Washington University in St Louis Top Questions

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


If I could go back in time and speak to the 18-year-old version of myself, I would tell him that he is fortunate to have a supportive and loving family. I would tell him to accept the greatness that they see in him and accept that the only thing that will ever make him happy is a life devoted to scientific endeavor. I would say that he will soon realize that his pursuits are more than just a dream; they are his definition. He may not see it now, but soon that dream will be so important to him that he will be working 40 hours a week while going to school fulltime and he’ll never be tired, because every single day he will get closer to making that dream a reality. I would tell him that it’s time to be tenacious; it’s time to dedicate himself to his dreams; it is time to get to work. I would say that he owes it to himself and his family to excel in life; his success is the best thanks he could give them for raising him to be the man that he is.


College is about developing your physical, emotional and mental well-being, which is rooted in self-worth. As we are living in an epidemic of self-doubt, college can transform self-doubt in to self-discovery! I would advise incoming college students to seek a safe space to be lifted up and have honest conversations about things that matter. Believe in the limitless possibilies, collaborate instead of compete, and contribute as much as you consume. Cultivate a culture for you and others to be seen, be heard, and belong, and you will be on the path toward a healthy college life transition.


If I could go back to talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself to appreciate my family and the town that I grew up in. Even though I got annoyed with my family every once in a while I missed them more than I thought I would once I got to school. I would also tell myself to learn how to enjoy spending time with myself. The hardest transition that I faced was that in college when you don't have plans you are truly by yourself, rather than just being able to hang out with your family as a default plan. I didn't realize that I wasn't comfortable with that so I had to learn how to handle spending time truly alone. I would tell myself to learn how to make myself happy and not rely on other people because its an awesome feeling to be able to be happy on your own. Learning to enjoy my own company is something that I am so glad that I learned in college but I would tell my senior self to practice doing that before going to college.


Hello young Jeremy. I say "young" not due to any significant age difference, but due to your experiences. You grew up in a cultural box, and a very small one at that. Where you come from, everyone thinks the same, acts the same, and believes the same.There is nothing wrong with this, but unfortunately, because of your upbringing, you aren't prepared for the firestorm you're about to enter. You'll be tried in ways you never could have imagined, your patience and intellect stretched thin. In addition you'll experience a level of apathy that surpasses any you've dealt with before. I know. It's so easy to give up instead of trying what seems impossible. It's not impossible. Trust me. I did it. You've accomplished great things before. You'll do it again. Stretch yourself. Study hard. Display the same tenacity that you had while working to get here. Stay true to who YOU are. Because you CAN do this. You ARE amazing. You ARE talented. You are THE Jeremy Joshua Sorel, valedictorian, pianist, and composer. Simply go forth, and be you. You might just surprise yourself.


Your life is going to change. College is different but that is what makes it great. Get excited! Nevertheless, there will be days where you are up to your neck in work, but you are capable and worry gets you nowhere. Remember to breathe. If you compare where you are to where you want to be, that leaves you where you started. Only working hard gets you ahead of schedule. Plan out your time and be organized. Leaving assignments to the last minute will not be as painless as it might have been in high school. Go to bed early when you can -- it is worth it and you will need it. But most of all do not ever doubt yourself. You got into a great school and it was no mistake. Enjoy learning and try new things. Have fun with it. Be a good friend. Meet new people and go to new places -- soak in all they have to offer. Seize all the wonderful opportunities that come your way. Appreciate every moment of it, because it only lasts four years.


Being a more practical person, I will leave the cliches such as keeping an open mind and following your dreams to others more eloquent than I. Nevertheless, here is some advice to my former self: First, make sure you get your shopping for school and dorm supplies done early! I know you think that the summer is long, but it will be over soon so don't hesitate to accomplish big tasks early and take your time with all that you need to do. Second, save your money. All of the money that you spend on food adds up and you may not be able to get a campus job right away. Make sure you keep track of your expenses and try to only splurge on treats occasionally. Lastly, take care of your health, both physical and mental. You are on your own for what is likely the first time and you can't forget the importance of your sanity. Take time each day to relax, choose a salad over a cheeseburger every now and then, and most importantly, call your family. You might be far away, but sometimes a familar voice is all you need. You can do it!


First and foremost, you'll meet many new people and will make many friends, both on you floor and off. Although you'll be lonely at first, you, like everyone else, will make the necessary adjustments and find good, reliable friends. Don't sign up for too many extracurriculars. They're good for making friends and staying active; however, this is at the expense of sleep and sometimes academics. Three committment-heavy activities are too much - try to keep it to two. Long distance relationships are definitely not easy to maintain, especially if the relationship is relatively new, meaning a couple months. Establishing a strong, trusting relationship over the internet is extremely difficult and not worth potential drama. I know that you'll insist that he's perfect and worth, but if you consider the circumstances, he's really not. You'll meet people who match your personality far better and can make you happier than anyone in high school could. Don't forget to appreciate your parents - they've sacrificed a lot for you and you're lucky that you can attend the WUSTL almost completely on their dime. Love yourself and the people supporting you. Erica <3


The platitude “just be yourself” is so ubiquitous in social advice given to those making transitions in life, especially teenagers, that most people have tried it out at some point in their lives. I know I heard it often when my parents were telling me how to make friends in a new environment, thousands of miles away, in a place I knew no one. Looking back, I would warn my high school self that this phrase is true, but not in the ways you would initially think. Realize that freshman year in college is probably the most formative year of your life and that “just be yourself” does not mean act the same as you have before. Rather, you should attempt to discover your personality, morals and interests and not be afraid if they are different from what you previously thought about yourself. More importantly, realize that you probably have many bad aspects to your personality. You are not any less genuine for trying to emphasize your positive qualities and minimizing your negatives; this is a necessary part of growth. Above all, have fun. You only get one shot at life, so make it memorable.


One of the most useful things to know as an incoming freshman is how important the first month is. There are two unique aspects about the first month that many do not fully take advantage of. The first is that people are very open in the beginning. Everyone is in a new place and in my case, being at a highly selective university, often there without anyone else they previously attended school with. Because of this you can go up to anyone and talk or quickly make friends so easily that it is almost as easy as it was to make friends when you were a small child. This would have been valuable to understand, and would have removed ample concern from my mind. The second is how important it is to get involved early. Most of the extra activities around campus recruit and begin in this first month, so they are very easy to join at this point. If you wait you may find it hard to find out when they meet, and awkward to try and join after they started up. I think my transition could have improved if I had taken better advantage of this first month.


The essence of college is to study hard and enjoy the spontaneity of this new world. Before college, I was a fool to only focus on activities I enjoyed. Upon entering WUSTL, I had a list of clubs I planned to join. Yet, today, I have surprised myself by being enrolled in five unexpected clubs including Classical Indian Dancing. In addition, I would make sure I begin making a weekly schedule. In college, the world is at your feet in terms of education, extracurricular activities, and social life. What transforms a successful high school student into a mediocre college student is a lack of direction. Prioritizing one's activities will help that individual stay involved with all aspects of college life. Above all, the advice I would tell old Shiv is to enjoy high school while it lasts. College has its own set of expectations. There are no parents-just you. To all seniors out there wondering about their college transition, I urge you to venture outside your comfort zone from now and make a schedule. However, above all, enjoy the last year you have as a child because once you enter your university's gates, you become an adult.


"Ok, Mom." I must have said that a thousand times the day my parents dropped me off at college. "Don’t forget to lock your door so that no one steals your laptop." Ok, Mom. "Don’t forget to stock up on food in case you miss one of your meals." Ok, Mom. "Don’t forget to wash out your water bottles so they don’t grow mold." Ok, Mom. With so much preparation, I thought that I was ready for anything. However, I quickly learned that it is impossible to be completely prepared for college life. Everyone’s college experience is unique, and each student will face challenges that no one ever predicted. For example, I never expected to contract mononucleosis during the final week of my first college semester, and I soon realized that I was not nearly as prepared as I thought. Nevertheless, I powered through my illness and finished my exam week with straight A’s. For this reason, my biggest advice to my high school self would be one word: “Relax.” Of course, preparing for college is important. But in most cases, you will simply have to adjust to life’s challenges as they come.


Do not worry about getting denied from colleges--no matter what happens, you will love whatever school you go to. However, if you are having trouble deciding between various schools, look at everything each one has to offer. Look at their academics, social life, campus, students, etc. Once you take all of these into account, imagine what living at each school would be like--do you fit in? Do you see yourself living there? If you truly believe you can see yourself going to a school and living there, if you feel at home, then you have found the best school. The transition is difficult and even stressful at times, but it is so exciting. You are creating a new life for yourself, with new friends and atmosphere. Hang on, because college is right in the future and you will love every moment.


Dear Young Shilpi, I know you think you're some pretty hot stuff right now, huh? You're doing well in high school, you've gotten into your dream school, and your extracurriculars are going well. You're coasting. I want you to take a quick second and think about how that's going to work for you in college. In college, schoolwork will be listed as a priority, extracurricular, and dream. It's that much work. I want you to know that you're going to have to work harder in the coming years than you have ever worked before. You can accomplish your goals, but you need to strive for more than you did before. Because of all of this, I want to let you know that everything will work out in the end. High school will end successfully, so take some time and have a little fun. Watch an extra movie and hang out with your friends a little longer. You can afford it. You won't be afforded this luxury in college all the time. I want you to know that having a balanced life is sometimes better than good grades. Hugs and Kisses! Older Shilpi


Your first year of college will be relatively straight-forward. Classes will be relatively unchallenging, and balancing work and social life will come easily. Extra-curriculars will be enjoyable rather than a burden. But by your sophomore year, your carefully-developed balance of hard work and self-care will be upended by financial, career, and extra-curricular leadership obstacles. The saddest part of this picture, however, is not the slow erosion of your optimistic spirit, which I hope will bounce back upon restoring the balance of work and play. It is that, in almost two years at this top-tier university, you have yet to find a class that truly challenges your thought process and forces you to think critically. You also have thirsted for deep, intellectual, even uncomfortable discourse about social issues and interesting theoretical ideas. While it is disappointing that you must search for engaging classes and sustainable intellectual conversation, it is imperative that you do so. Look for small seminar classes in fascinating and unfamiliar areas, parse through the vast sea of extra-curriculars and locate those who make it their goal to create impactful social change. Doing so will help you find purpose by creating change.


Dear high school me, Take some physics in high school, instead of choosing not to take it. Since we are on the pre-med track, physics is required, but since I did not have the high school background, it was extremly difficult and stressful. Got my first B, and an A would have been better, but a B is okay too. You won't always get A's and that is just something you have to get used to. Just do your best and everything will work out. Also another thing is take time to really hang out with your high school friends and enjoy yourself. After you each head off to your own colleges, it will be harder for you guys to hang out as often or keep in touch. Sure you'll make new friends in college, but they still cannot replace the 12 year bond you have created with your high school friends. Truly enjoy your time together. Also, on the other side of it, try to branch out more in college. The sheer amount of people is amazing, take time to try to meet new people and open up. Lastly, enjoy life and stay positive.


Dear senior self, There isn't much that can fully prepare you for college. Stop scrutinizing everything about college life and trying to figure out the next four years; you never know what will happen. However, don't fear those surprises; embrace them, because those define your college experience. Back in high school, most are competitive and fixated on grades. Don't follow that trend; take the classes you're interested in, not the AP classes that everyone else takes. The time you waste trying to prove yourself unnecessarily is time you could've spent on the diamond with your dad, preparing for college softball and enjoying yourself before you have to leave home. Don't expect the competitive atmosphere to disappear in college. There are students that only study. However, you should find activities you're interested in and pursue them. Go for that marrow registry leadership position. Join that Chinese cultural club. Never sell yourself short. During the summer, prepare for the classes you're taking, but don't neglect your friends and family. Have fun, but be responsible. Also, don't forget to call your parents in college; there's no better way to combat homesickness. Hera


I would definatly tell myself to go ahead and take Calc 1 since I swithced from Calc 2 to Calc one anyhow. I also would have told myself not to waste my time with music theory. I would have especially told myself to get serious about managing my time.


Absolutely do not let your parents decide on what college you will attend, or what to study. Your passion is ultimately your choice, and you have so much time to figure out exactly what it is you want to study, and eventually pursue. You are only 17; you are young enough to try many things and discover what interests you the most. Do not become obsessed with relationships or other various forms of drama that may arise at this age. Focus on you. You are the only person who can ultimately make yourself happy. Travel, try new things, meet new people, and learn as much about yourself as you can. Seek out those who encourage you to succeed and become a better person. Keep those friends very close. Do not be afraid to cut ties with a friend or acquaintance who does not make you feel motivated to grow. Before you begin your college life, research various universities and find the ones you desperately want to attend. That will increase your motivation to study through the classes that have no relation to your study of focus. As a side note to this; take calculus before you register for statistics.


*Enters time machine. Set date for September 2010.* I step out of the time machine, frantically searching for my former self. I run to my house and I find 14 year old me about to take the bus to school. "Wait! I need to tell you something" I scream. "Who are you and why do you look exac-" "No time. Just listen." I explain to him that while his interests have always mainly fallen under the scientific realm, to not get caught up and purely study science. Throughout high school, I took 11 science class in four years. I had prematurely decided to study medecine, and for one reason or another, had determmined that I needed a head start. I have always been that student who has had his whole life planned out. These were the classes I needed to take to get to where I wanted to be. However this method left me too focused on the grade and completion of the work, and the passion for learning and science I always had, was clouded. Ultimately, I would tell my former self that life does not need plan, and that it will all work out organically.


I am working on my second degree. This time around I am footing the bill. It’s not easy paying for my education and raising a family. I received my first degree in 2000 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I took a lot of things for granted back then. This is what I would tell my high school self: 1. Be bold in pursuing your dreams. Don't let other people’s fears and your own lack of financial planning deter you from becoming a fashion designer. 2. Network, do internships and study abroad. These things would have opened up more opportunities and enriched my college experience even more. 3. Apply for even more scholarships. Mizzou was my Plan B. My first college choice—which had a fashion design program—didn’t provide enough financial aid. Neither did the second fashion college I applied to after graduation. 4. Put that extra scholarship money that you are refunded from financial aid into a savings account or invest in stocks. 5. Don’t ruin your credit. Credit card companies gave credit cards away like candy back then. Unfortunately, I applied for too many cards and messed my credit up.


The advice I would give myself as a high school senior would be to have confidence, but don't be afraid to make mistakes. I was extremely nervous about getting the high grades, being involved in an abundance of clubs and sports, and excelling on the ACT. While these things are important, the most important thing is to do what you enjoy. It is important to find your passion and be dedicated to it. Coming to college, there are many paths to choose in order to find yourself, but you will not be happy unless you choose the one that fits you. There are many pressures, but in the end, you are choosing for your future. Have confidence in your gut feelings and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You may fail a time or two, but these are learning experiences and you will become a stronger person in the end. You can do it!


College has so many opportunities. Do not squander them. You have four years to make the most that you can. Even though it may be tempting to just relax and think that you still have a way to go, always remember that you are at school for a purpose; you are here to learn and to develop experience. There will never be a better time in your life to be immersed in such profound knowledge and to have wild and wondrous experiences that will become some of your fondest memories. Be sure to focus on your school work because come graduation - even come upper classmen years - you will find out how important they are in determining your life course. Do not always keep your head in the books. There is so much in college waiting for you to participate in. You will find that some of your greatest achievements and most impactful learning experiences do not come from the classroom but rather from the real world. Take time to meet people, volunteer, join an organization, or to work at a real job. Have fun. Most of all, however, always remember your purpose and always be looking out for your passion.


Crystal this is your final year in high school, you want take the time to narrow down your selection for colleges. This is going to be a life changing experience that is going to bring you into your adulthood. Do not put off your future for fun and games if you succeed now the rest will be a piece of cake. This is your opportunity to make a better life for yourself as well as your family. Do your best and make yourself proud.


The first bit of advice I would give myself is not to worry about the decisions made in life. Some things in life don't give you immediate answers. Instead, they become clear years down the road. You never made decisions because of how people influenced you. You made those decisions because, at that time, it was right. Stop worrying about how high school is going to affect the future. Just breathe, slow down and enjoy your true friends. You'll learn what you need to learn from the school and your friends will be there for you afterwards. College is going to be difficult but remember you have people that love you. Even though the first college turned out to be the wrong fit, you're still taking a huge step in the direction towards a better life. Nothing in this world can keep you from accomplishing what you truly wish to achieve. So just live for the moment and look foward to the future. One day you'll be done with college and you'll look back and think " I wouldn't trade this life for anything. I'm right where I want to be."


If I could talk to myself as a senior, the best advice I could give would be to slow down. Instead of spending all my time focused on cramming as much as possible into the twenty-four hours that make up a day, I should have taken the time to just hang out with my friends and enjoy the position I was in. After four years of high school, I had a lot figured out and life was easy. I knew who my friends were, what my obligations were, and how much free time I would have. Instead of enjoying the freedoms I had earned through years of hard work, I filled up the remainder of my time with work and personal projects because I had grown so accustomed to a lack of freedom. Transitioning to college, I no longer have the time to work the hours I did as a senior and none of my friends are in the same college as I am. While I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new things, I wish I had enjoyed the life I had while I had it, because it only lasted so long before everything had to change.


I would first introduce myself and peak my younger self's unending curiosity. "Listen," I would say, remembering how I felt when our family began to struggle with the finances during those years. "You must do for yourself before you can do for others. Our family will be fine. Focus on yourself, and put one foot in front of the other. I know how much you want to be successful right now, but let me tell you something. Greatness is a lot of small things done well, day after day after day. You need to have faith in yourself as a person, in your actions that arise as a result, and in the Lord. Reconnect." I would pause and let that sink in. "I don't need to tell you anything specific for you to succeed in the future, but with this I hope you can do just a little better than I have, even though I have no regrets. Back then all I needed was a little motivation. You are a strong, a powerful, and a handsome dude. Just remember our father's words, 'Do your best, and don't worry about the rest.' Good luck."


Oh sweet adult, if you only knew that the transition you are about to incur is nothing like the fantasies you have concoted in your brain, but do not fear sweet adult. Just embrace the fact that you are going to lose all that you constructed in high school. Your place on the social ladder will no longer matter, nor will your athletic prowess, nor any other piece of your identitiy that you carved in your high school halls. And this loss, all of it, will be the best thing that ever happens to you. You will learn who you really are, unveiled and without social hinderance. College will let you flourish if you will just let go of who you ideally want to become and embrace the present self. Leave high school in those gloomy, tile halls, and transition to college with an attitude of adventure and self discovery.


If I could go back in time, I wouldn't give myself too much advice. College is a time for learning, both academically and socially, and I think trying to be prepared for what college will throw at you takes away part of the unique experience of becoming part of a new environment. I may have had some rough patches during my first couple of years here, but those hard times always led to something more wonderful than I could have imagined. I guess the advice I would give would be to take a step back and absorb everything you can. Be open to trying new things, and enjoy every moment. That's it. Honestly, I'm glad my future self never visited me back then, because I would not be where I am today if I hadn't had the opportunity to learn from both positive ad negative experiences on this campus.


I've learned that although it definitely is important to focus on positioning yourself for a successful career after college, it would have been beneficial for me to focus less on that and more on really find out what I'm passionate about. As cliche as it sounds, I've really learned that having a great job and a stereotypically successful life post-college won't necessarily make me happy. Even though I was told that same piece of advice time and time again before college, I am just now figuring it out. So far I have almost completed a business degree that will hopefully land me a job for after graduation, but I want to take my Senior year to branch out and let myself take classes that have nothing to do with those practical goals and have more to do with helping me find out what I actually want to spend my life doing. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would tell myself to focus on finding out my true interests and goals much sooner than senior year.


The key to college success is to develop a noteworthy character, which begins with discipline of your mind, body and spirit. You must actively shape who you will be because your habits –good and bad- will determine your success or failure. Wake up early, establish a study routine, always meet deadlines, stop procrastinating, exercise regularly, pursue your passions, explore your interests, and be prayerful. This is not an exhaustive list, but it exemplifies positive habits that will enable you achieve long-term success. Acquiring positive habits is important because, despite your impressive academic performance, your education at HydePark is not preparing you for the social, mental or intellectual rigor of an elite university. Developing a habit of excellence will be critical to transcending these weaknesses. By sowing seeds of good character- self-discipline, dependability, intellectual curiosity, decisiveness, integrity and consistency-, you will ensure success in college and in life.


As I have stated before, I come from a low income family who has lived paycheck to paycheck. This was very stressful for my family and I didn't want my future children to live in such an environment so I pursued a career that had a bit of stability in the current job market. As I have progressed through my program, I have come to wonder if I really should have pursued what I felt was my dream and what I feel is my true talent and strength. If there was something I could say to my high school senior self, it would be do not worry about money, do what you really love. Pursue art, pursue what makes you feel accomplished and do it so you can be proud of your work and know that what you do is what you do best and that if you are truly talented in this area you can and will go far.


Dear Me,Making the transition from high school to college is easier than they tell you. There are advisors, RAs, and plenty of other confused freshmen to guide you into the start of your college journey. However, the one thing you aren’t told enough is to hold on to your passion once it reveals itself to you. Most people spend their entire life searching for their passion. Switching from job to job, going back to school, experimenting with new hobbies—it’s all in an effort to find the place where you can thrive. Save years of your life and relentless stress by trusting your gut. It doesn’t lie. When yours passion reveals itself to you, listen! Most people search for so long because they refused to pay attention the first time. Whether the path was too difficult or wasn’t financially promising, they found a reason to let it go. It may be a bit of a cliché, but clichés are repeated so often because of their importance. You have a strong idea of what you want in life, so find the courage to pursue it.Sincerely,Future You


The most important thing I could tell my younger self would be to take time and enjoy the experience. I spent so much time worrying about every little detail the first time around that I burned out and ended up dropping out. I have since learned patience and time management, but I think that is something that truly comes with age. I would tell myself that it is ok to take some time off to catch a breath or catch up with family because it's these little breaks that will save your sanity. I would remind myself that the library is my friend and not to waste this opportunity because there are plenty of people out there who would love to be in my spot. Education is a gift and a priveledge; for those who get the chance to persue it have the obligation to do something amazing with it.


The first piece of advice I would give myself is that I need to learn to stop procrastinating. Studying or doing an assignment the night before it's due may have worked in high school but it rarely works in college. And even when it does it just creates a lot of undue stress. The second thing I would advise is that when I get to college to take chances. Don't be afraid of what others think or what will happen if I fail. If you want to try out for acapella, do it! If you want to run for student council, then go for it! College is the time for you to grow and discover who you really are. You can't do that if you're afraid to try new things. So be fearless and you'll be amazed at the kind of person you become. The last piece of advice I would give myself is to try to make several very good friends while I'm in college. They'll see me through some tough times and they'll be there for me even after college ends.


“Here, you’ll be spending late nights, early mornings, and moments when you’re too tired to know what time it is”, the college tour guide quipped, pointing to the library. As we moved on to the gym, and she warned us “Make a good schedule now, with time for sleeping, eating healthy, and working out, thereby helping you maintain one in college,” I thought about my late nights texting friends and procrastinating homework, and the many breakfasts missed as I ran late to school. Next, at the activities fair, she suggested, “Pursue your outside interests during high school- continuing a hobby you love can help college be less stressful.” The tour ended at the classrooms- “Here,” she reminisced, “I remember wishing I’d paid more attention my senior year- my supposed prior knowledge of calculus, chemistry, etc., was needed in college classes.” Her words faded away as a bell rang, waking me up; I was startled to find myself in my high school physics class. Seeing the chalkboard of formulas and theorems I had missed, I knew the tour guide had given me valuable advice for my senior year…the first of which was to stop napping during class.


Coversation would go like this: “Hey, you look exactly like me? Did my mom have a twin I didn’t know about?” “I’m you from the future and I’m going to give you college advice.” “You’re from the future? Ok. Why are you giving me college advice? Wouldn’t it be better to give me advice about something later in life? I’m sure there’s some major decision after college that would be good to know. “I couldn’t choose when to give you advice! Now listen. Don’t go to college because you are not going to make it there. You should use your time wisely and get a 9 to 5 job. “What!” “Ha-ha. I’m just messing with you.” “Hey, that wasn’t funny. Well, it was I admit.” “Listen. My advice is to do as you will. I could tell you ways to prevent some tough setbacks in college, but I believe those mistakes made me the person I am today. I’m committed to helping myself and others in important ways. It is this growth that is more important than the person I would have been had college gone perfectly."


Congratulations! I know you haven’t finished high school yet, but you will! Do that pre-freshman year program! You will make a lasting group of friends. You’ll have more time in college, yet classes will be more difficult and will require you to study. Create study groups! Find your own study area! And understand that you aren’t a failure if you get a grade lower than expected. Many of your beginning exams will be on a curve, meaning that your grade will depend on everyone else. Therefore, even if you think you did terrible on an exam, in reality, you could be better than most! And try new activities! However, don’t let them interfere with your studies. Especially as a pre-medical student, you need to keep grades in mind. Learn to schedule everything and allot time for studying. And most importantly, you can do it! I mean, I came back and talked with you, and I’ve been pretty successful. My advice here is to make your life, and therefore my life, easier and more productive. Now go, finish your last days of high school and get ready for the best time of your life!


My transition to college as a high school senior was full of anxiety. Applying to college made me doubt everything about myself and thinking of how much my life would change was debilitatingly terrifying. I spent a lot of time making myself physically sick with the thoughts that college was going to be an insurmountable challenge because I relied so heavily on the experiences told by my recent college graduate sister. With one full semester under my belt at this point, I know I'm not too far in to be judging all of the college experience, but I know at least a few crucial things I would have told my senior self. 1) Make your own opinions. My reliance on others' thoughts of college colored my views so much that I was unable to appreciate the gift of unknown possibilities. 2) Don't be afraid to redefine your educational identity. Going into college I was so sure that I knew how to be a student because I had found a rhythm in high school that allowed me to do well. I was reluctant to change my patterns. College is completely new; allow your learning style to be new too.


If I could advice my high school self I would recommend her to be confident in who she is as person and student. In high school, especially during the college application process, I was intimidated by the great number of selective schools and the competitive nature of the admission process. It compelled me to question who I was as a student and whether I was "good enough" for the schools that I was applying to. I grew increasingly insecure of my abilities but because of the support of my family, I decided to apply to the selective universities. Now that I have completed a semester at Washington University in St. Louis, I have learned that one must be confident in his/her abilities in order to achieve success. Although Washington University is filled with intelligent thinkers, I realized that once I started to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses, my academic performance improved. Therefore, to my high school self, you are talented and smart, and do not let anything make you feel differently.


Running was always my biggest stress release. I cleaned my mind of negative thoughts by listening to the rhythmic thumps of my shoes hitting the pavement or to the quick yet steady breathing of the other girls who were running with me. Once my run was done I was refreshed, and any problems I was experiencing seemed more manageable. Adjusting to the new room, amount of workload, and friends at college took time though, and I found myself skipping my daily runs. I never found a new way to de-stress, so I became lethargic and was always sick. After eight weeks of not running I decided to give it a try again, and I immediately remembered the love for running I once had. Since then, I have run everyday and feel healthier than ever. Overall, I would tell my past self to not stop running. I would let myself know that I have to make time to run even my busiest days because it keeps me mentally healthy. I feel that I missed out on experiences during those weeks of lethargy, and I could have avoided these regrets simply by running for a quick twenty minutes.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, the first advice I would give to myself would be to be yourself and follow your heart--academically and socially. I have spent 2 years of my college career bouncing between majors only to end up as a Comparative Literature major (with a double major in Marketing)---the major I originally told myself I couldn't major in because my parents didn't approve and because I would never find a job with a literature major. Socially, it is important to be yourself always but specifically in college because you are just beginning to define who you are. This definition of yourself will affect the genuineness of your future friendships. If you are genuine to yourself, others will be genuine in their friendships to you. Secondly, I would remind my high school self that finding a balance between following your passions and being realistic is important to collegiate success. Following your passions blindly is easy, following your passions with goals for the future takes talent and practice but will ultimately pay off post-graduation.


I would tell myself to always be patient. Patience has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I have had to endure my insufficiency it seemed while all the while I was growing and toughening up and wisening up. I would also tell myself that the growing pains would come and that they would be brutal and that I would have to push through them. I have learned as much about myself in the past 2 years as I did throughout the rest of my life. I have seen how I handle stress, how I handle failure and how I handle success and I have realized most of all that I really have not felt what it's like to try and not succeed and try again before coming to college. I would tell myself also to keep my top priorities my top priorities. I have neglected many important things in my life since coming to college and it has done me no good. A happy Allan is the best Allan and that a troubled self is too high a price to pay for academick success. Lastly, I would tell myself that there is nothing I cannot do.


Don’t be so afraid. Yea, it’s nice to have a general idea of what you want to study, but it's important to enjoy your last summer before you become a full-fledged independent adult. I know it’s terrifying to have to leave the comfort of home but know that it’s for the better. You will meet fantastic new people that will become some of your closest friends that you enjoy being with. Don’t be shy. Jump right into it. College provides you with so many opportunities to get involved with the community. Take advantage of it! Find a nice balance between clubs, leadership activities, sports, and your studies. Don’t psych yourself out. Relax. There are quite of few things to be done before you take that final step out of Mom and Dad’s car. Take it easy and don’t freak out about preparation. Plan it out and enjoy preparing for your new life. Challenge yourself. Don’t take classes because they’re easy. Select classes that interest you regardless of difficulty. Have fun. You’re a college student now. College is an experience, learn from it.


Don't be afraid to go out and introduce yourself to random people. The first few days everyone (for the most part) is in the exact same spot as you. They don't really know many people, and they're simply looking to make friends. If you actually make the effort to go and introduce yourself to random people and get their numbers, you make friends a lot easier than if you just stick to your roomate like I did for my first few days. The second thing, as cheezy as this sounds is just be yourself. If you try to kind of ease your personality on people and be the kind of person you "think" they want you to be, you'll be 1) super unhappy and 2) stuck with friends that may not be people you want to be around or people with similar interests. If you're just your weird, crazy self, you'll meet other people that love being around you for it, and you'll soon find out that those people will become some of your closest friends. Oh also, this is the big leagues, not high school. You actually have to study.


Become self-reliant. There is only so much others can do for you, and there eventually comes the time when you must act for yourself. This applies to all aspects of life, and internalizing this mindset couldn't hurt more than taking the SAT just one more time (provided ScoreChoice is allowed). A looming issue you may face is the personal essay for college applications. It would absolutely not help your cause to ask everyone for suggestions and input. Outside feedback can be helpful, but do not cave in to the impressions that people impose on you. No one is the better expert on you than yourself; friends, teachers and parents can only know so much about the individual Jeffrey Gu. Moreover, there is more to life than suffering over applications day and night. You might forget that, while you may be qualified for college on paper, you may not necessarily be ready in truth. When was the last time you cooked something edible? When last did you take on responsibility for yourself? How often have you managed your time, or followed through with your commitments? So please consider the above. I suspect I'm a reliable source of advice.


I would tell myself that failure isn't always failure. Success isn't just measured by making the best grade in the class or by making all A grades like I thought in high school. Yes, those things are important, but there are so many more opportunities to learn about yourself and to build relationships with others in college that sometimes might cause you to not study as much as you'd like for that test, and in return, to make a bad grade. Have that late night conversation in Bears Den (dining hall) about religion and politics and whatever else comes up. Take the time out to play in the snow and go sledding during the first big snowfall of the year - it doesn't snow in Texas, so enjoy the experience! Don't turn down the chance to traverse the city with your best friend looking for Wal-Mart at midnight. What's most important is to make sure you're learning at every opportunity you have.


Hey I'm you from the future, it's time to get your act together and stop playing games. College is no joke young lady, take it from me I'm in college and it's a whole other world compared to high school. There's no mommy and daddy to run to when things get out of hand, in college everything is going to fall on your shoulders. Whether you like it or not, once you cross that stage in June, you're on your own, its the real world and it's time to grow up. Take this advice and apply to your everyday life and every decision you make. Its time to step up and accept the fact that you're a woman and you should be acting like one. Well it's nice to see my high school and I hope that what I've told you somehow changes the future I'm about to go back to.


Ditch your history major, and replace it with a psychology major. You'll thank me in a few years. Study hard, and take linear algebra. Take HIstory of Gender in the 1950s. Then seek out the new assistant professor in personality. Trust me, that class and he will make your career. Enjoy yourself and stay healthy. Remember to seek out the social behavior lab. Do it. Get involved in all the research you can. You'll discover that you're addicted to it.


Dear Julia, You need to stop worrying. Stop worrying that things won't work out--that you'll make the wrong choice of college or won't fit in. Things will change, that's life. You know all that stuff that seemed so important for the past few years: GPA, ACT score, AP tests? Well they won't matter all that much once you get to college. So stop worrying about them. Also, stop being so hard on yourself. You've got it. You're in a great place. In fact, you've got money and privilege that you're pretty unaware of. You'll become aware of it in college and, you know what, you'll handle it pretty well, too. So don't worry about that either. In fact, stop worrying about yourself at all. Start looking around you more. Start opening your eyes. There are some pretty great people and places out there that you haven't experienced yet because you're too busy worrying about yourself. In the end, some things will go well and some things won't. Don't worry about that either. Chin up! -Julia


To remember always, the great author Mark Twain's thought provoking qoute ..."I never let my schooling interfere with my education." On first reading it, it appeared to be an oxymoron, but on further study it was eye opening and created a sea change in my outlook on schooling. On this treadmill we call life at school where each week we are given multiple test and we are graded and the question of what we have learnt seem lost in the more pressing goal of getting a high GPA has made many students, myself included, focus more on passing the test than in learning valuable lessons from highly educated professors I cite an articule in one of the major newspapers where a grad student with a 4.0 GPA in finance, graduating from an ivy league university who was mired in $250,000 in debt was unable to secure employment. When one of the finance companies that turned down the student was asked by the newspaper why, they cited the student debt as the reason. I qoute "who would want someone who could not handle their personal finances managing theirs or the company's would you? So now I learn.