A wise Uber drive once said to me:
"We're sixteen dying to be eighteen, waiting impatiently for high school graduation. Then you blink, and you're suddenly nineteen turning twenty, finishing your first year of college. Hopefully people learn something along the way. Life moves faster than people realize, and sometimes you miss the best moments."
Well, Tracy in the Chevy Impala, thankfully, I did learn a few things my first year of college:
1. Be happy because life is too short and too good to waste.
Don't let 10 bad minutes ruin a whole day. It's your life and it's up to you to make your own happiness.
2. Be who you are and own your mistakes.
Got thrown out of Theta Chi for tossing a box of Cheez-its off the balcony? Own it. Best box of Cheez-its I've ever had.
3. You are going to fail.
Objectively, college is harder than high school, and failure is inevitable. For some, especially myself, this is a tough reality to grasp. But, what sets you apart is not how embarrassing or detrimental your failure was, but how you come back from it. Study harder, ask more questions, and learn to forgive yourself. Life happens - shrug it off and try again.
4. Dobbs brunch cures all.
5. Find friends that'll rescue you from awful date parties, buy you pizza, and laugh at your life right alongside you.
6. Wear shower shoes.
7. It's okay not to look like everyone else.
No thigh gap? No problem. Having skinny legs or a thin frame doesn't make you any less of a person.
8. Work hard.
College isn't easy. But, remember you only have four years and make time for fun. Some of the best memories are made at Subway at three in the morning.
9. You will find your people.
It may not be right away, but you will find them. You'll find the one who doesn't understand boundaries and tells you everything (and I mean everything..). You'll find the one who has bad luck with ubers, the one who disappears to the roof of Jimmy John's, the one who's common sense is swallowed by her intelligence. You'll find the one who is just as terrible of a dancer as you are and always has time for a movie night. Believe it or not, they'll change your life in ways they don't realize, and they'll put you back together by simply bringing you a bag of goldfish.
10. You're going to fall in and out of love.
With your major, with yourself, with your choices, and everything in between. And that's okay. Life is messy, and the best lessons often come from uncertainty and poor decisions. College is a time to be the person you were afraid to be in high school and to learn more about yourself. I wouldn't trade anything for the memories, mistakes, and experiences my freshman year brought me.
Thank you, Mizzou, for the best two semesters thus far.
Here's to finding sisters that inspire me daily and memories I'll hold onto forever. Incoming freshman - hold on tight. You're in for one hell of a ride.