This year has been filled with ups, downs, and all kinds of new experiences. I had pretty high expectations going into freshman year. I looked forward to living on my own, having complete freedom, and making all kinds of new friends. It all sounded pretty exciting, but it turned out to be so much more than that. This year was truly the year I experienced the biggest growth in my life. I had the best of times and the worst of times. There are things that I wish I would've known going into Freshmen year, so here I am to give a little bit of insight.

1. Join some kind of club or organization.

Universities are so big that it can be difficult to find your people. Everyone says you meet your best friends in college - the people that will follow you into adulthood. But it can be hard to meet these people when you are part of such a big community. My advice is to join something that makes it feel small. Whether it be a club, organization, Greek life, or whatever else you might be interested in. Sometimes the right people just come into your life, and other times you have to go out and find them.

2. Take the time to call your parents.

Sometimes, the stress of school can be overwhelming. As much as you love your independence, you'll find yourself missing your parents' constant support. The best thing about parents is that no matter where you are, they will still always support you. Whenever I am feeling like this all could be too much, my mom is just a phone call away for some words of encouragement.

3. Make an effort to stay close to hometown friends.

It is one thing to say that you will all keep in touch and it's another to actually keep in touch. It's a sad thing when all of your hometown friends go off to different colleges and you realize that you won't be seeing each other every day. This is the year that will test your friendships. Some will fail to call and visit; others will make the effort. I got extremely lucky and kept in touch with my group of friends. We looked forward to visits and had constant FaceTime calls. I am confident that I will stay friends with these people because of the effort that goes both ways.

4. Make the most of your first year.

Your first year of school can end up being your best year, so make the most of it! Embrace the change and make this new place your own. My first semester in the summertime was my favorite thus far, and it was my first time away from home. Soak it all in and have fun while you can. You only get four years to do it right. Make the first 25% of it better than you could ever imagine.

While my freshmen year may be over, I will never forget the memories made and lessons learned. Sophomore year, bring it on!