As I look out onto campus for one of the final times this year, I can't help but think how fast time flies around here. I vividly remember how excited I was the night before I moved in, and now I'm packing up to head back home for the summer.

With that comes a lot of mixed feelings. I am thrilled to see my family, friends, and most importantly, my dog, but I am going to miss college life. I will miss having friends just a short walk away, the perks of having my own living space, the all-nighters, and even the food (shoutout to UMass for having the most ‘extra’ dining halls ever). I now have two homes, and I look forward to a relaxing summer at the one in which I spent the first eighteen years of my life. I know a part of me will miss school, but that’s OK. Patience is a virtue, and I will be back here before I know it.

It's not all rainbows and butterflies, though. College is hard. I'd be lying if I said I would do it all over again without changing anything. At times, classes drained the life out of me. My jam-packed schedule became a hassle. I found out who my real friends were, and sometimes that happened the hard way. But I did not let people or things break me. I was expecting there to be plenty of up’s and down’s just like anything else, and everything always works out in the end. I put things into perspective, and came to the realization that the past nine months will not determine how the rest of my life plays out. It has been a learning experience that others would kill to have, and I am forever grateful for that.

I have changed in ways that I didn't even know were possible, and I could not be happier about it. It truly has been one hell of a ride. I have learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and met some of the most amazing people. I am a better person because of my freshman year, and I can't wait to get back here in the fall and make sophomore year even better.