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Winston-Salem State University

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

If I could tell my past-self anything about my collegiate experience, it would be to “keep going”. Education is paramount to the development of human consciousness. When I entered Winston-Salem State University as a freshman, I was swept out of my sheltered home and became aware of the world around me. Unfortunately, I contracted HIV/AIDS during that time and fell into a deep depression. A myriad of factors have the potential to affect the human experience. Personally, this was the most monumental. If I could inform my past-self of anything, it would be to endure. At any time during my collegiate career, I could have given up on life and my education. However, I remained diligent and continued to live my life. When I received my undergraduate degree, I departed with the desire to assist in the healing of whomever sought mental health services. Currently, I work in human services as a direct support professional. Now, I am entering into a new chapter of my collegiate career as a graduate student. I would inform my past-self that life is tumultuous, with challenges that may seem unbearable. However, difficult life experiences are meant to be overcome.

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The advice I would give to all students/parents about finding the right college, don't pick a school because of its popularity or its size. Do research about the institution and make sure this institute is right for you. Find out if this school is prominant in your major, find out what percentage of its students received jobs after graduation, how long did it take them to become employed after graduating. Check to see how helpful their career service is and does this institute sit well with different companies in the community. Then find out if the students are friendly and inviting, and are the professors compassionate and willing to give you 100%. To make the most of your college experience I would have to say get involved, meet new people. Join some of the organizations on campus, participate in the activites, volunteer for school functionings. Also build a relationship with your professors, let them get to know who you are. Visit them during office hours, ask questions, and participate in class. Another way of making the most of your college experience is to remember you are paying for this education so study and use the school resources.

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The transition to college is the beginning step for transitioning into adulthood. It’s a chance for self-discovery, diverse human interaction, and advanced learning. I would advise myself as a high school senior to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to me in college and embrace new experiences. The world outside of college can be scary and unpredictable at times. I would inform myself on the importance of learning independence and what it means to budget your money wisely. College is my time to make mistakes; I would tell myself to learn from those mistakes so that I will be better prepared for life after college. I would counsel myself to build a strong grade point average for the remainder of my high school years and college. College without financial support can be an expensive investment into your future. Although the investment is well worth the while, I would want to encourage the younger me to seek as many academic scholarships as possible. Lastly, I would tell myself to create a vision board for my future goals; Planning is crucial for future success of any kind. So I would stress to myself to start now and plan wisely.

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In 2009, I went to a private Christian College for my first year of college. I really enjoyed it because of the fact the classes were small, and that there was a more personal-based relationship toward professors and fellow classmates. What I got out of my college was the understanding of the Bible, my college was required for students in taking Bible courses as a General Education course. I also learned more of the ethnic cultures and backgrounds through various people. There would be multicultural clubs and events portraying various culture attires, traditions, and aliments. I would say that attending college has been very valuable to me, because the feel of belonging in a place where you feel is right and the people you have a connection to is very important. Through college or in life, you become to learn more about life. We learn to mature as an independent person, where often we don?t need to rely on our family or parents for things anymore. Therefore, I find that college is valuable, because it helps you break out of your shell and learn to be more of an independent person compared to high school or middle school.

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College is the first experience of the real world and things are totally different in college than they were in high school. It is the time when you learn the most about yourself, grow the most, and also change the most. I would say the most important thing in college is picking the major that is best for you because it will have a huge impact on your performance in school and your future job opportunities. Pick something that not only are you good at but something that you enjoy doing. It is also equally important to do your absolute best in your academics because your performance follows you after college when seeking job opportunities or expanding your education. This means it is vital to attend class, study, avoid procrastination, and turn in assignments on time. Take the opportunity to get involved in clubs and activities. It is a great way to meet new people, make friends, and add to your resume. Be sure to balance these activities with your school work. I always like to say study hard so that you can play hard. Lastly remember to always make time for you to sit back and relax and reflect.

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Advice that I would give parents and students about finding the right collage and making the most of the college experince is when finding a college to attend always think of the diversity of students, how organized and the attitudes of the adminstators, the professors, the cost of the school, the condition of dorms, and never let the children go to a school thats in your hometown. When thinking of a college of diversity it give college students to learn more about different culturals and how to adopt to differnt enthic groups. The office should be organized, have good serivce to college students, and hlep them to get things done quick and easy. Make sure professors can teach to your learning style of how you learn in the classroom and what techniques well help you succeed in the classroom. Condition of dorms should include safety such as door locks should work properly or windows should be in a good condition to where they will not be robberys. Also chose a school that is at least 40 to an hour away from home if chosen to stay close to home so they learn not to be depentent on parents.

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The advice that I would give to a student about finding the right college is to never give up. There are so many colleges that offer many different opportunities and programs. Some students may want to give up after applying to various colleges and universities without acceptance or that have not found a college to commit to. If the student remains positive and continues to strive for excellence, the "perfect fit" college will happen with time and patience! Once attending the desired college it is vital that the student persevere through the entire college experience. Times will be hard but with hard work the benefits that you reap will be so rewarding. It is also important that prospective college students start looking early. The earlier the process starts the better the results. The key is to know what you want to do in life and look for colleges that cater to the needs of your future. Here at Winston-Salem State University we "Enter to learn and depart to serve". I believe that all students enter their place of higher education, to learn and expect to depart and serve.

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A college experience is not just the partying every night or getting away from your hometown. The college experience is based around getting to know different people and their cultures and gaining real life experience in a controlled environment. College is where many young students make big mistakes but most of the time those mistakes can be patched up. Making those same mistakes out in the real world however, can be devastating to your career or personal life. Therefore, it is best to make them earlier in life. Going away to college, for many people, is the first time they are out on their own. Getting out on your own helps, you gain more responsibility and allow you to be open to new things. Having more responsibility helps you become more mature which can help you in the adult world. Being open allows you to bond with new people and gain new friendships. You will also try things you would not necessarily try back at home. Going to college is something not everybody can experience, which makes me cherish my opportunity to attend college and get the experience even more.

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"Do it, man. Don’t worry about what people are saying or thinking – this will be the best decision you can possibly make." The high school that I attended made an especially big deal of the schools that you were accepted into – they had a big train (literally, each person was drawn on a paper train car) of students and their choices hung up in the main senior hallway. Normally, this isn’t such a bad idea – but I wasn’t applying to any major colleges. I had decided to save some money and time and go to a community college so I could live at home and work while getting some general education classes out of the way. Because of the atmosphere at my school, though, I wasn’t so sure this was a great decision: people mocked the particular school I was going to attend as well as community colleges in general. Looking back, there isn’t a single chance that I would change my decision: my experience there was debatably one of more growth and understanding than I had in my entire high school career. "Do it, man. This is the best decision possible."

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The advice that I would give parents and/or students about finding the right college and making the most of their college experience is to begin by doing research on different schools. Depending on what the student wants to do they should look at schools that support their major and has an excellent program. Once you do the research then the next step is to take a trip either in a group or on their own and learn about different opportunities that can help them reach their goal. Also, it doesn't hurt to ask people on campus within that major what they have to do and how they have to get what they need in the 4 year time frame. Sometimes what you want in the beginning may not be your passion, so it is good to look into other option. The last thing is being active helps you meet people. Some people try to be too involved because they feel like they need to be in everything but it only takes one organization that strikes your interest the most. The most important thing is education but you have to be active to enjoy the college life.

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