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William Rainey Harper College

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

If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself to do exactly as I had done--to be outgoing and take advantage of every opportunity given to you. I moved out to Los Angeles from Chicago to attend Loyola Marymount University my freshman year of college. I was really upset because I was leaving my home, friends, and family, and was worried I would have difficulties adjusting. I had never been into parties, drinking, and drugs, and was worried I wouldn't be able to make friends because of it. Following the advice of my brother, I joined a sorority, lived in the Healthy Living Community, a housing group with kids who do not drink or smoke, and auditioned for various plays. By doing this, I made so many friends and loved my college experience. However, without my brother, I don't think I would have done it, as I was not willing at first to do any of these things. So, if I were to go back in time, I would tell myself to join these organizations, be outgoing, and meet new people, all while staying true to myself.

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At first, rather than advice, I would probably give my senior-self a good slap in the face. Where I was in my life during senior year of high school was definitely not a good place or heading in the proper direction. After the physical abuse I would hold my former self by the collar and convey the message that I screwed up big time. I had tremendous potential and I nearly completely wasted it. However, all is not lost. The time has come to pay back the previous four years of sloth, slack, and degeneration. I am better than that, and I can achieve great things, but the time has come to work. The time has come to make absolutely certain that my father did not work in a noisy factory for nothing. To make certain that if my mother could see me, she would be proud and not ashamed. To make certain my family and friends were proud of me, and proud to know me. To make certain that I would contribute back to this world that nurtures my mind constantly. Adulthood awaits, along with mental evolution, and now was the time to take a step forward.

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If I could go back and talk to myself as a senior in high school, first off I would make it clear college is a lot harder than high school. If you were a A or B average student high school was pretty much a breeze; there were a few hard classes and nights of staying up late, but mostly you were given a ton of time to finish what needed to be done. College, not so much. You might be learning an entire chapter in two days and thats only for one class. The course load is much more riggorous and you need to sit down and seriously get metally perpared and commited to doing well in it. Second I would suggest not underestimating the power of friendship. College isn't like high school, your going to have to step out of your box and try to meet new people, i suggest trying to join a club or group for one of your hobbies, this way your meeting new people that you have something in common with already. Lastly, don't forget the power of teamwork, for your harder classes seek out people in your class to study with.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a senior in high school, I would tell myself to open my mind and explore all possible options for college. I would tell myself that I need to visit as many colleges as possible, and apply to every college that sparked my interest. During senior year I did not take the opportuinity to explore my options, or apply to enough colleges. Knowing how much my friends enjoyed going away to school has made me regret not taking part in a wide college search as well. In addition, I would tell myself that keeping an open mind is ultimately more rewarding than being set in my ways. Ultimately, college is a time to explore your individuality and freedom. If I was able to talk to myself when I was a senior I would have stressed the need to explore this freedom and go away to college to find out more about myself. Although I was unable to tell this to myself, I can now share this information with all my friends and family who are emabrking on their own college searches.

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If I could go back in time and share a cup of coffee with my "senior" self as it were, it would go something like this: Kaley, you have a lot to learn, and even more growing up to do. You care far too much about what other people think. Your top priority is making sure that you stay smack in the middle of that shallow in-crowd, and you neglect everything that you should mean the world to you. I don't think you have grasped the fact that being in highschool is about getting a good education not about who you call your friends. Did you know that you won't be talking to hardly any of those girls you call your "besties" in about two years? Which reminds me you really need to start saving your money and planning for college because you know it will all fall on you. I know you want to go to a big fancy university but get over that because community college is practical and then you can transfer. Trust me its not so bad once you get used to it so stop pouting about it and learn to deal.

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If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior keeping in mind how I percieve college life for me now I would of told myself to keep going on the way I was. As much as I would like to go back and tell myself to apply at more universities I know the decision I made to stay at home and go to the local nearby community college was the right choice. For financial reasons, and the notion of an a semi undecided major would not have been good to have going straight to a four year school. Going back in time I would of told myself to save up my money and not spend it on useless things; so I can save it and pay for school. I also would of told myself to work harder at staying close to my friends from high school because in college steals up a lot of time and money. I believe I made the right choice in high school when I decided to go to Harper college and going back in time I would of told myself I did the right thing.

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Dear high school Stefanie, The transition from high school to college is not going to be easy. Your going to feel frustrated, anxious, restless, and ignorant. Nobody told you how intimidating the real world would be, but do not panic, because you will make the right decision and learn that challenges in life are necessary. Do not hesistate to complete those scholarship applications early and begin actualizing your dreams to study abroad. Stop waiting for letters of acceptance from top 10 colleges, and be happy about all the money you are going to save by getting your associates degree at a community college. Remember it is never too early to donate your time to volunteer projects, but more importantly, enjoy your last year of high school, because you will have to wait 10 years for the reunion! Have fun and live life, College Stefanie P.S. Please stop being idle and understand that motivation is the key to success.

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Choosing a major can be difficult and it's very easy to go along the flow of the crowd. I had to change my major twice due to peer pressure and it has cost me a lot of time and money. On top of that, I had to immigrate here in the U.S. and chose to stop going to college to do a full time job. It took me 10 years to get back on track. I am in my early 30?s and it's taking twice as hard to attend college due to family responsibilities. If I can go back in time to give myself some advice, I would tell myself to focus on what I love to do then find a course to enhance it, to move ahead steadily and never stop learning, and to push through any difficulties no matter how severe, for college is meant to test my resolve and will surely bring the best out of me. Whenever exhaustion settles in, it is always a good thing to wander into a dream of what I wanted to be in 5 years and then wake up the next day to push forward once again.

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You?re not the smartest. You?re not the best athlete. You?re not the best looking, the funniest, or the most popular. You won?t be the most intriguing guy on campus next year. You?re just an average Joe. You know what? That is all you need to be. You don?t need to die your hair green or get three tattoos to make friends. You don?t need to drink beer for breakfast to be cool. You don?t need to kiss your teacher?s butt to pass. You just need to be yourself and stay true to who you are. Work hard, keep faith, and enjoy the most exciting period of your life. The most important lessons are not found in chemistry books; you learn new things about life everyday. You won?t grow from a boy to a man next year; growing up is a lifelong process. You won?t win a Heisman trophy or begin work on a Nobel Prize. However, you will go to college and learn every step of the way. Enjoy the ride.

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I would tell myself that fear is natural, and not to be afraid of changing my surroundings. You can find more friends and support anywhere, especially in a college environment. I would also tell myself not to be afraid to persure art right away and that there are ways to make a living doing something you love, although it will almost always be difficult. However, there are more possibilities for rewards. I'd say to start following my dreams right off the bat, instead of hesitating. Also, I'd tell myself to go to all my classes, and not let my comfort staying at home to interfere with my academic dedication. And finally, I'd say to always start projects early. Even though I think I work better under pressure, getting important projects out of the way earlier will help ease stress and anxiety.

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