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  #126  
Old 07-22-2015, 06:04 PM
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Hey everyone! I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything. Sorry about that. Rest assured, I am still alive. I've just been really busy. I've been trying to get as much of my community service completed as I can. School's just around the corner and it'll be hard to do much once it starts up. Especially with my job and everything.

Anyway, something happened over the weekend and I'd really appreciate ya'lls input. A friend of mine invited me to attend a service at his church. I'd never been to his church before, so I decided to check it out.

Guess who I spotted amongst the sea of people? The family of my victim. Fortunately, they didn't spot me and, once the sermon was over, I was able to leave before they did.

I've been wrestling with all sorts of feelings since then. My friend wants me to check out the youth group with him sometime. On the one hand, I'm tempted to because I really did like it there. On the other, I'd rather not take the chance of running into his family again. On the one hand, I don't want to cause them any more pain and it seems best for me to stay away. On the other, I feel like a coward for not giving them a chance to confront me.

Sorry to mark my return with such a heavy topic, but I could use some help on this one.
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  #127  
Old 07-22-2015, 07:43 PM
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No worries about the topic, or about the absence. You need to do what you need to do, and getting that community service done as best as possible is a big priority. Glad that you've got your priorities straight.

Here's what I'd do about the whole church thing - I'd go and make an appointment with the priest/minister/pastor/rector/preacher or whatever they call the person in charge there. Outline the problem to him/her. Let him/her know that your victim's family attends that church, and ask for help.

If the preacher's worth his/her salt, s/he'll give you some good advice about it. Chances are, the preacher knows the family, prayed for the family when all of this happened, and probably said the funeral service over the grave of your victim. In short, s/he knows the family, their faith, and where they are in the grieving process.

I know that's a really scary thought, and you might want to take your friend with you for the intro and for moral support, but, if the preacher is a good preacher, you'll get some good advice, the preacher will be able to act as an intermediary between you and your victim's family (and anybody else within that church family who may have problems with you being there). The preacher should be able to help smooth out the bumps that could result in you attending that church, including eventually maybe even sitting down with your victim's family.

Further, if it's not possible for you to attend that church, the pastor should have a good idea of what other churches in your area have a similar philosophy and robust youth group. Should also be able to point you in the direction of a place to explore your faith.

There may be a way to attend without stepping on toes, and allowing the family to heal. If there is more than one service, then an agreement where they attend their usual service and you attend a different one would work. Knowing whether or not they have kids/nieces/nephews who attend the same youth group is also important - if they don't, then you should be able to participate without a problem. The minister can negotiate mixed groups - like holiday festivals and the like so that you are all comfortable (or as comfortable as you all can be).

I would also talk with your PO about it - make sure there's nothing in your conditions that prevents you from contacting your victim's family indirectly. You might also want to ask your PO about the whole thing - whether it's a good idea or not, and what alternatives you have.

PO first
reverend second

be upfront and honest about the whole thing - who you are and why you're interested in attending services there and what you hope to get out of going to that church. Let them know that you want to respect the needs of the family, and where that is as a priority. Ask for help navigating this particular thing.

This is a big one. Breathe deep, be open and honest, and ask for help. And take your friend with you for support in all of this (I'm assuming you've already told your friend, and that's why you were able to leave without too much hullabaloo).
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  #128  
Old 07-23-2015, 08:06 AM
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Love Yourself's advice. Good stuff.
I'd agree also about asking your probation officer first.

I also totally get that you would be nervous. Dont feel like a coward. You are not, by any stretch of the imagination.
You are a compassionate young person with a maturity well over many adults I know who are much older in yrs than you.
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  #129  
Old 07-23-2015, 08:55 PM
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I'd just like to thank everyone who replied to my last post, whether through the thread or by private message. I'm still trying to decide what to do, but I think I may talk with my PO and then with the minister, if possible.

Yourself, I never did thank you for all the info you provided about JROTC. Sorry about that; I really did appreciate it!

I don't know about anyone else, but I am so wiped tonight. I did community service all morning and then work from 4 til almost an hour ago. Work in particular was really crazy; we were so slammed tonight. I think I'm gonna hit the hay early. Goodnight!
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:37 AM
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I'd just like to thank everyone who replied to my last post, whether through the thread or by private message. I'm still trying to decide what to do, but I think I may talk with my PO and then with the minister, if possible.

Yourself, I never did thank you for all the info you provided about JROTC. Sorry about that; I really did appreciate it!

I don't know about anyone else, but I am so wiped tonight. I did community service all morning and then work from 4 til almost an hour ago. Work in particular was really crazy; we were so slammed tonight. I think I'm gonna hit the hay early. Goodnight!
Did you decide on JROTC? What was your decision? What was your experience?

No worries, no pressure. Just curious. Don't know about you, but boy, time does fly quickly when you're slammed. Lots of juggling chaos.
  #131  
Old 07-24-2015, 07:16 PM
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Did you decide on JROTC? What was your decision? What was your experience?

No worries, no pressure. Just curious. Don't know about you, but boy, time does fly quickly when you're slammed. Lots of juggling chaos.
Oh yeah, a friend and I both decided to join. Haven't actually done anything yet since school hasn't started back up. Won't be long though. I know what you mean; this summer seems to have flown by.
  #132  
Old 08-17-2015, 05:29 PM
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Hey everyone!

I wanted to provide ya'll with an update. Regarding the situation with church, I've decided to look for another one. I wrestled for awhile about whether to speak with the minister or not, but ultimately I decided it's for the best if I just leave them be. I do appreciate all the advice I received on this issue. One of you told me via private message that it's probably too soon to be meeting my victim's family, and after much deliberation I think that's probably right.

School started last week, so I've been busy with that, of course. Over the summer, I managed to take care of most of my community service, so I should have a pretty normal year. When I think about how much I worked over the summer, it's seems crazy. Hardly a day went by where I wasn't doing CS or working at my job or both.

Well, I still have one homework assignment left to do, so I better get on that. Take care!
  #133  
Old 08-17-2015, 06:05 PM
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Glad to see you moving forward and upward.
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  #134  
Old 11-29-2015, 11:44 AM
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Greetings everyone! I know it's been awhile since my last post; my apologies. I just want to give everyone a brief update.

Firstly, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I spent mine with my new boyfriend and his family. His grandmother is such a good cook! Seriously, she should publish her recipes.

It's weird. All these months later, and the memory of the detention center food makes me appreciate home cooking like nothing else. Anyone else have that experience?

School is going great. So are things with my PO. She actually told me during our last meeting that she wishes all the other teens she supervises were as easy to deal with as me.

Sorry that this is kinda short, but I gotta run. Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still here and doing okay.

Take care everyone!
  #135  
Old 11-29-2015, 01:02 PM
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It's always nice to see you're updates and as always I wish you the best in life.

You've coped with your disaster with grace and maturity.
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  #136  
Old 11-30-2015, 06:55 PM
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It's always nice to see you're updates and as always I wish you the best in life.

You've coped with your disaster with grace and maturity.
Thanks. I appreciate you saying that.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:40 PM
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JROTC? Church? This bf is not the same idiot who dropped you so poorly before, right? He is treating you supper well, not trying to push you away from good conduct or trying to cut you off from your friends, right? And school's mostly "A"s as you look towards college boards, right?
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:26 PM
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JROTC? Church? This bf is not the same idiot who dropped you so poorly before, right? He is treating you supper well, not trying to push you away from good conduct or trying to cut you off from your friends, right? And school's mostly "A"s as you look towards college boards, right?
Oh God, no, I'm not talking about my ex. I haven't talked to him in ages and don't care to ever again. He had his chance and blew it. No, this is someone I met through a mutual friend and we just hit it off right away. Yes, he's treating me super well! No problems like what you described. And school is going well. I'm making almost all A's. I know I got a B in trig right now. Math's always been my weakest subject. All in all, I'm feeling excited about my college prospects.
  #139  
Old 12-02-2015, 09:39 PM
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Good news about the new boyfriend and I hear ya on the math.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:15 PM
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Yourself,

If you don't mind my asking, where did you go for your undergraduate degree and for your law degree? I've been reading up on different schools, trying to narrow the list.

Hope everyone's enjoying MLK Day so far! I have the day off from school, so can't complain.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:37 PM
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Hello! Always nice to see you and it is good to know you're looking forward to a good further.
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  #142  
Old 01-18-2016, 04:06 PM
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It is soooo good of you to come back and talk with us occasionally! I delight in hearing of your progress.
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  #143  
Old 01-18-2016, 07:11 PM
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always good to read of your doing well. Glad to read of your good progress.
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  #144  
Old 01-18-2016, 08:07 PM
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I was born and raised in Iowa. I bleed black and gold.

That said, you need to choose a school that best suits you. Some people thrive at big universities, others thrive in small colleges. While I went to Iowa, there's a bunch of really great small colleges all over the state. Grinnell, for instance, will prepare you for anything you may want to do. And, they have an active prison outreach, allowing a few prisoners each semester to take actual Grinnell classes and obtain actual Grinnell degrees. Pretty forward thinking for a highly selective college.

Iowa, otoh, has a law school, a (at the time) brand new law library, a wide variety of majors with some top notch faculty. Who wouldn't want to take a shot at the Writer's Workshop? Who wouldn't want to walk the halls of Van Allen when Van Allen still walked around there? There's a ton to do every night, if you're interested. My roommate, a woman I'd known since 4th grade, took tap dancing at the same time that I took Intro to Eastern European Film. She's a psych prof at a school in MN. I'm an attorney.

Big universities mean more opportunity, but they mean more competition in areas like sports and music (and at Iowa, writing). Small colleges mean closer communities, less ability to get lost in the numbers (I took intro to Astronomy in an amphitheater that sat 500 students - talk about feeling insignificant!). But then, you earn your way into things as well. In a small college, you may get to write for the student paper your first year. You'd have to be absolutely phenomenal to attain that goal at a big university.

I'm not a big football fan, and I don't follow basketball. I do love wrestling, John Irving, and Bloom County. Iowa hospitals and clinics have saved the lives of friends. I hate the greek system.

Here's what I think when it comes to choosing a college; find the one that fits you best. If you need to be near your family, find a college near your family. If you have stellar ACT/SATs, take the scholarship to the college or university that best suits your needs. If you want a career in law, do not take pre-law. Take a major that makes you read and write a ton. It's what law schools look for - somebody who can digest a lot of material and write cogently on the topic. You may find a big university suits you best, or you may find a small college works best for you. Financially, you might want to start with a community college taking easily transferable credits to transfer to a specific school. You may want to AP your way through your first year and a half (an option that wasn't open to me back in the day).

Whatever you do, visit the campus. Take a tour. See how you're treated. See where they are spending their money - in sports, or in academics? Are the professors accessible? Sit in on an intro/freshman level class. You can't assess the fit of a pair of jeans without trying them on right? same with college.
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  #145  
Old 01-19-2016, 06:43 PM
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Thanks to everyone who's posted since my last post! Special thanks to Yourself. I appreciate all the info and advice you provided.

While I have more to say, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. I have a ton of homework tonight. But I just had to take a quick minute to let ya'll know how much I appreciate your responses. You guys rock!
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Old 01-19-2016, 07:24 PM
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You do too!!
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There is no question that in virtually all circumstances in which people are doing things in order to get rewards, extrinsic tangible rewards undermine intrinsic motivation." the New Scientist (12th April 2011, pp 40-43)

" Every life you touch, every fear or pain you ease, every loved ones' heart that you ease the burden from is the reason you are here."
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  #147  
Old 01-21-2016, 08:41 PM
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Hey everyone, Iím back.

Yourself: So far, Iíve been looking mostly at schools close to home. Centenary, LSU. Iím also thinking of taking a Hail Mary shot at the University of Chicago. I know I donít have much of a shot of getting in, not to mention my P.O. would have to sign off on me leaving the state. Still, getting in would be like a dream coming true. Itís the next best thing to Ivy League.

I actually hadnít considered Grinnell or Iowa. To be honest, Iím not sure Iíd even heard of Grinnell until now. I think itís awesome that they offer a prison outreach program. More schools should do that. Iím actually going to check out their website once Iím done here.

I admit I havenít been giving much thought to size when looking at schools. Mostly, Iíve been considering proximity to home, U of Chicago being the one exception.

Why do you advise against taking pre-law? One of the reasons Iím looking at Centenary is they offer pre-law.

Again, thank you for all of your advice on this issue. Thereís so much to consider. I know Iíll be happy once Iíve decided on a school and theyíve said yes.

==

Okay, as I said in my last post, an issue has come up and Iíd like to hear what you guys think. On Tuesday, I received an unexpected piece of mail. It's from a girl I knew in detention. Even before I opened it, I knew she was writing me from juvie because of the return address. She managed to sneak this letter past the D.O.s by not using my name in the address, but one she just made up. There wasnít anything in it that would make anyone guess she was really writing to me, thank God. Mostly, it just says that she wound up back in detention after a dirty drug test and that she hopes Iím doing better than her.

Iím not sure what to make of all this. Is she wanting to be pen pals while sheís away? Was this letter intended as a one time deal because she was bored? I donít intend to write her back, because I donít want to risk someone figuring out that ďSaraĒ is really me. Iím not violating my probation and going back to jail for anyone. Just as worrying though is the fact that I never gave her, or anyone else at the center, my home address. She mustíve looked it up at some point before going back (and apparently memorized it), but why? Have I got a stalker on my hands?

Really hoping Iím just reading more into this than whatís there. What do you all think?
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:00 AM
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Ok, I agree with your decision to NOT RESPOND to her.
I'd also return any other mail you get from her or anyone else unopened, just write refused on it and put it back in the mail.
As far as her getting your address....now that is strange.
I'd not worry too too much about that, but be aware (as you should anyways)
She may have looked up to you and tried to reach out to someone who's doing better than she is.
But this puts you at some risk because Im going to assume you are not to have contact with her. (its that way here for adults on parole....so again, Im assuming)

If she shows up at your door, Oh boy. I dont know what to tell you except dont let her in.
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:47 PM
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I'm going to wager that you haven't walked around on these campuses. You haven't sat in on a freshman level class. You haven't done an interview or a campus tour. Looking online is great, but looking in person, in real life can tell you more about the "fit" of the school. Fit is very important as it impacts your success more than just about anything else. You can have great motives, but if the fit of the school sucks, you're going to get depressed, skip classes, find it difficult to put the effort in. You may put your effort where it doesn't belong, like in rushing Greek to the point that you skip classes and go to tests unprepared (know somebody it happened to). You may find yourself at a party school when you're not somebody who parties (or visa versa). You may find yourself at a party school and get too involved in partying and then do something daft like post your BAC level of .34 on Facebook (yes, it's happened). You might find yourself in a school that's too small, too simple, too high school like and then you're frustrated because you're not learning enough. You may find yourself overwhelmed with a big school, flunk out in one semester and have to go to community college where you feel like you're not challenged (know people it's happened to). Fit means finding a school that offers what you need/want academically and socially so that you have the greatest chance of success. When a school "fits" your learning style and interests, you're going to get better grades.

U. of Chicago is Ivy League. It's also exclusive in its selection process. So, yeah, it's aiming significantly higher than LSU. LSU is a good school, but academically, it's no Ivy. Back when I was accepted for admission, the drinking age in IL was 19, so it was assumed that everybody on campus was legal. The literature for the college contained the story of a dorm floor that had won a keg of beer in some dorm competition. The story included the fact that the keg went flat because people were too busy studying to drink it. Gives you an idea of the workload at a school at that level. Not saying you couldn't thrive there, but you need to visit the campus, talk with the students, do an interview, and go from there. You also need stellar SATs.

Below the exclusive level is the highly selective level, and below that is the selective level. Then you get into average acceptance levels and "we welcome all" acceptance levels. Stay away from the "we welcome all" as a lot of them are for profit schools. The exception to this is going community college for 2 years and then transferring all of your General Ed requirements to a 4 year university.

You also need to look at how they do their math. The first step in selection is having the GPA and the SAT/ACT score necessary to make the cut. Some schools put more emphasis on the GPA in their initial algorithm cut. Others emphasize testing. Know the score - you could qualify for one Ivy but not another just by how they weight their algorithm. Also, it helps to be a legacy - having a first degree relative graduate from that college or university. So, if one of your parents graduated from Chicago, you have a much better chance of getting into Chicago than somebody with the same GPA/SAT with nobody in their life who went to Chicago.

You really want to go to your guidance counselor and start asking about colleges and universities. There are a ton of schools out there that are highly selective - Oberlin, Reed, places like that. Get educated. Ask why you want to stay close to home? Is it to save a few bucks on dorm/meal plans? Or is it because LSU is a great school that fits your needs well?

As for why no pre-law - simple; you learn law at law school. You learn to think, to write and express yourself, to research and properly cite, to read vast amounts over a wide range of areas as an undergrad humanities major. Further, if you're an undergrad science major, you can sit the patent bar, and if you pass that bitch, it won't matter what your law school rank is - you'll be making $80K as a patent lawyer. And once you pass the bar, you can do it all in intellectual property. If you go pre-law, you're never sitting for the patent bar, and IP is totally out of the question for you. If you're interested in criminal law or other areas of law, having a humanities background gives you more material to draw from, gets you reading and writing a ton, and teaches you to think. Pre-law teaches you a watered down version of law that mostly has to be unlearned as you go to law school. Most law schools want anything but pre-law majors. Look at the requirements for various law schools, see what sort of undergrad prep they're looking for, and consider that for your major. Btw, just because you're majoring in History or Comparative Literature or Poly Sci or something doesn't mean that you can't engage in some aspects of the the practice of law. Moot Court competitions at the undergrad level are fierce. I've judged at state level competitions (where Chicago showed up and was impressive). Undergrads participating in Moot Court get a watered down version of the rules of evidence and procedure plus a general case with witnesses and the like, and learn to present them in a professional manner. So check your undergrad school for Moot Court teams, and look into the requirements. Btw, being a Poly Sci major doesn't limit you to just Poly Sci classes. Most undergraduate degrees require a set of general education requirements that are broad spectrum - from freshman rhetoric and speech classes to science and soft science and foreign language requirements. It's usually about half your degree, or 60 credits on the semester schedule (we won't get into trimester conversions because I don't remember the conversions). Your major is 30-40 credits. The rest are all elective (usually around 120 credits for a degree). You can elect to take some pre-law classes, or criminology classes, or psychology classes, or Non-Shakespearian Jacobean Horror Tragedy (I took that as a seminar - it was great. John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi was stellar - insanity, lycanthropy, and the murder of innocents - what more could you want?), or underwater basket weaving (did not take this, but did take Rock Climbing and Ping Pong). Really, your undergraduate degree is to explore new ideas, to learn to think, and to get as much exposure as you can to just about anything that broadens your horizons. Do not get bogged down in law until law school. Bring a set of information, the ability to think, the ability to read and digest vast sums of information to law school and let them teach you how to think like a lawyer. Read Scott Turow's One L to understand how competitive the first year of law school can be. Check into some law schools to get an idea of the undergraduate requirements they have, as well as their GPA/LSAT algorithm as they do the same thing that undergrad schools do with high school GPA/SAT/ACT algorithms.

Start talking with your guidance counselor about undergrad schools. There are some great small schools out there, some right up there with Chicago. A notch down would include Carelton, McAllister, Grinnell, Oberlin, Reed, and a myriad of others. Larger schools include Berkeley, UCLA, Boston University, and the like. Know the learning environment you need to thrive academically. There's a UC school (cant remember the name but their mascot is the banana slug) that doesn't give out grades - perhaps that's the environment for you? There are schools on the trimester system and schools on the semester system, and a few with their own structure that may make sense to you but may not. I always did better with semester systems as they didn't feel as rushed as trimester colleges and universities did. Some semester schools offer "J-Term", a one month condensed course between semesters. There are colleges out there that offer everything one month at a time, so if you think that you'd do great by concentrating on only one course for one month, that structure may be for you.

But, yeah, it's all about fit. You can start to discus fit and get some ideas of colleges and universities that you may want to consider from your guidance counselor. While Chicago may be your dream school, there may be other colleges out there that are a notch or two down, but up from LSU that you may want to look at. Your high school guidance counselor is the person who can really help you start to shape your college application process. And if Chicago is a possibility for you, you may want to try Harvard, Dartmouth, Stanford, and the like as well. Again, that initial cut caused by the GPA/SAT algorithm can be the difference between getting into one school and not getting into another at the same level of selection.

And as for the other thing - do not accept mail from people at juvie. Depending on the requirements of your PO, you may have to report this letter. Your freedom is the most important thing atm. Do not even remotely violate any term or condition.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:46 AM
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I love yourself's summation of how to decide on your school....and just remember that you can transfer the vast majority of your first/second-year credits if you find that the school really isn't to your liking.

Also, really do take an off-the-wall course or two....my U had a stellar Folklore department, so (we're talking about time when there were no computers - all registration done in person in the giant gym) - one of my preferred courses was already closed out. Since the departments were around the gym alphabetically, I went from English to Folklore, just to fill in my hours and my requirements....I ended up in a course called Southeast Asian Folklore.

It was taught by a fascinating man who had been his country's Ambassador to the United Nations, was officially descended from the Nats (national gods) and had been inducted into the were-tigers (like European werewolves) and had just ended his term as Minister of Education in his country. Most eye-opening, interesting, memorable course I ever took!
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Last edited by nimuay; 01-23-2016 at 07:49 AM..
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