"You've changed."

It's a line I've heard time and time again from my peers and former friends, sometimes even in the middle of an argument. I've always been hurt when people say I've changed, but now, I'm embracing it's actually the best compliment I can be given.

Saying someone has changed from who they were when you first met them means they have experienced life. It shows they have taken the lessons they've learned thus far and overcome so many obstacles. They are progressing in the way all humans should, towards something amazing - the better version of themselves.

I certainly am not the same person I was in high school. Thank god for that. Sure, I sometimes spoke my mind but I was just living day by day with the same routine. I was so focused on making sure I got the best grades and stressing to the point I got sick rather than embracing each day for what it had to offer. I also let people walk all over me just to keep the peace and not have any problems. I was just then starting to find my voice.

Now, as a college student finishing her sophomore year, I've changed so much. And it's something I'm very proud of!

Overall, I am more confident than ever.

Sure, I've gotten a few tattoos, new piercing, and dyed my hair a few times. My style isn't the same as it was in high school or the way I even did my makeup. Hell, I hardly wear any at all now except maybe mascara. I know my foundation and morals haven't changed, but I've changed the ways I go about showcasing them.

For example, I no longer let people walk over me. I will sit here and call out all the bullshit I see because I'm not going to let myself be that naive I end up letting people hurt me. If someone treats me poorly, I will say something. I owe that much to myself. It has resulted in ending friendships or not seeing relatives, but I'd rather be genuinely happy than feel on guard every time I'm around them.

I have gained so much confidence in my ability and who I am. I love taking on new challenges, taking risks, and frankly just being spontaneous. I don't have a set plan of what I want to do post-undergrad, but I've learned that's okay. I use to be so worried about not having it planned out because I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of not succeeding.

I'm still sometimes afraid of failing just because I want to make my parents proud, but I think that's something we all struggle with.

My interpretation of life has changed. I have changed. And I'm going to keep continuing to change.