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University of North Carolina Wilmington

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

I would advise parents and students not to settle on a college until they are 100% sure it is the right one. Take your time, don't rush into a decision. Students, go into college with a completely open mind. If there is something holding you back from an amazing college experience (i.e. a boyfriend/girlfriend at home, shyness, homesickness) do your very best to eliminate or manage these things. Tell yourself that you worked hard to get to college and you absolutely deserve the best experience possible. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to other students. Chances are, they are just as nervous as you are about being surrounded by strangers. Don't put all your energy into finding the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend. You have plenty of time for that. Look instead for true, lifelong friends.

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Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself. I would like to convince myself from an earlier time that the career path I chose is the right one for me. I would tell myself the following. When people say, "The sky is the limit," I feel a strong urge to guide them towards my career path. Ever since I was young I fantasized of flying, as most people do. As high school graduation loomed closer, I could not decide what I would do as a career. I decided to follow my dreams and started pilot school. Another huge factor in my decision is the fact that I am fascinated to meeting people and seeing new places. Being a professional pilot is the perfect career for me because it allows me to follow my dreams, meet new people, and see new places. For me, the sky is not the limit, the sky is my office.

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First, I would tell them to visit the campus. You can't get the feel for a place through packets and pictures. Secondly, I would find out about the housing on campus, if the student is interested. I know that may seem like an odd second thing to look into, but the truth is that most students spend a large amount of time in their rooms (studying, eating, being with friends). Thirdly, I would say that accademically all schools will give you a degree. If they are an accredited university you shouldn't have to worry about what kind of education you will be getting. Focus on how your time will be spent at the school and if you think you will enjoy it. Yes, we all came here to learn but at college the learning doesn't stop when you leave the classroom. Last but not least, I'd tell them to go to UNCW!!

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The most important piece of advice for myself as a high school senoir would be to loosen up. College life is not as scary and daunting as you might think. The only thing that can make the transition difficult is your attitude. An attitude that will accept change and moreover gravitate toward change will be needed in the long run. It most certainly will be a long run. With at least four years ahead of you, you better be ready to embrace some major shocks and difficult times, but this is not the time to worry about those things. Take life as it comes. Capture the moment as long as it is with you and when it passes, move on. Grow up. Face challenges head on and use them as opportunities to mature and learn. Never look back with regret. Only look forward with hope. Be safe and have fun.

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I think the best advice for anyone about to enter college is to join as many groups/ clubs as you can. Always try and say "yes" when asked to go out and experience new things. Also, don't underestimate your school work. People always regret the grades that they made in Freshman year when their classes were easier, but they didn't appreciate how their grades affect their GPA. On the other hand, having a 4.0 is not the most important thing in life. The purpose of college is to grow as a person in all areas, not just academically. More personally, I would tell myself that I should leave my options open and not pick a major that is so specific. I am still young, and can not be sure the career I envision myself having at 17 or 18 will be the same that I want when I am in my 40's.

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The best advice I can give someone about finding the right college is to make sure you know what you want to get out of an institution. Look for a school that taylors your needs physically, intellectually, spiritually, financially and emotionally. College can be the best time of your life, if you make it so. Make the most, of all your chosen school has to offer. You will make life long friends and learn things that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Manage your time wisely so that your not doing all work with no free time. Use your free time and take advantage of the anemities such as sporting events and student preformances so you can become a well rounded individual. Most importantly, make a difference in your college and be proud of it!

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WOW!! If I could go back in time and tell myself what I know now ... I think that I would have had a better transition from high school to collge. I would tell myself that the SAT is a huge factor when colleges look at your application for admission. This means I would have taken the SAT more than the two time that I did to try and score better. Also I would have told myself to start early at applying to college and pick several to apply to just in case you do not get into the school of your first choice. One piece of advice I honestly do wish I could tell myself back then was to get more involved with extracurricular activities in and outside of the school, because colleges really look at that stuff as well for acceptance into their university.

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My college experience has allowed me to follow my dreams of becoming an on-site mine geologist. This experience started with taking basic studies classes, including environmental studies 195. In this class, I realized I wanted to study about the Earth. I then enrolled into geology courses and found my true passion, geology. Over the past three years, I have gained valuable knowledge in my degree field. Along with this knowledge, I have also expanded my experience in the work force because I worked full time while attending school. My education is priceless and something I will value for the rest of my life. I live to learn and want to continue my education by attending graduate school to fulfill my dream of becoming an on-site mine geologist.

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The advice I would give myself would be to really and truly take advantage of the opportunity that going to college provides you to become your own person. Once out of high school, you can leave all the silly things you did behind you and redefine who you want to be. Also, I would advise myself to really learn, not just memorize for a grade. The things you learn in college are invaluable, not to mention expensive! Take advantage of the resources your university provides, and not just at crunch time when you have no other choice BUT to ask for help! Lastly, enjoy yourself. Once you graduate from college, you're out in the real world and things get a lot more difficult than passing a calculus exam. Live in the moment and learn for a lifetime :)

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Knowing what I know now about college life, if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to actually study. Being a straight “A” high school student, I thought I had everything under control and didn’t think that it actually pertained to me when adults said “College is a lot different than high school.” I realized early on that the way things are graded are a lot more harsh than in high school, mainly because there are less grades being recorded. Because of this, every fraction of a point counts immensely. I would tell my high school self to not get distracted so easily and spend a lot more time in the library, and that as rough at it is at the time, it will pay off at the end of the semester.

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