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West Virginia Wesleyan College

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

As a high school senior, I was extremely nervous about beginning my college career. I dreaded the idea of dormitories and cafeterias! I feared that the classes would be too difficult! Most of all, I feared that I would have no social life... When I arrived at college I DID find that both the dorm rooms and cafeteria food were poor; however, I soon realized that the people in those dorm rooms and that cafeteria were one of the greatest things that ever happened to me and would soon become my best friends. I also found college classes to be more engaging than that of high school; although I did have to work harder, I was finally beyond "busy work." Additionally, I quickly learned how to balance both an academic and social life, something I once thought to be impossible. Although college has its cons, the perks outweigh them. If bad cafeteria food is the price of obtaining great friends and immense knowledge, I'll pay! If I could give my high school self advice, it would be "BREATH GIRL! JUST CALM DOWN!! You'll be just FINE!"

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In hindsight, there are several things that i see would have helped me in adjusting to college life. For one, the food. I would have made sure that I was used to less appetizing foods. But despite all that i could have prepared myself for, if I got the opportunity to go back and give myself advice, i would not take it. I believe that everything happens for a reason. If i had been better prepared then i would not have gained knowledge from the valuable experiences that i have had. For example, if i would have known that my roommate would be a bit talkative, i would not have learned how to deal with someone with a more chatty personality. Also, if i would have been aware of the lack of heat in the dorm rooms, i would not have learned how to be resourceful in desperate times. The experiences that i have been through in college have taught me more than i could have imagined; more than mother could have told, and more than a text book could have shown. I would not be who and where i am today had i not gone through what i have.

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The only aspect of college life that has been valuable to me is obtaining a college degree. I know this is of utmost importance, however I had wished I would have considered other dimensions. To further clarify, college is where an individual spends most of their time and essentially lives there. It is best for the campus and surrounding area to have activities that cater to young adults. However, there are limited campus activities. The food is quite atrocious. The dormitory facilities are subpar and archaic. Although I am receiving substantial financial aid, I still feel as if the price tag is entirely too high. I truly would love to see a report of all their finances because I fail to see where they spend our money. The student body is also too small and the retention rate is considerably low for freshmen. Buckhannon is not particularly a college town. Most businesses close early and there are virtually no recreational activities to do during the day. Quite frankly, it has been too slow and boring for my liking.

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If I could go back and time and give my former self advice about college life here is what I would tell myself: ?Try and take as many college classes as you can now, they will help you significantly in the future.? I had the opportunity to earn twelve credit hours (four classes) at the same college I?ve been attending since 2007 as a high school senior. Because I had the experience of a college environment under my belt, I was able to succeed early-on in my first semester when I made the Dean?s List with an overall GPA for that semester of 3.8. My overall GPA did suffer because I earned two C?s as a high school senior, but the experience I gained from those classes was invaluable. Until you actually take a college class or two, there?s no other way of preparing yourself for the environment of it. You simply have to do it; no amount of high school classes touches the level of intellect and also the level of learning that can be accomplished in college if you?re well-driven and have a good head on your shoulders!

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If I could go back to the fellow who walked out of CCHS in 2009, I would ask him to slow down, because the urgency he chases wealth with isn’t his secret to happiness. I would tell him our high school sweetheart ends up being just a memory, but our family is still always there for us. Next year’s friends are the ones that last, so forget all the haters we had; they’re believers now. Don’t stop dreaming, because you really are capable of achieving anything; we’re doing it now. We love the college environment; academia is our obsession. Just remember to take it all seriously in the classroom; in other words, show up to class! Oh, and go Greek, not for the parties or the girls, but for the friendships and a second home. Those guys will always have your back (Alpha Sigs for life)! Finally, close your eyes with me for just a second. You feel that faith and passion in your heart? Let them burn brightly in everything you do, because we are our best when we stay true to ourselves. Oh and dude . . . I love you.

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Hello Senior year Ashley. I'm you from the future and I am here to give you some advise before you head into you college years. You are doing a great job so far, you work hard and stay focused on your studies and have really learned the importance of time management. Juggling swimming, dance, extra cirriucular activies, and keeping a 4.0 is going to help you so much in those first few years of college. I'm here to tell you not to forget everything you have learned. Keep using those time management skills, they are the key to your success in college. With swimming on a D2 varsity swim team and working on getting your BSN, free time is going to be hard to find if you don't get your work done when it is assigned. Ultimatly what I'm here to say is keep up the good work and when you get to school don't forget the person you are. Be an individual, stand up for what you believe in, and work hard at everything you do. If you do all of this you will succeed in your social and academic life.

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The most important thing is to look at finances last. Once you find a college that you love, the money will take care of itself. There are thousands of scholarships; you just need to know where to find them. Become friends with your high school guidance counselor and your college admission counselors; they know where to find money for college. Do not make decisions based on a boyfriend or girlfriend, and don't go home every weekend. Get to know your college or university; join lots of organizations and volunteer in the community. The best way to find your worth at a college is to help those in that community. The most important part is to get to know your faculty and staff. Stop by offices, say hello to the custodians, and, parents, call and chat with the Dean of Students from time to time. If you're at a school like West Virginia Wesleyan, you'll soon learn that a college is a large network of wonderful people that can help you accomplish anything you can dream.

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At WVWC, I have found like-minded people, but I've also realized the reasons why I am an individual. After attending elementary through high school with the same people, I've gotten the chance to explore a distant and different community. Not only have I learned a lot about my craft, I have had the freedom to explore art, artists and genres that I've never been prompted to go and discover. I have a more specific idea of what I want my future career and otherwise extrinsic goals to look like. I have done a lot of growing and, moreover, expanding. I feel my interactions with the small WVWC is a gage on how I will treat others around me and how I will handle situations for the rest of my life. As for my training and practice as an artist, I find others in my program are learning how to become an artist- I already am an artist. So, individually, I am, with the help of professors and students, honing my skills and creativity for a tres nouveu and fresh look at design.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would give myself one important piece of advice. I would tell my self to stop worrying about what other people think. I know that this sounds very cliche and a little vague, but that is the most important advice I could give a high school senior getting ready to enter college. I know that my first semester of college, I was so wrapped up in and concerned over what the other people thought of me that I missed out on a lot of great opportunities. Had I taken the time to realize that everyone else was feeling the same way and so focused on their own lives, I would have enjoyed that semester a lot more. I would tell all high school seniors that no matter how it seems, nobody is staring at you, I promise. Forget about what everyone else might think, and enjoy college to the fullest. Take every opportunity that is thrown your way, because they might not come by twice.

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To parents, don't place so much emphasis on affording a college. If your child truly wants to attend a college you think is out of your budget, simply look into how much financial aid that college will give. Chances are, with finacial aid and academic scholarships your child has earned (provided that he/she has done well academically and has many scholarship options), the college will be affordable to you, and your child will have a great education and many friends who will stick around for life. To students, follow your dreams. Don't ever decide on a career path because you think it is "practical" or because it is lucrative. Choose it because you want to follow it for the rest of your life. The last thing you want is to have a career that gives you a large amount of money and a high social status, but is unsatisfying and makes you unhappy. If you don't love it, don't pursue it.

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