As incoming freshmen, we were terrified. Everything is new, everybody is new and you’re new. At first, you pretty much hate your life. Orientation forces you to make friends with people you barely know, and you start questioning if you'll even make friends at this school. You start to see people making cliques, and you’re not in them. You see people at the lunch table and you think, “Is it socially acceptable for me to sit with them?” As a new group of freshmen, we didn’t know our place and we didn’t want to make ourselves stand out any more than we already did. Well, as the year has progressed, I think it’s safe to say that we've all come a long way.

We finally started living a college life. We weren’t afraid to say “Hi” to new people, and we found out that people were actually accepting of us. We started finding our niche at school, and once that happened, we all started growing. Whether it was gaining the freshman 15 or growing a new hairstyle that our parents absolutely hated, we were growing. Not only physically, but we were mentally and spiritually growing into adulthood. We started getting involved in ministries, activities, clubs, etc. It was our first huge step away from everything we knew, and we were making our life what we wanted. We experienced freedom for the first time, and we loved every second of it. We finally started being our true genuine selves, and then we found friends who loved us while doing it.

Freshman year has brought a lot of highs and lows. Some highs were amazing friendships, finding myself and realizing what really matters. Some lows obviously were homesickness, those nasty tests and tragedies that were out of my control. When tragedy strikes, it's hard to go through it away from home, but college really picked me up when I was at my lowest of lows. Without this family, I would be lost.

College really opened my eyes to what is important: family, friends and faith. Never take those things or people for granted. Because when you are all alone, those three things never fail to pick you back up. Freshman year has been such a growing experience for me, as for, I’m sure, the rest of my classmates. Now, here we are, at the end of our freshmen year, wondering where all the time went and what we're going to do next. The nice part of that is that we have each other to lean on when taking the next step into our future, which doesn’t make it that scary.

As incoming freshmen, we were terrified. As outgoing freshmen, even though still slightly terrified, we have each other. Thank you to my classmates, college friends and anyone else that has touched my life this last year. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Bring on sophomore year.