It's hard to believe that I'm almost done with my second year of college because it feels like it was just yesterday when I was packing everything up and moving into my freshman dorm room. Life has changed so much since the fall of 2017, with a mix of both fun and difficult times. I live in Greensboro, so I'm not too far from Elon. I'm a very family oriented person, so being relatively close to home was important to me when I was deciding what university I wanted to attend.

My first year was very difficult for me. I felt lost, I didn't think I fit in at Elon, and as a result, I went home quite frequently. I felt a sense of comfort and happiness at my own home - something that was missing from my experience at Elon. I felt embarrassed about going home so much, but I soon learned that it is not something to be ashamed of. Your experience cannot be defined by others. Everyone grows and adapts to certain situations at their own pace. I also think it is important, to be honest with yourself before you're honest with others.

My parents could tell that something was bothering me, but it took me so long to be honest with them because I was struggling to admit to myself that I was going through a hard time. Whenever I finally opened up to them, we had such a productive conversation and they supported my feelings. They comforted me when I needed it the most. I honestly think it's so important to actively communicate with your parents while you're in college. I try and talk to mine every other day for at least 15 minutes. I think maintaining a healthy line of communication, as well as openness and honesty, can only improve your relationship with your parents.

Now back to struggling at college... at the beginning of J-Term last year, I became very close with a girl who lived right across from me on my hall. We did everything together. She gave me excellent advice about Elon and she also told me about her struggles that she went through during her first year. She made Elon start to feel like a home. It was around then, that I truly realized how important patience is. You may not find all of your friends immediately, and that is perfectly okay.

Here we are a year later, and because of her, I am happier than I have ever been, and I have a solid group of friends. The biggest learning experience that I took from my first year of college, is that you have to be patient. You also have to give your school a chance. I gave Elon a chance, and I am at a point in my life now where I feel so independent and happy. I can only see it getting better from here, but I will always be grateful for what I experienced last year because it has gotten me to where I am now.