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Whitworth University

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

It's all about finding the right decision for YOU! Take time to familiarize yourself with different options by touring schools and talking to students: big and small schools, professional specialties, sports-oriented, liberal arts, different locations, campus atmosphere, and extra-curricular activities. Reflect on your reactions and enthusiam about different aspects of the school- remember, you are choosing a place that will vastly shape the person you will become. Seek a school that is filled with people you want to be like and interact with- professors especially! It's important to look for a school that will challenge you, but will be a safe place to grow. When you decide what is important to you, pursue schools that fit that criteria with perseverance. There might be financial challenges, moving and transportation issues, parental pressure, and good friends that go far away; but with a little work, it is worth it to be in a place that will excite you and make you into a better person. This is so much more than an academic education- it is four years of formative life experience and friendships. A thoughtful decision now ensures that you have a college experience perfect for you!

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It has been my experience that college is a place where our nation's youth transform into the adults that enter into our society. Because of this observation I urge prospective students and their parents to look for a school whose goals aim to enrich the lives of their students. Professors who invest in students, Student Leadership who take time to get to know their fellow residents and classmates, and an administration that does its best to give the students every opportunity to exceed and excel are all integral parts to a successful institution. It is also important to find a school that allows you to become independent and make your own choices. It is good for students to become responsible decision makers before they are exposed to the whole of society. Finding a college that is a safe place to make some mistakes and yet respects your decision making ability as a young adult is a critical part of developing one's independence. Taking ownership of your own future is a part of this, and also plays into the role of academic success. A healthy balance between academic and social commitment plays an important role in the college experience.

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College is a time of transition, exploration, learning, growth, and independence. High school seniors, though they have glimpsed this imminent freedom, cannot truly grasp the extensive changes that will take place. If I could, I would give myself several pieces of advice before entering this transition. One of the most important things to do in the first few weeks of school is to meet new people; at a smaller university like Whitworth, seeing familiar faces is not as difficult as it would be at a large state school, but trying to learn people?s names and make friends with a variety of people is essential. Even sitting down at a new table in the cafeteria can be a great way to introduce myself to other students. Another important aspect of college is establishing contact with professors. While I may not need help with assignments at the beginning of the semester, ensuring that professors know my name and know I care about his or her class can be important for those times when I need help. Finally, I would tell myself to establish a healthy balance of the social and academic aspects of college?remembering to be intentional about my time.

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Learning shouldn't be a drag. After high school the pursuit of knowledge isn't a requirement anymore; it isn't some monotonous burden that you just want to be over. Learning isn't a means to an end; it is an end in itself. Being enriched and challenged by your college experience is an investment that is worth more than a degree you can hang on your wall or even potential job security. When embarking on the adventure of college learning, you should relish the privilege of having this opportunity, the audacity of expanding your world, and the disruptive and propelling hope that comes with putting yourself in a position to be changed by the ideas, thoughts, and people you encounter. I implore you not to waste your passions, limit your thoughts and convictions, or diminish your potential. Seek a university that will not narrow your vision to the world revolving immediately around you, but find a place of learning that will expand your vision to something more dangerous, more empowering, and that will shake you out of your comfort zone. Fear not to give yourself fully to learning, for it is a asset you can never lose.

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Everyone proclaims change in one way or another when they go to college, but how many people grow. College students gain friendships, knowledge, and pant sizes, but what do they gain as a human being? Fortunately, I have not grown too much physically, but as far as the intellectual and spiritual aspects are concerned, I have extended and branched in directions that a year ago, I never would have fathomed. The eighteen years of my past include my life as a seed, the break through the groundings and comforts of home, and even the development of my first leaves as I matured and started to think on my own. I did not truly grow until I stepped on to the campus of Whitworth University. The energetic and supportive community provided the correct atmosphere for me to extend my branches and reach beyond what I am used to. The invested and devoted professors hydrate my mind and encourage me find and stretch my roots. I have a better understand of what I believe, what I know, and even a greater understand of what I have yet to learn. Thanks to Whitworth I am stronger, more intelligent, and ultimately a healthier person.

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Dear High School Senior Kayla, You are such a strong person! You can make it through senior year! Just keep going. College is so much fun and there are infinite possibilities! You are going to double major in Elementary Education and Special Education. You love it, as you always have loved kids. The most difficult part about this transition was being far away from home. It is still a struggle because you are so close with your family, but you are doing great. Be encouraged! It has been really hard not having your support system close, but you have perservered and made it through with flying colors. Just remember to always smile, make tight bonds and friendships, take time away from studying, don't be anxious, keep with your healthy lifestyle. Make sure you always stick up for yourself and stay strong in your values. Never stop being the person you are, you are so able to learn from others, and teach too! Make sure you keep close with your friends at home, especially your best friend. She is so important in making the transition easier. Ultimately, just let go, and let God. :) LOVE, College Freshman Kayla

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If only this hypothetically scenario were true... If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself...perhaps beg myself...to make my college decision for me, and no one else. I would tell myself not to foolishly believe that by picking a certain school I could become certain kind of person that I will never be. My college decision was based on the dreams of my parents, the stability of my romantic relationship, and the desire to force myself to be a Jesus-loving, happy-go-lucky, outdoors-y, Northwestern college student. In reality, my parents' dreams were never mine, though I tried to tell myself they were. My relationship with my boyfriend was and is strong, and would have remained so even through a less conveinient college choice. And I am a faith-struggling, idealistic-yet-cynical, outdoor-hating, Southern girl who made the worst decision of her life when she chose Whitworth University. My cynical brain tells me that this college experience is a waste...but my idealistic heart tells me that I have learned more about who I am than I ever imagined I could.

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There is a distinction between college and high school for a reason. Within college the initiative to succeed is put entirely upon your shoulders. A system of organization is a necessity for success. Organization in meetings, assignments, and studying will allow for a well developed academic experience. Any study strategy that you have been taught is worth trying, everyone studies best in different ways. The best strategy is to try early so that your strategies are set as early as possible. The tests will come quickly, before many will set their strategies. If you do not understand ask, you must ask the same day so that you can keep up. The professor will assume your understanding if you do not ask. If you follow these suggestions you will soon find a pattern and timing for your day and studies, this will leave you with some extra time. In this time you must learn to exercise regularly, it really does help you, and to relax. Relaxing with ping pong, pool, movies and sleeping are all great ways to unwind and not burn out. Even from one semester I?ve seen people burn out on the stress. Be careful.

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I learned many things over my year as a college student. While the teachers taught me all that they could and instilled in me the knowledge that I would need to further my college career, the lesson that most impacted me was not actually learned in the classroom, but rather in the unique atmosphere of college life. It is in the halls, cafeterias, and dorms that I gained a better understanding of how to interact and work with adults. While in high school, teachers try their best to prepare their young pupils for higher education and the world outside of the classroom. I had believed that I fully understood their meaning of teamwork and cooperation with others, but it was not until I was thrust into a completely new setting that I learned that I did not. Luckily, my college was very helpful; there were many clubs and social events to help integrate me into the complex life of a college student. I gained not only knowledge and understanding of important subjects but of myself and others as well. My college experience has been a critical part of my growth as a student and as an adult.

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Make sure that you are going for yourself and not because of other people, even if it's friends or family . Take your time and choose a career that is comfortable to you. Find out as much as you can about your chosen field, to make sure that your career choice is really what you want to do, and it is not a decision that was influenced by others. This is the only way that you will truely be happy, and it will cut down the chances of you wasting time and money, studying in a field that you will later switch from. Surround yourself with people that are majoring in your field, in order to enhance your knowledge and experience. Network, to find people that don't mind helping you, and sharing their learning experiences with you. Be sure that you don't have any unanswered questions. If you are not sure about something, ask questions until you run out. Get aquainted with your instructors, and ask for their advice. Take your education very serious and learn as much as you can. The more you know, the more you're worth...the more you learn, the more you earn.

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