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University of Southern Maine

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

Stay true to yourself, and trust your intuition. You will encounter a plethora of new experiences, people, and cultures that may seem strange initially, but don't be scared! There's nothing wrong with expanding your horizons. Just remember to live according to your values without getting caught up in the hype. You will make new friends from all walks of life. Some will stay, some will go. Regardless, each one of them will impact on your changing world view. Take these experiences in stride and appreciate the opportunity to learn something new each day. Speaking of learning, excelling academically will continue to come easy for you. The Honors program offers a great chance to delve deeper intellectually that you shouldn't pass up. Campus involvement will immerse you in the campus community and create lasting bonds. Although these leadership positions benefit you in the short-term and long-run, be careful that they act in a supportive role rather than taking center stage. You can't major in campus activities after all. Most importantly, it's ok to fall every now and again. You are human. Allow yourself to make mistakes, but be sure to learn from them ultimately.

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Passion and determination is vital to the success that can be obtained through the college experience. Involving yourself with positive campus events and actively engaging with people who are different from yourself will inevitably open your mind to the possibilities the world has to offer. College is not simply about academic achievement, though that is an extremely important aspect of it. It is important to remember that a 4.0 GPA is not the answer to life's worries and woes, so do not let your self-esteem suffer, if you do not achieve a 110% on your first Biology exam. Set goals for yourself that are not only academic, but also mind-opening: try something new everyday, interact with someone who has interests and hobbies that are unfamiliar to you. You will be very surprised at the great sense of self-validation you feel when you realize that you are someone who not only possesses the will to succeed through rigorous college coursework, but also the will to embrace the unfamiliar and indulge yourself in learning experiences that go beyond the pages of a textbook. Enrich your mind, but also leave it open. Never settle for less in life.

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Dear Self, Congratulations! You have made it through high school and are embarking on a new chapter in your life--college. I know that you are probably a melting pot of emotions right now, with excitement, anxiety, motivation and apprehension all flooding into your mind at once, making it hard to even think straight. Relax. All of this is normal. And this roller coaster of emotions won't last forever. Breathe. And when things seem unbearably overwhelming, keep breathing. Now, some advice about the nearly approaching life transition you are about to enter into (not that you are looking for advice about how to lead your life at eighteen years old, but just in case): Be balanced--make sure you incorporate a healthy dose of study time into your social life. Eat well--there was always a reason why mom made you eat your greens. Exercise--it will be both rejuvenating and mind clearing. Go to class, don't take yourself too seriously, laugh, and even cry if you want to. Pace yourself--you don't need to have all the answers at once. Just remember, you can be whoever you want to be. Choose wisely. Sincerely yours,Me

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As the human society moves along and ventures to new and exciting levels, it is important for individuals to tranisiton appropriately along the way. Assuming that I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, my transition into becoming a young woman would have been much different. Knowing what I know now about college life, I personally would have told myself to be more motivated and ambitious with my future goals. I would have asked for more help and more direction so that I could have better understood just how important college really is. Immediately, the first peice of advice I would have given to myself would be to get college applications out. Not knowing how to apply, nor having money should not have stopped me from delaying my education and settling for a community college. The transition and path that I chose was an easy route. Knowing what I know now about how college life really works and the strenuous amount of effect it takes to achieve such specactular goals, I would have told myself to buckle down. Venturing into my future college courses, I will become a young woman.

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The best advice I can give about finding the right college is to start early, set goals, and be realistic. Students who tell themselves that they'll narrow their college choices down to say five, for example, are more likely to get everything accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. After all, not only do they have to then apply to all five of these colleges and complete everything that that entails, but they must also complete other applications later on--something that will seem easier if they don't have 20 different applications for loans and scholarships to fill out along with a wide variety of admissions essays to write. As for making the most of the college experience, the best advice I can give is to get involved and to take charge of your life--particularly time management. Join clubs and sports or take part in school production--it helps you feel more involved and it's a great way to make friends, both of which ease the pain of homesickness. Don't put off studying or writing papers until the last minute, because the college workload can snowball quickly and rather uncontrollably.

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First off, it is important for students to feel that they have real potential at a University. Although the college hunting experience may be stressful, it is important to try to find a University that students feel comfortable in. Parents: although your child?s school of choice might come with a bit of a price tag, it is important that they feel as though you are behind them 100%. Support in their choices is crucial. Also, it is important that you give your child space to adjust and think for his/her own ? try not to pressure them on where to go; pressure leads to stress, and stress leads to unhappiness. Make this experience one to remember. Student life can be tough at first, but like all things, it takes time to adjust. A little heads up: the biggest factor in college is time management. Learning how to manage your time makes for a much easier and stress free college experience. I personally took a class on stress and time management, and I learned a lot from it. I would suggest any college prospect to do the same. Last thing: live it up and learn about something you love.

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I have always told parents/students that it is really important for the student to know his/her learning, living, and socializing needs. Comparing a school with those needs of the student will definitely help. I have seen plenty of smart students leave or drop out because their needs in those areas were not met through this school. It also helps to have a good idea about what major he/she would like to get into. When I searched, I looked into the extra-curricular activities, location of the campus, and the quality of the School of Business. Going to orientations are extremely helpful. To get the most out of the college experience, I would get involved. Living on campus helps out a lot. I would join a club, a sport, go to shows, volunteer, or something. If you're not interested in that, then at least make on-campus friends and hang out with them. There are people who decided they didn't like the school because they went home every weekend, which doesn't help a student feel a part of a community. I would strive for a college and an experience that makes you feel at home.

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I would reccommend the student and or parent to help eachother research on universities that would be most fitting. If you're from a small town and kind of worry about size, look for a nice small private college. If being near home is an important factor, look at the possible universities surrounding your state. If you're from a cold part of the United States, and you just want to be able to enjoy warm weather all year long, then that is also another factor to look into. When looking for schools, look at the financial aid pacakage because getting the help will be beneficial for parents and students when it comes to repaying the loans back. Social life is important, you don't want to be anywhere too quiet where there aren't many activities to do. Pick some place where you are comfortable to walk outside on your own and just feel safe all around. One last important thing, is visiting the campus. This is extremely important because if you go and visit the campus and the department of which you are interested in, you get a feel of what it is like, a first hand experience.

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Nothing you are doing is abnormal, or strange. You are not handling college any better or worse than other freshmen. Do what makes you comfortable and happy, not what you think is expected of you as a college student (outside of completing your homework on time). While the upperclassmen all seem far more knowledgeable and wordly than you, they started out where you are right now and are STILL trying to figure college out. The school year will pass by much more quickly than you think, so stay on your toes. You're a neurotic and anxious person, so don't make it worse by procrastinating on assignments. This will snowball out of control and you will be so paralyzed by anxiety that you can't even start that already late assignment. It's okay to spend all night watching movies and chugging soda when you feel like you can't deal with other people. Taking a time out to pamper yourself and to allow for self-reflection is just as important in college as making sure you connect with other people - which you may not do easily at first. That's okay. Take it one step at a time.

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Young Kathleen, You're full of dreams but they all revolve around following the successful footprints of your family, most of whom are involved in the medical field. You know very well that this isn't the path for you, although sciences and medicine intrigue you, your heart lies in art. Your hands weren't meant to touch the hearts of others with healing, but with your creations. Art has always been your strongest subject, don't be afraid you aren't good enough, once you let go of your fears you will even start to impress yourself with what you can make. You don't need to move away from home.. Listen to Mom, stay close to her. She keeps you motivated and out of trouble, she's your biggest fan and supporter as well as a fountain of inspiration. Not to mention that by staying home you'll save yourself money. You can keep working at your steady job, with your supportive boss who gives you free lessons in business, why would you think to give that up? Try to surpress your desire for new exotic people and places, there's plenty of time to discover them later.

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