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Western Kentucky University

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

If I could go back in time after all that I have learned about making the transition from high school to college and give myself advice I would tell myself to take as many college courses as I possibly could at the Eastern Kentucky University extension school that is located in my hometown. I say this because I now see that if I would have taken advantage of such a easily accessible source of education I could have accumulated more that 12 hours of college credit. This would have also helped prepare me even more for the challenges that presented themself to me over my first semester of being a student at Western Kentucky University. Another piece of advice that I would give myself is to take that classes at my high school that would best prepare myself for college. I say this because I now realize that the easy classes that I took in high school did not properly prepare me for such a huge academic transition. Both of these messages that I would strongly recommend to myself I believe would have made the transition from high school to college a lot easier.

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College is all about finding out who you are! It's a place for discovery, learning, adventures and so much more. Be open-minded to a lot of different opinions and types of people. College is a place to learn about diversity. As long as you get plugged in to an activity on-campus, just about any college can be the right college. College isn't all about the classes, or all about the athletics. It's about a give and take, experiencing a lot of different levels of college life and gaining something from every experience. Parents - let your kids fly! Let them experience life! Let them choose what school is best for them and then leave them alone. It's time for them to figure out their way. College can be lonely, and scary and can come with speedbumps and late night studying. But it also comes with lots of laughs, lots of tears, lots of homework and a lot of memories. One thing college shouldnt come with is regrets, except for maybe that star tattoo that was inked on in a drunken state. But really, college is the life - I kind of want to stay here forever!

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If I could go back in time and give my highschool-self a pep-talk, I would tell myself to start volunteering from day 1 instead of waiting to be "settled in." In college, I have realized that I thoroughly enjoy serving others and giving back to the community. What I love best is making people laugh, and I would tell my highschool-self to smile at strangers from day 1, because smiling lets people know that you are a kind, friendly person. I believe that it is very important to be optimistic and I would tell my highschool-self to not wait for others to answer a question first in class. There is no need to wait until I am "comfortable" in the class to speak up. Instead, let your voice be heard from day 1 and don't be afraid to say something that might be considered controversial, because that is how to provoke intelligent, thought-provoking discussions. In conclusion, I would tell myself to just be me and heed the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "Be who you are, say what you feel, because those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind."

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The best advice I can give to parents and/or students about finding the right college is to go and visit. You should always take advantage of orientation days and other focus days. Taking these "college days" allows you see what actually goes on here. You're not just looking at a brochure and crossing your fingers that it looks as good as it does in the pictures. Also, think about what you would want out of a college and then start researching, don't be scared to ask a million questions! I did. Don't just look at one particular thing, make your decision based on what you want. It's that simple! You know what you want, so go for it! As far as making the most of your college exprience goes, well, just never be scared to try anything new! You never know what you might like or actually love! OH! And also, make friends with your professors. They may seem mean and scary, but really...they are there for us. Always remember, everyone is there for us. We are the future! They are just helping us gain the knowledge and exprience we need to be ready.

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A good start at finding the right college would be to visit the campus, and if possible, stay a few days on campus and sit in on potential classes. You can get a pretty good idea, but you won't know for sure if it's the perfect college for you or not until you actually start. As for making the most out of your college experience, make priorities. I would advise that the number one priority be your schoolwork. Studying and getting homework done on time is vitally important to your success not only in college but also in your future career and life. The habbits ( focusing, accomplishing what you want, finishing what you have started, etc.) you form while in college, are the ones you will have when you get out. If you make good habits it will be that much easier to get a good start at life. If you have bad habits or if you have not fully developed certain habits, it will likely make for a bumpier start in your chosen career. So try to get as much of that accomplished while in college. You'll find you still have time for fun stuff too.

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Caps tossed in the air Celebrations begin In a flash you’ll enter another world You think you know who you are You think you have control But trust me when I say Everything will be challenged What you think makes sense no longer will What you thought you had will threaten to go You’ll teeter on edge as the wind comes to blow And facts you think have been subdued will rise again with a daring face ...but relax This isn’t meant to scare You choose Life will find solid ground once more As a college freshman, I clearly remember High School but I'm now engrossed in college life. It really is as amazing as people say. However, it takes work and effort. You must put the effort into making it another "home" and somewhere you feel comfortable. Nothing is handed to you here. Everything is earned one way or another. Leaving High School can be scary, and for some, more so than others. Be brave and step out of your comfort zone. College is about experimenting and expanding your life. Remember who you are, and who you want to be, but enjoy yourself.

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As strange as it sounds, I would tell high school self to fail. I would tell her to fail over and over again. Why? Simple, what does a person gain from success besides the satisfactory feeling? Nothing compared to what a person recieves when they fail. When a person fails, they gain knowledge and they gain strength. They gain the knowledge to avoid the same mistake in the future. The high school me was so worried about getting the perfect grades and worried about pleasing everyone else. She was so afraid of failing. When I reflect back on it now, I see that I didn't need to stress out. That even if I had failed in certain things, I would learn how to get back up again and be stronger. So every time my high school self would fail, she would get stronger in the end and she would learn that failing is nothing to be afraid of. Transitioning from high school to college is a scary process that can somtimes be so overwhelming. It is easy to fail or make a mistake during this transition process. So to my high school self, "Don't be afraid to fail."

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You know how coaches often say you perform like you practice? Well, consider high school as practice and college as the performance. No one who puts forth Second String effort in practice will suddenly become the star player at the game, no matter how much they’d like to. I believe the same can be said for school. If you want to make straight A’s in college, study and make them now in high school. If you want to start an organization that makes a difference in college, start one now; because chances are you will not miraculously become the person you want to be over that one long summer break between Senior and Freshman year. In college, there are endless opportunities to learn, new things to experience, and unique people to meet; and there’s no harm in looking forward to all of this, but don’t let looking forward to the future fool you out of doing things now. So, to myself as a high school Senior, I would say don’t be the player who fumbles the ball, be everything you want now so that you’ll be the star player in college from the start.

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Dear Little High School Senior Me, I know you're earnestly awaiting your college years to begin, but there are a few things you should hear before you take this incredibly cool, incredibly scary leap into mini adulthood. The first thing I want you to take into account is that you need to prepare. Save your money. College has an endless list of expenses and they only pile up. Education should not be a debt sentence; plan wisely. Second, take time to appreciate your family. There have been so many times sitting in my little cubby-hole dorm room when I've wished that I would have let my parents know how much I love them. Don't take them for granted, because when your first week of your freshman year rolls around, you'll feel lonely and overwhelmed. But they'll always be there for you. The third thing I want you hear is this: work your hardest no matter where you end up. Whether you're at your Plan A school or Plan C school, never stop pursuing your dreams. It doesn't matter where you start. What does? Where you finish. That's up to you.

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A magnificent awakening of the splendid diversity of the human race is the primary influence I have gained from my college experience. Not only has my knowledge base in all general areas been beautifully expanded, but I have also begun acquiring the skills I need to obtain a career where I can make my education count out in the world. I have also developed a more proficient leadership base, which has taught me how to more positively and effectively influence others. Gratitude is the overwhelming emotion I have when thinking of the value of my college education. I realize the opportunity I have had and want to be diligent in using and maximizing the tools I have learned and earned. I consider my college education to be so much more than a degree or a level of prestige, but more so an intriguing experience that could not be duplicated through any other means. The college experience I have had thus far has equipped me with the confidence and competence I feel will motivate me sustain and further obtain satisfaction and success.

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