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Wagner College

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

My college experience was my first real introduction to independence. Having been raised in a caring, protective, middle class, suburban household- attending college took me out of my comfort zone for the first time. As much as I value the degree I earned from Wagner and the knowledge I obtained from all of the classes attended, I find that the social education of the college experience is most valuable. It's funny to think back now, but at first the idea that I was completely responsible for my choices- without having a parental figure monitering or influencing my daily decisions was extrememly novel to me. I quickly learned the importance of time management amongst classes, athletics, and my social life. The subtlety of meeting new people, navigating the challenges of living with roommates, and maintaining relationships with different genres of peer groups sounds like a given, but really, these are skills that I developed in college. College, for me, helped develop my self confidence- I think the college experience, in general, is most valuable because it acts as this crazy transitional cushion between childhood and adulthood.

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One of the first things I think parents and/ or students should know is that even if a college or university says that they are the best college and that you or you child should go there, does not mean that it really is the best fit. Find a college or university that, first offers the types of things you are interested in studying. Then take a good look at the campus itself, it's location, the quality of the campus, is it clean, is it well maintained, can you see yourself walking around that campus for four years. Also, talk to students who are already attending the school and get their opinions. Go to the school's "Campus Visit Days" and go on a tour, talk to the Admissions Counselors as well as professors from specific departments. Once you pick the school and get accepted, go with an open mind, be ready to learn about all aspects of life learning and growing goes way beyond the classroom. Ask questions, talk to people., be outgoing when meeting new people, get involved in activities around campus, and most importantly, just be yourself. College is the time for exploration and new discoveries.

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If I could go back and talk with myself as a high school senior, my transition to college could have been a lot less stressful. I would definitely tell my younger self to choose a small school to make the transition the easiest. During my decision process, I had it down to two schools; one very large, and one very small. I am a terrible decision maker to begin with! I drove myself and my family insane with numerous pro and con lists. If I had a chance to talk with myself today, I would have known that a small school makes everything easier; from class sizes and interaction with professors to move- in day and instant friends, having a small sized school made the transition so simple. It was almost like summer camp; making friends that you will have forever, and gaining great mentors out of your counselors, or in this case, professors. The small size of the school has allowed me to learn so much more and experience things I never would have had the chance to. Sharing this information with myself last year could have helped me make my decision easier without annoying my friends and family.

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“You have been though a lot and even though you are about to graduate high school, this is not the end, it is just another stepping stone to get where you want to get. Therefore, stay focus and continue to persevere. You will feel pressured into doing things that you never done before just to fit it and to have a social life, however, you need to keep in mind that you are going there with one purpose and that is to succeed, therefore, be willing to make sacrifices. The sacrifices you make will make you feel down in the time being, but they will definitely pay off in the end. Most importantly, keep God in your heart and make Him a priority because He will help you overcome anything that seems impossible because with Him everything is possible. Lastly, do not lessen your expectations. If you have goals in mind of things you want to do while being there, do not hesitate. Ask the faculty for help and do not stop until all your questions have been answered. Take advantage of all the resources that are provided to you and this will make your college experience an unforgettable one.”

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I think the most important part of selecting a college is going to see it for yourself. Once you are on the campus, you are able to visualize yourself as a student there and this will help in the selection process. You will be able to determine what sized school you would thrive in: a large college, where you would sit in lecture halls frequently, or a small college, where you would typically have a personable relationship with your professor. Also, you will be able to see what the weather is like and whether or not you would be able to handle living in a warm or cold climate throughout the school year. Once you choose your school, you should make the most of the college experience. By joining a club or greek organization, you can meet people just like yourself! It is even a good idea to be extra friendly during orientation because that is where friendships can blossom. Just by being friendly during class, you can unknowingly make a lifelong friend. Also make sure to be courteous to your neighbors. It could always come in handy whenever you lock yourself out of your room!

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When it comes to choosing the "right college" you (the student) have to you with your gut feeling. First off, breathe. If you don't feel like you fit in on a certain campus, chances are that feeling won't go away even when you start attending that college. You should feel welcome on the campus you choose and you'll know the difference of fitting in and not fitting in when you visit colleges. Once you've found your "right college" you should definitely find out what groups are on campus and get involved right away. Joining clubs automatically gives you similarities with all the people who are already involved and it makes meeting new people and starting friendships really easy. You can learn a lot about the people you're spending time with in an organization or club on campus. Go to campus wide activities too, they are a great way to meet new people that may have a lot in common with you. Parents, learn to let go and let your student create their own college experience for themselves. They'll appreciate you even more if you're not breathing down their necks.

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Knowing what I know now about college life and the transition, I would tell myself to not be afraid of any exciting opportunities presented to me and to still have fun! Four years of college in New York City have almost come and gone so quickly, and I feel that I have not utilized my convenient location near the city. I was able to study abroad through my school and see most of Europe, but I have not done many things around my campus. I have always put academics first and needed to work jobs throughout school, which has been stressful at times. This is why I would remind myself to simply time manage, and not forget to take part in fun campus activities. While not forgetting to have a great time at college, I would also tell my high school senior self to be yourself! This is the best way to make new friends and to not fear being judged by others. During the orientation week and the first month of college life, be open to meeting anyone and everyone because you never know who you will meet and possibly be friends with for the rest of your life.

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I would first ask yourself what size college you can see yourself being comfortable attending. After researching and limiting options, limit more by thinking about what career you have in mind and how accessible field experience is on or around the college. Also, it may not seem important but if someone truly hates cold weather, a college up north might not be the smartest choice. After narrowing options, t's essential to visit. As an athlete, I stayed over night at many colleges and it really helped me see what campus life was truly like. It's hard to explain but once you on campus and get a feeling that is where you are meant to be you "just know." Once you're in college, it's important to break your own boundaries and get out to meet people and make friends. Get involved! Go to games, join clubs, go to study group sessions even if you don't need the extra help. College is an eye opener and it's important to drop any bias' that were had in high school. It's all about accepting other people, and even more about first accepting yourself.

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As a high school senior, i wasnt really into getting into college at the moment , so i decide to continue to build up my work experience as a cashier in different area of the reservation, then i decide to be a teacher aide for the northern cheyenne headstart then i took a year off to take care of my horses and spent time with my family. I decide to go to college, i choose Chief Dull knife College to start my college career, I glad that i made this choice because i need a refresher in all my subjects, I have been on President and Dean list also had awards in my subjects. I'm pursing degree in Chemical and Enivronmental engineering. I'll be graduating in the spring of 2012 with my AS degree then i'll be traveling down to the Colorado School of Mines to attend a summer internship and also finish up my degree then i'll transfer to Yale University to finish up my gradute school to get my PH.D in Chemical engineering. The advice that i have gave to myself is never surrender or give up on my education goals in life.

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I wish as a senior in high school I could have known exactly what I was getting in to because then, just maybe, I wouldn't have worried as much. If I could go back and tell myself a few things, the first major thing would be to relax. College isn't as scary s thehigh school guidance counselors like to make it seem. I wouls also let myself know that everyone is in the same boat as you, and that I am not the only one errified of making brand new friends. I would let me high school self know also, that college is a lot more expensive than thought. I would advice myself that instead of going on that really "important" shopping trip with my friends over the summer, I should really be conserving money and looking up cheaper prices of college books. But probably the most important thing I would tell myself is to get ready for a adventure. I wish I would have known that college is meant to be a place to learn who you are, because then I would have started as soon as I got here. So heres' to an adventure.

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