My greatest advice to my high school senior self would simply be this; eliminate the people in your life who say "you can't". All throughout high school, I was always told "you can't do that". You can't play the saxophone. You can't take AP science classes. When I entered college, I intentionally surrounded myself with a positive community. I let go of my relationships from high school that dragged me down, and instead I formed new ones. I made friends with people who told me "you can" and "why not". And what a difference it has made. I taught myself how to play the tenor saxophone, and I've played in my college's jazz band for six semesters. I pushed myself to take a challenging courseload, and as a result I am graduating in just three years. This past summer, I worked for a top national internship program. I've been accepted to top graduate schools. I surrounded myself by the power of positivity, embracing those who encouraged me to pursue my passions and to continue to grow, and I have been amazed by the results. I only wish that I had done it sooner.
If I were to go back to talk to my high school self, I would remind him of the world beyond his. I would remind him that there are whole topics and concepts he's never explored, much less thought of, and there are whole demographics of people he's never interacted with. I'd remind him to not be narrow-minded, and to go into a new school being positive and receptive to learning. I would tell him to make as many friends as he could when he got to his school and to be authentic with each of them. Faking it until you make it is one thing, but being fake to attract friends will get you nowhere! Overall, I'd tell him to never say never, to not be close-minded, and to open himself up the the beautiful people, knowledge, and food that is out there in the world to discover and learn about. I'd tell him to be the person it took him so long to become.
Being chronically ill, I had to put off going to college for a couple years. Because of that, I don't think I have taken the learning experience for granted like a lot of other freshmen have. I've met some of the most loving, beautiful, caring people at this school--most of whom would literally give you the shirts off their backs. I've learned more in one semester than my entire senior year of high school, and I'm anxious to keep the ball rolling and soak up as much information as these devoted teachers have to give.
Throughout my life school has never been easy for me. Whether it is with my English as a second language or recently finding out about my learning disability. Though I?ve had difficulties I know in the end it will all be worth it. A college degree is so valuable, not just because it will get you ahead in life but because it is such a huge accomplishment for me. Being the first one on my mom?s side of the family to get earn a bachelor?s degree.
College is a valuable experience, especially for a returning adult like me. What I really like about my school is that there is a good mix of students of all ages. I know adult students who have experienced some of the same things I have, as well as younger ?typical? college students who are just setting out. I love sharing my life experience with the younger college kids, and learning from them. It?s very rewarding, and it's wonderful to talk to an 18-year old who has a great work ethic and takes his/her education seriously. I used to think that kids today are not interested in working or learning, but only in partying, playing video games, and texting. I?m happy to be able to say from firsthand experience that this is a stereotype that needs to be revisited. Many of these students are holding down a full-time job as well as taking a full load of classes. I admire and am inspired by these students. I have always considered myself to be an open-minded person, but being in college again has broadened my thinking and made me more tolerant of the younger generation.
Warren Wilson College sent me into the world with a work-hard, can-do attitude. Working within this small community while balancing athletics, academics, and community service prepared me to be a well-rounded global citizen. When I secured a coveted job on the College Farm, I learned the mechanics and philosophies of food animal production. I castrated piglets, worked cattle chutes, managed breeding programs, milled grain, and milked our only dairy cow. This daily work blended into my biology curriculum, where I would learn about estrus synchronization in class in the morning, then actually perform the procedures in the afternoon. Warren Wilson College solidified my dreams of becoming a vet.
I am now enrolled in veterinary school at Colorado State University, where my goal is simple: to learn as much as I can while doing as well as I can and getting as involved as I can. Warren Wilson prepared me to be successful in a veterinary career not only with its academics and work experience, but with its close-knit community. Being an integral part of an eight hundred student college gave me the confidence, communication skills, and grit to be successful in anything I choose.
Don't change yourself to fit into the 'college lifestyle'. There are so many students out there that all have different values, beliefs, and attitudes. You WILL find people like you, people who share your interests and encourage you to grow in ways you feel comfortable. There is no reason to join clubs you aren't interested in or hang out with people you don't have anything in common with. The stereotypical college experience isn't for everyone and you can have a better experience just being who you are than trying to achieve a social norm you don't value. Live in the moment, live for yourself, and make the most out of everything you do. Remember that this is an experience you are paying for; make sure you are getting what you want.
Given the opportunity to revisit high school I would tell myself to calm down and not let the process of college selection overwhelm me. I would have passionately pleaded for a purposeful gap year to explore the world before settling into college.
Be prepared to open the next chapter of your life. It's a huge transition. You're losing the little boy image and becoming an adult. With this transition comes a lot of responsibility. Mom and Dad aren't there to tell you to do your homework or to express disapproval over a low test score. You have to be completely self-motivated and ready to work hard. College is a huge stepping stone to bigger and better things, and it's up to you to make the best of it. Good luck.
Talk to each other. Let the student choose which school he or she wishes to attend and make it work financially. Money is never as big of an issue as it seems in the beginning. Search hard for the perfect school. Do not settle.
Take your time and do not assume anything. I think the most valuable place you can look for answers when you are having a hard time making a decision is in your heart. I ended up at a school that was waaaay more expensive than any of the others that I got accepted to, but it was about my happiness and my success, not the money. If you feel deep down that you/your child will be happy somewhere, you're probably right. Oftentimes the dream school ends up being a nightmare in the end for the student. Do not hesitate to go down the road less travelled. And make sure that you do your research, thoroughly, because schools always try to make themselves look better in any way they can.
Something that has turned out to be very important when choosing the right college is to visit the schools, as many as you want to, and to really get a feel for what the campus is like. That is an excellent sign for how the college will fit to the student. If your gut tells you that the school is good, and you're comfortable on campus, then that's a good sign.
I would tell them that a small college like Warren-Wilson had a tremedous community. It's very easy to make friends, and to find social activities at a college like this. There are so many more opportunities here to live in the moment and bond with people. Because it is so small you meet and become friends with more people than you would at a larger college, because you see the same people every day. The best advice I could give to someone who's choosing a college would be for them to think about their personalities, and to think about themselves in that enviornment.
Finding the right college is hard to do. I was lucky enough to follow my brothers footsteps and go to Warren Wilson College. I believe that the size of the college really is important. Sometimes small is better, you get more attention, respect, and you feel like you are part of a community. When I miss a class and I go to the dinning hall, my proffesor is bound to be there asking me if I am ok, or why I wasn't in class. When teachers know who you are and what you are interested in, it makes it much more rewarding to do well in their class.
I would also suggest that prospective students visit the college with and without their parents. Make the extra investment to come back a second time and stay with a student on campus, it's the only way that you can get a true glimpse of the social life on campus, which is extremely important.
Make sure to keep your options open. Don't be too impulsive but follow your gut instincts. Remember that what you choose will, most likely, be your home and lifestyle for the next four years. Remember that half of college is the social growing up that you do and experiences that you have. Treat your college search like your search for a life partner. Be picky, there are so many different options. During your first year, you will change a lot but it's ok. You'll feel really weird sometimes but make sure to put yourself out there and meet lots of different types of people. College is a great opportunity to network and appreciate things you may not have come across before. Summers are a great time to travel and learn about things outside of the "box" of college. You'll never be this age again, know that you have a lot of power to create change around you. Interact with people of all ages and backgrounds, sometimes the best learning opportunities are right in front of you. Lastly, good luck and have fun!
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