I can not believe it’s been a year since I started college; in the blink of an eye, my freshman year is over. I can not help the need to reflect on my growth academically, socially and emotionally before freshman year began and now.

Academically.

I have never felt more mentally liberated! I cannot tell if it is a result of my being in a liberal arts college or just college in general, but my experience at Austin College so far has encouraged me to be liberally educated. A liberally educated person, as William Cronon defined it, is a person who has an agape love to connect to the things and people around them. Before freshman year, I was somewhat in a box, surrounded by my ideas, my understanding of life and limited to the knowledge I grew up with. In college, I met new beliefs that I grew the need to understand even when they were against mine.

In terms of school workload, I refuse to say I have it down. Because, after fall semester, I thought the same thing until spring semester attacked, teaching me otherwise. I am happy and proud of how I have grown this semester. Nevertheless, I am overjoyed about this summer break.

Socially.

My tolerance went from a zero to a 100…OK, like a 50. I have grown to comprehend opinions, people, and attitudes that I once would shut off on sight since we were completely opposite. In addition to this, I learned to diversify my friend group. By this, I mean that I try to surround myself with people of different opinions, beliefs and influences, mainly with the purpose of understanding ideas I would not have been exposed to before my time at Austin College.

Emotionally.

Growing emotionally is a process I have yet to understand. This means how prepared I am to actually grow during my time at school; it has been a heck of a roller-coaster ride. It's like when a person decides to face their greatest fears. One minute you think you’re ready and the next you start imagining the worst-case scenario. I still think I have grown because I found different ways to cope with the emotional stress involved. Sometimes that means eating a bowl of ice cream at 2 a.m. while writing the week's agenda with tears. It also means reaching out to professors, benefactors and friends who are willing to help. It means hearing from motivators, friends, parents, siblings... Other times it just means getting a good amount of sleep.

At the beginning of freshman year, I was excited to start my college life, when I packed my bags to leave for the summer I was even more excited. I love the idea of growing, I like the changes I have experienced, and I am definitely looking forward to the many more. Nevertheless, I like the breaks where I get to reflect on it all. Freshman year was a challenge, I learned a lot, yet a part of me feels like this college life journey is really yet to begin.