I was paying to attend school so I should work hard for my grades. I took every opportunity I could get to better my grade. I spent a lot of my down time in the library studying and completing homework. When it came to my classes I liked to get there an hour earlier and re-read my work. Also , when I had a major paper due I had people read over it multiple times. I think my first semester was valuable because know what to expect if I transfer. Now in second semester I am still using my same methods. My classes this semester are tougher, but the class sizes are smaller. So you have more face to face time with the professors. So I am hoping that this semester will be the same as the last. I am just going to have to work harder for it.

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The advice that I would give myself as a high school senior knowing what i know now would be a few things. I would definately say go to the college that fits you best and not what other people tell you. Nobody can make you happy besides yourself, you are the first person to accomplish that. Secondly, know what kind of activities the RA's do with your buildings or floors because that is a big part in how you get involved and unfortunately my RA does not do anything. I would also say if you grew up your entire life playing sports and you love them, just because you think college is a different step in your life do not give up doing what you love. Even if you do not think mentally and physically you can handle it and you are questioning yourself, take that chance and go somewhere you will feel at home with what you know best. If that is what you love do not stop just because you think college is different, because it is not take the chance. PLEASE. Those are the three main points I wish i would have known in high school.

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Dear, Emily I am writing you this letter to give you a little advice about your future. The first and most important thing, don't stress. You have a lot on your plate with a full -time job, full-time studies, school activities, and friends. There is no need to worry or stress, everything gets done in the end. You have to learn to take it one day at a time. Trust yourself; you have what it takes to make it through. Another thing, do as much as you can to learn about the world around you. It will really help in your future career as a social worker. Be aware of societal issues and how they could be affecting you and others. Then, take what you learned and help, be active. If helping others is what you want to do then start now, the experiences you encounter will help you in the long run. Finally, take some time for yourself and the people you care about. You work really hard, but just know college is a time for living and learning about life. You have the rest of your life to stress out. So have fun! Sincerely, Yourself

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Finding the right college is all about finding the college where you know you fit in socially and academically. If it feels like a strain to fit in when visiting or if it feels uncomfortable in anyway whatsoever, that college is probably not for you. College is a time to grow, and you can't grow if you're being held down by people who make you uncomfortable and don't allow you to be you. As for parents, look into the education and programs the school offers. School should act as a safe haven for your child when you drop them off to stay and live in the dorms their first year of college. This means you should be assured that there is a medical center on campus, a learning center, a good resident life program, and trustworthy and smart professors. It may also be smart to check how much the campus partakes in using illegal substances, because as much as you don't think you'll kid won't do it, they just may be forced into that situation. Overall, go to the college that just feels right, when you visit you'll know.

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The drive for education has to come within. You must be self-motivated to finish school. In college you have to show up for class when the only person accountable is you. Professors will not seek you out or care if you skip class, the only person you hurt is yourself. "College is the only place where consumers steal from themselves," this was a statement I have heard about school. This was in the forefront of my mind and I wanted to make sure I didn't do this. You should know you are paying for this, it's an investment, sometimes a large one, to attempt to obtain a diploma. Also I would not get caught up in the drinking scene as much as I did at some points. I understand that drinking is a part of college life, I would advise to be disciplined about it. Limit yourself to bars and such only after you pass a class, test or finish a project, not on a Tuesday when you have work to be done. Finally, realize that you need to seek out what you want. Professors are avaliable and can help, but you must find them.

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I had a representative from my dream college come visit me, and I had also visited the school with my father. I received multiple phone calls and application wavers from the school. For some reason, I ended up getting scared of going to an out of state college, and applied to colleges locally. My advice is to press through and apply to all the schools that interest you and don't hold back. If you do, you'll end up with woulda-coulda's like me. If it is decided that you will attend a college out of town I advise the parents to make sure that their child is in a comfortable environment. Meaning take the time to decorate the dorm, find a church home, and family friends so that the child doesn't get too homesick and wants to come home. Doing this also gives comfort to the parents knowing a friend is watching. A friend of my mother's once told me that her biggest mistake was that she didn't take the time to make sure her first child was comfortable. That same first child has now dropped out of school.

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The difference between the 20 year old Jamel and the 18 year old Jamel is maturity. I didnt take college seriously and that is why i didnt apply for scholarships and didnt take the neccessary procedures to get school paid for. I dropped out of sports, my GPA dipped my senior year and i was not focused on what was important. I was focused on girls, drugs, and trying to be popular. So if i had to give myself advise, it would be a phrase. "What Would Jesus Do". Jesus wants every man woman and child to have joy and happiness in their life. Not only does he want that but he wants long term joy. All of those things i named before was short term joy and that is why i feel that i am a better person now that i have my head on straight. It was a long road even getting to high school and i would feel that some of the things that i had to go through he would need to go through to become a man. And that is what the 20 year old Jamel is today. A young, spiritual, intelligent young man.

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