Making the decision to go to college was one of the biggest and hardest things I have ever done. I still remember all of the applications, all the tours, and all the thinking about where I would be the happiest. I am pleased to say I am more than happy with the university I chose to attend, but I had no idea how much it would change me.

Before I started college I didn't really know what to expect. I just thought I would go to a university, continue my education, and learn about things that I really care about. While all of that is true, I also learned things I never would have thought I would.

Going to college changed my whole life. If you compare my life now to what it was a year ago, there are very few similarities, if any at all. As I said, I am so glad that I have the opportunity to attend college, but I had no idea how much my life would change. Literally every aspect of my life is different now. How I interact with my friends, family, and even my own dog has changed. I didn't realize that being away from home would affect me so much and change the relationships I have with people. Since I basically don't live at home anymore, when I do go home it feels like I am just visiting. It's a strange feeling to have, feeling like a visitor in your own house.

As I previously mentioned, going to college changed the relationships I have with friends and family, too. Whenever I go home, I "catch up" with my family more than I used to. We often talk about everything that has happened to us recently and try to bring everyone to speed. This is different because when I lived at home, my family saw how I was doing every day and I could talk to them face to face every day, but my life isn't like that anymore. At first, that was hard for me to get used to, not seeing my family every day. I call home often, but there is something about talking face to face that is lost in a phone call.

Throughout my first year, I also learned more about myself and other people. This was something else I didn't expect to happen. I did not expect to change as much as I did as a person. If you compare how I was in high school, even in senior year, I would say I am a different version of myself, I mean this in a good way. Being in college has forced me to grow up more and I'm glad that I did. I am much more independent and in charge of the things that I do. It's almost hard to put into words how I have changed since starting college. It's like watching the seasons change or noticing a flower blooming. It just kind of happens on its own, almost without you realizing it until the change has taken place.

I definitely think going to college has helped me become more independent and confident in myself. I now know if I want to succeed, I have to put in the work and make it happen for myself. This is a challenge that I absolutely love about college. Everything is up to you, whether you pass or fail is dependent on your actions. This sounds scary, but to me it provides motivation to keep pushing and challenge myself, knowing my efforts will pay off.

Lastly, I learned in my first year of college how much I really can achieve. I have done things in the past few months I never would have thought of. College gives you that push out of your comfort zone that can be intimidating, but once you're out there it's amazing.

College definitely changed me, or I just changed in college but I am so glad it happened. I have grown as a person, matured, found some of my true passions and am just a better version of myself. I thank college for that. It wasn't an easy road in the least, I faced many challenges but I overcame them all and learned from them. My first year of college was interesting, to say the least, but I am so grateful for how I changed because of it all.