It has been over one year since I graduated high school last May. Looking back, a lot of things have changed for me in this period of time.

When you first graduate, there's no telling where you'll end up. This goes for anytime, but it is especially apparent when you are making one of the biggest transitions in your life: college. Not everyone goes to college, but I made the choice to do so.

My route was to save money and go to a nearby university while living at home. Surprisingly, many people weren't afraid to tell me their opinion on how I was "selling myself short" by making the choice to save money. However, I persevered because I realized they are not the ones who are paying my bills: I am.

The money option wasn't the only reason why I chose my school, there was a multitude of factors as to why I chose it. Some of them being: greats programs, lots of extracurriculars, comfort, and a beautiful campus. Through its trials and tribulations, I really enjoyed my first year of college.

However, not everyone is so lucky, though. Many people will be traveling to a different university because it wasn't what they expected, or they just really miss being home. Either of these is a good reason to travel home. You have to listen to your heart on what it's telling you. This is not a blow-off high school class: this is your future. You have every right to do what you think is best.

Going to school was the biggest component this past year, but work was too. I worked two jobs the majority of the first year, and it was a struggle with going to school full-time both semesters. On top of that, I made the choice to begin my journey in studying abroad. The paperwork is immense, but I am lucky enough to have a clear mind to get through this rough part. I also made a good friend who was also going through the same process, and that has made all the difference.

The misconception is that you'll make so many lifelong, meaningful friendships your first year of college. However, my choice in not joining a sorority (not the only way you can make friends, but on a commuter campus: it helps), and sticking to myself all year; I only walked out with one valuable friend. I am happy with that.

Not only that, but I said goodbye to a few high-school friendships. This is inevitable, but it is powerful to be the deciding voice in who stays and who goes. We always had this choice, but being in close-courters for four years proves it to be difficult.

Everyone is in a different place from where they originally planned they would be a year ago. If you would have told me I would be in a different job that I love, strong friendships to support it, and planning to leave the country in less-than-a-year; I'd probably laugh. These things seem so far-fetched, but they really are within reach for all of us. One year out of high school, and still loving every minute of it.