This seems unreal that I'm writing this. It seems like I just was writing about finishing my first semester, but here I am writing about finishing my second. My freshman year of college is over, and it seems unreal. It feels like no time has passed since I was meeting these people for the first time, setting up my dorm room, and figuring out how life was going to work now that I was here. It still feels like I am just starting, when I'm already a quarter of the way into the game. When did that happen?

I cannot believe how much has changed, both in my life and in myself, since August, or even since second semester started. I don't think that people prepare you enough for all the change that occurs in your first year. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and I'm not sure if I recognize myself, but at the same time I feel more like myself than I ever have. I look at the people in my life now and the people I thought would be in my life at the beginning of this year, and notice that more than half of the people that I say I'm close with now are people I never would've expected to be so prominent in my life, but I'm so glad that they are. They're my family.

One of the biggest things I got out of this year is that your grades absolutely do not define who you are, and that sometimes you can work so incredibly hard and have none of it pay off, and that's okay. College is hard, and it's new and scary and life is just down right difficult sometimes outside of your academics. It's a lot, and it's okay to not have it all figured out right now. But I also learned that I'm intelligent, that I'm capable, that I'm not a failure, and that although I don't have a 4.0 GPA and I'm not absolutely perfect, by no means does that mean that I work any less hard or that I'm any less intelligent than anyone else. I'm doing the best I can, and that's all anyone can ask for.

This year has been full of ups and downs, and a lot of not knowing how things were going to end up. There was a lot of time spent trying to figure out who I am, and who I want to be, and who I want standing by me when I accomplish it. It was a lot of wanting to give up, but forcing myself not to, and then being happy about it. But the most challenging part was having to accept this person that I've changed into, because I didn't know if I wanted to know her. She smiles a lot more, and she's brave and takes risks, and she's better at fighting for herself. She does a lot of things that the old me never would have even considered doing. She's fearlessly her own person, and not afraid to be that person. She scared me at first because the old me wasn't used to this new version, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to change, but the fact was, I needed to, and I still am. For someone who doesn't like change very much, this was hard, but once I accepted this new person, this new part of myself, I realized that it was necessary, and I'm happier being her than I was being the old me, although parts of the old me are still around.

I still fight with my depression every day. That hasn't changed, and I'm not sure if it ever will. There are things that have made that part of me worse this year, and there are things that have made it better. Living alone was a blessing until come nighttime and being alone wasn't so fun anymore. I'm grateful, though, that my support system is better. I know I can call any one of my friends, any time and know that if they can be there, they will be. They never questioned it, never doubted, never judged, they were just there. I used to have such a big problem with people seeing me break the way I do when things are bad, but what was surprising to me was that now, I didn't care if I broke in front of them, because I knew it would be okay if I did.

I look back on this year and wouldn't change anything, because I needed this year to find myself, until next year when I'll probably find her all over again. It's crazy how much can change in such a short amount of time, and I think I'm going to try to not have expectations for how something will turn out ever again, because I'm fairly sure at this point that nothing ever turns out how you think it will.